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Thursday, September 22, 2005

EPA to New Orleans Residents - You're on your own!

In this Department of Homeland Security release is this news:

EPA mobile labs in the New Orleans area are distributing 700 drinking water sample test kits to Parish Health Units for use by private well owners. There are a total of 683 drinking water facilities In the Louisiana affected area that serves approximately 2.8 million people.

Not only should people who are not scientifically trained never test their water for safety, but these home water sample testing kits do not measure the levels of toxic chemicals in the water, so there will be a lot of people who think the water is OK, when, in fact, they could be drinking a deadly brew. EPA, under the National Response Plan, is the lead agency responsible for doing all of this, and they must immediately cease and desist passing the buck to untrained civilians. Only professionals should test the water before people are allowed to consume it.

This is not the first time the EPA has passed the buck, sadly. In this September 14th press release, they suggest way people can handle asbestos right after they say it can cause cancer and mesothelioma and should not be handled!! Talk about talking out both sides of your mouth!

· If you know or suspect that your home contains asbestos or lead-based paint and any of these materials have been damaged or will otherwise be disturbed during cleanup, seek the assistance of public health authorities and try to obtain help from specially trained contractors, if available.

· In handling materials that are believed to be contaminated with asbestos or lead, EPA recommends that, at a minimum, you wear gloves, goggles, and most importantly, OSHA-approved respiratory protection, if available.

It is illegal for anyone or any agency to recommend to civilians ways they can handle asbestos. Such material should never, under any circumstances, be handled by someone not licensed.

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  • We are a group of former Congressional staff, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) staff, and environmental group staff tracking and analyzing the news, in real time, from New Orleans from an environmental health perspective.

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