Illinois Senator Wants Answers about Asbestos-laden Beaches

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), concerned about the recent story questioning the safety of local beaches, has asked to meet with federal, state and local officials to discuss asbestos pollution at Illinois Beach State Park near Zion and possible contamination at other area beaches.

The senator was tipped off about the asbestos-ridden beaches when a local news station revealed a report from an official of the Environmental Protection Agency, stating that “significantly elevated” levels of asbestos were discovered on the park’s beaches during air monitoring tests last summer.

According to an article in the Chicago Sun-Times, Durbin issued a press release which stated that he wants a clear understanding about any potential threats of asbestos [at Illinois State Beach.

Others are also concerned about the state of the beach. The Illinois Dunesland Preservation Society says that park officials are shirking their duties and failing to clean up the asbestos debris that washes up on the Lake Michigan shoreline.

An official with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which oversees the park, told the newspaper that one person, one day per week, currently clears the beach. Last year, an attorney general’s task force recommended the beach be swept three times per week during heavy summer beach traffic.

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