Ronson Lighter Fluid Factory-Newark, NJ

by Alexandra Vidal

The Government or Ronson: Who’s to blame for the poisoning of Ironbound citizens?

The modern-day Ronson site consists of 19 family homes that are at continuous risk of vapor intrusion from an industrial chemical Trichloroethylene (TCE). This occurred because these family houses were built on top of the remnants of the chemical waste left behind Ronson inc. This outcome shows the failure of government at the federal and local level. At the federal level, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission did not have the adequate regulations in place to assess the radioactive materials that were left behind Ronson in the site. At the local level, the failure consists of a lack of effort into properly investigating environmental issues on the site when approving the sale of the land to a home developer.    

This paper seeks to evaluate the factors that led to the site. The questions being asked are: How did this predicament come to be? In what ways did the bureaucratic nature of the American government contribute to it? How did the bureaucratic inequities of federal and local agencies cause the creation of the site? To what extent can the socio-economic factors of the Ironbound answer this question?