The New York State Department of Health has ruled out Lafarge as mercury source.
On 27 June it sent letters notifying 12 of the 172 people who had undergone testing by the Harvard School of Public Health in May of 2010 that their mercury levels had been higher than normal. While blood mercury levels were higher than 5 g/mL in some individuals, the DOH letter stated, “Finding mercury in the blood at this level is not uncommon.”
It went on to say that levels of 100 ng/mL would be “a matter of concern” and those as low as 30 to 40ng/mL might be problematic for pregnant women but the levels detected in the Ravena participants was well below those levels.
The DOH said DEC estimates that “mercury added to air by the cement plant is estimated to be well below the mercury already present.” It went on to state the Lafarge cement plant stack elemental mercury emissions traveled great distances from the plant.
“Therefore, any additional exposures that people may have to elemental mercury released from the cement plant are expected to be very small and are unlikely to be detectable in a urine test for mercury.”
Lafarge Environmental Manager John Reagan said, in a statement: “Our plant continues to be a safe operation that fully complies with all federal and state regulations. The DEC and DOH analyses show that our plant is safe. Mercury emissions are well below, less than one per cent, of the guidelines established by the DEC and DOH to protect human health and safety."