Saturday, May 23, 2009

Scofield park closed

The issue reported in the Advocate today is PCB's.
The information on PCB's is at best interesting because even in the EPA's own website on the subject there is some question concerning the real problem.
In a nut shell, PCB's are a probable cancer causing item.
Unlike most carcinogens, which are definite, there are enough studies on people that did NOT show the link, that they had to pit it up on the website. That in of itself is significant.
PCB's bioaccumulate in the environment, meaning that small things ingest them and bigger things ingest the smaller things etc. That is why there is a restriction on the nubers of some fish we can eat it CT.
Now all this area has been tested for years, even before I started at the Health Department. I believe the first survey was done in 1968 and there have been others done since then.
The newest one showed PCB's. We do not know the amount in the soil. It took workers who had years of daily exposure to develop any of the things that are talked about in the EPA studies.
Do I think this is an imminent danger? NO!
Do I think city officials are wise to close the park? Maybe, especially if you look at possible legal claims that the city would need to deal with, but not as far as health goes.
Do I think there will be hysteria over this? Absolutely! Anything people have a suspicion about creates hysteria whether it is warranted or not.
Do I think there will be lawsuits? Yes, especially from workers who have been there for any length of time.
Was the Health Director notified? I have no idea. I was not and I happen to be the only Chemist working for the city.
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