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July 24, 2007
Report: SW La. dioxin levels linked to nearby manufacturers, Associated Press

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Report: SW La. dioxin levels linked to nearby manufacturers
WESTLAKE, La. -- High levels of toxic chemicals in the blood of Calcasieu Parish residents are tied directly to nearby factories that make vinyl, plastics and petroleum products, an environmental advocacy group said again Tuesday.

The New Orleans-based Advocates for Environmental Human Rights released a report by chemist Wilma Subra about federal data on dioxins in the blood of residents in Mossville, an unincorporated community near Westlake. More than a dozen refineries and factories are in the area.

The federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry in May released results of its study comparing dioxin levels in Lafayette and Calcasieu parish residents. The agency found that only Mossville residents at least 45 years old had above-average dioxin levels. Otherwise, it said, people in both parishes have dioxin levels similar to the rest of the country.

Mossville residents have long claimed that pollutants emitted from the vinyl and other plants are making them sick.

Research has connected certain types of dioxins with cancer, birth defects, skin problems and other ailments.

The New Orleans environmental advocacy group holds the Environmental Protection Agency responsible for the illnesses and is trying to force the agency to pay to have Mossville residents relocated and provided with health care, said Nathalie Walker, a co-director.

Walker said she and several Mossville residents travel to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to attend an environmental subcommittee hearing whose topics will include dioxins in the Louisiana town.

Dave Bary, an EPA spokesman in Dallas, said the agency had no immediate comment on the new Mossville report.

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On the Net:

Environmental Protection Agency: http://www.epa.gov/

Advocates for Environmental Human Rights: http://www.ehumanrights.org/

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Advocates for Environmental Human Rights

832 Topaz Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70124-3628
Tel. 504.799.3060
Fax 504.799.3061

Campaign & Policy Office:
1730 M Street, NW, Suite 412
Washington, DC 20036
Tel. 202-775-0055
Fax 202-293-7110

Monique Harden
Co-Director & Attorney
mharden@ehumanrights.org

Nathalie Walker
Co-Director & Attorney
nwalker@ehumanrights.org

Michele Roberts
Campaign & Policy Coordinator
mroberts@ehumanrights.org