Breathless: Georgia Pacific responds to health claims - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Breathless: Georgia Pacific responds to health claims

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CROSSETT, AR. (KNOE 8 News) - Some sick residents in a southeast Arkansas community are saying Georgia Pacific papermill is to blame.

A group in Ashley County claims Georgia Pacific's Crossett emissions are toxic.

"There's a sign there that says keep beautiful Crossett clean, pick up litter... how ironic is that?" says Cheryl Slavant.

A two year study led by Cheryl Slavant and Wilma Subra, shows the majority of Crossett residents are sick, but Georgia Pacific questions those results.

"It was a very small percentage that was surveyed in that study," says Teresa Walsh, "and no where in that study does it explain how those participants were selected."

Survey methods aren't the only issue.

"The cancer rates in this town are just rampart," says Cheryl Slavant.

Yet a statewide county health study shows cancer rates in Ashley County are not "significantly high" compared to the rest of the state. Air particulate matter also tested on par with the state average.

"Of course those dealing with adverse health issues deserve our sympathy and our concern," says Walsh, "but in no way are those health issues related or caused by Georgia Pacific's operations in Crossett."

Georgia Pacific representative, Teresa Walsh stands by the company she's spent 12 years with.

"I have basically lived here my entire life, I would not have myself or my family where there's a health risk and that's the same as any of us," says Walsh.

Walsh says emissions from the papermill are repeatedly tested, reported, and monitored.

"Georgia Pacific is regulated by the Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, obviously the Environment Protection Agency," says Walsh.

The ADEQ reports that GP is in compliance with all of their emission standards - the same standards required of all industries in the state. Walsh says she has tried to explain this to those concerned in the community, but they continue to blame the company for the ailments of some of the residents, despite letters from the EPA confirming the papermill's compliance and safety. These reports from state and federal health and environmental agencies seem to prove that although some in Crossett may feel sick, the paper mill appears to not be connected.

Read the Reports:
Read the ADEQ Reports

Read the EPA Response

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