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ATSDR Press Room

Local Dioxin Levels Match National Average, Calcasieu Parish and Mossville, Lousiana


Calcasieu County, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has released its studies of blood dioxin levels in Calcasieu Parish and Mossville. The parish-wide study showed that Calcasieu residents have blood dioxin levels similar to those found in people nationally. The Mossville follow-up exposure investigation on a group of 22 residents with high exposures found elevated dioxin levels in participants ages 45 and older while participants younger than 45 had normal levels.

In March 2006, the federal public health agency presented results of the exposure investigation [PDF, 1.5 MB], and the parish-wide study in Lafayette and Lake Charles. Representatives from the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality also attended the meetings to answer questions and hear community concerns.

The parish-wide exposure study determined the amount of dioxin in people’s bodies by analyzing their blood samples. For comparison, ATSDR conducted the same study in Lafayette Parish.

Among the findings of the Calcasieu Parish study:

  • Calcasieu Parish residents have blood dioxin levels similar to people in Lafayette Parish, the comparison population for the study.
  • Eighty-nine percent of the residents tested in Calcasieu and Lafayette Parishes ages 68 years and below have blood dioxin levels similar to U.S. population estimates. Eleven percent of residents over the age of 68 have blood dioxin levels higher than U.S. population estimates.
  • Blood dioxin levels were about half the national average among the youngest age group evaluated (ages 15 to 29) in either Calcasieu or Lafayette Parishes. Blood dioxin levels decreased as age and length of time living in the parish decreased. These findings indicate no unusual current dioxin exposure to people in those parishes.

The Mossville follow-up dioxin exposure investigation showed:

  • Blood dioxin levels decreased in most participants between initial and follow-up testing.
  • Older participants had elevated blood dioxin levels compared to the U.S. population. This elevation is not expected to result in illness.
  • The elevated blood dioxin levels in older participants are likely from past exposures. Data indicate that currently there is no unusual exposure to dioxin.

Limited environmental sampling in Calcasieu Parish of some participants’ well water, soil, indoor dust and locally raised fruits, vegetables and nuts did not reveal dioxin levels of health concern. However, some fish caught locally did have dioxin concentrations at levels of concern. ATSDR recommends parish residents follow the state’s fishing advisories.

Health effects from exposure to low levels of dioxin in the environment are not well understood. Research is underway to determine how different levels of dioxin affect the human body.

Most information about dioxin-related illness is from exposure to high levels in the workplace. The level of dioxin to which a worker might be exposed is significantly greater than the amount the public might be exposed to in the environment.

“Dioxin” is the generic name for a group of chemicals including both polychlorinated dibenzodioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans. Dioxin in very small amounts is found almost everywhere in the environment.

A copy of the study can be viewed at these locations:

Sulphur Regional Library
1160 Cypress Street,
Lake Charles, La.

Calcasieu Parish Library - Central
301 West Claude Street
Sulphur, La.

Westlake Library
937 Mulberry St
Westlake, La.

Lafayette Public Libraries
309 Cora St
Lafayette, La.

ATSDR, a federal public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, evaluates the human health effects of exposure to hazardous substances.

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Related PHA & HC For this Press Release


Calcasieu Parish
-Review of Data from the 2010 EPA Mossville Site Investigation Mossville, Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana
Document Date: 7/9/2013 - PHA  [PDF - 5365 KB]

Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana
-Assessment of Cancer Incidence from the Louisiana Tumor Registry from 1988 - 2004
Document Date: 9/27/2007 - HC  [PDF - 1201 KB]

Calcasieu Estuary
-Health Consultation
Document Date: 3/11/2006 - HC  [PDF - 835 KB]

Calcasieu Estuary
-Appendix
Document Date: 3/11/2006 - HC  [PDF - 92 KB]

Calcasieu Estuary
-Tables
Document Date: 3/11/2006 - HC  [PDF - 651 KB]

Calcasieu Estuary
-Sediment Sample Evaluation
Document Date: 3/9/2005 - HC  [PDF - 979 KB]

Calcasieu Estuary
-Water Sample Evaluation
Document Date: 3/9/2005 - HC  [PDF - 988 KB]

Calcasieu Estuary
-Ethylene Dichloride (EDC) and Other Contaminants
Document Date: 4/26/2000 - HC  [HTML]

Calcasieu Estuary
-Exposure Investigation
Document Date: 11/19/1999 - HC  [HTML]

Calcasieu Estuary
-(CALCASIEU ESTUARY)
Document Date: 10/16/1998 - HC  [HTML]

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Related News Releases For Calcasieu County, Lake Charles, Louisiana

 

ATSDR Study Finds Dioxin Levels in Calcasieu Parish Residents Similar to National Levels
Release Date: Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Calcasieu Parish residents have levels of dioxin in their blood similar to those found in people nationally, says a new study by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). A second ATSDR investigation focused on Mossville residents tested for dioxin exposure in 1997 and 1998. They were retested in 2001 to determine if their blood dioxin levels changed over time.

ATSDR Will Present Dioxin Study Results at Lafayette Public Meeting, LA
Release Date: Monday, March 13, 2006
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) will host a public meeting in Lafayette on Thursday, March 16, to present the results of its dioxin exposure study in Lafayette and Calcasieu Parishes. The meeting will be held at the Holiday Inn Holidome Conference Center, 2032 N.E. Evangline Thruway, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Representatives from the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality also will be present.

ATSDR Will Present Dioxin Study Results at Lake Charles Public Meeting
Release Date: Friday, March 10, 2006
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) will host a public meeting in Lake Charles on Wednesday, March 15, to present the results of its Calcasieu Parish dioxin exposure study and the latest Mossville dioxin exposure investigation.

ATSDR Moves into Final Phase of the 2002 Louisiana Dioxin Study
Release Date: Wednesday, April 24, 2002
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a public health agency of the U.S. Department Health and Human Services, concluded its door-to-door visits in Lafayette Parish and recently began making phone calls to complete the final phase of The 2002 Dioxin Study. ATSDR is studying Calcasieu and Lafayette Parishes to see if residents have been exposed to unusual levels of dioxin and/or volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Blood and VOC levels in Calcasieu residents will be compared to levels found in residents from Layette Parish. The 2002 study is a follow-up to ATSDR's 1998 dioxin exposure investigation in Calcasieu, which found that some residents had higher-than-expected levels of dioxin in their blood. This follow-up study, which began in January 2002, was designed to be implemented in two phases.

ATSDR moves into final, important phase of the 2002 Louisiana Dioxin Study
Release Date: Tuesday, April 02, 2002
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a public health agency of the U.S. Department Health and Human Services, concluded its door-to-door visits in Calcasieu Parish and will begin April 4 making phone calls to complete the final phase of The 2002 Dioxin Study.

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