Editorial: Full health study needed

Our opinion: Revelations in a federal and state probe of widescale lapses in pollution monitoring equipment at the Momentive plant in Waterford show the need for an immediate and thorough health assessment for the areas downwind.
Now a second settlement has been reached with the owners of a chemical plant in Waterford after years of air pollution violations that spewed unknown amounts of hazardous gasses into the air.
So an important task remains: a full assessment of the environmental health impacts on communities.
Momentive Performance Materials will pay $1.25 million to state and federal authorities to settle the latest case involving the illegal shutdown of pollution control equipment at its Waterford plant.
The settlement acknowledges the routine turning off of pollution sensors, effectively allowing continuous and dangerously inefficient operation of the plant’s incinerator.
When operating properly, the incinerator and the plant automatically shut down if it is running inefficiently or when air pollution standards for a given period are exceeded.
The complaint includes an astonishing finding: Company workers illegally bypassed the incinerator’s pollution control mechanism 4,213 times between December 2006 and November 2008.
It all started before Momentive purchased the former GE silicone manufacturing plant in 2006.
The complaint stated GE employees falsified pollution control records and, in just a five-month period, allowed the incinerator to operate in an unsafe manner nearly 1,900 times.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation says it has no data to assess health impacts so long after the fact.

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