FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Connecticut Department of Public Health
April 25, 2008 Contact: William Gerrish
Hartford – On April 22nd at a special ceremony held at Faneuil Hall in Boston, officials from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) New England recognized Hamden resident Ron Skomro with a 2008 EPA Environmental Merit Award presented to the Connecticut Department of Public Health for his efforts to protect the health of children in Connecticut Schools from asbestos-containing talc in art clay. Each year, EPA New England honors those who have made outstanding contributions on behalf of our region’s public health and our natural environment.
Mr. Skomro, who supervises the CT Department of Public Health (DPH), Asbestos Program, worked to have a major art clay supplier voluntarily agreed to stop shipping art clay with asbestos-containing talc within
DPH Commissioner J. Robert Galvin, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., stated “the contribution that Mr. Skomro is recognized for will have long-lasting, significant environmental and public health benefits not only for the children and residents of
DPH oversaw the remediation and monitored the removal of asbestos at several contaminated schools in a school district. The schools in question were extensively investigated for sources of asbestos and subsequently professionally cleaned. During regular follow-up air monitoring of a middle school, elevated levels of anthophyllite asbestos were found in the art room. As a result of public concerns, DPH initiated a review of the potential public health significance of asbestos contamination in art clays sold to schools.
The DPH learned that some clay may have asbestos contamination as a result of talc added as a flux to lower the temperature at which the clay needs to be heated. Through research, the DPH also became aware that the talc from a mine in the Northeast may be contaminated with anthophyllite asbestos. Given the potential for dried pieces of clay to create dust or the clay pieces to be sanded or chipped, the DPH was concerned that if such talc was used in
The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state. To contact the department, please visit its website at www.ct.gov/dph or call (860) 509-7270.