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Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Update in Midlothian on Thursday

May 22, 2012

A reminder that the endless multi-part,never ending health “consultation” being conducted by the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) makes another local stop this week with a community meeting in Midlothian at the Convention Center, 1 Community Circle, on May 24, Thursday evening from 7:00 to 8:30. Staff is available from 3:30-5:00 to answer questions one-on-one.  ATSDR is also accepting public comments which will become part of the final report.  The meeting covers only a small part of the report, the part that deals with air monitoring data.  None of the monitoring was actually carried out by ATSDR, instead they relied on state data and existing monitors.  

Downwinders at Risk encourages all interested folks to attend the meeting with questions and/or comments or to submit comments in writing.  There are definitely gaps in air monitoring which should be addressed in your comments.  If you only read the first 9 pages of the report, you’ll get a good idea of their limitations.  For example, there is no monitoring for dioxins and furans and there is no safe exposure to those substances. There is also no monitoring for hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, vapor-phase mercury and carbon monoixde.  

In several cases, the methods used to monitor are known to underestimate pollutants. Originally begun at the request of citizens who felt their threat was being threatened by emissions the town’s three cement plans and steel mill, the ATSDR health evaluation is now entering its seventh inconclusive year. In the future, when science leaves no doubt of the vast human health damage done in and downwind of Midlothian by breathing air contaminated with tons of soot and chemicals, there’ll be a lot of people and groups to thank for gathering the evidence it took to assess that toll. ATSDR will not be among them.

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