Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to site content

PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

FLORIDA STEEL CORPORATION
INDIANTOWN, MARTIN COUNTY, FLORIDA


SUMMARY

The Florida Steel Corporation site is located approximately 2miles northwest of Indiantown in Martin County, Florida. FloridaSteel Corporation operated a steel mill at this site from 1970 to1982. The area around this site is sparsely populated swamp andbrushland zoned for industrial use. Mill wastes included coolingwater contaminated with heavy metals and polychlorinatedbiphenyls (PCBs) and steel mill by-products (slag, mill scale,and emission control dust) containing heavy metals. Pasthandling of steel mill wastes resulted in soil and ground-watercontamination. PCB-contaminated soils were incinerated on-sitein 1988. The resulting ash contains lead and is stored in an on-site building pending final disposal.

On-site soils and sediments are contaminated with lead and PCBs.Shallow ground water is contaminated with lead and radium. Thecontaminated ground water extends approximately 600 feet south ofthe site boundary. Off-site sediments have also beencontaminated as the result of stormwater run-off from the site.

Potential exposure pathways for on-site workers includeinhalation of contaminated dust, incidental ingestion ofcontaminated soil, and dermal contact with contaminated soil andground water. A 1984 NIOSH investigation found unacceptably highconcentrations of heavy metals in the air during cleanupoperations. Until the site is cleaned up, careful attention tosafety procedures and respiratory protection should limit workerexposure to contaminated soil and ground water. There are nocompleted exposure pathways for off-site populations.

There have been few health concerns expressed by people livingnear this site. No existing water wells are contaminated butcounty health officials are concerned about future contaminationof the deeper drinking water aquifer. There are no workermedical records or community health records to indicate whetheror not contaminants from this site have impacted public health. Cancer and birth defect rates for this area are within expectedranges.

This site is a public health hazard. If this site is notremediated, exposures to metals and PCBs in soil and ground watermay occur at concentrations that, upon long-term exposure, couldcause adverse health effects. Recommendations include on-andoff-site soil and ground water remediation, appropriate workersafety precautions during remediation including respiratoryprotection, and restricted use of the contaminated ground wateruntil it is cleaned up.

The data and information developed in the Florida SteelCorporation Public Health Assessment have been evaluated forappropriate public health actions. The ATSDR Health ActivitiesRecommendations Panel does not recommend any additional healthfollow-up activities at this time.


BACKGROUND

A. SITE DESCRIPTION AND HISTORY

The Florida Steel Corporation (Florida Steel) site is located onState Road 710, about 2 miles northwest of Indiantown in MartinCounty, Florida. This 150-acre site is bounded on the northeastby State Highway 710, on the northwest by the Caulkins citrusprocessing plant, and on the south by a 230,000-volt power line.The area east and west of the site is undeveloped (Figure 1,Appendix). Florida Steel began operating a steel mill at thissite in 1970. The mill used an electric arc furnace to meltscrap metal (primarily automobiles) and fabricate steel productssuch as concrete reinforcing bars. The mill closed in 1982 foreconomic reasons and there are no plans to reopen it.

Three types of by-products were generated by this mill: (1) millscale, the oxidized iron that sloughed off the hot steel as itwas cooled with water sprays, (2) slag, formed when lime wasintroduced as a flux into the furnace to remove impurities suchas soil and sand, and (3) emission control dust, the fineparticulate material generated as the high temperatures of theelectric arc furnace drove off iron and other metals in the scrapmetal.

Water used to cool the steel making equipment was contaminatedwith iron oxide, lubricating oils, and hydraulic fluid. Hydraulic fluid contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls(PCBs) was likely the source of PCBs in the cooling water. Thecooling water was collected and piped to a concrete recirculatingreservoir where the iron oxide particles and dense oils settledout. Floating oil was removed by an oil skimmer. On-sitedisposal of the sludge and other mill by-products contaminatedsoil, sediment, surface water, and ground water.

In December 1982, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)included this site on the first Superfund National PrioritiesList. In 1983, Florida Steel began the first phase of theremedial investigation under the Florida Department ofEnvironmental Regulation's (DER) oversight. Florida Steel foundhigh concentrations of lead in the emission control dust and inthe ground water. In March 1983, Florida Steel discovered thatsludge from the bottom of the concrete recirculating reservoirand some soils in the emission control dust area contained PCBs.

Between 1985 and 1987, Florida Steel shipped about 8,000 tons ofemission control dust off site to a metal recycling facility. Some emission control dust still remains at the site. Between1987 and 1988, Florida Steel incinerated about 11,200 cubic yards(18,000 tons) of PCB contaminated soil, sediment and emissioncontrol dust. Because of the presence of heavy metals, theresulting incinerator ash was stored in the large mill buildingon site pending final site cleanup. Florida Steel is conductinga feasibility study to identify cleanup options.

