Jan 27: EPA releases results of manganese study of schools

MARIETTA -- "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wrapped up its study of toxic air pollutants at three area schools in early November, and data released Friday indicates a particularly high level of manganese outside Warren Elementary School on Oct. 22... According to the EPA's Washington County facility report for 2008, there are five facilities in the county that release manganese compounds and three facilities that release manganese. Eramet Marietta tops the list with 3,659,572 pounds of manganese compounds released, although a majority of that material is caught by systems at the facility and never actually leaves the site," Ashley Hill, Marietta Times.

Jan 22, 2010: EPA vows to do all it can for school's air
USA Today map

MARIETTA -- "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency pledged Thursday to 'use all the tools at our disposal' to reduce high levels of a toxic chemical that continues to permeate the air outside an elementary school in Marietta, Ohio. The chemical, manganese, can affect children in much the same way as lead. Government scientists have concluded that long-term exposure can cause mental disabilities and emotional problems. The EPA plans to release data today that show high levels of manganese outside a cluster of schools in and near Marietta. One air sample — taken Oct. 22, 2009, outside Warren Elementary — shows manganese levels that were 23 times above what the EPA considers safe for long-term exposure," Blake Morrison and Brad Heath, USA Today.

Dec 15: EPA detects brain-damaging toxic near school

LaCroft Elementary School WASHINGTON, DC -- "Government regulators have found high levels of manganese, a dangerous metal that can affect the brain, in the air outside a school in eastern Ohio. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials cautioned Monday that the results outside LaCroft Elementary in East Liverpool, Ohio, were still preliminary. Even so, the samples — taken this summer and fall — averaged well above the level that the government considers safe for long-term exposure. The monitoring is part of a $2.25 million EPA effort to examine the air outside 63 schools in 22 states. The program was launched in response to a USA TODAY investigation that identified hundreds of schools across the nation where the air outside appeared to be rife with toxic industrial chemicals," Blake Morrison and Brad Heath, USA Today.

Oct 29: Manganese exposure at schools
Study of outside air shows conflicting results in its initial reports

Warren Elementary
Preliminary results show manganese levels fluctuate above and below acceptable EPA ranges at Warren Elementary School.

MARIETTA -- "Dick Wittberg, executive director of the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department, said there are problems with averages and with the timing of the EPA study. 'Unfortunately, they are doing a study at a time when we know emissions (from Eramet Marietta) are at a low level, and in spite of that, emissions levels at two different sites are several times higher than they ought to be,' Wittberg said. By averaging the first four samples that were released, Wittberg said it appears area students and residents should be safe. However, he said averages mask dangers of intense short-term exposure," Brad Bauer, Marietta Times.

Oct 29: EPA finds manganese threat at two schools

MCLEAN, VA -- "Regulators have found high levels of neurotoxic manganese in the air outside two schools in Ohio and West Virginia, the latest results of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to check for chemicals outside schools across the nation. Government scientists have determined that long-term exposure to manganese can cause mental disabilities and emotional problems, especially in kids. The preliminary results, to be released today, found average manganese levels at least 70% higher than what the EPA considers safe for long-term exposure outside Warren Elementary School in Marietta, Ohio, and Neale Elementary School in Vienna, W.Va. The schools are about 10 miles from each other," Blake Morrison and Brad Heath, USA Today.

Oct 28: Eramet agrees to pay $30K Ohio EPA fine

MARIETTA -- "Eramet Marietta has agreed to pay a $30,000 penalty to the Ohio EPA for 2007 air pollution violations that have now been resolved. In a September 2007 inspection, the state Environmental Protection Agency determined Eramet was violating safety requirements involving the storage of sulfur dioxide and anhydrous ammonia at the Ohio 7 facility. There were 12 violations of accidental release prevention program rules, and all but four were corrected by late 2007, said Erin Strouse, media coordinator for the Ohio EPA," Kate York, Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

Oct 27: Eramet will pay $30,000 in fines
Eramet will pay the Ohio EPA thousands of dollars, after the company allegedly violated state and federal requirements

PARKERSBURG, WV -- "Eramet will pay the Ohio EPA thousands of dollars, after the company allegedly violated state and federal requirements. According to officials with the Ohio EPA, Eramet will shell out $30,000 after violating accidental release prevention program requirements. They say the requirements are to prevent accidental releases of toxic chemicals to the air and lessen the consequences of releases that do occur. During an audit in September 2007, Ohio EPA noted 12 violations of the accidental release prevention program rules," WTAP.

Sep 17: Eramet asks other electric customers for help with proposed investments

MARIETTA -- "With the company's facility aging and its airborne manganese emissions now at the center of two ongoing and federally funded health studies in Marietta, one funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and one funded by the U.S. EPA, at stake in the decision before the PUCO are apparently $40 million of proposed, but publicly unspecified, capital investments, according to heavily redacted testimony on file with the PUCO... The Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel warned that if Eramet Marietta's request for a rate discount is rubber stamped, then a number of other companies in Ohio could step forward to request discounted electric rates that would be subsidized by other customers," Tom Lotshaw, Marietta Register.

