PCBs in Macomb
could be among the nation's worst
The Associated Press
CLAIR SHORES, Mich.
(AP) -- The chemicals dumped in a St.
Clair Shores drain could end up
as one of the worst cases of PCB contamination the nation
has ever seen, a Macomb
said. "I think the PCB spill
is going to be one of the worst in American history, from
all indications," said county board Chairman John
Hertel. "We need people
above us, with the resources, to help us."
said PCB levels in the Ten Mile Drain are 30,000 times
higher than safe standards, The Macomb Daily of Mount
Clemens reported in a Tuesday article.
are studying how PCBs got into the 258-acre drain system
and two St. Clair Shores
canals. The public is in no danger because the PCB was
underground in an enclosed drain, said officials with
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
PCBs, or polychlorinated
biphenyls, were found in samples taken during a routine
cleanup of sediments and other materials flowing from
the storm-water system. Levels of
400 parts per million were found earlier this month in
drains that empty into street boating canals here. Levels
of 1.4 parts per million or less is considered
safe for human contact.
Manufacturing or use
of new PCBs, which have been linked to various forms of
cancers, has been banned since 1977, but previously used
PCBs still exist. "The concentrations
rival some of the worst PCB-contaminated Superfund sites,"
said Linda Schweitzer, an assistant professor of chemistry
at Oakland University.
"What is really infuriating
is that somebody dumped this stuff to save a few thousand
dollars in disposal costs, and now it will cost the taxpayers
millions," she said.