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Health Department reissues chemical hazard advisory in Ripley

RIPLEY – The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD) continues to advise people to avoid activity in areas on or near the Julio scrapyards in Ripley. This advisory includes sections of the ORV trail owned by the State of Michigan. The advisory was temporarily suspended this winter while there was snow covering the trail.

Sampling and evaluation conducted last summer by various state agencies concluded that many physical and chemical hazards are present in the Ripley waterfront area including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s), lead, mercury, and asbestos, in addition to other physical and chemical hazards that have the potential to cause trail users illness and injury. Of special concern is the presence of asbestos containing material on or near the ORV trail, as ATV’s and other trail users agitate the soil, the asbestos fibers can become airborne in dust and travel beyond the contaminated properties. Use of the trail should be avoided as exposure to asbestos can cause damage to the lungs and increase the risk of developing cancer.

Mitigation efforts are being planned by the state for portions of the property this summer. Until notified otherwise, the public is asked to avoid all activities on the Julio scrapyard properties. Also, the public is asked to avoid activities including ATV use, walking, biking, etc., on the ORV trail adjacent to 3 Julio scrapyard properties located approximately 1/3 of a mile both east and west of the Julio Contracting office in Ripley.

WUPHD continues to work with local, state, and federal partners to reach a long-term solution to this issue. For more information, please contact the WUPHD at (906) 482-7382. Questions related to health concerns can be directed to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services at 800-648-6942.

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