Aug 13: Eramet worker burned

MARIETTA -- "Eramet Marietta officials are investigating an early morning incident at the plant that resulted in a minor explosion and a worker being burned. Injured was Thomas McCabe, 51, of 105 Ninth St., Belpre. He was treated and released from an area hospital, according to Eramet officials. 'He was operating a fork lift and transporting hot metal outside to cool,' according to Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks. 'The outside of the metal was hard, but the inside was still molten. For some reason it cracked and caused an explosion. That explosion blew out the windshield of the fork lift, caught that piece of equipment on fire as well as a nearby piece of equipment,'" Brad Bauer, Marietta Times.

Aug 12: Eramet tries to make its case for rate break

MARIETTA -- "Hearings on Eramet Marietta's request for discounted electrical rates resumed Monday in Columbus, and a document filed in the case offers changes addressing some criticisms of the deal... In testimony filed with the PUCO, the Ohio Consumers' Counsel recommends rejecting the deal. Counsel spokesman Ryan Lippe said Eramet's initial proposal doesn't justify passing the cost of the discount on to other consumers. 'They're not promising new jobs or to maintain its operations in Ohio for the entire length of the agreement,' he said. 'They're not specifying any special benefits. So really, the company being helped by this is Eramet,'" Evan Bevins and Justin McIntosh, Marietta Times.

Aug 6: Participants in manganese study chosen
100 selected from large field

MARIETTA -- "The head of a study aimed at determining the effects of manganese in the air on local residents' health says the 100 people needed for the study have signed up. 'We are grateful for the many responses we have received in the last week,' Dr. Rosemarie Bowler of San Francisco State University said in a news release on Wednesday. 'Although we will call a few alternates if someone cannot meet their appointment, we clearly will not be able to accommodate all the generous volunteers who wanted to participate,' she said. 'But we want residents to know this is a true epidemiologic study, and participants were selected at random from within the city boundaries, which means the results should apply to all residents of Marietta, even those who were unable to participate,'" Sam Shawver, Marietta Times.

Aug 3: Air monitoring under way at Warren

MARIETTA -- "Air monitoring began this week for a U.S. EPA initiative that will include testing at Warren Elementary and measure toxic air pollution at schools across the country. The outdoor air at 62 schools in 22 states will be monitored, with samples already being collected this week at two schools in Tennessee and another in California... The study was announced in March by the EPA after a USA Today report raised questions about air quality outside schools near large industrial facilities," Kate York, Marietta Times. Published August 1.

July 13: Our opinion: Study important for area’s peace of mind

MARIETTA -- "What we know is that manganese is in the air. What we don't know is what impact that exposure has had on residents of this community over an extended period of time. That will change, we hope, with a study planned to answer just that question. We urge local residents to participate. The money for the study is coming from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and testing will take place Aug. 16 to 19. It's being touted as the first study of low-dose manganese exposure over a long period of time and the first comprehensive study of adults exposed to manganese in the air," editorial, Marietta Times.

July 9: Study to set harmful levels of manganese

MARIETTA -- "It's a mystery whether the level of airborne manganese from a plant in Marietta is dangerous, but a two-year study will attempt to answer that question. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommended the study after it determined in a report this month that the manganese level emitted from the Eramet plant on Rt. 7 exceeded health-based guidelines. Eramet, located about 120 miles southeast of Columbus, produces manganese alloys for heat-resistant metals. Manganese is a naturally occurring metal primarily used in steel production. Exposure to high levels of the metal can affect the nervous system, causing symptoms similar to those of Parkinson's disease," Timothy Magaw, Columbus Dispatch .

MARIETTA -- ATSDR announces Marietta health study on manganese exposure, Tom Lotshaw, Marietta Register.

July 8: New health study coming
Focus will be on health effects of manganese in the Valley’s air

MARIETTA -- "After more than a decade of waiting, Marietta residents will finally have a study on the health effects of airborne manganese, members of several environmental agencies confirmed Tuesday. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) had recommended the health study after completing a year-long air investigation in the Mid-Ohio Valley to determine levels of manganese emitted from the Eramet plant south of Marietta on Ohio 7... 'We're very grateful with the interest in this,' said Caroline Beidler, a member of the local group Neighbors for Clean Air. 'This community lives with this every single day,'" Kate York, Marietta Times.

MARIETTA -- EPA briefs Marietta residents on health study, Courtney Rochon, WTAP News.

