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Butte Workshop To Focus On Superfund-Related Health Concerns

Headframe of the Original Mine in Butte, MT.
Nora Saks
Headframe of the Original Mine in Butte, MT.

This week, Butte residents will have another chance to influence the direction of the second Superfund-related health study currently underway. MTPR's Nora Saks has more on the public workshop coming up Tuesday night.

Every five years, the Environmental Protection Agency requires the parties responsible for Butte’s Superfund cleanup to conduct a health study and look at how well the cleanup is protecting locals from exposure to toxic heavy metals in the environment.

The second round of those health studies is currently underway in Butte. The first one focused on blood lead levels and certain disease rates. The second one will too. But there’s also room to consider other Superfund-related health concerns that may be going unaddressed.

“That’s the opening that we’re taking here, for trying to get this discussion opened up,” says Bill MacGregor, Vice President of the Citizens Technical Environmental Committee in Butte.

Tuesday October 30, CTEC is co-hosting a public workshop with the official Superfund Health Study Working Group, which includes experts from local, state and federal health and regulatory agencies, and the Atlantic Richfield company.

In recent months, many residents have raised health concerns that don’t fit neatly into the box of those prescribed EPA-mandated studies, and researchers from Montana Tech and other institutions have launched their own investigations into environmental health risks in Butte.

MacGregor says the goal of this meeting is to systematically define health concerns expressed by the community and public health professionals, and convert them into researchable questions.

Macgregor says the hope is that, “If there is something there, that we can get the agencies to take another look,  or pay closer attention to it. Or at the very least, respond more completely and more effectively to community concerns.”

The workshop is Tuesday, October 30 at 6 p.m. at the Butte Archives, 17 West Quartz, Butte, MT.

Nora Saks is a reporter and producer based in Butte, MT.
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