Bannister Federal Complex warned of daycare risks in withheld report
6:31 PM, Jun 25, 2010
6:51 PM, Jun 25, 2010
KANSAS CITY, Missouri - A highly critical report that Bannister Federal Complex
officials originally withheld identifies new contamination concerns
near the facility’s daycare.
“I'm very concerned,” said Robin Abraham the mother
of a former daycare child who now has asthma. “Very
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources letter to General
Services Administration officials at Bannister suggested GSA
officials did not follow standard procedures that would have
identified or ruled out health concerns.
“When I'm getting low on breath, I really can't breath
that much,” said Abraham’s son, Sean, holding his
Breathing disorders are among a long list of illnesses
Environmental Protection Agency documents link to Trichloroethylene
(TCE) a potentially cancer causing solvent used in manufacturing to
clean metal parts.
Sean’s mother worked in a nearby building for the Internal
Revenue Service and has a blood cancer, non-Hodgkin’s
lymphoma, which is another condition EPA documents associate with
The missing 2005 document identified by the Inspector General's
investigation identifies multiple failures at Bannister to identify
levels of TCE near the Bannister Federal Complex’s day care
and nearby offices.
“We fear that the GSA is not taking the correct approach
to investigate and remediate this site," wrote Missouri Dept. of
Natural Resources Environmental Engineer Scott Honig.
Although the GSA estimates it provided NBC Action News with over
30,000 documents as part of our original Freedom of Information Act
request, it didn’t include the critical report from
The 2005 report wasn’t released to NBC Action News until
the GSA’s Office of Inspector General identified the missing
document and notified officials they were in violation of Freedom
of Information Act laws.
"I am very disappointed this letter was overlooked in the FOIA
request,” said GSA Regional Administrator Jason Klumb.
“I’m deeply concerned about the statements expressed in
the letter by MoDNR”
“I have asked the environmental team to conduct an
in-depth review of the letter and outline what action has been
taken,” Klumb said.
The Honeywell managed weapons plant that makes parts for nuclear
bombs is about a hundred yards from the daycare.
Daycare parents are especially concerned because the childcare
facility sits above a heavily contaminated plume of ground water.
That’s where tests have identified TCE.
The 2005 MoDNR report rejects GSA findings that the underground
contamination was decreasing.
"There is no basis for this conclusion and it is not backed up
with data," Honig wrote in the 2005 report.
“I think like if this wouldn't have happened I probably
wouldn't have asthma,” said 13-year-old Sean reflecting on
the toxins near where he played as a toddler.
Robin Abraham has become increasingly concerned as our
investigation has identified hundreds of illnesses among former
Bannister workers and additional cases among former day care
“If things have been going on all these years and no one
ever said anything, yeah that's betrayal,” Abraham said.
An EPA official said the agency’s reevaluation of the
Bannister facility since the launch of our investigation is already
addressing the concerns contained in the 2005 report.
“EPA is already working with GSA through an interagency
agreement and an Environmental Work Agreement to evaluate several
environmental issues, including ones indicated in the 2005 MDNR
letter regarding the Bannister Complex,” EPA Spokesman David
Bryan said in a statement.
Brian said tests are underway to identify “scientific
results to determine if there is a threat to human health or
“Our sampling to date has not shown any threat from
volatile organic compounds or PCBs in those buildings,” Bryan