Study: No long term health issues from Kzoo oil spill

Oil is seen in a river along 15 Mile Road near Marshall after an Enbridge pipeline burst. (2010 file photo)
Oil is seen in a river along 15 Mile Road near Marshall after an Enbridge pipeline burst. (2010 file photo)

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — It’s been four years since nearly 800,000 gallons of crude oil spilled into the Kalamazoo River causing one of the largest environmental disasters in the area.

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) concluded that residents are not expected to experience long-term harm to their health from breathing chemicals released into the air from the spilled oil.

People who breathed in some of those chemicals in the air back in 2010 complained of headaches, nausea, respiratory discomfort, and eye irritation. By August 18, 2010, concentrations of oil-related chemicals in the air had fallen below human health screening levels that protect everyone including those at risk such as children, the elderly, and those with preexisting illnesses, according to a release from MDCH.

Air monitoring sites put into place near the clean-up area in 2011 and 2012 also did not find dangerous levels of chemicals in the air, according to MDCH.

The Kalamazoo River was given a clean bill of health by the state in June 2014 following a three year study.

The public has been invited to read the Public Health Assessment put out by MDCH and share their feedback. Copies also are available at the following locations:

  • Marshall District Library, located at 124 W. Green St. in Marshall
  • Willard Library, located at 7 W. Van Buren St. in Battle Creek
  • Galesburg Memorial Library, located at 188 E. Michigan Ave. in Galesburg

Comments on the Public Health Assessment must be received by October 27, 2014. Information and comments may be sent to Dr. Linda Dykema, Division of Environmental Health, Michigan Department of Community Health, 201 Townsend St., Lansing, MI, 48913.

Responses to all comments will be provided in the final version of the assessment.

This Public Health Assessment related to the 2010 oil spill in Calhoun and Kalamazoo counties is specific to chemicals in the air. Other assessments have been conducted and can be read online.

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