Resident health is most important when it comes to our drinking water (2/8/2018)

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By Rep. Tony Jurgens, 2/8/2018

Hello from St. Paul,

Not long ago, I shared information with you regarding a lawsuit the Attorney Generals’ office had filed against 3M relating to its disposal of perfluorochemicals (PFCs), and the contamination of local groundwater and drinking water that occurred due to its action.

Yesterday the Minnesota Department of Health contacted me and announced it was going to release findings of a study that analyzed cancer incidence in our area due to PFCs in our water. According to MDH scientists, after reviewing an expanded set of cancer data for the region, they did not find unusual rates of adverse birth outcomes or certain cancers.

MDH scientists examined vital records data for low birth weight and prematurity in babies born to mothers in PFC-affected east metro communities in three time periods: 2001-2005, 2006-2010 and 2011-2015. They compared data from those areas to data from unaffected communities in the rest of Washington County and the metro region. While they found a lot of variation in those outcomes – with some higher rates and some lower rates of negative health outcomes – MDH said the variation was within the range that would be expected.

MDH has not collected public health data on other types of potential health effects of PFCs reported in the scientific literature, such as liver and kidney effects, thyroid disease and immune system changes. While MDH’s water guidance values protect against all of these effects, data on their occurrence in people are not available.

I view this news as positive, as resident health is most important when it comes to our drinking water. That said, my thoughts on 3M have been very clear – the company must pay for any and all remediation costs for which it is responsible. The MDH findings do not change that opinion.

In other news, Hastings residents who were concerned about the proposed speed limit increase on Highway 316 last year have a chance to make their voices heard.

You may recall that in part of the agreement I reached with MNDOT on this topic last year was that the department hold an open house to discuss safety concerns.

That meeting is now scheduled for Tuesday February 13th from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at Crossroads Church in Hastings. I hope to see you there!

I’ve also been touring local schools over the past few weeks. Recently I visited Armstrong and Hillside Elementary Schools, Cottage Grove Middle School and Park High School in the South Washington County District.

I also visited Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton and JFK Elementary in Hastings, as well as the Hastings Middle School and High School.

As a member of the House K-12 Education Finance Committee, it’s helpful to visit the schools and see our teachers and students in action. My thanks to the superintendents, staff and students for setting things up and allowing me to visit!

I was also pleased to meet with Hastings High School students Sydney Radke and Addie Buck recently to present them with Minnesota House resolutions that recognized them for their life saving actions after finding a local resident unresponsive in his driveway.

These young ladies are heroes, and deserve every accolade they’re receiving for their quick response.

Talk to you soon,
Tony

Representative Tony Jurgens
523 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155
651-296-3135
rep.tony.jurgens@house.mn

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