Federal health officials will review whether toxic emissions from a downstate hazardous waste incinerator pose health risks to surrounding residents, according to an official at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Hoffman Estates requested the probe of the Veolia North America plant in Sauget, just outside of St. Louis. In a response on Nov. 14, the director of the CDC's Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry said his team will review available information "to determine whether the data are sufficient for ATSDR to provide the community with a meaningful evaluation of public health impacts resulting from exposure."
Residents "deserve a full investigation into the potential health concerns stemming from the weakening of pollution controls at a local waste facility and I'm encouraged by the announcement of a federal review of this very serious problem," Duckworth said in a statement. "I'll continue working to get to the bottom of it."
Contacted Wednesday, a Veolia spokeswoman said the company welcomes the scrutiny.
Agency Director Patrick Breysse told Duckworth in the letter that his agency will work closely with the EPA and Illinois public health and environmental agencies to gather available data and conduct monitoring assessments to make its initial determination about whether the emissions of mercury, lead, arsenic and other metals pose a danger to residents of Sauget and the surrounding neighborhoods, including East St. Louis.
This story was produced by the Better Government Association, a nonprofit news organization based in Chicago.