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DHS news release

June 7, 2004

Contact: Bonnie Widerburg (503) 731-4180
Technical contact: Dave Stone (503) 731-4012

J. H. Baxter and Company: public health consultation complete, public comment is invited


The Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) is inviting public comment to its report about potential air contaminants in the neighborhoods surrounding the J.H. Baxter and Company and other facilities in northwest Eugene.

The public health consultation report is available on the Web and at the Eugene Public Library Bethel branch, 1990 Echo Hollow, and the downtown branch, 100 West 10th Avenue.

The J.H. Baxter Company, established in 1942, treats wood products such as utility poles and railroad ties with creosote, pentachlorophenol and other chemicals. As part of the process, noxious fumes may escape into the air and drift through residential areas.

In October 2003, Lane Regional Air Pollution Authority (LRAPA) asked DHS to assess the public health impact to nearby residents. DHS began its study in December 2003, and held a public meeting to record environmental health concerns from the community.

The report's major finding is that it's unclear whether the site poses a public health hazard because of a lack of air-monitoring data. DHS will work cooperatively with LRAPA and interested stakeholders to develop and implement a comprehensive air-sampling program to adequately assess potential public health impacts.

Public input to the consultation will be taken from now until July 6, 2004 and should be sent to the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the agency that funds and reviews DHS public health consultations.

Address comments to: Chief, Program Evaluation, Records, and Information Services Branch, Division of Health Assessment and Consultation, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Mail Stop E60, 1600 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30333.