Saturday, February 1, 2020


It wasn't just Varnicolor Chemical's can coating compound manufactured inside their now long gone orange building that contributed to NDMA production in soils and groundwater in the aquifers in the south end of Elmira, Ontario. It was also their production of detergents and windshield washer fluids among other products. Last May 7, 2019 I posted an article here titled ""A Water Pistol In A Thunderstorm"- I Think Not". In that posting I indicated Varnicolor Chemical had dumped both dimethylamine as well as dimethylamine waste waters from their orange building into underground vessels designed to allow them to leak into the surrounding soils.

I was aware that Varnicolor had also manufactured various detergents, windshield wiper fluid and other liquid products for sale. How long this went on and what the volumes produced and sold were I do not know. I can however with confidence suggest that if asked the Ontario MOE/MECP would most certainly minimize those volumes to the tiniest amount possible. It turns out that these products are produced using quarternary ammonium salts otherwise known as quarternary amines. Applications for this group of compounds includes disinfectants, surfactants, fabric softeners, shampoos, as well as the previously mentioned detergents and windshield wiper fluid.

The can coating compound was made from dimethylamine, a direct precurser to NDMA. Coating the inside of metal cans was used for corrosion inhibiting purposes. Other amines are also possible precursers to NDMA under the appropriate conditions. This includes acidic environments, presence of nitrates or nitrites etc. In the May 7/2019 posting here I had quoted from a document (Exhibit I) submitted to the Environmental Appeal Board in 1990. It clarified the conditions necessary for spontaneous (exogenously) formed NDMA in the natural environment. This I can say in regards to the volumes of relevant liquid products produced by Varnicolor Chemical. With or without actual production records, the concentrations of chemicals and by-products of detergents, shampoos, surfactants, windshield wiper fluid etc. are significant years after production stopped. These concentrations were found in shallow soils, groundwater, deeper soils (7'-12') as well as within the two buried vessels that received the liquid waste waters from the orange building.

I do not believe for one second that both Uniroyal Chemical and the Ontario Ministry of Environment (MOE) did not have this full knowledge in 1990 and I believe that they intentionally have kept it to themselves for the last thirty years. In fact this information may have been the biggest reason why the MOE gave Uniroyal the Indemnity and sweetheart agreement they did in October 1991.

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