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E-M:/ Hydrogen sulfide.... and "the buzz"....

Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>

Hold onto your noses...the Michigan Environmental Sciences
Board is considering the issue of exposures to hydrogen sulfide.
The March 30 minutes make some very interesting reading.

One passage...

"Mr. Fitch commented that, although there has not been good documentation
of the specific exposure levels, members of his staff had been
exposed to hydrogen sulfide of perhaps 100 PPM, after which their
olfactory nerves appeared deadened, but subsequently recovered."

That is Hal Fitch of the MDEQ Geological Survey Division, making an
admission that MDEQ has violated OSHA requirements by not
providing workplace conditions free of generally recognized hazards
and by allowing MDEQ employee exposure that exceeds the
OSHA Short term exposure level of 15 PPM

MDEQ right now uses a screening level of 1 microgram per cubic meter
for 24 hour hydrogen sulfide exposures, but Larry Fischer, the MSU toxicologist
on the panel is talking about a no effects level of 0.1 PPM     0.1 PPM is
equivalent to 140 micrograms per cubic meter.....potentially a large 

There is no mention of recent research in humans showing adverse
effects of low level exposure to hydrogen sulfide.      Recent research
shows neurological deficits in community individuals downwind of
a hydrogen sulfide source....see


Did MESB conduct a full literature review, or are they being lulled to
sleep by the Michigan Oil and Gas Association?   And hey, a loosened
"safe exposure" value for hydrogen sulfide might come in really handy for
Engler to let us all know how healthy it is to live next to a multiple acre
hog waste lagoon from confined animal feeding operations that Engler
and the Farm Bureau want to bring to our state.

And while we are on the MESB as a topic, their indoor inhalation panel
is going to get a presentation by Grant Trigger, Attorney for the Honigman
law firm at their next meeting.  I wonder who Grant is representing these
days.....   You do all remember my prior message suggesting that some
law firm probably has a beef with holding down permissible risk levels in
people's homes from gasoline intrusion when considering cleanup targets,
and that is why Engler probably called for this panel.   We all know that
John Engler has a real soft spot for petroleum industry pollution.

More on "the buzz"......

The most significant revelation/admission to come out of a meeting last week
between enviro's, MDEQ and US EPA on the issue of how water pollution
from confined animal disposal is regulated in Michigan was on the issue
of who made the decision on whether confined animal feeding facilities would
be subject to water pollution permits, particularly if they have a history 
of leaking.

It turns out that it was John "hog waste" Engler who made the decision that
CAFOs with a history of discharges would not be subject to permitting
requirements that are actually contained presently in MDEQ rules.   How's that
for John Engler standing up for "slob agriculture?"

This must be an artifact of his farm upbringing back in Beal City.   I can 
picture young John now.....   "Dad, I don't want to spend time cleaning up
cow pies and hauling water for the cattle....it takes too much time
away from doing politics...let's just let those cattle
have free access to the river and they can get all of the water they want
and everything all just washes downstream....  it is so much easier and 

And...speaking of near Beal City environs.....   the buzz out now is that
EPA is contemplating a poor deal on environmental remediation of the
Total Alma refinery.   This plant has shut down and there are a lot of problems
with oil sludges in the Pine River and other problems.   But EPA's soon to be
published proposed deal would let the new owner of the refinery take up to
15 years to correct the problem with fines that do not match the magnitude of
the damage done up there.....

Alex J. Sagady & Associates        Email:  ajs@sagady.com

Environmental Enforcement, Permits/Technical Review, Public Policy and
Communications on Air, Water and Waste Issues
and Community Environmental Protection

PO Box 39  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039
(517) 332-6971 (voice); (517) 332-8987 (fax)

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