B. SITE VISIT

Connie Garrett of the Florida Department of Health andRehabilitative Services (HRS) visited the site on December 6,1990. The site was surrounded by an 8-foot chain-link fenceposted with trespassing and hazard warning signs. The large millbuilding and one smaller building were within the fence. Incinerator ash was stored in the mill building. Part of themill building was leased by O & H Materials for the maintenanceand storage of a mobile PCB incineration unit. Steel millmachinery and other equipment have been moved to other steelmills. West of the mill building was a vault constructed of slagand site soil. This vault held the PCB-contaminated soils andemission control dust prior to incineration. There was also anelectric power sub-station on this site. An easement allowsFlorida Power and Light staff access to this power sub-station. There are two borrow-pits in the southeastern corner of the site. There are also three storage tanks on the site. An officebuilding and an area leased for storage of metal cable spools wasoutside the fence, northeast of the site (Figure 2, Appendix).

Florida Steel Corporation employees and Florida Power and Lightstaff are the only persons currently allowed access to the site. At the time of the site visit there was no evidence ofunauthorized site access. Authorized workers are aware of theon-site physical hazards.

C. DEMOGRAPHICS, LAND USE, AND NATURAL RESOURCE USE

The Florida Steel site and land to the east, south, and west arezoned for industrial use. The area north of the site is zonedand used for agriculture. The citrus processing plant northwestof the site, State Road 710, the CSX Railroad, and the 230,000-volt electric transmission line are the only developments within1 mile of the site. The land in the vicinity of the site that isnot developed is mostly brush and swamps.

There about 12 houses 0.5 mile south of the site along West FarmRoad. These houses are in the path of ground-water flow from thesite. There are 5 other houses within 0.5 mile north and east ofthe site. Indiantown, a community of about 5,000 persons, isabout 1.5 miles southeast of the site. The Indiantownsubdivision nearest to the site has about 165 single family homes(Figure 3, Appendix). During the site visit, this subdivisionwas observed to be predominately lower middle income hispanicwith young or adolescent children. A minority of retirement agewhites were also observed.

Florida Power and Light plans to build and operate a 500,000-voltelectric transmission line along a north-south easement on thewestern portion of the site. Indiantown Cogeneration L.P. isplanning to buy the western half (75 acres) of the Florida Steelsite and land south and southwest of the site. They plan tobuild a 300 million watt coal-fired electrical steam cogenerationpower plant on this land by 1994.

Florida Steel has recorded in the land title records of MartinCounty, Florida, a declaration of restrictive covenants whichpreclude the use of this site for residential or recreationalpurposes (Morris, 1990). Those restrictions are enforceable byall interested parties including EPA and DER and can only bechanged by court order. The restrictions prohibit:

  1. Use of the property for residential purposes;


  2. Operation of day-care facilities, kindergartens,playgrounds, schools or other facilities on theproperty catering to children under the age ofsixteen years;


  3. Use of the property for swimming, fishing,camping, or hunting;


  4. Construction or operation of structures orimprovements intended for use for recreationalpurposes on the property; and


  5. Use of the property for the purpose of growingcrops to provide food for humans or animals.

D. STATE AND LOCAL HEALTH DATA

In 1984, the National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety(NIOSH) investigated a complaint made by the International UnionDepartment of the United Steel Workers of America. Thiscomplaint alleged that former steel workers were exposed to heavymetals, PCBs, and radioactivity at this site. NIOSH visitedFlorida Steel on May 15 and 16, 1984, to observe removal ofemission control dust and collection of soil samples for PCBsanalyses. NIOSH collected personnel air samples, ambient airsamples, and wipe samples to evaluate PCBs and heavy metalsexposures. Two of the monitored workers were employees of thecontractor responsible for removing emission control dust fromthe site. The other two monitored workers, a fabricator/welderand a maintenance man were employed by Florida Steel. Personalbreathing zone air samples were collected on filter cassettesattached to the workers' shirt collars. Airborne dust wastrapped on the filters by pulling known volumes of air throughthe filters with battery-powered air sampling pumps attached tothe workers' belts (Salisbury, 1987).

In 1991, HRS epidemiologists reviewed the state birth defect andcancer registry data bases for the 34956 zip code which includesFlorida Steel and Indiantown. In 1980 the population in this zipcode was approximately 5,000, although less than 10 people livewithin 0.5 mile of the site. The birth defect data base coversbirth defects reported from 1980 through 1982 and the cancer database covers cancers reported from 1981 through 1987.

