HEALTH DEPARTMENT SAYS CORONET WATER IS SAFE-Andrew Stelzer

03/17/04

When Citizens who live near the Coronet Industries phosphate mine in Plant City complained that they were getting sick and dying of cancer last year, an investigation was begun. Now results of tests on well water and citizens urine are in, and the county says there are not enough contaminants in the water to cause illness.

The Florida Department of health is holding several meetings to present to results of their study to the public. This afternoon, about 10 people showed up, and were told that Arsenic, Boron, cadmium, lead, Sodium, Thallium and radium were all found in the drinking water wells near the mining operation. But they were then told that although 32 out of 145 wells did have levels of toxins that are higher than public health standards allow, it is not likely that illness will result from these toxins. The bottom line, they were told, is that the department of health says there is no public health risk.

But Shery lacy, who has lived on the edge of the mine for 15 years, is not convinced.

ACT coronet Shery 1 “I felt better until today…�

Sherys dad Jerry agrees ACT DAD 1 “everybody’s scared…�

Because only 3 residents of 106 who had their urine tested came up positive for lead, the health department was not significant enough to continue testing. They told residents that if they want their urine tested again, they can go to the doctor. Randy merchant is from the Florida Department of health.

ACT-coronet govt act “right well that’s our policy…�

People who showed up to the meeting said they felt confused, and did not feel like their concerns were being met, because their own family members illnesses were not addressed, but instead were referred to as unexplained statistics. Maria Martinez has moved to another part of town because she was worried about the health of her children. Her son has a slowed heart rate, she says it’s because of the arsenic in the water, which came from the coronet mines.

ACT coronet act Maria “well they don’t say yes and they don’t say no…�

Coronet did announce they will be closing their mining operation In January, but the company claims that it’s a business move, which has nothing to do with environmental concerns. However, they are asking employees to sign a waiver saying they will never sue the company and will not ask for workman’s compensation if health problems arise in the future. The company is already facing several lawsuits from area residents. Jerry and Cheri Lacey may find that to be their only option.

ACT “well they did their best…do have contaminated waters.�

ACT 2 “I hope …it’s scary�

The Department of Health is still waiting for results of toxicity tests on fish and soil; these should be ready for the public in the next couple of months. For more information about the drinking water evaluation done in plant city call 1-877-798-8473

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