Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Port Angeles dioxin level high

Risk not great, experts say after study by Ecology Department

PORT ANGELES (Washington)— Port Angeles, with its long history of mills, appears to have a higher level of dioxin in its soil than most communities, according to the state Department of Ecology.

Yet, residents should not worry, said Dr. Tom Locke, health officer for Clallam and Jefferson counties.

“As long as people don't eat the dirt, the dirt is not dangerous to them,” he said.

A recently released study by Ecology traced the sources of dioxin, a carcinogen, in 85 samples taken in Port Angeles in fall 2008. The purpose was to determine how much of the contaminate may be the responsibility of Rayonier Inc.

Ecology is requiring Rayonier to clean up its former Port Angeles mill site.

The study traced the chemical to several sources, including chimneys, pesticides and hog fuel boilers used by mills, including Rayonier.

Forty of the 85 samples exceeded the cleanup level of 11 parts per trillion, an amount higher than levels found in other cities where similar studies have been done, said Connie Groven, environmental engineer with Ecology.

READ MORE: http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20110718/NEWS/307189994/port-angeles-dioxin-level-high-but-risk-not-great-experts-say-after

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