Casey Applauds Decision to Conduct Public Health Assessment Around Erie Coke Plant

Casey Called for Study

WASHINGTON, DC— U.S.  Senator Bob Casey applauds the decision by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to take the first step toward determining whether the emissions from the Erie Coke facility affect the health of workers and neighboring residents.  Senator Casey requested the agency conduct such an assessment in a letter last month.

“This is a positive step forward for the residents living near the Erie facility,” said Senator Casey.  “With this study, the ATSDR can determine if the emissions from the Erie Coke facility are negatively affecting local health.  Protecting the health and well-being of these residents and the workers at the plant must be our top priority.”

The letter details plans by the ATSDR to work with the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) 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 the type of public health assessment activity that is feasible and would provide the community with the most accurate and timely information possible to respond to its concerns.  

In a letter sent last month to Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, Administrator of the ATSDR, Senator Casey requested that the agency 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.  

ATSDR conducts public health assessment activities to determine whether people have been, or are currently being, exposed to hazardous substances released into the environment from a hazardous waste site or facility.  The agency then evaluates whether the exposure is potentially harmful and determines what actions should be taken to reduce or mitigate the impact of the exposure.