Cancer causing slime oozes onto Detroit highway

Mysterious yellow-green goo oozed out of a drain in Michigan Friday after a spill at a nearby business, police say.

The chemical, identified as Hexavelent Chromium, leaked from the basement of a commercial business into the ground and through a drain, emptying out on I-696, Michigan State Police wrote on Twitter.

After it emerged from the drain, police say the slime froze into a “yellow blob.”

Officials closed the right lane of the interstate for most of Friday afternoon, the Detroit Free Press reported, and police say it may be closed into Monday.

On Saturday, officials said they planned to use an excavator to “scoop up the frozen waste” for disposal.


MSP Metro Detroit@mspmetrodet · Dec 21, 2019Replying to @mspmetrodet

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicated that once the chemical came up thru the drain, it froze into a yellow blob. The plan to dispose of the chemical is to bring in a type of excavator, scoop up the frozen waste, and place it into a safe container.

MSP Metro Detroit@mspmetrodet

They stated that this may take all weekend and that the right lane of I-696 may be closed until at least Monday. Please use caution as there will be workers in the area. And a yellow blob…1210:26 AM – Dec 21, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacySee MSP Metro Detroit’s other Tweets

Hexavelent Chromium is used in steel to make it harder and more resistant to corrosion, the U.S. Department of Labor says.

The chemical is known to cause cancer and affects the respiratory system, kidneys, liver, skin and eyes, the department says.

Candice Miller of Macomb County Public Works wrote on Facebook that the affected storm drain travels to Lake St. Clair.

“Pollution knows no county or city boundaries,” she wrote. “Our first duty is to protect our local water and we stand ready to assist our federal and state partners to contain this material.”

On Saturday, officials said they were working to remove the slime and clean up the area.

“We have cleaned out the sewers and the clean out drains between the facility and 696,” Jill Greenberg, of the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy told WDIV. “We’re also in the process of cleaning up the basement of the facility.”

Hexavelent Chromium — or Chromium-6 — was at the center of the the 2000 biographical film “Erin Brockovich” in which a legal clerk sued a utility company after residents of a California town were poisoned by water contaminated with the chemical, according to The Guardian.


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