Montana Public Radio

arsenic

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) is advising people to limit the amount of fish they eat from Piedmont Pond south of Whitehall after elevated levels of arsenic were detected in the water.

Long term exposure to arsenic can cause cancer and skin lesions, according to the World Health Organization. It’s also been linked to negative cognitive development and death in young children.

In a press release on Sept. 22, FWP said women of child bearing age and children younger than seven shouldn’t eat more than one small fish from the pond per month.

Anaconda smelter stack as seen in 2007.
(PD)

Anaconda residents are coming to grips with an agreement recently released to the public that will revamp the Superfund cleanup in the area. The public had their first chance to weigh-in on the proposed deal at  meeting this week.

ATSDR Medical officer Capt. Arthur Wendel (L) and health assessor David Dorian explain the nuances of the agency's exposure investigation at a public meeting at Anaconda High School. Oct 30, 2019.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

Federal investigators that study public health risks at Superfund sites had good news for Anacondans this week. At a meeting on Wednesday, they reported that the amount of lead and arsenic in residents' bodies are about the same as the rest of the country.

The Washoe Smelter Stack in Anaconda, MT.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

Federal public health investigators that study risks at Superfund sites are coming back to Anaconda this week to discuss the results of a study examining locals’ exposure to lead and arsenic. Health officials are expected to report those exposure levels are normal.

The Parrot Tailings removal project is underway in Butte. September 2018.
Nora Saks

Near Butte’s Civic Center, a massive construction project is going on across the street, in the heart of town. Mammoth excavators gouge out a colossal hole in the ground. Jumbo haul trucks whisk 70 ton loads of chewed-up earth away on repeat.

Cathy Price retired to Anaconda ten years ago, and decided to get tested for lead and arsenic. September 14, 2018.
Nora Saks

Over the weekend, the federal agency that investigates human health risks at Superfund sites offered free lead and arsenic testing in Anaconda. They collected blood and urine samples from two hundred willing locals. The tests will reveal if they’ve recently been exposed to dangerous amounts of heavy metals, and how.

Anaconda copper smelter.
Keith Ewing (CC-BY-NC-2) / Flickr

A federal agency is offering free testing for lead in blood and arsenic in urine for Anaconda residents next weekend.

A century of copper smelting left soils in the Anaconda area contaminated with heavy metals, so researchers are asking: “Are exposures to arsenic and lead at levels currently that could adversely affect people’s health?”

Public tours of the Anaconda Smelter Stack are being offered to celebrate the stack's 100th anniversary. August 9, 2018.
Nora Saks

If you’ve ever driven through Southwest Montana on I-90, you’ve probably noticed the lone smoke stack standing sentinel near Anaconda. That’s the iconic Anaconda Smelter Stack - one of the tallest free-standing masonry structures in the world.

For over a century, the smelter processed copper ore from Butte, and the stack belched thick smoke out over the valley. The public has been forbidden from visiting it for nearly four decades. But this year, for it’s 100th anniversary, tours of the stack are being offered. I hopped on one Thursday.

David Dorian, an environmental health specialist with ATSDR, discusses a new exposure investigation at a public meeting at Anaconda High School. July 11, 2018.
Nora Saks

A federal public health agency is starting a new investigation to find out if contaminants left behind from a century of copper smelting in Anaconda still pose a risk to human health.

The study was announced Wednesday at Anaconda High School in front of a crowd of about 40 residents, and will be trying to answer the question, "Are exposures to arsenic and lead at levels currently that could adversely affect people’s health?"

Montana Seeks Judge's Order To Ban Mining Company CEO

Jun 25, 2018

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana environmental regulators asked a judge on Monday to ban the head of a giant mining company from exploring or opening any new mines in the state until he is no longer in violation of Montana's "bad actor" law.

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