Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Great Lakes Danger Zones

The Center for Public Integrity just posted a sobering draft of an investigation on contamination in the Great Lakes on it's site:

"For more than seven months, the nation’s top public health agency has blocked the publication of an exhaustive federal study of environmental hazards in the eight Great Lakes states, reportedly because it contains such potentially “alarming information” as evidence of elevated infant mortality and cancer rates." Sheila Kaplan - author.

The Center's headline reads, "Here’s the report that top officials of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention thought was too hot for the public to handle — and the story behind it."

Why would the Center for Disease Control want to withhold important health information?

Michael Gilbertson, a Canadian biologist and one of three peer reviewers, "told the Center that the study has been suppressed because it suggests that vulnerable populations have been harmed by industrial pollutants. “It’s not good because it’s inconvenient,” Gilbertson said. “The whole problem with all this kind of work is wrapped up in that word ‘injury.’ If you have injury, that implies liability. Liability, of course, implies damages, legal processes, and costs of remedial action.The governments, frankly, in both countries are so heavily aligned with, particularly, the chemical industry, that the word amongst the bureaucracies is that they really do not want any evidence of effect or injury to be allowed out there.”

The entire article and a draft of the investigation is published on the Center for Public Integrity's website: http://www.publicintegrity.org/projects/entry/359/

Photo of Lake Huron pending (waiting for permission from Sea Grant Michigan) http://www.miseagrant.umich.edu/)

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