Apr 30, 2011

RAB Skeptics Try to Torpedo Spring Valley Follow-Up Health Study

At the April Restoration Advisory Board meeting, skeptics derailed efforts to lobby D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray in favor of granting budget authority to the Dept. of the Environment to spend the $250,000 already appropriated for the Spring Valley follow-up health study recommended by Johns Hopkins University.

L. Monsein: In order to get a one in ten thousand risk increase in death by cancer because of arsenic, we calculated you'd have to eat a bucket of dirt every day for thirty years (14:15) ... There's just this hysterical: "We gotta study this, we gotta study this! People are dying!" People have psychological problems and other health problems and so forth. And people won't rest until it's proven that their problems are due to environmental agents in this community (15:32).

M. Pritzker: I have not heard yet any outside person who has studied it or is knowledgeable or is an expert who can conclude that anything that has occurred starting in World War I has physically harmed members of the Spring Valley community (26:56).
RAB Meeting (audio recording)
April 12, 2011

A yearlong survey of health problems in a 345-house section of Spring Valley has turned up 160 cases of chronic, often life-threatening and rare diseases — roughly one in every six homes — in the epicenter of the U.S. Army’s World War I chemical warfare testing grounds. The survey, coordinated through The Current, showed 131 individuals afflicted with 56 separate diseases of which more than half — 30 — can be linked to arsenic and other lethal agents that were developed, tested and then buried in the neighborhood during and after the war that ended in 1918.
Charlie Bermpohl
Northwest Current
November 10, 2004 (pg. B-1)

1 comment:

Allen Hengst said...

RAB meeting minutes (October 14, 2008):

L. Monsein illustrated the relatively low risk of ingesting arsenic-contaminated soil. He mixed a small amount of soil from the Lot 15/Van Ness area (currently undergoing phytoremediation) into a glass of water and drank it. As an illustration, he assumed the possibility of 20 ug of arsenic was present in the soil that he swallowed [pg. 3].

L. Monsein described his perspective on the relative cost per life-year saved. Relative cost per life-year saved is calculated using potential arsenic exposure risks and the cost of arsenic remediation on Spring Valley lots. It costs billions of dollars per year to prevent 1 in 10,000 people from developing arsenic-related cancer [pg. 4].

The link between arsenic and cancer is weak. The benefits of arsenic remediation do not outweigh the tremendous costs, and it is not the best use of monetary resources. [pg. 5].


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