Sunday, February 10, 2008

Great Lakes Danger Zones

The Center For Public Integrity has released pages from a government-suppressed report on environmental toxicity in the air, land, and water surrounding the Great Lakes. Nine million people in 26 "areas of concern" show elevated health rates of infant mortality and cancer - ten of these "areas of concern" are in Canada. They are exposed to dioxin, PCBs, pesticides, lead, mercury, or six other hazardous pollutants.

The report, Public Health Implications of Hazardous Substances in the Twenty-Six U.S. Great Lakes Areas of Concern, was commissioned in 2001 by the International Joint Commission, an independent bilateral organization consisting of six board members appointed by the U.S. and Canadian governments (three from each country with the current US members appointed by Bush) to advise on the use and quality of boundary waters between the two countries. The study was carried out by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Note : and Prevention

Christopher De Rosa, then the director of the ATSDR's division of toxicology and environmental medicine, who oversaw the study and has since been demoted for pushing for its release, has written that blocking publication of the report has "the appearance of censorship of science and distribution of factual information regarding the health status of vulnerable communities."

De Rosa was also the whistle blower on the formaldehyde found in trailers supplied by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

"Canadian biologist Michael Gilbertson, a former IJC staffer and another of the three peer reviewers, told the Center For Public Integrity that the study has been suppressed because it suggests that vulnerable populations have been harmed by industrial pollutants.
Gilbertson : "The whole problem with all this kind of work is wrapped up in that word ‘injury.’ If you have injury, that implies liability. Liability, of course, implies damages, legal processes, and costs of remedial action. The governments, frankly, in both countries are so heavily aligned with, particularly, the chemical industry, that the word amongst the bureaucracies is that they really do not want any evidence of effect or injury to be allowed out there."

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