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EPA needs questionnaires from residents living near Dearborn W.R. Grace asbestos site

Release Date: 4/11/2005
Contact Information:

William Omohundro, (312) 353-8254
Mick Hans, (312) 353-5050
Dave Novak, (312) 886-7478

For Immediate Release
No. 05-OPA042

CHICAGO (Apr. 11, 2005) — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 said equipment and more personnel are on site today to begin cleanup of the former W.R. Grace vermiculite-processing plant at 14300 Henn St. in Dearborn, Mich. Safety precautions such as water spray and other engineering controls will be used to reduce dust during the work.

Since sampling of nearby residential areas will begin Monday, April 18, EPA is urging owners of residential properties who want EPA to visually inspect their yards to return their white sheet questionnaires no later than Friday, April 15, to the EPA trailers at the Henn Street plant.

The cleanup will address asbestos-containing waste material from W.R. Grace's production of vermiculite that has been used, among other things, as an ingredient of potting soil. EPA has identified contamination at the former Grace plant (now owned by another business) and is investigating the possibility that some of the material may be in nearby yards or was used as fill in driveways. Grace operated at the Henn Street location from the early 1950s until 1989.

Information about the cleanup is available for review at Henry Ford Community College's Eshleman Library reference section, 5101 Evergreen Road. Materials in both English and Arabic are also available at the ACCESS Medical Center, 6450 Maple St.

Vermiculite is a natural occurring mineral compound composed of shiny flakes. Most vermiculite in the United States came from a mine near Libby, Mont., that also had a natural deposit of asbestos. Asbestos can cause health problems when breathed into the lungs and over time may result in lung diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer or mesothelioma.

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