July 7: Residents asked to take part in study

MOUNT VERNON -- "Mount Vernon residents are being asked to take part in a study that will benefit not only the citizens of Marietta, but will also advance medical science. The joint health study will look at the effects of low-dose manganese on adults. Mount Vernon residents will serve as the control group to Marietta, where levels of manganese are higher than accepted levels. 'This will be the first environmental study of adult exposure to manganese in the United States,' said Rosemarie Bowler, Ph.D., lead researcher for the study. 'We don’t know what low-dose exposure does to the body,'" Cheryl Splain, Mount Vernon News.

May 13: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry slammed in congressional report

MARIETTA -- "he Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a federal health agency tasked nearly a decade ago with determining if local air pollution poses a risk in Marietta, itself 'seems to represent a clear and present danger to the public's health,' according to a report released in March by the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations... 'People go to these agencies expecting action and are almost always disappointed because of the geological time scale. The burden of proof is on the people who may be damaged, and to accumulate that we have to wait,' said Melissa English, an employee of Ohio Citizen Action who has worked with Marietta residents to encourage Eramet Marietta to voluntarily reduce its emissions. 'I have no expectation of what their report is going to say. I wouldn't build my hopes on it if I was a mother worried about my kid's exposure to air pollution,' English said," Tom Lotshaw, Marietta Register.

May 5: Community turned out for Earth Day festival

MARIETTA -- "Earth Day Celebration and Green Fest is over for 2009 and what a celebration it was! Those attending could walk through RECOVER's Simply Green House that was built with energy efficient, recycled, non-toxic materials, all topped by a solar panel. Solar panels were also demonstrated by DoveTail Wind and Solar and Third Sun Solar and Wind. Les Anderson had his 2002 Prius on hand with good maintenance and performance information... Neighbors for Clean Air demonstrated air monitoring equipment and sponsored a Clean Air essay contest with impressive entries," letter to the editor, Marietta Times.

Apr 15: EPA to monitor the air at three Mid-Ohio Valley schools

Warren Elementary in Marietta
MARIETTA -- "In an effort to better assess schoolchildren's exposure to toxic air pollutants, U.S. EPA will be monitoring outdoor air quality at 62 priority schools in 22 states this spring and summer. U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced the list of priority schools two weeks ago. The list includes Warren Elementary School and the Ohio Valley Education Service Center in Washington County, Ohio and Neale Elementary School in Vienna, West Virginia... Manganese pollution in the Mid-Ohio Valley is suspected to originate primarily from Eramet Marietta, Inc., a large ferroalloy producer located along the Ohio River in the former Union Carbide site on Ohio State Route Seven," Tom Lotshaw, Marietta Register.

Apr 1: U.S. to test air quality near schools

COLUMBUS -- "La Croft Elementary School tops Alonzo Spencer's list of air-pollution worries in East Liverpool. Built on a hillside in the Ohio River town, the school has a playground that is roughly level with the top of the smokestack at the nearby Heritage-WTI hazardous-waste incinerator. 'Why would you put a facility of this nature this close to a school?' said Spencer, an environmental activist and longtime opponent of the incinerator. Today, Spencer was happy to learn that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to place pollution monitors at La Croft and six other Ohio schools to see whether nearby industries threaten students' health... Melissa English, a campaign coordinator with Ohio Citizen Action, said Marietta residents face pollution from other factories besides Eramet. 'It's good to have someone looking at something besides the manganese,' English said," Spencer Hunt, Columbus Dispatch.

STEUBENVILLE -- EPA to monitor air quality near 3 local schools , WTOV.

Mar 24: Date for public meeting about manganese to be set soon

CHARLESTON, WV -- "A public meeting about manganese in the air in the mid-Ohio Valley was tentatively set for March 24 in Marietta, Ohio, but organizers soon will settle on a date. That date will not be March 24. The air in Wood County, W.Va., and in Washington County, Ohio, carries high levels of manganese, according to monitoring conducted from April 2007 to March 2008 by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency... The manganese comes from Eramet Marietta, a France-based metals company that uses manganese to produce metal alloys in Marietta, according to the ATSDR," Pam Kasey, WVNS.
Published March 20.

Mar 19: ATSDR: Months from Releasing Air Investigation Report

MARIETTA -- "More than a year after the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry announced they were entering the final phase of their air investigation in Marietta, a spokesman says the agency is still months away from releasing their study. Agency scientists are analyzing air sampling results from air monitors stationed around the community to measure manganese particulate resulting from local manufacturing processes. On Wednesday, a spokesman said the study results should become available within the next six months. He said the study's release is 'almost imminent,'" Callie Lyons, WMOA.

