EAST LIVERPOOL - A community meeting to discuss air quality concerns in the East Liverpool area has been scheduled for this Friday.
The meeting will start at 1 p.m. at City Hall, and Erin Haynes, a University of Cincinnati public health researcher, will take the lead.
For years now, some East End residents and others have expressed concerns about the air quality in and around the East End community.
Save Our County, Inc. representative Alonzo Spencer said the information session is important for the whole area.
"She (Haynes) wants the whole community to have access to her and pose questions regarding this whole matter," Spencer said. "The entire community will have full knowledge of what's going on."
Spencer said some sort of testing "is urgently needed."
The information session may lead to further testing with Haynes' assistance, Spencer noted.
During the meeting, Haynes will listen to citizens' concerns regarding the environment - particularly air quality - and will be available to answer questions about environmental health.
Haynes will also discuss with residents the opportunity for conducting health research investigating the effects, if any, of air quality on health, according to information provided by Haynes on Monday.
The meeting is open to the public and children are welcome to attend. Haynes was invited to speak by Spencer and Save our County, Inc.
Haynes is an assistant professor in the University of Cincinnati's College of Medicine, Department of Environmental Health. Her research focuses on building community-scientist reciprocal relationships to increase public knowledge of environmental toxicants.
Haynes is the principal investigator of the Southeastern Ohio-based air quality study, the Communities Actively Researching Exposure Study (CARES).
CARES is a collaboration between rural Appalachian communities and the University of Cincinnati to study the health outcomes of metals exposures in children. That study is in its fourth year of research, according to information from Haynes.
The idea of a health study was first proposed by the East Liverpool Board of Education in February 2010, when the group formally asked that "hair metal level tests" and "follow-up neuropsychological tests" be conducted on school-aged children within the district.
That request was sent to the city's health district officials.
Spencer went back to the school board with information on Haynes, and the board of education and Superintendent Ken Halbert suggested Spencer take the information back to the board of health.
East Liverpool Health Commissioner Jelayne said during a January health board meeting that she's been in contact with officials from the federal and state Environmental Protection Agency and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
"I think we should go through the agencies we've dealt with," Dray said in January. "I would urge us to be patient in this process and let's further wait to see what ATSDR has in mind."
Dray urged the health board to take the matter into consideration but stick with the recommendations by federal and state agencies.