CDC Team to Visit Dayton to Assess Perma-Fix Area
Jan. 16DAYTON, Ohio The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is sending a team of specialists to Dayton to see if the health concerns of residents living near the Perma-Fix treatment plant might be related to the plant's operation.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a branch of the CDC, will conduct a four-day fact-finding visit to the area, including a community meeting Jan. 27 to hear health concerns from residents near the plant.
On that day, agency experts will present an overview of their mission from 6 to 6:30 p.m. at the Wright-Dunbar Technology Academy, formerly Radcliff Middle School, at 120 Knox Ave. From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., residents will be able to share their health concerns privately or in small group sessions with agency team members.
The team includes an atmospheric scientist, two environmental health scientists, a health educator and a community involvement specialist. Additional specialists may be brought into the investigation depending on the team's findings, said Michelle Colledge, a Chicago-based environmental health specialist who will be part of the team.
Prior to the community meeting on Thursday, the specialists will spend Tuesday and Wednesday collecting data and anecdotal evidence from local health and environmental officials, Colledge said.
The team also will take a tour of the Perma-Fix plant, she said.
Whether the team returns to Dayton, and when, depends on its findings.
"First, we have to define the problem, the scope of it and the concerns, and whether we need to collect additional data," she said.
Perma-Fix, 300 S. West End Ave. off West Third Street, has long been a source of complaints about odors from its Drexel and Jefferson Twp. neighbors, many of whom say they have suffered nausea, dizziness, headaches and breathing problems.
Residents filed a lawsuit in December asking a federal court to force the plant to reduce its emissions and meet the standards of the federal Clean Air Act. They also petitioned the ATSDR to conduct a health assessment.
Perma-Fix officials have said the plant should not be held to the standards of the federal Clean Air Act because its emissions "are significantly lower" than the law's threshold of 25 tons of hazardous air pollutants in a year.
Established by Congress in 1980 under Superfund legislation aimed at cleaning up the nation's worst polluted sites, ATSDR conducts public health assessments at each of the sites on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Priority List, as well as other sites when petitioned.
Colledge noted that the ATSDR is an advisory agency. If a problem is found, the agency makes recommendations to local, state and federal environmental protection agencies for action.
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© 2005, Dayton Daily News, Ohio. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.