Federal, state officials are making progress cleaning up harmful chemicals in St. Louis, Michigan, but more work remains and there is still no health study.*June 11, 2015 By Brian Bienkowski Environmental Health News
ST. LOUIS, Mich. — During recent summers birds were found littered around the town, poisoned with a long-banned pesticide.
This summer? The school athletic grounds, where kids practice football and softball, are being dug up after it was discovered they too are contaminated with DDT.
It is the latest chapter in a seemingly endless effort to rid this small, rural mid-Michigan town of toxic chemicals that have plagued it since the 1960s. And, despite wildlife deaths and some lawns contaminated to levels deemed harmful to humans, no one is conducting health testing on DDT exposure in the community.
St. Louis, an hour drive north of state capital Lansing, has long dealt with contamination left behind by the Velsicol Chemical Corp., formerly Michigan Chemical, which manufactured pesticides until 1963 and abandoned loads of DDT, which was banned 40 years ago.
The pesticide was made famous by Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring, which exposed the hazards of DDT, especially for birds, in 1962. Populations of bald eagles and other birds crashed when DDT thinned their eggs, killing their embryos. Exposure also has been linked to multiple health problems in humans, especially developing babies.
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