Public Comment Requested on Public Health Assessment in Muskegon County

Contact: Angela Minicuci 517-241-2112

For Immediate Release: August 21, 2014

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) is requesting public comment on the Public Health Assessment for Ruddiman Pond and the Main Branch of Ruddiman Creek in Muskegon County. The assessment looks at the amount of chemicals remaining in the sediment of the pond and the Main Branch of the creek after the dredging and restoration work done by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2006.

Certain chemicals including lead, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were found in some sediment in the area. Although samples exceeded health-based screening level in some cases, because the chemicals were found in deeper areas of the pond, it is not expected that residents will experience enough exposure to harm their health. Chemicals levels were not elevated in all samples, and the potential for contact with sediment containing these chemicals is low. Children and adults wading through the creek are unlikely to be at risk of harmful exposure.

MDCH issued Eat Safe Fish guidelines for largemouth bass and carp from Ruddiman Pond due to elevated PCB levels in the filets. PCB-contaminated sediment was removed during the dredging; however, the fish guidelines will remain in place until more fish are collected and tests on the filets show that chemical levels have dropped. Other fish from Ruddiman Pond are covered under the statewide Eat Safe Fish Guidelines. The guidelines can be found at www.michigan.gov/eatsafefish or by calling 1-800-648-6942.

MDCH invites the public to read the Public Health Assessment available at http://www.michigan.gov/mdch/0,4612,7-132-54783_54784-86359--,00.html. Copies also are available at the Hackley Public Library, 316 W. Webster Ave., Muskegon, MI 49440.

Information and comments may be sent to Dr. Jennifer Gray, Division of Environmental Health, Michigan Department of Community Health, 201 Townsend St., Lansing, MI, 48913. Comments on the Public Health Assessment must be received by September 22, 2014. Responses to all comments will be provided in the final version of the assessment.

The MDCH's Division of Environmental Health conducted this Public Health Assessment as part of a cooperative agreement with the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Information concerning the human health effects of exposure to environmental contaminants can be found online at http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/index.asp

# # #