Results of these investigations are discussed in the PublicHealth Implications, Health Outcome Data Evaluation section ofthis document.


COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS

Past employees have expressed concern about occupationalexposures, and the appropriate federal agencies addressed thoseissues. The site is relatively isolated with few people livingnear the site. Only authorized personnel have access to thesite, and those people are aware of site conditions. Therefore,the state and local health agencies do not have current healthconcerns for those people who live near the site. Should ground-water contamination enter any private wells, which is unlikely,near the site, community health concerns will be reevaluated.

Few health concerns have been expressed by people living nearthis site. During the public comment period between January 14and February 28, 1992, Florida HRS did not receive any inquiriesor comments.


ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION AND OTHER HAZARDS

To identify facilities that could contribute to the air andground-water contamination near the Florida Steel site, FloridaHRS Toxicology and Hazard Assessment personnel searched the 1987,1988, and 1989 Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (TRI) data bases. TRI was developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) from the chemical release (air, water, soil) informationprovided by certain industries. The TRI data bases were searchedfor the 34956 zip code which includes Florida Steel and most ofIndiantown. The only facility in that zip code reportingreleases was the IMC Fertilizer, Inc., plant located on S.R. 710southeast of the site. IMC Fertilizer reported releases ofmanganese, copper, and zinc. The concentrations of these metalsat Florida Steel were below levels of health concern.

A. ON-SITE AND OFF-SITE CONTAMINATION

PCB sampling and cleanup preceded the two-phased RemedialInvestigation. The initial PCB assessment occurred during 1983and 1984, involved more than 1,400 soil and sediment samples, anddefined areas from which soil was evacuated and incinerated, asdescribed in the Site Description and History section (ATSDR,1988A, 1988B).

The intent of the first phase of the Remedial Investigation wasto identify all contaminants of concern remaining at the site. During Phase I, sampling was done in those areas with the highestpotential for contamination including: the perimeter of theformer PCB excavation area, the large former emission controldust disposal area south of the mill, and the former scrapprocessing area (Ardaman & Associates, 1988C). These sampleswere analyzed for all organic and inorganic constituents on theHazardous Substance List.

The Consent Agreement of September 1985 between the DER andFlorida Steel Corporation provided for semi-annual sampling forHazard Substance List parameters in soil, ground water andsurface water. Ground water is only analyzed annually for PCBssince they have never been detected in the monitoring wells.

Florida Steel Corporation contractors collected additional soil,sediment, and surface water samples from various locations acrossthe site during Phase II (Ardaman & Associates, 1989). Phase IIsamples were analyzed for lead, barium, and PCBs only. For theRemedial Investigation, 206 on-site soil and sediment samples, 13off-site sediment samples, 220 on- and off-site ground-watersamples, and 8 off-site surface water samples were collected. Air sampling was done on two occasions for Phase I of theRemedial Investigation and for two days as part of the earlierNIOSH site investigation.

The highest concentrations of heavy metals in soils were found inthe emission control dust disposal areas west and south of themill building, and around the bag houses south of the millbuilding (Figure 4, Appendix). Elevated levels of metals werealso found along the north-south road east of the mill buildingand between the railroad tracks west of the large emissioncontrol dust disposal area. The highest concentration of lead inthe sediments was detected in the on-site drainage ditch alongthe southern property line. Lead concentrations were alsoelevated in drainage ditch sediments south and east of the site. The sediment samples from the drainage ditch adjacent to WestFarm Road contained 5 parts per million lead. This level is fourtimes greater than the lead levels detected in background samplesand exceeds the five year Environmental Media Evaluation Guidelevel for children of 1 part per million (ATSDR, 1990). Sedimentlead concentrations, however, decreased rapidly downstream of thesite. Lead was below detection limits in a sediment sample takenfrom the ditch near the St. Lucie Canal.

In February 1990, Florida Steel contractors collected severalsediment samples from on-site and off-site locations to furtherevaluate the potential for contaminants to migrate from the site. Contaminants of concern and their maximum concentrationsdetermined as a result of the sampling done during Phases I andII of the Remedial Investigation and this February 1990 samplingeffort follow (Bryant, 1990).

Contaminants have not currently been detected in monitoring wellsat depths greater than 50 feet. Downward movement of thecontaminated ground water may be restricted by the low verticalhydraulic gradient. The levels in the following tables reflectcurrent site conditions. The samples were collected for theOctober 1989 Phase II Remedial Investigation Report.

