A new facility offering free lung testing for former millworkers has opened in Graniteville as part of a program focusing on long-term impacts of chlorine exposure.
The Graniteville Recovery And Chlorine Epidemiology (GRACE) Study Center, located in the Masonic Lodge Shopping Center, 50 Canal St., Suite 14, will use money from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to identify and document any long-term lung problems that have occurred since a 2005 train accident and chlorine spill.
The study began last summer in Augusta but was moved to Graniteville to better serve the affected communities.
The study team will provide each of the 670 eligible participants about $7,500 in free lung diagnostic testing over a three-year period. Although test results will be shared with participants, the study team cannot provide direct follow-up medical care.
The center is looking for hundreds more former millworkers to participate. Letters will be mailed soon to former workers to share details of the program.
Eligibility requirements include being a previous employee of Graniteville Co. and/or Avondale Mills and having had lung function testing done by the mill at least three times before the chlorine spill. Exposure to chlorine is not required for participation.
Staff members for the study include clinicians from the Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Environmental Medicine Section of Tulane University’s School of Medicine, with support from Tulane University School of Public Health, Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina, Medical University of South Carolina, University of Maryland, Georgia Health Sciences University and the University of Georgia.
The study physician is Dr. Lawrence Mohr, a chlorine injury expert from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.
Other partners include the Graniteville-Warrenville-Vaucluse community and the Graniteville Community Coalition.
Details are available online at www.gracestudycenter.com or by calling (803) 663-5004.