On April 18, 2017, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) held a public meeting and open house to present the conclusions of their exposure investigation with residents of Hayden and Winkelman, Arizona. The investigation, prompted by community concerns about exposure to lead and arsenic from the ASARCO Hayden smelter and other potential sources in the community, measured blood lead and urinary arsenic in 83 residents. The results showed that some children in the area have been exposed to lead levels that could harm their health. A second finding was that the median blood lead levels for child and adolescent participants were twice as high as the median levels of children and adolescents in the United States overall.
ATSDR answered questions from residents and local officials as well as provided recommendations to safeguard the community’s health. In addition to ATSDR experts, representatives from the University of Arizona Superfund Research Program (UA SRP), United States Environmental Protection Agency, Arizona Department of Health Services, ASARCO, Arizona Water Company, and Arizona Department of Environmental Quality participated in an open house portion of the event. Specifically, from the UA SRP team Dr. Eric Betterton, Denise Moreno Ramírez, Shana Sandhaus, and Iliana Manjón represented the program. The UA SRP group helped answer community questions about contaminants, the air monitoring research that UA SRP is conducting in the area, and provided information on the new Project Harvest being led by UA SRP investigator Dr. Mónica Ramírez-Andreotta. According to Moreno Ramírez, “This was an important meeting. The community had the opportunity to ask critical questions about the study and they also had great suggestions for the ATSDR team.”
If you are interested in reading the ATSDR report, please visit: www.atsdr.cdc.gov/sites/HWAZ/