TOWN OF PINES, Ind. (AP) — Concerns about radiation in a northwestern
Indiana community are sparking calls for an investigation by the
Environmental Protection Agency.
Indiana Regional Planning Commission Environmental Management Policy
Committee says it wants the EPA to look into radiation levels in The Pines
after two members of an environmental group said they found levels of
radiation that were higher than the natural “background levels.”
something that’s not normal,” said Larry Jensen, a former EPA employee and
physicist with a master’s degree in radiation and public health.
Jensen and Paul
Kysel of PINES — People in Need of Environmental Safety — presented the
planning commission this month with results of an independent radiation
study he performed in 2009 using a handheld meter, The Times reported. The
study focused on the streets in The Pines, which were built using fly ash --
a byproduct of burning coal for fuel -- as fill.
Jensen and Kysel
said they asked the EPA to conduct its own study to dispute or confirm their
findings, but the agency declined.
some agency to come out, verify our data and do lab analysis we can’t afford
and determine what health hazards may exist,” Jensen said.
Jablonowski, health physicist for the U.S. EPA, said the methodology used by
Jensen’s study doesn’t conform to current EPA standards and that the agency
doesn’t see any need for further review.
a longtime environmental activist in the area, is urging the NIRPC
environmental committee to request a formal EPA study. The panel will meet
Dec. 13 to consider the issue.
basically ignored them for years,” Read said. “It’s just a story of a small
group of people who care, did their own study, raised a lot of money,” Read
said. “It’s time to take the next step. This community has suffered long
Some said they
are concerned about possible costs.
“For us to make
a recommendation for the EPA to do something, we have to take that very
seriously,” said Kay Nelson, environmental director for the Northwest
“I know our
municipalities spend millions of dollars to do compliance work. You want to
send a letter to EPA to say spend an extra $500,000 to do this work?”
Jensen said he
isn’t aware of any radiation-related health problems suffered by the town’s
780 residents but worries about problems down the road.
“It’s more in
the level where you have long-term consequences,” Jensen said.
“Some of the
levels were over the levels where the EPA would excavate and take things
away. The potential is there but the data is not there to make that