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Doctors, Nurses Concerned about PolyMet Project

Updated: 03/11/2014 10:43 PM
Created: 03/11/2014 4:36 PM WDIO.com

Health professionals are speaking out, about their concern about the PolyMet project.

46 doctors and nurses have signed a letter that was sent Tuesday to the Minnesota DNR, asking them to deem the Supplement Draft EIS inadequate, because of "insufficient assessment of health risks of the proposal."

They have concerns ranging from people's exposure to mercury and other chemicals, to the potential cancer risk for workers at the PolyMet mine and plant.

PolyMet pointed out that several lines in the SDEIS that specifically talk about the mercury and sulfate.

"...sulfate and mercury loadings, two key constituents of concern, are predicted to decrease overall." (Chapter 6, page 18)

We asked Dr. Susan Nordin, who is one of the lead doctors in this effort, about that science-based statement from the DNR.

"My sense is that may be a partial truth, only based on parts of the mercury information. From my finding, the information is incomplete."

She said that other states, like Alaska, are starting to include a health risk assessment in major projects, like mining.

Mining stakeholders disagree with the doctors' and nurses' facts.

"This is disingenuous fear mongering. They need to do their homework. Look at the net reduction in sulfate and mercury, as a result of this solid project," said Frank Ongaro, Executive Director of Mining Minnesota.

The doctors say that if there are health risks identified, prevention can be worked on, and that can lead to better outcomes than treatment after the fact.

The public comment period for the Supplemental Draft EIS ends at 4:30pm, on Thursday.

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