July 2, 2009

Contaminated farm soil found in Missouri

State and federal environmental agencies say testing has uncovered farm soil in northwest Missouri that is contaminated with chromium 6.

The Kansas City Star said while agency officials confirmed the contaminated soil discovery at a news conference Wednesday, they downplayed the possibility of related health problems.

We'll know a lot more after the next round of testing, Scott Clardy of Missouri's Department of Health and Senior Services said. But at this point in time, we don't expect any adverse health effects.

The findings come from a small, initial test conducted at Missouri farms and those results have prompted officials to call for additional tests.

A number of lawsuits have been filed in recent years alleging a fiber insulation manufacturing plant in St. Joseph, Mo., had been spreading a sludge containing chromium 6 in the area.

The Star said chromium 6 has been known to cause certain forms of cancer, but officials suspect the recently discovered low levels of the substance in farm soil will not result in the formation of brain tumors.