Sierra Club report names most polluted areas in Michigan

Sierra Club report names most polluted areas in Michigan

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Julia Johnson said her six children have a myriad of health issues. Julia Johnson said her six children have a myriad of health issues.
(WJBK) -

Julia Johnson has lived in her River Rouge neighborhood her entire life downwind from the Wastewater Treatment Plant and practically a stone's throw away from several industries.  Due to that, she feels her family has suffered.  Her six children have a myriad of health issues, and her oldest is battling multiple birth defects.

"The kids have allergies and asthma, so it's not good for their breathing," Johnson explained.  "Wake up every day and you're stuffy all the time, we're always sick."

The Sierra Club released an environmental report blaming it on where they live, claiming people who living close to industrial contamination have inordinate levels of asthma, cancer, neurological disorders and birth defects.  Many are minorities, and many can't afford to move.  The environmental leaders call it human rights abuse and are calling on the cities to correct it.

The study found the most polluted areas in Michigan are the zip code 48217 in Detroit, Ecorse and River Rouge.  The people who live around these industrial areas are the most impacted, and not only are they too poor to move, the study found they are too poor to defend themselves.

"That is true.  Absolutely 100 percent true.  My husband, he's on SSI and my daughter, and so we have no other choice.  We live from paycheck to paycheck," said Johnson.

"The housing is cheap here, what's left of it," said Thomas Puggard.

He claims he is getting a double dose.  He lives next to I-94 and Detroit Renewable Power, one of the nation's largest solid waste incinerators, although a spokesman for the company claimed it operates well within the strict environmental limits imposed by the DEQ and Wayne County.

"They say this is one of the most heavily polluted areas in the city. Hopefully I don't get cancer. That's a big fear," Puggard said.

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