Wednesday, July 25, 2007
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.
Report: SW La. dioxin levels linked to nearby manufacturers
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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