"For more than seven months, the nation's top public health agency has blocked the publication of an exhaustive federal study of environmental hazards in the eight Great Lakes states, reportedly because it contains such potentially 'alarming information' as evidence of elevated infant mortality and cancer rates," reports Sheila Kaplan. The 400-page study, undertaken by a division of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in cooperation with the government of Canada, "warns that more than nine million people who live in the more than two dozen 'areas of concern' -- including such major metropolitan areas as Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee -- may face elevated health risks from being exposed to dioxin, PCBs, pesticides, lead, mercury, or six other hazardous pollutants." Canadian biologist Michael Gilbertson, who was involved in reviewing the study, said it has been suppressed because it suggests that vulnerable populations have been harmed by industrial pollutants. "It's not good because it's inconvenient," Gilbertson said. "The whole problem with all this kind of work is wrapped up in that word 'injury.' If you have injury, that implies liability. Liability, of course, implies damages, legal processes, and costs of remedial action. The governments, frankly, in both countries are so heavily aligned with, particularly, the chemical industry, that the word amongst the bureaucracies is that they really do not want any evidence of effect or injury to be allowed out there."
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