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DEC scientist says Ravena home to increased mercury levels

A representative for Lafarge, who purchased the concrete plant in 2001, questioned the accuracy of Stone's research.

"We haven't been able to review any findings, so we can't comment specifically on that," said Environmental Manager John Reagan. He added that the plant is routinely examined by the DEC and state Department of Health.

"Their analyses have stated that our plant is safe," he said. "The work that they've done to date is that they've analyzed emissions from our plant and compared that to guidelines for human healthour plant complies with some of the most strict regulations in the world."

Lafarge is embarking on a modernization effort, said Reagan, and is in the permitting process for the required work. He said that he hopes the new processes will be operational in 2013.

Until then, Stone advised that nearby residents do not need to alter their lifestyle considerably, but should probably think twice about eating fish from the Hudson or nearby bodies of water.

"Every animal that we've looked at in this area have had mercury in them, even the grasshoppers," he said.

For CASE, the focus now shifts to the future and raising money to test for the presence of hydrochloric acid, particulates and carcinogens, said Kunz. Their intent is to make the area safer, not to destroy industry, she said.

"It's not our goal to shut Lafarge down, we're acutely aware of the economic role they play in this community," Kunz said.

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