In June 1987, the Florida HRS Martin County Public Health Unitanalyzed samples from the 2 nearest private drinking water wells. These two wells are located approximately 0.5 mile south of thesite (hydraulically downgradient) and are reported to be 104 andover 100 feet deep, respectively. The water quality in these 2wells was acceptable for potable use. The concentrations ofchloride, iron, lead, sodium, total dissolved solids, and grossalpha were at background levels.

Testing for airborne particulates, specifically heavy metals inemission control dust, was performed twice during the Phase Iinvestigation by Florida Steel contractors. Air samples werecollected during wind conditions that varied from calm to verystrong from tripod mounted, portable high-volume samplingequipment downwind of the emission control dust disposal area. Lead emissions were well below recommended limits of theOccupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and theAmerican Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists(ACGIH). The discrepancies between the levels detected by NIOSHstaff and Florida Steel Contractors, Ardaman & Associates(1988C), probably relate to the different methods of samplecollection. The NIOSH sampling involved actual personal airspacesamples of workers who were shoveling emission control dust whilethe Ardaman & Associates sampling involved air sampling when theemission control dust was not being disturbed.

1. On-Site Contamination.

The source for the data in the following tables is the Ardaman &Associates 1989 Remedial Investigation--Phase II.

Table 1.

On-Site Ground-Water Concentration Ranges.
Contaminants Shallow
2.7-19.5 ft
Intermediate
19.5- 46 ft
Deep
111-126 ft
Comparison Values

Lead (ug/L) ND - 742 ND - 217 ND 50 ug/l1
Gross Alpha (pCi/L) ND - 66 ND - 202 ND 15 pC/L1
Radium (pCi/L) ND - 21.5 ND - 110.0 NA 5 pCi/L1
PCBs (ug/L) NA NA NA 0.05 ug/L2

ug/L - micrograms per liter
pCi/L - picocuries per liter
ND - not detected
NA - not analyzed
1 - Maximum Contaminant Level
2 - Environmental Media Evaluation Guide (child, chronic)


Table 2.

On-Site Soil Concentration Ranges.
Contaminants Range of Soil Concentrations (mg/kg) Comparison Value (mg/kg)

Lead ND - 150,000 Not Available
Gross Alpha NA Not Available
Radium NA Not Available
PCBs ND* - 1,136a 3.51

mg/kg - milligrams per kilogram
ND - not detected
NA - not analyzed
*PCB samples had variable detection limits
a - One February 1990 sample had 1,136 mg/kg. <20% of the Phase- II samples had >15 mg/kg.
1 - Environmental Media Evaluation Guide (adult ingestion--a child is not expected to be on this site)


Table 3.

On-Site Air Concentration Ranges.
Contaminants Range of Air Concentrations (mg/M3) Comparison Value (mg/M3)

Lead 0.006 - 0.779 0.051
Gross Alpha NA Not Available
Radium NA Not Available
PCBs 0.8 - 2.1 11

mg/M3 - milligrams per cubic meter
NA - not analyzed
1 - OSHA Time Weighted Average exposure limit (occupational exposure)

2. Off-Site Contamination.


Table 4.

Off-site Ground-Water Concentration Ranges.
Contaminants Shallow
2.7-19.5 ft
Intermediate
19.5- 46 ft
Deep
111-126 ft
Comparison Values

Lead (ug/L) NA ND - 214 NA 50 ug/l1
Gross Alpha (pCi/L) NA ND - 107 NA 15 pCi/L1
Radium (pCi/L) NA ND - 48.2 NA 5 pCi/L1
PCBs (ug/L) NA NA NA 0.05 ug/L2

ug/L - micrograms per liter
pCi/L - picocuries per liter
NA - not analyzed
ND - not detected
1 - Maximum Contaminant Level
2 - Environmental Media Evaluation Guide (child, chronic)


Table 5.

Off-Site Sediment Concentration Ranges (mg/kg).
Contaminants Range of Soil Concentrations (mg/kg) Comparison Value (mg/kg)

Lead 23 - 657 Not Available
Gross Alpha ND Not Available
Radium ND Not Available
PCBs ND 0.251

mg/kg = milligrams per kilogram
ND = Not Detected.
1 - Environmental Media Evaluation Guide (child ingestion--a child may play in off-site sediments)

B. QUALITY ASSURANCE AND QUALITY CONTROL

The data collected for Phases I and II of the RemedialInvestigation are judged to be valid assuming sampling conformedwith the work plans and approved Quality Assurance Project Plans(QAPPs) (Ardaman & Associates, 1988A, 1988B). In addition,representatives from the Region IV EPA and the DER were presenton the first days of sampling for Phase II of the RemedialInvestigation to observe sample collection protocol and obtainsplit samples. Split samples showed adequate agreement. It isassumed adequate quality assurance and quality control measureswere followed in preparation of the Remedial Investigationdocuments with regard to chain-of-custody, laboratory procedures,and data reporting. The validity of the analysis and conclusionsdrawn for this public health assessment are dependent upon thecompleteness and reliability of the referenced information.

