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May 22, 1979 - Image 5

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1979-05-22

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The Michigan Daily-Tuesday, May 22, 1979-Page5
PBB found in 70% of Michigan residents

LANSING (UPI)-About 70 per cent
of Michigan residents have detectable
amounts of PBB in their blood, state
health officials said yesterday.
According to the most recent
progress report of a statewide PBB
study, about half the state's residents
have .5 parts per billion (pbb) or less of
PBB in their blood and about 5 per cent
have 5 ppb or more. Cows may be sold
for food with as much as 20 ppb in their
fat.
THE PROGRESS report noted that
fat concentrations of PBB generally are
higher than PBB blood levels.
"Although the blood specimens show
only 70 per cent with PBB detectable
levels, results from the fat anaylses will
undoubtedly increase the percentage
showing some exposure," the report
said.
"The results of these tests should be
done by the time of the final report, to
be issued September, 1979."
EARLIER STUDIES estimated PBB
could be detected in fat samples of 90
per cent of the state's population.

Another survey showed 96 per cent of
nursing mothers had detectable levels
of PBB in their breast milk, which has a
high fat content.
In general, the most recent report
said, PBB levels were higher in
children than adults and in males than
in females, as had been found before.
But for the first time, data showed
white people had higher levels than
black people.
'The public was primarily
exposed to PBB through use
of food products distributed
locally ...'
-from a state Dept. of
Public Health report
The study, funded by a $2.2 million
state appropriation, is being coor-
dinated by the state Department of
Public Health and conducted by the
University's School of Public Health,
Wayne State University and the Mount
Siani Environmental Sciences
Laboratory in New York.

IT HAS NOTED differences in PBB
levels by geographic region.
"The general public was primarily
exposed to PBB through the use of food
products that were distributed locally,"
the progress report said.
"Since the majority of the affected
animals were from the western part of
the state, the levels of PBB in the
general population tend to be higher in
that area," the report said.
"THE DATA do not substantiate an
earlier conjecture by some that the
PBB was primarily distributed in lower
quality meats that found their way to
the poorer households of the state."
Efforts to develop methods of
flushing PBB from the body have tur-
ned up "interestjng preliminary
results," the report said.
"The .tests so far indicate that rats
fed PBB and then given diets with high
fiber content or certain absorbant
materials have lowered their PBB
levels faster than those on regular
diets," it said.

"IT IS MUCH too early to tell
whether or not this will result in the
development of means for people to rid
their bodies of PBB and possibly other
chemicals."
PBB entered Michigan's food chain
when it was accidentally added to
livestock feed in 1973.
Nuke plant
on line, high
costs follow
SOUTH HAVEN (UPI)-Consumers
Power Co. brought one of its two ailing
nuclear power plants back on line
yesterday, ending three weeks of down-
time that forced the utility to buy power
from other utilities at a cost of $330,000
per day.
The $1115 million Palisades nuclear
power plant was back in operation at
12:35 a.m., utility spokesman Mike
Koschik said.
THE PLANT shut down April 30 when
a faulty voltage regulator caused its
main turbine to trip and shut down the
reactor.
Before the facility was brought back
on line, the utility revealed a computer
analysis, performed because of the
utility's plans to replace two defective
steam generators, showed two
emergency reactor cooling systems
were not as earthquake resistant as
originally believed.
Since May 2, plant engineers have
been shoring up the two systems which
involve braces holding about 100 feet of
12-inch diameter piping running from
two 7,500 gallon water reservoirs to the
plant's nuclear vessel.
ADDITIONAL BRACES were in-
stalled at a cost of $25,000 to make the
plant resistant to an earthquake four
times more powerful than any that hit
the area in the last century, Koschik
said.
The plant shutdown caused Con-
sumes to buy electricity from other
utilities at an estimated cost of $6.3
million.
Koschik said, however, engineers had
not yet determined how to repair Con-
See PALISADES, Page8

Inmates suspected in prison poisoning

JACKSON (UPI) - Officials at
Southern Michigan Prison locked three
suspects in detention cells yesterday in
the poisoning of at least 27 inmates who
spiked their fruit juice with a wood
alcohol-based fluid used in duplicating
machines.
Nineteen inmates were hospitalized
in outside facilities as a result of the
weekend outbreak at the nation's
largest walled prison and two remained
in critical condition, officials said.
Another eight inmates were treated at
the prison infirmary.
SEVERAL OF the victims suffered
temporary blindness, prison officials
said. The first noticeable symptom in
most cases was severe stomach cram-
ps.
Three inmates suspected of stealing

the fluid and selling it to inmates as
pure alcohol were locked up in deten-
tion cells pending further investigation,
said a spokeswoman for the state
Department of Corrections.
They were not immediately iden-
tified.
THE STATE spokeswoman said
blood tests were administered to 94 in-
mates who reported poisoning sym-
ptoms or other ailments or believed
they may have ingested the poisonous
fluid.
"The people at the prison infirmary
say they're still coming in, even now,"
she said.
The most seriously poisoned inmates
were taken to hospitals in Jackson,
Lansing, Ann Arbor, Flint, Grand
Rapids and Detroit for blood dialysis

treatment to cleanse their blood of the
wood alcohol.
ONE OF TIRE critically ill inmates
was identified as Paul Hinds, 35,
Detroit, serving up to 15 years for
burglary and prison escape. He was
being treated at University Hospital.
Prison officials said six packages of
the fluid, used in mimeograph
machines and other equipment, ap-
parently were stolen from an office
supply center within the main prison
complex.
The poisoning outbreak started in
Cellblcok-11, a close-custody unit which
lodges inmates incarcerated for a
variety of offenses, and spread to other
cellblocks.
JAMES POGATS, administrative
assistant to the warden, said that while
inmates sometimes try to produce their
See JACKSON, Page8

Edison expects rate

hike of $69
LANSING (UPI) - The state Public
Service Commission (PSC) is to decide
today whether Detroit Edison Co.
should receive a multi-million dollar
rate hike to cover the costs of a new
power plant critics say should not have
been built.
An Edison spokeswoman yesterday
inadvertently read a statement
praising the PSC for approving the in-
crease, but later denied the company
had early inside information about the
decision.
SHE SAID Edison prepared the
statement for possible use in case the
recommendation of the PSC staff is ac-
cepted by the full commission.
Edison asked the PSC for an-interim
rate increase of $69 million to tide it
over until a final decision is reached on
its request for a permanent increase of
$166 million.

million
The interim increase would cost the
average Edison customer about 80 cen-
ts per month.
EDISON, THE state's largest electric
utility with 1.6 million customers, last
received a regular rate increase in Sep-
tember, 1978, when it was granted $83.7
million.
However, the firm received about $19
million earlier this year through a new
PSC program of annual rate adjust-
ments to compensate for the effects of
inflation on operating and maintenance
costs.
The PSC staff recommended a $56.9
million interim rate increase to cover
costs Edison faces when its new 800
megawatt Greenwood No. 1 oil-fired
power plant begins operation later this
year. Those costs include depreciation
and the expenses of operating the $370
See EDISON, Page 9

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