Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Controversial AOC Health Report Released For Comments

Apr 30: Dr. Henry Falk, Director, Coordinating Center for Environmental Health and Injury Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), announced that the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) had issued a revised report for public comment on what is known about environmental contaminants and human health in 26 Great Lakes “Areas of Concern” (AOCs). The controversial report which had been suppressed for nearly a year responds to a request from the International Joint Commission (IJC) to define the threat to human health from critical pollutants found in the Great Lakes basin. The report analyzes many sources of data on environmental exposures and on human health in the Great Lakes basin. The report is open for public comment for 60 days.

On February 7, the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) announced that a massive 400-page study, originally entitled, Public Health Implications of Hazardous Substances in the Twenty-Six U.S. Great Lakes Areas of Concern [AOCs], completed in July 2007, was being withheld [
See WIMS 2/8/08]. Subsequently, an inquiry and investigation from Representatives John Dingell (D-MI), the Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Bart Stupak (D-MI) caused the study to be publicly released [See WIMS 3/14/08]. The latest 2008 draft report released for comment is now entitled, Selected Information on Chemical Releases Within Great Lakes Counties Containing Areas of Concern (AOC).

According to a CDC announcement, the key conclusions of the revised report include: 1) available environmental health data provide a useful but only a partial picture of the burden of chemical exposures people in the region face; 2) current health and environmental data collection cannot define the threat to human health from critical pollutants in the Great Lakes region; and 3) need for additional data collection and analysis to permit scientists, decision makers, and members of the public to define the threat to human health from pollutants in the Great Lakes basin. CDC indicates that comments should be submitted by email to:

Access the CDC announcement (
click here). Access the ATSDR website for the Great Lakes report which contains extensive links to background information, the Statement of Concern, the 2004 & 2007 & 2008 drafts, and more (click here). Access the 2008 draft report (click here).

Funding Opportunities From Great Lakes National Program Office

Apr 24: The U.S. EPA's Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO) is now requesting applications in the following areas: (1)Approximately $100,000 to support Lake Michigan Forum activities, including work with ports/harbors in the nearshore and completion of the work with the four Lake Michigan states in a climate exchange program between farmers and industry. (2) Approximately $25,000 to support environmental education and outreach about Lake Michigan to Lake Michigan communities, including Areas of Concern and to teachers. (3) Approximately $75,000 to support training and tool development for Lake Michigan regional planning commissions and their shoreline communities in order to promote the use of green infrastructure and low impact land use design. (4) Approximately $75,000 for projects related to facilitating the Lake Superior Binational Forum. (5) Approximately $120,000 for a project that addresses the Lake Huron priority of Managing Water Quality to Protect and Restore Biodiversity. (6) Approximately $300,000 for a project to estimate loadings to Lakes Michigan, Huron, Superior, and Ontario of total phosphorus, total dissolved phosphorus, nitrate, and chloride.

Submissions must be postmarked or received by EPA or electronically through by midnight, CST on June 10, 2008. EPA notes that this Request for Applications is one of four funding opportunities currently available. Other opportunities include: Request for Proposals for Great Lakes Pollution Prevention and Reduction and Rochester RAP Management (due June 10); Intermediary Support for Ecological Protection and Restoration Projects in the Great Lakes Basin (due May 21); and the Great Lakes Legacy Act Request for Projects (no date).

Access links to complete details on all of the above opportunities (
click here).