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Grayson on ATSDR Results: Disappointing

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Alan Grayson (FL-09) today condemned the final results of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) study on the health risks facing residents of the island of Vieques in Puerto Rico.

Congressman Grayson has been a strong advocate for environmental cleanup on Vieques, often referred to as "Isla Nena." The island was the site of United States military activities involving hazardous waste and chemicals.

In response to Grayson's request for a study, the agency conducted its fifth investigation of this matter. In a report released yesterday, ATSDR reconfirms their initial implausible claim in a 400-page report: the notion that there is no link between the United States military activities and the alarming rate of cancer and other serious health concerns on the island.

Preliminary results released in December of 2011 stated that soil, air, and water tests could not confirm that 9,000 residents of the island were exposed to higher health risks as a consequence of contaminants and pollutants released during decades of live fire and bombing by the United States Navy.

"This shows once again, that the agency's work on Vieques is flawed", Grayson said. "The results of this study are offensive to the people of Vieques, and to anybody with a conscience. These people suffer a substantially higher rate of illness and face far more serious health issues than the rest of the population. Independent studies have shown that the agency's work is erroneous. It is illogical and cruel to suggest that their lengthy exposure to hazardous waste and environmental contamination has had no effect on their health and well-being."

Grayson called on the agency to address the widespread criticism of its work, and stop ignoring the hardships faced by the people of Vieques.

Congressman Alan Grayson represents Florida's 9th Congressional District, which includes Osceola County, as well as parts of Orange and Polk counties. He previously served as the U.S. Representative for Florida's 8th Congressional District in the 111th Congress.

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