Mar 18: 110 Eramet workers losing their jobs

PARKERSBURG, WV -- "80 Eramet Marietta employees are now without their jobs after a series of layoffs. In January, Eramet announced they would be cutting 110 jobs at the plant.... 'This has been a very, very difficult time for our facility. These folks that have been with us, they're not just our employees, they're family. It's been hard on everyone at Eramet,' said Joy Frank-Collins, Eramet spokesperson. Employees who lose their jobs will either get a severance package or a bonus sum. Eramet is also indefinitely idling the company's special product division. Eramet has also had to put on hold part of the $150-million plan to drastically reduce manganese emissions," Courtney Rochon, WTAP.

Jan 23: Study examines air quality in Wood County
State and federal agencies are now studying the effects on the public

PARKERSBURG, WV-- "Manganese emissions in the air have left a question mark over Wood County. The emissions are from plants across the river in Ohio. State and federal agencies are keeping a close eye on the amount of the element in the air. 'We have found that manganese is indeed high both on the West Virginia and Ohio side. It's above the health bench mark,' says Renu Chakrabarty, Air Toxics Coordinator for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. A study says Eramet Marietta puts the most manganese in the air. A plant spokesperson says they are taking steps to further reduce those emissions. Experts say direct exposure to the element over several years will cause "Parkinson's-like" symptoms," Gil McClanahan, WOWK.

Jan 20: Dear neighbors,
Thank you for your support in our efforts to clean the air that we breathe

Caroline Beidler of Neighbors for Clean Air, left, with Dr. Erin Haynes of the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Haynes is testing the affects of air pollution on youth development.

MARIETTA -- "As 2009 begins I would like to extend my thanks to each of you for all of your support in our efforts to clean the air that we breathe. Eramet Marietta's new CEO Frank Bjorklund's willingness to meet with us in 2008 was a turning point in our efforts. Mr. Bjorklund's September announcement of a $150 million investment was exciting. Phase one of their planned investments included a total rebuild of Furnace #1. This was completed in 2008. Testing on rebuilt Furnace #1 has shown a 25% reduction in emissions from that furnace. A further reduction of 40% is projected when the baghouse is installed... We will continue to meet with the management team at Eramet, ask questions and monitor their changes and progress," Caroline Beidler, Neighbors for Clean Air.

Jan 13: Testing air pollution's effect on children's health

MARIETTA -- "A recent report by USA Today found that schools in Washington County, Ohio ranked in the top four percentile of schools with the most polluted air in the nation. Now, researchers want to make sure the air isn't affecting children's health, and if it is they want something done about it. Marietta College has partnered with the University of Cincinnati to see if air pollution does in fact affect youth development. But before they get started on their research, they first have to recruit 200 children in the area. 'It's important to know exactly the conditions in which we are bringing up our children. Environmentally I'm concerned,' Gi Smith, a local parent, said," Cathleen Moxley, WTAP.

Jan 9: More layoffs
Eramet latest to announce job cuts

Eramet aerial view

MARIETTA -- "The latest layoff announced in Washington County is also the largest since the start of the recent global economic turmoil: Eramet Marietta will cut 110 jobs from its workforce. 'The unfortunate situation here is that we need to make these moves, these workforce reductions, in order to ensure the long-term viability of the plant,' said Eramet spokeswoman Joy Frank-Collins. The cuts, which will begin in March, are among steps being taken by the company to 'more accurately align production with market demand,' according to a news release Eramet issued Thursday. The turbulent economy, automotive industry struggles and subsequent slowdown in the steel market have reduced demand for the plant's products, Frank-Collins said," Evin Bevans, Parkersburg News & Sentinel .

MARIETTA -- Eramet Marietta plans layoffs, Cathleen Moxley, WTAP.

MARIETTA -- Eramet to idle furnaces, reduce workforce, Tom Lotshaw, Marietta Register.

Jan 6, 2009: Ohio Citizen Action featured in 2009 Patagonia calendar

CINCINNATI -- "Ohio’s largest environmental group received national recognition today as part of outdoor outfitter Patagonia’s 2009 calendar. As a recipient of the Patagonia Foundation’s grant making program, Ohio Citizen Action was invited to submit a picture and description of one of our campaigns for the calendar. Our contribution, a picture and letter written by a child to Eramet plant manager Frank Bjorklund, appears on the page for January, 2010," Melissa English, Cincinnati Area Program Director, Ohio Citizen Action.

To order Patagonia’s 2009 calendar, visit their website.

Older Eramet news Jul 2008 - Dec 2008, Jan 2008 - Jun 2008, Jul 2007 - Dec 2007, Jan 2007 - Jun 2007, Jul 2006 - Dec 2006, March 2000 - Jun 2006

Melissa English
Ohio Citizen Action
(513) 221-2100

Neighbors for Clean Air

P.O. Box 295
Marietta, OH 45750

49,459 neighbors have sent handwritten letters and petitions urging Eramet Marietta to be a good neighbor.
8,916 neighbors have sent letters and petitions regarding Eramet to French President Nicolas Sarkozy as of September 15, 2008.

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