Justice

Factory stink may not be harmful

State agencies say short-term exposure to foul odors on the Northside aren't harmful. What about long-term exposure?

State scientists say a foul odor plaguing Northside residents does not present a health risk to people, at least not after short-term exposure. But they’re still investigating what those chemicals could do to people long term.

Kalamazoo’s Northside neighborhood has had to content with a rotten egg smell for years. It likely comes from a paper manufacturing plant belonging to Graphic Packaging International. Residents have complained that it affects their quality of life, at best, and at worst it can cause health problems for the people who live nearby.

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The state’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy held a meeting Tuesday to update the public on the results of its recent air sampling activities.

“The hydrogen sulfide results are not expected to be a health concern over the short term, but we are keeping in mind that this is just a snapshot of time when thinking about long term exposures and what might be happening there,” said Toxicologist Keisha Williams.

Scientists monitored air quality for three days in Kalamazoo and found no dangerous levels of any chemicals. Agents from the Environmental Protection Agency said they could smell the stench, but couldn’t trace the source of it.

Studies are ongoing.

[MLive]

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