Public Comment Requested on Health Assessment of Breathing Chemicals Related to 2010 Kalamazoo River Oil Spill

Contact: Angela Minicuci 517-241-2112

For Immediate Release: August 26, 2014

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) is requesting public comment on the Public Health Assessment evaluating levels of oil-related chemicals in the air following the July 2010 oil spill in Calhoun and Kalamazoo counties. MDCH has concluded that residents are not expected to experience long-term harm to their health from breathing chemicals released into the air from the spilled oil.

People who breathed oil-related chemicals in the air from the time of the spill to August 18, 2010, reported temporary health effects including: headaches, nausea, respiratory discomfort, and eye irritation. By August 18, 2010, concentrations of oil-related chemicals in the air had fallen below human health screening levels that protect everyone including vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly, and those with preexisting illnesses.

Air monitoring near cleanup sites in 2011 and 2012 did not find oil-related chemicals in the air at concentrations exceeding the human health screening levels. Therefore, people did not breathe oil-related chemicals long enough or at levels high enough to cause long term health effects.

MDCH invites the public to read the Public Health Assessment available at: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdch/Enbridge_Oil_Spill_Air__PHA_-_PC_08-26-2014_466005_7.pdf. Copies also are available at the following locations:

Marshall District Library, located at 124 W. Green St. in Marshall
Willard Library, located at 7 W. Van Buren St. in Battle Creek
Galesburg Memorial Library, located at 188 E. Michigan Ave. in Galesburg

Information and comments may be sent to Dr. Linda Dykema, 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 October 27, 2014. Responses to all comments will be provided in the final version of the assessment.

This Public Health Assessment related to the 2010 oil spill in Calhoun and Kalamazoo counties is specific to chemicals in the air. Other assessments have been conducted and can be found at http://www.michigan.gov/mdch/0,4612,7-132-54783_54784_56159-263152--,00.html.

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.

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