C. PHYSICAL AND OTHER HAZARDS

Site access is restricted, and persons with site access are awareof the vault, borrow pits, and disassembled equipment that maypresent a physical hazard.


PATHWAYS ANALYSES

A. ENVIRONMENTAL PATHWAYS (FATE AND TRANSPORT)

Source of Contamination: Steel mill waste such as slag, emissioncontrol dust, incinerator ash, and leaking hydraulic fluid werethe sources of contamination at this site.

Environmental Media and Transport: Leaching and run-off from theslag, emission control dust, incinerator ash, and leakinghydraulic fluid has resulted in soil, surface water, and ground-water contamination. Potential pathways for movement ofcontaminants include airborne dust, surface water run-off, andground-water flow.

Air: Personal air monitoring during the NIOSH investigationindicated that emission control dust removal workers withoutrespiratory protection were exposed to unacceptable levels ofheavy metals via inhalation. However, static air monitoringduring Phase I of the Remedial Investigation (Ardaman &Associates, 1988C) failed to detect airborne contaminated dust. This sampling, however, was not conducted at the time of emissioncontrol dust remediation. Therefore, contaminated soil is likelyto be transported via airborne dust during soil and emissioncontrol dust remediation.

Ground Water: Ground-water contamination is confined to theupper portion of the surficial aquifer (3-47 feet deep). Thesurficial aquifer is the principal source of potable water inMartin County (Lichtler, 1960; Ardaman & Associates, 1989). Contaminants have not been detected in monitoring wells deeperthan 50 feet, while water producing zones (for domestic use) aregenerally at depths of 100 feet or greater. The shallow aquiferis composed principally of sand but contains relatively thin bedsand lenses of limestone, sandstone and shell, which are generallymore permeable than the sand (Lichtler, 1960). Downward movementof the contaminated ground water may be restricted by a lowerpermeability in the underlying silty sediments, and by the lowvertical hydraulic gradient (Lichtler, 1960; Ardaman &Associates, 1989). Contaminated ground water extends about 600feet south of the site boundary.

There are no indications that the source of radium and,subsequently, elevated gross alpha levels measured in thecontaminated ground water originated directly from the steel millemissions. Rather, the occurrence of high levels of radium andgross alpha in the ground water may be attributed to siteactivities which increased the leaching of natural radium fromthe soil or concentrated the naturally occurring radium. Groundwater used in the non-contact cooling system was softened bycation exchange to prevent scaling in the cooling water lines. Asodium chloride solution was flushed through the softener toregenerate the cation exchange medium, and the resulting brinewas discharged onto the ground in the vicinity of the softener. Leaching tests with a sodium chloride solution performed onnative soil, emission control dust, lime, and slag indicateddissolved sodium chloride caused naturally occurring radium toleach from the soil (Ardaman & Associates, 1989). Naturallyoccurring radium in the ground water withdrawn by the productionwell may have also been concentrated by cation exchange in thecolumn resin as a result of the water softening process (Ardaman& Associates, 1989).

Lead and radium levels are elevated in the contaminated groundwater. While the sources are not known, a combination ofleaching from contaminated soils and cation exchange (USEPA,1990), such as the process discussed above, is possible withnaturally occurring and introduced metals.

Surface Water: The concentrations of contaminants in on- andoff-site surface water bodies are below levels of concern. Noneof the contaminant levels in the on-site surface water or thenearby St. Lucie Canal (into which this surface drainage empties)exceed the Ambient Water Quality Criteria for the Protection ofHuman Health (USEPA, 1986). These criteria include levelsadjusted for the consumption of aquatic organisms and drinkingwater. These levels do not exceed the ATSDR Environmental MediaEvaluation Guidelines (EMEGs).

B. HUMAN EXPOSURE PATHWAYS

Currently, exposure is restricted to on-site workers. Thenearest residents, 0.5 mile south of the site, have not beenexposed through their drinking water or other environmentalmedia. It is not believed that the nearby citrus fields orcitrus processing plant have been affected.

Soil: Principal on-site routes of exposure to heavy metals andPCB-contaminated soil are incidental ingestion, inhalation ofentrained particles, and dermal contact. None of the workerscurrently allowed on the site are involved in direct contact withthe soil. Unprotected remediation workers, however, may beexposed. Careful attention to safety procedures and use ofeffective respiratory protection is necessary in the future tolimit worker exposure to contaminated airborne dust and soil.

