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Agencies to address air quality

By Sam Shawver, sshawver@mariettatimes.com


Questions about the Marietta area’s air quality and possible health effects may be answered during a special public meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the McDonough Center Auditorim at Marietta College.

Representatives from the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), Ohio Department of Health, and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency will update the community on progress toward a possible environmental health study.

“As part of the Centers for Disease Control, the ATSDR is a government research agency that has been doing some long-term studies of this area’s air quality,” said Eric Fitch, director of environmental science at Marietta College.

At the request of Neighbors for Clean Air and RECOVER, local groups concerned about air quality, ATSDR is considering the potential health effects of emissions from the Eramet plant on Ohio 7, south of Marietta.

Fitch said anyone concerned about the local air quality and its potential impact should attend Tuesday’s meeting.

“People are always asking why the government is not doing something about this,” he said. “Now we have these government agencies coming here to address the issue.”

But Fitch noted that the ATSDR is not a regulatory agency.

“These are research people. They’re not doing the regulation, but their work may help contribute to decisions made by the regulatory agencies,” he said.

“We’ll also be meeting with the city health department and a couple of other community groups,” said Michelle Colledge, environmental health scientist with ATSDR.

“We want to provide the community with an update on what we’ve been doing,” she said.

Colledge said the agency originally became involved at the request of U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, in 2001.

In 2004 a document released by the ATSDR indicated that metals in the air sometimes exceeded health standards, she said.

Colledge said the agency has now drafted a document summarizing the data they’ve accumulated over the last few years, and will discuss that information on Tuesday.

The public will also be able to question the representatives from all three agencies.

 

 

 


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