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PCBs have been causing harm to the people of St. Lawrence County and the Akwesasne Reserve for many years now. Much scientific knowledge has accumulated on the subjects of PCB exposure and damages to health. This knowledge can help people take actions that will begin to minimize the ongoing harm imposed by PCB exposure. It is time for all scientific knowledge about PCBs to be shared with the public. Placing information about how PCB exposures occur and what risk of damage to health this causes on the St. Lawrence County Public Health Department website and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe Environment Division website would be a strong first step in providing the people with this educational outreach.
The St. Lawrence County Legislature has the authority to task the Public Health Department with placing scientific information about PCBs on its website. Educating the members of the County Legislature is key to bringing about this government action.
Cancer Action NY is working to move the County Legislature to invite David O. Carpenter, MD, Director of the State University of New York University at Albany Institute for Health and the Environment to make a presentation on PCB exposure, damages to health and exposure minimization for the Services Committee of the Legislature. So as to move forward with this endeavor, we have produced an interview with Dr. Carpenter saying what he would say about PCBs to the St. Lawrence County Legislature.
In this powerful interview, Dr. Carpenter states that the PCB contamination present in the St. Lawrence River, its tributaries and the landfills on the ALCOA, Reynolds Metals and GM Powertrain Superfund sites should be removed and if not removed capped so as to stop all evaporation of PCBs into the air. Dr. Carpenter explains that people can do very little about how much PCBs are present in foods, but they can choose foods in the supermarket that contain little or no PCBs. Foods containing animal fats: meats, dairy products, fish and eggs all contain PCBs and the other persistent organic pollutants (POPs). This is because PCBs and POPs are fat soluble.
Providing the public with information about PCBs and the other POPs is progressing. In 2010 the World Health Organization (WHO) published, "Persistent Organic Pollutants: Impact on Child Health". Dr. Carpenter was a contributing author of this report. He recommends that people read this document. The report is available on the WHO website: www.who.int. The St. Lawrence County Public Health Department and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe Environment Division could readily place information about this report on their websites.
Cancer Action News Network
Donald L. Hassig, Producer