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First comprehensive study of potential health impacts of industrial sand mining in western Wisconsin released

MADISON – On January 28, the Institute for Wisconsin’s Health released a health impact assessment (HIA) researching the potential health impacts of industrial sand mining in western Wisconsin. This research combines health expertise, scientific data, and input from businesses, community members and organizations into a report offering recommendations to minimize potential health, while maximizing potential health benefits.

“Prior to this assessment, there had not been a comprehensive study that looked at the potential health risks and benefits of industrial sand mining on a community level.  We are grateful for the assistance of all the business, community, and scientific representatives that assisted us with this effort and are very pleased to share the report with our project partners and the public.  We hope that it will be valuable resource for policy makers and community members alike,” said Nancy Young, Executive Director of the Institute for Wisconsin’s Health.

The Institute for Wisconsin’s Health collaborated with 14 local health departments, the Ho-Chunk Nation Department of Health, the University of Iowa’s Environmental Health Research Center, sand mining industry representatives, expert reviewers and community members over the past year to gather and analyze information on the potential health benefits and risks of industrial sand mining in western Wisconsin.  Participating health departments include Barron, Buffalo, Chippewa, Clark, Dunn, Eau Claire, Ho-Chunk Nation, Jackson, LaCrosse, Monroe, Pepin, Pierce, St. Croix, Rusk, and Trempealeau Counties.

“Our health department is committed to keeping our community informed and healthy.  This assessment takes a fair and balanced look at the health impacts of industrial sand mining in our area and adds an important voice to the discussion.  We plan to use its findings to inform our citizens and to help ensure that Trempealeau County remains a healthy place to live, work, and play,” said Sherry Rhoda, Health Officer of the Trempealeau County Health Department.

Health Impact Assessments examine potential risks and benefits to the health of communities and factors in the perspectives of people and organizations that may have very different opinions.

“At the beginning of this assessment process, we committed to providing an unbiased and scientific assessment of the potential positive and negative health impacts of industrial sand mining. Community members as well as health and environmental experts contributed to this process and developed recommendations that will support community health,” added Audrey Boerner, Health Impact Assessment Specialist with the Institute for Wisconsin’s Health.

The report, Health Impact of Industrial Sand Mining in Western Wisconsin, can be found at (

This assessment is supported by a grant from the Health Impact Project, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts – dedicated to promoting the use of health impact assessments in the United States.  More information and a searchable map of HIA activity in the United States are available at

The Institute for Wisconsin’s Health, Inc. is an independent, non-partisan public health institute.  Its mission is to strengthen Wisconsin’s public health system through capacity building and innovation.  More information on the Institute can be found at

The opinions reflected in the report are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Health Impact Project, The Pew Charitable Trusts or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

For more information, please contact: St. Croix County Public Health at 715-246-8363.