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Reader's view: Lack of research in health providers' PolyMet letter

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opinion Duluth,Minnesota 55802 http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/sites/all/themes/duluthnewstribune_theme/images/social_default_image.png
Duluth News Tribune
Reader's view: Lack of research in health providers' PolyMet letter
Duluth Minnesota 424 W. First St. 55802

I found the article about physicians and nurses who wrote a letter about PolyMet and the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement, or SDEIS, to be rather troubling ("Potential PolyMet health effects concern doctors," Feb. 28).

It's not that those who signed the letter don't have a right to oppose PolyMet Mining. They have every right to make their opinions known. It's just that, according to Dr. Susan Nordin, "Everyone who we've sent the letter to so far has said yes, put my name on it."

I would hope that as health care professionals they would have more scrutiny than to just rely on a letter written by someone else rather than reading the PolyMet SDEIS themselves. I doubt (and hope) they would not bank on a single source when administering medical advice to their patients.

I have a particular problem with the mention of the study of mercury in infants born in the Minnesota side of Lake Superior. I would think that these health care providers would have looked at the Minnesota Department of Health website, which states, "This is the first study to use bloodspots to report mercury levels in newborns, a group vulnerable to the neurotoxic effects of mercury," and, "However these results may not be representative of the newborns in the Lake Superior Basin or in Minnesota."

Even EcoWatch says, "The study is the first to look at mercury in newborns, so it's hard to tell whether these levels are similar to those of (a) general population."

In other words, we don't know what the mercury levels are in infants from Wichita, Kan.; Miami; Phoenix; or Bellingham, Wash. This is the first study and there's nothing to compare it to.

"Nordin said she expects more health care providers to sign the letter," the story said.

Let's hope those who might sign do their homework first.

Mary Tome

Fall Lake Township

news@duluthnewstribune.com
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