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Friday, September 16, 2005

Toxins Could be Around for YEARS

Great piece on Bloomberg News right now, just chocked full of good stuff. Read the entire story here. But here is the money quote:

The flooded areas include more than 60 chemical plants, oil refineries and
petroleum storage facilities, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
records. The full extent of the damage won't come into complete focus until the
water that swamped 80 percent of the city is pumped out, a process the Army
Corps of Engineers says may take until mid-October.

``It's a nightmare,'' said Jay Grimes, director of the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. ``There's so much unknown material in that water. You have to assume there's a lot of toxic material. Some of it could stick around for months or years.''

We simply don't know what chemicals and toxic materials are in that water and sludge or how long it will take to properly clean it up. Every time it is distrupted, it is released into the air. When it dries and becomes dusty, it will be released into the air even more.

Real testing must be done before people can be told it's safe to come back.

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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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