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GLIN==> Atmospheric Deposition of Toxics to the Great Lakes: Integrating Science and Policy



For Immediate Release
June 12, 2000

Contact:	Timothy H. Brown		Dr. Thomas M. Holsen
The Delta Institute		Clarkson University
		(312) 554-0900		(315) 268-3851

Toxics Enter Great Lakes From Air Sources Near And Far
New Report From The Delta Institute Brings Focus To Science And Policy

An alarming amount of the PCBs, mercury, dioxin, and other toxic chemicals
that endanger the health of humans and wildlife are entering the Great Lakes
through the atmosphere. The Delta Institute, a Chicago-based nonprofit
organization, released a report this week called Atmospheric Deposition of
Toxics to the Great Lakes:  Integrating Science and Policy.  The report
provides a macro perspective regarding the most recent research on
deposition of air toxics and offers policy recommendations to address the
problem.

"This new report combines the results of multiple scientific studies
conducted over the last few years, giving us the big picture on the air
toxics problem," said Timothy H. Brown, Co-Director of the Delta Institute.
"Air emissions contribute many toxic contaminants to our lakes. These
contaminants remain in the environment for long periods of time,
intensifying as they move up the food chain and posing health risks for
humans and wildlife."

The studies show that both local and distant sources are important
contributors of toxics to the lakes:

*	Atmospheric deposition is the major contributor of mercury to the Great
Lakes.  For Lake Michigan, approximately 80 percent of the mercury comes
from the air. Localized sources, such as Chicago, contribute approximately
30 percent of that total.

*	Dioxin, a toxic contaminant that is known to cause cancer, is a byproduct
of combustion. A significant portion of dioxin in the Great Lakes comes from
the atmosphere.  Half of the total deposition of dioxin comes from sources
300 to 1,500 miles from the lakes.

*	High levels of PCBs are found in the atmosphere, increasing the fallout of
PCBs into lake waters, particularly near large urban/industrial centers.
For example, in the warmer months there is a plume of PCBs extending from
Chicago for many miles over Lake Michigan.

*	Common herbicides, such as atrazine, and banned pesticides, such as DDT
and chlordane, travel in the air long distances and are continually being
deposited into the Great Lakes from sources up to thousands of miles away.

"For years the Great Lakes have been a laboratory for research on
atmospheric deposition of toxics, and we're learning much more about urban
areas and even industrial sectors as sources of air toxics," said Dr. Thomas
M. Holsen, a professor at Clarkson University and contributor to the report.
"We need to use this science to support policy actions for reducing toxic
emissions within and outside of the Great Lakes basin," said Holsen.

Two workshops held by the Delta Institute and co-sponsored by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency's Great Lakes National Program Office
provided the foundation for the report's recommendations. Participants,
including key scientists, state and federal policy-makers, environmental
organizations, and industry representatives, acknowledged that while the
problem is starting to be understood, the solutions are far from clear.
Because air toxics travel over great distances, no single government agency
has the authority to solve this problem.

Participants in the Delta Institute workshops identified a series of steps
to further the linkage between air deposition research and policy actions:

*	Setting priorities for on-going research that is consistent with policy
needs;

*	Developing a mechanism for making research results more readily available
to policy-makers and the public;

*	Gaining experience in using existing scientific tools to develop an
atmospheric deposition for Lake Michigan as a test case;

*	Creating a coordinated national policy strategy for atmospheric
deposition; and

*	Working internationally to raise attention around the issue and advocate
for coordinated international efforts.

"As a next step the Delta Institute will collaborate with scientists and
policy-makers to craft an air toxics reduction strategy for Lake Michigan,"
said Timothy Brown.  "This will offer a model for other multi-state regions
to incorporate scientific research into air toxics policy," he said.

According to Gary Gulezian, Director of U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency's Great Lakes National Program Office, "While the challenge is great,
ground-breaking scientific research on air toxics is taking place in the
Great Lakes. This report will help us target actions for reducing air
toxics, which are harmful to people and our ecosystem."

The Delta Institute is a nonprofit organization, focusing on environmental
quality and community and economic development.  The organization is
headquartered in Chicago, Illinois and works in the Great Lakes region.
(<http://www.delta-institute.org>)

###



Delta Institute
53 West Jackson Boulevard, Suite 1604
Chicago, Illinois 60604
312/554-0900
fax: 312/554-0193



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