Marietta Neighbors for Clean Air to advise U.S. EPA on manganese health standard

research triangle park

Representatives of Marietta’s Neighbors for Clean Air will travel with Dr. Erin Haynes of the University of Cincinnati to Research Triangle Park, North Carolina on August 6th, 2007 to meet with U.S. EPA staff who are assessing the health standard for public exposure to manganese.

The delegation, which includes Dr. Dick Wittberg, has thoroughly researched existing studies on the problem and is involved in designing the study Dr. Haynes intends to conduct on residents of Washington county Ohio and Wood county West Virginia in the future. Dave Guinnup of U.S. EPA, invited members of Neighbors for Clean Air to meet him because of their expertise and their personal stake in enforcing the standard at the fence line.

Wittberg, who is Executive Director of the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department, and Haynes, an Assistant Professor of Environmental Health at the University of Cincinnati, are especially interested in the effects of manganese on children, whose developing brains and nervous systems may be particularly susceptible to its neurotoxic effects.

A recent report dated June 18, 2007 from the Agency on Toxic Substances and Disease Registry included air models showing two to sixty times the current standard for manganese are falling on residents of Marietta and Boaz, West Virginia. Neighbors for Clean Air began a campaign with Ohio Citizen Action in March of 2006 to pressure Eramet Marietta to significantly reduce manganese releases and prevent odors from the plant. Since 1990, Eramet reports they have averaged over 400,000 pounds per year in manganese emissions to the air.