By Sam Shawver, firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more
For more information on the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease
Registry’s local air quality study, copies of agency documents are
Washington County Public Library, 615 Fifth St., Marietta.
Marietta College, 215 Fifth St., Marietta.
Washington County Public Library, Barlow Branch, Barlow.
For information about ATSDR’s air monitoring in Washington County,
contact Michelle Colledge or Youlanda Outin at 1-800-CDC-INFO. For
health study questions, contact Stephanie Davis at the same number.
n To ask about accessibility to information pertaining to the ongoing project, e-mail Jennifer Fink at email@example.com.
Just how bad is the air we’re breathing?
was the core question on people’s minds during a public meeting with
members of the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
at Marietta College Tuesday night.
“If you had family living
here, what would you say to them?” Marietta resident Steve Parlin asked
ATSDR epidemiologist Stephanie Davis.
“Personally I have to go
by the evidence, and there are too many unknowns to make a
determination,” Davis answered. “Until we have good scientific
evidence, I would have to come down on the non-reactionary side.”
and ATSDR environmental health scientist Michelle Colledge presented an
update of an ongoing study of Washington County’s air quality to
approximately 60 community members in the McDonough Center auditorium.
2001, at the request of U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, the ATSDR began
an investigation of local air quality, focusing on emissions from
industries located in the area of the former Union Carbide plant on
Ohio 7, south of Marietta.
DeWine was prompted to contact the
agency after hearing concerns from Neighbors for Clean Air and RECOVER,
two local citizens groups concerned with air quality.
last five years ATSDR, in cooperation with other federal, state and
local environmental health agencies, has been monitoring and analyzing
air samples to determine if a health study could be warranted for this
Data obtained from air monitors installed by Ohio
Environmental Protection Agency on Blue Knob Road and at the Washington
County Career Center revealed several compounds in the air, but one was
more prevalent than the others.
“Only manganese exceeded health-based guidelines, and we know that the manganese comes from the Eramet plant,” said Colledge.
said the other facilities in the former Union Carbide complex,
including Eveready Battery, Solvay Advance Polymers, Chevron-Phillips
Chemical Co., and American Municipal Power Ohio, were not emitting high
levels of the substance.
“The highest reported air release of manganese in the U.S. is in this community,” Davis said.
is a neurotoxicant, and the main concern is its effect on the nervous
system. Health studies have showed that older people may have mood and
movement problems from exposure,” she said.
“But there’s a lot of things we don’t know about low level exposure to manganese over the long term,” Davis added.
that reason, the ATSDR is considering a health study of the local
community that could provide valuable information about the long-term
effects on humans.
“We want to make it clear that the health
study is only a proposal at this time,” Davis said. “We should know
more in about a year.”
Although the agency is currently working
on a possible draft health proposal, Davis said ATSDR wants to do some
monitoring in more populated areas.
She said three new air
monitors are being located in Harmar Village in Marietta, in Boaz, and
at the Neale Elementary School in Vienna, W.Va.
will sample air for a year, and ATSDR will analyze the data. If it is
determined that a health study is warranted, the agency will seek
approval from Ohio and West Virginia, then move on to obtain the
If the study proceeds, ATSDR will select
random members of the Washington and Wood county communities to
participate in the health study.
Davis said the agency would
also like to include a comparison Ohio community in the study where
residents have not been exposed to manganese.
“It would take a
number of years to complete this process, but as far as we know there
has never been a health study in this area,” she said. “We think this
is a step in the right direction. It might be too slow for some people,
but we are making some progress.”
For more information about manganese and the air quality study, call 1-800-CDC-INFO.
Fink, public health adviser with ATSDR’s Division of Health Studies in
Atlanta, said the agency wants to keep the community informed about
latest developments in the air quality investigations.
your input, please don’t think that we have forgotten you,” she said.
“Let us know if there’s anything we can do to make this information
Fink plans to place the information on a Web
site in the near future, and Colledge said future updates may be
provided to the community on a quarterly, instead of annual basis.
In the meantime Fink can be contacted about information accessibility by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
a division of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, is working on the
project in conjunction with the U.S. EPA, Ohio EPA, Ohio Health
Department, Washington County and Marietta Health departments, West
Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, and the Mid-Ohio
Valley Health Department.