Big Sky Connection
Sept. 10, 2018
BUTTE, Montana - A new study finds death rates are higher in two Montana counties that are home to some of the most polluted sites in the country.
Researchers compiled death certificates from 2000 to 2015 in all Montana counties and compared causes of death from cancer, stroke and other diseases related to heavy metal exposure.
In Silver Bow and Deer Lodge counties where there are large federal Superfund sites in Butte and Anaconda from past mining operations, deaths were 36 percent higher from strokes and heart attacks, 24 percent higher from organ failure and 19 percent higher from cancer.
"We chose an analysis that makes it harder for things to be significant and actually allows for more room for variability," says Bryn Davis, a junior researcher at the University of South Carolina-Columbia and the study's lead author. "So to still get significant results means more."
Davis notes this research was more detailed than past analyses and viewed through the public health lens.
However, past Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services research found that incidences of cancer were not elevated in Butte's Silver Bow County between 1981 and 2010.
The department says the same is true for Deer Lodge County.
Both the agency and the researchers of this new study say there are differences in how they analyzed this data.
The study does show that mortality dropped slightly in Silver Bow and Deer Lodge between 2000 and 2015, possibly because of Superfund remediation efforts.
However, Suzanne McDermott, University of South Carolina epidemiology professor and leader of this study's research, says active mining in Butte could be hurting cleanup and might also account for only a small decrease in death rates since 2000.
"Maybe it's improving quite a lot if there were no active mining, but there's active mining going on," she states. "So the rate is only going down about, more or less, 3 percent per year. That's not very remarkable given the millions and millions of dollars that's been spent remediating."
Last week, the acting chief of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler, became the first agency administrator to visit Montana's Superfund sites since 1990.
McDermott will be speaking about her study at Montana Tech in Butte on Oct. 18.
MONTANA, September 7, 2018 – Fall weather and hunting season are in the air if we are not careful smoke can be as well. Firefighters want to remind you that vegetation is dry and wildfires can occur. Do your part to ensure that you do not start a wildfire.
Before constructing a fire, check local fire restrictions and weather conditions. Be responsible and incorporate these tips to have a safe and enjoyable fire:
Constructing your warming fire:
- Clear away all leaves and other combustibles from your fire circle.
- Do not build a fire underneath overhanging branches, against a stump, or directly on the organic matter.
- Stash your firewood a safe distance upwind of your fire.
- Never leave your fire unattended.
Extinguishing your warming fire:
- Drown the fire with water. Make sure all embers, coals, and sticks are wet.
- Stir the remains, add more water and stir again. Be sure all burned material has been extinguished and cooled. If you do not have water, use dirt. Mix enough soil or sand with the embers. Continue adding and stirring until all material is cooled.
- Feel all materials with your bare hand. Make sure that no roots are burning. Do not bury your coals.
If you used charcoal briquettes, "dunk ' em!" Don't sprinkle them around. Soak the coals with water; stir them and soak again. Be sure they are out cold. Carefully feel the coals with your bare hands to be sure they are cold to the touch.
Be prepared and responsible.
We can all make a difference in reducing human-caused wildfires.
Ashley Juran |406-542-4280|Montana DNRC|Missoula MT 59804
Sept. 7, 2018
(Big Sky, Mont.) Thursday afternoon at 4:00 the Gallatin County 911 Center received a call reporting an injured bow-hunter on Buck Ridge South of Big Sky, MT. The 61 year old man from Indiana had fallen down a steep hill while bow hunting. During the fall one of his arrows came loose from his quiver, impaling him in the upper right thigh. The arrow was removed and one of his hunting partners applied a compression bandage. Sheriff’s Deputies and volunteers from Sheriff’s Search and Rescue at Big Sky responded to the area on the Buck Ridge Trail thirteen miles west of Highway 191 where SAR members located the hunter’s 4×4. The rescue team found the patient on a steep south facing slope, and used low angle roping techniques, were able to lift the rescue litter with the man back to the trail. He was transferred to a Life Flight Network medical helicopter, which had landed near the trail. Life Flight then transported him to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital for further medical treatment.
Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin applauds the individuals in the hunting party for being prepared for this unfortunate situation. The party had a satellite phone for emergency contact needs and enough medical supplies, and knowledge, to render immediate medical aide. Being prepared when entering the backcountry is essential, as a normally fun outing can quickly turn
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