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State Health Department Rules No Risk From Mercury

Lafarge cement plant
Courtesy of Lafarge's website.

The state Department of Health (DOH) has come to the conclusion that the Lafarge cement plant, in Ravena, is not a threat to residents. The department reviewed blood and hair test results taken by researchers at Harvard University.  While the results showed elevated levels of mercury in those case studies, they concluded there is no need for those people to worry about their health.

Mercury
Hulton Archive, Getty Images

The state should have been notified of the level of mercury in the blood of neighbors to Lafarge’s plant, even though the amount of mercury released is “well below the mercury already present in air (DOH letters to residents).”  Lafarge is the state’s second-largest airborne source of mercury.

Harvard was legally banned from releasing their test results of specific individuals.  Meanwhile, the state only sent letters to those residents with mercurcy blood levels that exceeded the safety standard of 5 parts per billion.  As to how the state can advise these people whether they need or don’t need further medical tests is perplexing.  Especially because they don’t know know the individual medical histories like a doctor would.

If you were one of the 172 residents who were studied by the researchers at Harvard and you were not contacted by DOH, then it is safe to assume the level of mercury in your blood is below the safety standard.

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