Nyanza's Impact – Widespread & Personal


Loss of Life and Cancer Clusters - The Impact of Nyanza is Immeasurable!

The most devastating impact of Nyanza has been the loss of life. Kevin Kane was not the only one to suffer as a direct result of the chemicals released by the Nyanza Chemical plant. His classmates and friends, Sean Michael O'Connor and David Rogers Keddy both died at 21 years old due to rare cancers later attributed to Nyanza.


Kevin's Impact 

As Suzanne Condon, Associate Director of MA Department Of Public Health wrote, "It is hard to accurately estimate the numbers of people who have benefited by Kevin's courageous acts. If we think about the number of people who were deemed at greatest risk of exposure, those who as children had some contact with the NYANZA site during 1965 and 1985,the number would have been 2500. If you add only parents alone that number triples to 7500. More realistically, if you add siblings and the children that these children might have given birth to, that number is surely to reach the tens of thousands mark." Also, contained in Suzanne's words, "Kevin Kane was an environmental health hero."


Environmental Impact

Contaminated Wetlands Found Near Nyanza Chemical Waste Dump in Ashland, MA

 The groundwater, soil, sediments, and surface water near the former Nyanza Chemical Waste Dump are contaminated with heavy metals and chlorinated organics. The groundwater and soil are also contaminated with spent solvents and chemical wastes.

Health threats include direct contact with or accidental ingestion of contaminated groundwater or soil. Wetlands nearby and fish in the Sudbury River are contaminated with mercury. Sediments in the Sudbury River, just downstream of the site also have high mercury levels. 

The industrial site sits on the slope of a high ground known as Megunko Hill. Surrounding the site are wetlands that follow the slope down to the Sudbury River on the north. To the west of the site is a stream that runs directly into the river and during initial operations there was a culvert that fed from the site directly into the river. The side effects of the color operations were varied and at times dramatic. The adjacent stream would run the color of the day and locals referred to it as “Chemical Brook”. During this era, there were no signs, fences, or warnings that would keep people away from the plant.