BAYTOWN, Texas- Baytown residents participating in a research study aimed at detailing their exposure to post-flood toxins and chemicals turned in their wristbands and fecal samples Sunday.
Researchers gave about 200 participants the high-tech wristbands last week. The wristbands were designed by scientists at Oregon State University to chronicle a subject’s exposure to toxins.
“We have to get these wristbands out while people are still being exposed,” said Baylor College of Medicine environmental health professor Dr. Cheryl Walker.
Walker says the wristbands are of greatest importance while post-flood cleanup and home demos are continuing. She says the findings from participants in Baytown will likely be particularly important.
Walker says the residents’ proximity to waste sites and chemical plants could potentially be revealed through the study.
“As we know during the flood, many of [the waste sites] experienced uncontrolled releases into the environment,” Walker said.
The Environmental Protection Agency ordered those responsible for the San Jacinto Waste Pits superfund site take action to address the damage caused by Harvey that lead to the exposure of waster material.
Tests performed by the EPA determined extremely high levels of waste material in sediment samples, particularly the known cancer-causing chemical dioxin.
The analysis portion of the research project is still awaiting funding.
Researchers say once funding is approved the results of the study may be available around mid-2018.