Tuesday, September 02, 2014

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State Health Department meets with concerned Tonawanda residents

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Buffalo: State Health Department meets with concerned Tonawanda residents
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Residents in the Tonawanda area came together Tuesday night looking for answers about why people in the community are getting sick. The Department of Health presented the findings of the review it conducted at the Sheridan Parkside Community Center.

TONAWANDA, N.Y. — The Department of Health conducted the health outcome review in response to community concerns.

Those concerns were heightened after a 2009 Department of Environmental Conservation report showed high levels of pollutants and carcinogens in the air.

The health department did find more cases than usual of various forms of cancer, heart defects, and premature births.

After presenting those findings, residents asked questions. Many of those were about local factory Tonawanda Coke Company and if the correct steps are being taken to make the air safer.

"It's scary because I have kids that are in high school as well as in middle school so I'm concerned for their future as well as the future of my neighborhood," said Marin Johnson, a resident.

"Just the quality of life, it makes a huge difference now where you live so that's why we're here," said Marie Kresge, resident.

The Department of Health says because there are so many factors that cause illness, it is near impossible to directly connect chemicals from factories like Tonawanda Coke.

The Department of Health asked everybody here Tuesday evening to write questions and concerns down on cards and they are encouraging people who weren't here tonight to send theirs too. The public comment period goes until the end of March.

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