Air near chemical plant remains polluted long after closure

Capital News Service
LANSING — The air near a mid-Michigan chemical plant that was closed for cleanup nearly 40 years ago because it threatened the environment remains contaminated with chemicals, according to a new study. The study concludes that people living within six miles of the 54-acre former site of the Velsicol Chemical Co. “are still being subject to relatively high levels of HBB, PBBs, and DDTs in the air they breathe.” It was published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. Those are among the chemicals that prompted federal regulators to designate the chemical factory in St. Louis, Mich., a Superfund site in 1982.

Dead birds spur cleanup of longstanding DDT contamination

Capital News Service
LANSING — When residents of St. Louis described the death of birds in their small mid-Michigan community, Matt Zwiernik recalled studies by another Michigan State University scientist more than 50 years earlier. “It was exactly as George Wallace described it,” said Zwiernik, director of the university’s Wildlife Toxicology Laboratory. “They had tremors and seizures and they were fluttering on the ground as if they had a broken wing or were taking a dust bath.”

And they soon died. Wallace was the MSU ornithologist whose research into how the insecticide DDT killed birds was cited by Rachel Carson in her landmark book Silent Spring.