Canton Health Department investigating complaints of dust in the air near Republic Steel

Posted at 5:27 PM, Mar 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-29 17:56:20-04

A Canton neighborhood's complaints about dust coming from a nearby steel factory are now sparking an investigation with the health department.

City Councilwoman Chris Smith told News 5 the dust is getting worse and, since the factory uses lead, they're worried about their health.

"It's on the houses, cars, in that air. You can actually see it at a certain time," she said.

Smith represents the neighborhood directly across from Republic Steel in Canton, the Georgeview Estates. 

Smith said their problems with the plant run much deeper than the coat of dust on their homes and cars because the plant uses lead. 

Republic Steel is permitted for leaded steel and has been for more than a decade. 

About a dozen complaints about increasing dust and residue have launched a full investigation with the Canton Health Department.

Canton Health Commissioner, Jim Adams, told News 5 there have been no cases of lead poisoning reported in the area.

"We've not documented any violations with their lead permit," he said.

Republic Steel has a list of past violations with the EPA, mostly for dust, none for lead.

Adams told News 5 their investigation could take months, but residents should worry about lead.

"We are investigating to make sure the facility is in compliance with the air pollution control rule," he said. 

Republic Steel Executive Vice President, Tim Thielens, released this statement:

Republic Steel has produced leaded steel at our Canton, OH plant since 1968, and spends millions of dollars each year to maintain its equipment to ensure compliance with all applicable EPA regulations. We have complied with, and will continue to comply with, those regulations.

Canton will host a meeting at City Hall for residents to express their concerns on April 4 at 6 p.m. City Council and health department officials will be present.