Michael F. Easley

The Great Seal of the State of North Carolina Carmen Hooker Odom

North Carolina
Department of Health and Human Services

For Release: IMMEDIATE
Date: August 3, 2007

  Contact: Carol Schriber

Public health study area changes;
public information session scheduled in Asheboro

RALEIGH— A change has been made in the public health respiratory health study that is under way in Randolph and Guilford counties. The purpose of the study, conducted by public health experts, is to see if the chemical toluene diisocyanate (TDI) is present in selected North Carolina communities and what effects, if any, TDI may have on the people who live there.

One of the previously announced study sites, the area surrounding Flexible Foam in High Point, was eliminated from the study in late July due to the presence of other nearby diisocyanate-emitting sources. Instead, the researchers will study neighborhoods within ¼ mile of Prestige Fabricators in Asheboro. Other previously announced study areas are unchanged.

A free information session has been scheduled for residents living around the Prestige Fabricators facility in Asheboro on Tuesday, Aug. 14, from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. at Fire Station #1, 401 S. Church St., Asheboro. Residents and other interested people can learn about the ongoing study and the new study site at the session.

Communities in Catawba and Mecklenburg counties are also being studied.

TDI is a chemical used to make many household products, including foam for furniture cushions, and some plastics and sealants. TDI is released into the environment during some manufacturing and painting activities. The chemical sometimes causes asthma and other health problems in workers who are exposed to it, but little is currently known about possible exposures outside the workplace.

The study is being done by public health experts from the North Carolina Division of Public Health and from ATSDR, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a federal public health agency. The study is taking place in North Carolina communities that are close to sources of TDI and others—for comparison—that are further away. The selected communities are in Catawba, Randolph, Guilford and Mecklenburg counties. The study began in Catawba County in May and moved to Randolph and Guilford counties in July.

Study activities include taking air samples to test for the presence of TDI and asking volunteers questions about their respiratory health to look for indications of TDI exposure. Participants are being compensated for their time.

Additional information about the study, including maps of the study areas, is on the N.C. Division of Public Health web site at www.ncpublichealth.com . Residents may also call the N.C. CARE-LINE Information and Referral Service toll-free at 1-800-662-7030 (TTY for the hearing impaired: 1-877-452-2514).



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Debbie Crane