Exposure to contaminated sediments off site is unlikely. Surfacewater run-off from this site is intermittent and sediments inthese drainage ways are frequently dry. Inhalation ofcontaminated dust from these sediments is unlikely except duringexcavation. Dermal exposure to these sediments is also unlikelysince they are in a heavily-vegetated inaccessible area south ofthe site.

Air: Occupational exposure via inhalation of contaminated dustat levels of concern may have occurred in the past. Although airmonitoring by Ardaman & Associates (1988C) did not revealairborne contaminants at levels that exceeded OSHArecommendations, the air sampling carried out by NIOSH(Salisbury, 1984) indicated that remediation workers involved inthe transportation of emission control dust were exposed tounacceptable levels of lead. Unless effective protectiveequipment is used, future remediation workers are likely to beexposed (via inhalation) to unacceptable levels of airbornecontaminated dust.

Ground Water: Currently there are no completed human exposurepathways to the contaminated ground water. There is, however,the potential for human exposure if the contaminated ground wateris not remediated. At its present rate of movement, thecontaminated ground water is expected to reach the nearestresidential well in about 35 years. Figure 3 and Table 4 in theAppendix contain well locations, well owners, and well depths. If these wells become contaminated, ingestion would be theprimary route of exposure.

Surface Water: The concentrations of contaminants in on- andoff-site surface waters are below levels of concern.


PUBLIC HEALTH IMPLICATIONS

A. TOXICOLOGICAL EVALUATION

Health risks were assessed for on-site workers and to the generalpopulation off site. Contaminants of concern include lead,gross-alpha, radium, and PCBs.

Long-term human exposure to lead at concentrations similar tothose at this site have caused learning deficiencies and changesin the blood. Estimated minimal risk levels for the ingestion oflead based on currently available monkey studies show adverselearning effects at levels below the estimated doses for thehighest levels of lead found on the site (neurobehavioraleffects). Changes in the blood including decrease in erythrocyteALA-D, a decrease in heme synthesis, and an increase inerythrocyte protoporphyrin have been observed in humans atexposure levels less than those existing at this site. Ratsexposed to these levels over their entire lifespan experiencedkidney and reproductive toxicity (ATSDR, 1990).

Human exposures to the levels of radiation from radium and grossalpha in ground water at this site exceed EPA's MaximumContaminant Levels (MCLs) of 5 pCi/L for radium and 15 pCi/L forgross alpha. The International Commission on RadiologicalProtection has set an annual limit on intake (ALI) for radiumdeposited on bone surfaces to about 1.9 microcurie by ingestion(ICRP, 1979). The greatest dose potential for alpha-radiationfrom naturally occurring radionuclides in drinking water isrelated to the ingestion of radium-226 in areas where itsconcentration is high (National Academy of Sciences, 1977). Radium and alpha particles enter the body when they are breathedor swallowed. Radium decays by the emission of alpha and gammaparticles and has a physical half-life of 1,600 years. Alphaparticles are not known to cross the skin and it is not known ifgamma radiation from radium can cross the skin. The fraction ofradium transferred from the gastrointestinal tract to the bloodis 20 percent, and 87 percent of this fraction is transferred tothe skeleton, with soft tissue receiving the remaining 13 percent(Eisenbud, 1987).

Radon was not measured for this study but is a daughter productof radium. Radon is an inert gas which has been linked to lungcancer in humans. Analysis for radon would be necessary toaddress its site-related health implications. The NationalAcademy on Radiation Protection (NARP, 1984) estimates that therisk of developing lung cancer following a lifetime exposure toradon is 2.1 x 10-3 per pCi/L exposure under environmentalconditions. Radon has a half-life of 3.8 days and decays byalpha and gamma emissions. The radiation dose from radioactiveradon decay products pose a greater risk than exposure to theoriginal radon (BIER, 1988). Radon decay products ultimatelydecay to nonradioactive lead. Presently there is no MCL forradon in water; however, the EPA has proposed a MCL of 300 pCi/L(56 CFR 33050).

Levels of radium and gross alpha found at this site may increasethe risk of bone cancer but are unlikely to cause other effectsseen at higher exposure levels (Charp, 1991 personalcommunication). Short- and long-term health effects other thancancer from low level exposure to radium are not known. Therelationship between the level of exposure and length of timebefore adverse health effects become apparent is not wellunderstood.

