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ATSDR Press Room

Federal Agency to Change its Early Conclusions on Environmental Assessment in Vieques


Vieques County, Vieques, Puerto Rico

Friday, November 13, 2009

View page in Spanish (Español)

 

ATLANTA-The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has signaled its intent to modify some of its earlier conclusions about health risks to residents of the Island of Vieques.  The decision was shared during a meeting with scientists from Puerto Rico and followed a thorough review of ATSDR public health assessments finalized in 2003 and other environmental studies of the island conducted in the intervening years.  ATSDR’s re-examination of the data comes as part of a "fresh look" the federal public health agency pledged to island residents and Congress.

 

"A thorough and objective review of the available data is an important step in our commitment to the people of Vieques", said Dr. Howard Frumkin, agency director.  "Much has been learned since we first went to Vieques a decade ago, and we have identified gaps in environmental data that could be important in determining health effects."  We are committed to using the best technology and scientific expertise to help find answers for the people of Vieques.   

 

"The gaps we found indicate that we cannot state unequivocally that no health hazards exist in Vieques.  We have found reason to pose further questions," Frumkin said.    

 

As a result of the scientific consultation and its document review, ATSDR expects to:

·         change some of its earlier conclusions regarding the safety of environmental exposures on Vieques; 

·         recommend biomonitoring to determine whether persons living on Vieques have been exposed to harmful chemicals, and, if so, at what levels those chemicals may be in their bodies;

·         work with Puerto Rican health officials to conduct more in-depth evaluation of health outcomes;

·         work with community members and Puerto Rican health officials to issue science-based, precautionary recommendations to protect public health;

·         work with partners in the Puerto Rican health care community to encourage improved access to health care for residents of Vieques; and

·         coordinate an inclusive, accountable process featuring participation of Puerto Rican community members and professionals in moving forward.

 

ATSDR scientists will prepare a summary report of the previous environmental health work done for Vieques, including recommendations developed from the scientific consultation.  As part of the scientific process, this report will be peer reviewed by independent experts.  Once peer review is completed, ATSDR will provide detailed recommendations about future activities. 

 

"ATSDR greatly appreciates the scientists taking time to travel to Atlanta and share their findings and perspectives.  We salute the independent scientists and community leaders for their dedication to the health of the people of Vieques, and we look forward to working with them as we move forward with our fresh look at Vieques," Frumkin said. 

 

A current progress report is available on the ATSDR Web site at www.atsdr.cdc.gov/sites/vieques.  To learn more about the activities planned for Vieques, community members may contact:

 

 

  • Lisa Hayes, Lead Environmental Health Scientist, at 770-488-0737or via email at lih1@cdc.gov, or call 1-800-CDC-INFO
  • Ricardo R. Beato, Health Communication Specialist at 770-488-0625 or via email at hwf4@cdc.gov

 

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 Web Site(s)


ATSDR Vieques Bombing Range Site Information
ATSDR Vieques Bombing Range Site Information

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Related PHA & HC For this Press Release


Isla De Vieques
-An Evaluation of Environmental, Biological, and Health Data from the Island of Vieques, Puerto Rico
Document Date: 3/19/2013 - PHA  [PDF - 4956 KB]

Isla De Vieques
-Una evaluación de los datos ambientales, biológicos y de salud de la Isla de Vieques
Document Date: 3/19/2013 - PHA  [PDF - 4055 KB]

Isla de Vieques
-Land Crab Evaluation
Document Date: 2/22/2006 - HC  [PDF - 230 KB]

Isla de Vieques
-Evaluación de los Cangrejos Terrestres
Document Date: 2/22/2006 - HC  [PDF - 319 KB]

Isla de Vieques
-Air Pathway Evaluation
Document Date: 8/26/2003 - PHA  [HTML]

Isla de Vieques
-Fish and Shellfish Evaluation
Document Date: 6/27/2003 - PHA  [HTML]

Isla De Vieques
-Soil Pathway Evaluation
Document Date: 2/7/2003 - PHA  [HTML]

Isla De Vieques
-Evaluación de la Vía del Suelo
Document Date: 2/7/2003 - PHA  [HTML]

Isla de Vieques
-Edible Fish
Document Date: 5/14/2002 - EI  [PDF - 1751 KB]

Isla de Vieques
-Public Health Assessment
Document Date: 10/16/2001 - PHA  [HTML]

Isla de Vieques
-Fact Sheet
Document Date: 10/16/2001 - PHA  [HTML]

Isla de Vieques
-Hoja Informativa
Document Date: 10/16/2001 - PHA  [HTML]

Isla de Vieques
-Evaluación de Salud Pública
Document Date: 10/16/2001 - PHA  [HTML]

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Related News Releases For Vieques County, Vieques, Puerto Rico

 

ATSDR Releases Final Report on Vieques
Release Date: Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Following a thorough review of environmental, biological, and health data from the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) released its final report today.

La ATSDR publica informe final sobre Vieques
Release Date: Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Basado en una revisión minuciosa de los datos ambientales, biológicos y de salud de la isla de Vieques, Puerto Rico, la Agencia para Sustancias Tóxicas y el Registro de Enfermedades (ATSDR por sus siglas en inglés) publicó hoy su informe final.

Agencia Federal Cambiará sus Primeras Conclusiones en la Evaluación Ambiental de Vieques
Release Date: Friday, November 13, 2009
ATLANTA-La Agencia para Sustancias Tóxicas y el Registro de Enfermedades (ATSDR por sus siglas en inglés) ha señalado su intento de modificar algunas de sus primeras conclusiones sobre los riesgos de salud de los residentes de la Isla Vieques. La decisión fue compartida durante una reunión con científicos de Puerto Rico después de una revisión comprensiva de las evaluaciones de salud pública que la ATSDR finalizó en el 2003 y otros estudios ambientales de la isla elaborados en los años siguientes. La reexaminación de los datos forma parte de la “mirada fresca” que la agencia de salud pública prometió a los residentes de la isla y al Congreso.

ATSDR Releases Final Health Assessment on Air Pathway for the Isla de Vieques Bombing Range Site, Vieques, Puerto Rico.
Release Date: Monday, September 15, 2003
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, today released a final public health assessment (PHA) that investigated the air pathway for possible contaminants from the U.S. Navy's bombing range site on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico. The PHA finds that exposure to air contaminants potentially released from Navy property on Vieques poses no apparent health hazard.

ATSDR Releases Public Comment Version of Focused Public Health Assessment on Fish and Shellfish for Vieques Bombing Range Site, Vieques, Puerto Rico
Release Date: Wednesday, November 27, 2002
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is releasing today for public comment a focused public health assessment (PHA) on fish and shellfish in Vieques, Puerto Rico.

ATSDR Announces The Availability Of The Draft Version Of Its Focused Public Health Assessment, Soil Pathway Evaluation, for Isla de Vieques, Puerto Rico
Release Date: Friday, October 26, 2001
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announced today the availability of the draft version of its Focused Public Health Assessment, Soil Pathway Evaluation, for Isla de Vieques, Puerto Rico.

Ponce School of Medicine and ATSDR Releases The Summary Report for the Vieques Heart Study Expert Panel Review
Release Date: Tuesday, October 23, 2001
The Ponce School of Medicine and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a public health agency of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, today jointly are releasing the Summary Report for the Vieques Heart Study Expert Panel Review.

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