A standing room only crowd packed the Ravena Fire House
Dr. Stone expects to present his results later on this year. “We will know the extent of pollutants and the variety of pollutants by early summer,” he stated, adding, “I am personally very concerned.”
The presentation was hosted by CASE this past Friday, April 3, 2009.
Dr. Stone discussed in depth his extensive experience with testing for environmental pollution, often against the grain of conventional wisdom as well as his superiors at the DEC. Undeterred, Dr. Stone has become well-known for uncovering public health risks that otherwise would have gone ignored and has become a champion for environmental causes. With questions surrounding the impact of decades of pollution from Lafarge’s cement operation and little scientific data available on the subject, Dr. Stone recognized the importance of investigating the issue. “It is amazing I haven’t been here earlier,” he stated.
Dr. Stone’s study will begin with soil samples, some of which he has already obtained, before expanding during warmer weather to include leaves, grass and bark along with small animals such as mice, shrews and voles, and various songbirds. Small mammals like mice, he noted, are particularly informative of localized data because they do not travel over a large area.
Dr. Stone addressed numerous questions from concerned residents from the Ravena area as well as communities across the river in
Assemblyman Tim Gordon, whose district includes not only the Lafarge plant but many of the communities affected by its pollution, attended the meeting. He offered support to Dr. Stone and expressing willingness to contact the DEC to help secure funding for the study. “Clearly the community is very concerned about the emissions from the Lafarge plant and that is why the public continues to come out to these town meetings. It is important because it makes it very clear to Lafarge and to government officials that the people want straight answers,” he stated.
We believe Dr. Stone’s study will be an important starting point in assessing the environmental and health impacts from nearly five decades of toxic air emissions, including heavy metals, from the Ravena plant.
Susan Falzon, Director of Friends of Hudson, spoke about Lafarge’s proposal to modernize their plant by building a new kiln and smokestack and encouraged the audience to participate fully in the regulatory review process with the DEC. Friends of
Dr Stone expressed his personal concerns over pollution from Lafarge, noting that his children have competed in sports at the RCS school campus, and as a parent, he has wondered just what is in the dirt on the playing fields there. He told the audience he believes that “it would be reasonable to look at the soil at the school to see what is happening.” So far, RCS officials have not agreed to allow testing. Dr. Stone also offered to split his samples with Lafarge representatives so that they could conduct their own tests for mercury and other possible contaminants. He asserted his hope that industries like the cement industry can stay in the