After three months of looking at pollution studies, government reports and talking with officials — the struggle over what to do next centers around four main players the EPA, academics, health and city officials.
Those saying there is not enough information to decide on the health risks at the Colorado Smelter site are singularly using CSU-Pueblo Biology Professor Moussa Diawara’s research. He is an independent actor in all of this but his research is at the center of debate of whether the site and nearby areas are polluted.
Who is Professor Diawara:
Professor of Biology at CSU-Pueblo, Moussa Diawara is an independent, academic scientist who studied levels of dangerous metals in soils around Pueblo in association with low-income and racial minority neighborhoods.
Excerpts on his findings and linking scientific data to health risks:
Diawara confirmed his research does not rule out the possibility of lead poisoning. What the study does show, Diawara explained, is that “based on EPA standards there was no requirement for cleanup [of Pueblo broadly], however levels were high enough to raise concern.” But when Diawara spoke about standards for cancer risk rates he urged caution in interpreting the data. As far as he is concerned any level of cancer causing chemicals in Pueblo soil is dangerous.
Diawara elaborated, “Any level can raise concern… But our study [2006 Study] did not actually show that Pueblo was above cleanup levels of EPA standards.”
The difficulty is great, explained Diawara, in translating actual health risks from scientific data, “You cannot sample every specific spot and you do have to estimate.” Diawara added that even with the bio-monitoring sampling he has been conducting there can be difficulties.