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State May Clear Gelman Sciences Of Pollution Charges

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State may clear Gel man Sciences of pollution charges<br><br>OCT 2 21984<br><br>By CHARLES CHILD<br><br>NEWS STAFF REPORTER<br><br>The state Department of Natural Resources! is close to clearing Gelman Sciences of charges that it has polluted surface waterand~rtHke near its plant on Wagner Rpad.<br><br>The DNR plans more tests of water the plant ,fbut tests so far indicate that the company is not polluting Third Sister Lake and surface water with a cancer-causin J substance, said a department spokesman.<br><br>The DNR started its investigation last month j Bicknell, Republican candidate for Washtef drain commissioner, charged Gelman was co surface water with a carcinogenic chemical cal The substance is used in the company’s manute cess. Gelman said it disposes of most of the chemical by injecting it down a 6,000-foot well. Some, however is sprayed onto the firm’s lawn, company spokesman hav< said.<br><br>Gene Hall, a water quality specialist for the >NR, said he cannot categorically say Gelman is not poili ing. “There might be some extremely small number. Bi t I’m pretty much convinced there's nothing there. The air [ou breath is usually contaminated more than this water ."<br><br>Hall, who is handling the Gelman case, hes ates to close the file on Gelman because the test data so far as been confusing and in some cases incomplete.<br><br>First, the state laboratory used by the DNR could not analyze water for dioxane, said Hall.<br><br>So, Hall has been relying on tests that Gelman paid an independent lab to make. The outside lab, Canton Analytical Labs, found no dioxane in samples it took from monitoring wells and nearby drainage ditches, he said. CAL measured down to one tenth of one part per billion (0.1 ppb).<br><br>Although Gelman commissioned the tests, Hall believes they are trustworthy. “I’ve seen CAL’s work. It’s good.” Gelman administrators have been “very cooperative and responsible,” he added. “They don’t want any adverse publicity. They want to be known as a responsible party.” Gelman executives have decliped to comment on Canton Analytical’s tests, even though they are favorable. The company’s hired spokesman, Philip Grasoff, a Detroit lawyer, said: “We’re giving the results to the DNR. We plan to proceed on the matter with the DNR j’<br><br>Some company officials say they prefer a low profile because they believe Bicknell is using the issue as a political football. Bicknell faces Democrat James Murray in the Nov. 6 election for county drain comml Bicknell said his independent run tests indicated that different samples of drainage ' and 6 ppb of dioxane.<br><br>But Bicknell’s tests are not were run as a class demonstratid<br><br>rater near Gelman had 0.3<br><br>msidered accurate. They p and could be off by a fac-<br><br>tor of 10, said the director of the U-M lab that ran the test.<br><br>Bicknell’s tests also indicated that another hazardous chemical, tetrahydrofuran, might be present in Gelman’s drainage water. CAL’s tests, though, found no evidence of the chemical.<br><br>Hall also believes Bicknell’s tests are suspect. But he is not ready to eliminate the possibility that Gelman is polluting the area with extremely minute amounts of dioxane.<br><br>“There may possibly be something there,” he said. “But it’s probably at such low levels - maybe at parts per trillion or parts per quatrillion. Until we confirm something’s there, there’s nothing I can do.”<br><br>Tests run by the U-M, also commissioned by Gelman, indicated that dioxane may have been present in water near Gelman. Hall said, however, that CAL’s tests are more definitive.<br><br>Scientists disagree on how dangerous low levels of such carcinogens are. The DNR estimates that if 100,000 persons drank every day over their whole lives two liters (about two quarts) of water contaminated with 2 ppb of dioxane, one person would get cancer.<br><br>Although no dioxane was found in Canton Analytical tests, tests done by the DNR may have found another chemical, methylene chloride, in samples of Gelman’s groundwater. The substance is listed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a potential carcinogen.<br><br>I