Human health effects from ingestion of low concentrations of PCBssimilar to those found in on-site soil and ground water have notbeen studied. However, the estimated minimal risk level foringestion of PCBs, which are based on currently available animalstudies, are greater than the highest levels detected in the on-site soil and ground water. Therefore harmful noncancer effectsfrom exposure to PCBs are not expected to occur (ATSDR, 1989). At high exposure concentrations in humans (higher than at thissite) PCB exposures have been associated with liver cancer. Because of this association, the EPA has proposed a drinkingwater standard of 0.5 ug/L for PCBs to protect against adversehealth effects including cancer. Water with PCB concentrationsgreater than 0.5 ug/L should not be used for drinking. It isunlikely, however, that the risk of an additional cancer, after alifetime of drinking water at 0.5 ug/L of PCBs, will be greaterthan one in one million.

Long-term (more than 2 weeks) inhalation of PCBs at similarconcentrations found to those at this site have been associatedwith skin irritation in humans and liver damage in animals(ATSDR, 1989).

B. HEALTH OUTCOME DATA EVALUATION

The results of the 1984 NIOSH investigation were compared tocriteria recommended by NIOSH and ACGIH, and OSHA's PermissibleExposure Limits (PEL). No elevated radiation levels weredetected on the site. Personal air monitoring of 2 emissioncontrol dust remedial workers indicated that they were at riskfrom exposure to unacceptable levels of airborne lead. Personalair monitoring for two Florida Steel employees, a maintenanceperson and a fabricator/welder, showed PCB air concentrations of0.8 micrograms per cubic meter (g/M3) (Salisbury, 1987). Thisconcentration approaches the NIOSH evaluation criteria of 1.0mg/M3. These results indicate that prior to incineration ofcontaminated soil and emission control dust, workers at this sitemay have been exposed to unacceptable concentrations of lead andPCBs in the air. Since health outcome data for workers at thissite are unavailable, it is not known if they actually sufferedadverse health effects from lead and PCB exposure. Florida HRSis not aware of what follow-up actions OSHA or NIOSH may havetaken in regard to worker exposures.

No adverse health effects are believed to have occurred in off-site populations because there are no known completed exposurepathways. HRS epidemiologists found that the rates of cancer andbirth defects in the population near the Florida Steel site arenot unusual.

C. COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS EVALUATION

People living near this site have expressed few health concerns.On January 14, 1992, the Florida HRS mailed a fact sheet to thelocal residents, media, and elected officials. That fact sheetsummarized the finding of the draft public health assessment,announced its availability at the local document repository, andsolicited public comment. Florida HRS did not receive anyinquiries or comments by the February 28, 1992 deadline.


CONCLUSIONS

This site is a public health hazard. If this site is notremediated, exposures to lead and PCBs in soil and lead andradium in ground water may occur at concentrations that, uponlong-term exposure, could cause adverse health effects. Based onavailable information, the following conclusions have been made:

  1. Soil at this site contains high levels of lead and lowlevels of PCBs.


  2. This site was a health hazard for past workers and continuesto be a health hazard for future remediation workers. During past operations, workers may have been exposed tolead and PCBs in excess of NIOSH recommended exposurelimits. If proper personal protective equipment is notused, remediation workers could be exposed to unacceptablelevels of lead and PCBs through dermal contact withcontaminated soil, inhalation of contaminated dust, orincidental ingestion of contaminated soil.


  3. The contaminated ground water is not suitable for drinkingwater or bathing use.


  4. HRS epidemiologists found that the rates of cancer and birthdefects in the population near the Florida Steel site arenot unusual. Other community-specific health outcome dataare unavailable. No adverse health effects on thesurrounding community residents are expected, however, sincethere are no completed exposure pathways.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. Remediate contaminated soil and sediments before using thesite again.


  2. Assure appropriate safety precautions are taken by personnelperforming site sampling and remediation work. Workersexposed to emission control dust should wear proper personalrespiratory protective equipment. Until soil remediation iscompleted, conduct routine blood testing for workers tomonitor lead and PCB exposure.


  3. Remediate contaminated ground water to reduce the potentialfor adverse health effects from future exposure to metalsand radionuclides. Until the contaminated ground water isremediated, limit the installation of new wells in the areaof ground-water contamination or areas where the groundwater is likely to become contaminated.

The data and information developed in the Florida SteelCorporation Public Health Assessment have been evaluated by theATSDR Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP) forappropriate public health actions. Human exposure to sitecontaminants likely occurred in the past, but exposure is notbelieved to be occurring now. Because of the difficulty ofdefining the duration of past exposure and the populationexposed, and the lack of evidence of ongoing exposure tocontaminants at levels of public health concern, HARP determinedthat no further follow-up public health actions are indicated atthis time. If information becomes available that indicate humanexposures are occurring at levels of public health concern, ATSDRwill evaluate that information to determine what actions, if any,are necessary.


