Tuesday, January 27, 2009

ATSDR Report On Chemical Releases In The Great Lakes Region

Jan 27: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), announced the official availability of the report, ATSDR Studies on Chemical Releases in the Great Lakes Region [74 FR 4751]. The report responds to a request from the International Joint Commission (IJC), the binational organization that works to implement the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) between the U.S. and Canada. The GLWQA calls for the two nations to define "the threat to human health from critical pollutants" found in the Great Lakes basin.

The report summarizes previously-published public health assessment products and chemical release information for the 26 U.S. Areas of Concern (AOCs) and 54 counties that are in close geographic proximity to those AOCs. ATSDR says, "It is a descriptive report that does not make associations between health outcomes and chemical exposures." The compilation of environmental data, gathered by ATSDR and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is intended to help decision-makers set future priorities.

The originally controversial report, which had been suppressed for nearly a year was revealed on February 7, 2008, by the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) which 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], and completed in July 2007, was being withheld [
See WIMS 2/8/08]. The suppression of the study was the subject of an inquiry and investigation from Representatives John Dingell (D-MI), then Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Bart Stupak (D-MI), the Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee [See WIMS 3/14/08].

Access the FR announcement (
click here). Access links to the final report and extensive background information (click here).