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Mikulski demands faster Fort Detrick groundwater cleanup

HAGERSTOWN — U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski is demanding a faster cleanup of Fort Detrick groundwater after a national panel of scientists faulted a study that concluded harmful health effects were unlikely.

The Maryland Democrat said Monday that cleanup efforts at the Army post in Frederick “must be accelerated and must be aggressive.”

The National Research Council says the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services wrongly concluded in 2009 that past exposure to groundwater contaminated with chemicals from Fort Detrick was unlikely to have produced any harmful health effects.

The council says the report should have said the groundwater presented an indeterminate health hazard.

The council also supported further analysis of state public health data showing higher rates of lymphoma in neighborhoods near Fort Detrick than in the state as a whole.