Last month, after news about possible environmental and public health threats posed by the Erie Coke Corporation plant, I requested that the Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) conduct a public health assessment to determine if emissions from the Erie Coke Corp.’s coke-making facility has or will cause harm to the health of people living near the facility. Many Erie residents believe they have suffered a wide range of health problems, ranging from headaches to cancer, due to the plant’s emissions.
Earlier this month, ATSDR notified me that it plans to work other agencies to determine what information and monitoring data exist about the type and concentration of air contaminants that may be released from the facility or present in the air of the surrounding community. ATSDR will use this information to determine if a public health assessment is feasible and, if so, what type of assessment would provide the community with the most accurate and timely information possible to respond to its concerns.
Protecting the health of those who work at the Erie Coke plant and those who reside near the plant is a top priority. I believe all citizens are entitled to a clean, healthy environment and that any serious threats to this entitlement must be addressed.