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Ronson Metals: Unhappy Homes

Environmental Issue

There’s housing in a place where there’s not supposed to be housing.

NJ Department of environmental protection

The Ironbound is currently facing an environmental issue in Manufactures Pl. The issue is contamination of groundwater and soil. The name of the contaminant is trichloroethane(TCE). After Ronson Metals closing, detected amounts of the TCE was supposed to be remediated but instead housing was built.TCE is not dangerous if exposure is kept to a minimum, for years residents were exposed to the TCE. What makes TCE so dangerous? TCE was previously used as an anesthetic for surgery. People who are overexposed to large amounts of TCE may result to a coma and even death. Some people who breathe high levels of TCE may develop damage to some of the nerves in the face. Other effects seen in people exposed to high levels of TCE include evidence of nervous system effects related to hearing, seeing, and balance, changes in the rhythm of the heartbeat, liver damage, and evidence of kidney damage as well as cancer in the kidneys. Its unfortunate that a predominately Latino community has to deal with TCE.


The Art Metal Works began operating in 1898. Louis Vincent Aronson was the founder. Louis was born in Manhattan, and at the age of 15 he qualified to become an expert in metallurgy. When Louis turned 24 years old he made enough money to open up his business. Before Ronson Metals there was The Art Metal Works. Ronson manufactured vases, inkwells, calendars, religious and church goods, picture frames, thermometers and articles. Ronson was iconic for their signature lighters which was first created in 1910. By 1927 The signature lighter produced by Ronson Metals was known to be the best lighter in the world, what made the lighter significant was its ability to light every single time. Ronson was world widely known and made numerous appearances through the 19th century. Some of the themes that Ronson Metals was seen in was World War 2, racial caricatures and popular movies. Ronson Metals closed in 1989 Due to its core competitors in the US and UK.


Ronson property was redeveloped with 19 homes
and another five commercial/industrial buildings.

NJ Department of environmental protection

In 1997 NJDEP did a mandatory site review on the former Ronson Metal site to check for any contamination. DEP announces that there was a found of TCE in the groundwater and soil. DEP hired REI, a redevelop and remediation company to get rid of the TCE, This was approved to be done after the DEP issued a letter that stated that the site was safe to operate on.The DEP issued deed restrictions that emphasized the use of the area for parking and non residential uses. Afterwards, The DEP kind of brushed off the status of remediation at Ronson Metals. It wasn’t until 2012 that the DEP decided to check up on Ronson’s Metals to see if the site needed more remediation .When they arrived on the site of Manufactures place they expected to see vacant land or closed down Ronson Metals instead when they arrived they were shocked to see land in the area of contamination. In late 2014, NJDEP began a vapor intrusion investigation on the site. Vapor intrusion occurs when vapors from chemical compounds in the subsurface soil or groundwater seep through openings in building slabs, affecting the quality of the air inside a building. the state is installing an elaborate ventilation system to suck the vapors from underneath the garage floor that extends above the roof. When the DEP found out about the contamination they went door to door to inform residents that they’ve been living over contamination for years.  NJDEP sues Ronson Metals for doing limited remediation after closing and never remediated the groundwater at the site.NJDEP also sues REI, The suit alleges that REI’s environmental engineer performed Ronon’s limited remediation, but didn’t disclose all aspects of the soil’s contamination to the Newark Central Planning Board to gain approval for the project. The state is also suing to recoup environmental clean up costs at the site of another former facility in Newark.

Our Resident

This is Alexandra, I met him while visiting Manufacturers Place. He is originally from Brazil and was familiar with the contamination that was going around. He asked politely for his face to be confidential, lucky I was able to get his voice on what its like living in Manufactures Place. He was already aware of the contamination before he purchased the house. The short term effects does not bother Alexandra because he is always working and is never actually inside the house. Despite having no worry for himself, he still showed great concern of how the contamination will affect our children of the future. He claims he’s not sure if the vapor intrusion vents are working because the DEP does not update them on the status of it. Alexandra hopes to spread awareness for the DEP to win the lawsuit for remediation.


  1. Carter, Barry. “Newark Homes Not so Sweet with Toxic Vapors Seeping inside.”, 13 Apr. 2014. Web. 30 Apr. 2019.
  2. NJDEP Site Remediation – Ronson Metals Site Fact Sheet. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2019.
  3. “Ronson PLC.” History of Ronson PLC – FundingUniverse. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2019.
  4. “Toxic Substances Portal – Trichloroethylene (TCE).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 21 Jan. 2015,
  5. NJDEP Site Remediation – Ronson Metals Site Fact Sheet,