Wednesday, September 20, 2000

Residents: Keep health committee

By William A. Weathers
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Fernald-area residents have gathered more than 275 signatures on a petition supporting continuation of the Fernald Health Effects Subcommittee.

        Susan J. Verkamp, a Crosby Township resident who helped gather the signatures, said Tuesday that federal officials have discussed disbanding the subcommittee because of cost.

        The subcommittee was established in 1996.

        Hopefully, the petition will alert officials that “we really need you here and we really want you here,” Mrs. Verkamp said.

        The petition was sent to Michael J. Sage, acting deputy director of the National Center for Environmental Health and Human Services.

        The petition states that the signers “feel the need for continued exploration of the chemical, metalurgic and radiological-related health effects (and synergistic effects) of substances used at the Fernald site.”

        Concerns listed include groundwater contamination, genetic damage, and kidney and other cancers in area residents.

        The petition statement reads: “We the undersigned citizens, representing Fernald-area residents and workers, as well as interested scientists and members of the Greater Cincinnati medical community, strongly support and respectively petition for the continuation of the activities conducted by the Fernald Health Effects Subcommittee (FHES) as long as there are health effects to be identified and studied, resulting from past and/or continuing operations and remediation of the Fernald site.”

DOE avows safe cleanup
- Residents: Keep health committee

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