PUBLIC HEALTH ACTIONS

No health follow-up actions are planned for the site at thistime. New information will be evaluated to determine if healthactions are needed in the future.


PREPARERS OF REPORT

Randy Merchant, M.S.
Biological Administrator III
Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services
Office of Toxicology and Hazard Assessment

Connie Garrett, M.S.
Environmental Specialist
Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services
Office of Toxicology and Hazard Assessment


ATSDR REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE
Chuck Pietrosewicz
Regional Services
Office of the Assistant Administrator


ATSDR TECHNICAL PROJECT OFFICER
Richard Gillig
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Remedial Programs Branch


CERTIFICATION

This public health assessment has been prepared by the FloridaDepartment of Health and Rehabilitative Services, Office ofToxicology and Hazard Assessment, under a cooperative agreementwith the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry(ATSDR). It is in accordance with approved methodology andprocedures existing at the time the public health assessment wasinitiated.

Gail D. Godfrey
Technical Project Officer, SPS, RPB, DHAC


The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation, ATSDR, hasreviewed this public health assessment and concurs with itsfindings.

Director, DHAC, ATSDR


BIBLIOGRAPHY AND REFERENCES

Ardaman & Associates, 1988A. Work plan, RemedialInvestigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS), Florida SteelCorporation Indiantown Mill Site, Martin County, Florida. Ardaman Associates, Inc. - 2/24/88.

Ardaman & Associates, 1988B. Response to comments RI/FS workplan Florida Steel Corporation Indiantown Mill Site, MartinCounty, Florida; February 2, 1988.

Ardaman & Associates, 1988C. Remedial Investigation - Phase I,Florida Steel Corporation Indiantown Mill Site, Martin County,Florida - VOLUME I - September 30, 1988.

Ardaman & Associates, 1989. Remedial Investigation - Phase II,Florida Steel Corporation Indiantown Mill Site, Martin County,Florida - VOLUME I - October 17, 1989.

ATSDR, 1988A. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry(ATSDR). Preliminary Health Assessment for Florida Steel,April, 1989.

ATSDR, 1988B. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry(ATSDR) Site Summary - 3/22/88.

ATSDR, Draft Toxicological Profile for Radium, October 1989.

ATSDR, Toxicological Profiles for: SELECTED PCBS (AROCHLOR -1260, - 1254, - 1248, - 1242, - 1232, - 1221, AND - 1016, ATSDR/TP-88/21. June 1989.

ATSDR, Toxicological Profile Lead, ATSDR/TP-88/17, June 1989.

ATSDR, 1990. Draft Health Assessment Guidance Manual, SoilEnvironmental Media Evaluation Guide, U.S. Department of Healthand Human Services, Agency for Toxic Substances and DiseaseRegistry.

BIER IV, 1988. National Research Council. Health risks of radonand other internally deposited alpha-emitters. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1990.

Bryant, R., 1990. Personal Communication: Draft RemedialInvestigation Fact Sheet, Florida Steel Corporation, Indiantown,Florida, USEPA, November 27, 1990.

Charp, Paul, et al. ATSDR. Personal Communication. 1990.

Eisenbud M., 1987. Environmental radioactivity from natural,industrial, and military sources, 3rd ed. New York: AcademicPress, Inc., 1987:475

Envirologic Data, 1990A. Response to Comments on Human Healthand Environmental Risk Assessment of the Florida SteelCorporation Indiantown Mill Site, Martin County, Florida. April4, 1990. Prepared for Florida Steel Corporation, Tampa, Florida.

Envirologic Data, 1990B. Human Health and Environmental RiskAssessment of the Florida Steel Corporation Indiantown Mill Site,Martin County, Florida. August 1990. Prepared for Florida SteelCorporation, Tampa, Florida.

ICRP, 1979. Limits for the intake of radionuclides by workers. International Commission of Radiological Protection 30, - Part1. New York: Pergamon Press, 1979.

Lichtler, W.F. 1960. Geology and Ground Water Resources ofMartin County, Florida. Florida Geological Survey - Report ofInvestigations No. 23; Tallahassee, Florida.

Mark Schultz Associates, 1988. Results of groundwater samplingthrough December 1987 for Florida Steel Corporation Indiantown,Martin County, Florida. Mark Schultz Associates - 4/27/88.

Morris, B.G., 1990. Declaration of Covenants, Conditions andRestriction (for the real property in Martin County, Florida). Allen, Dell, Frank, & Trinkle, August 22, 1990.

National Academy of Sciences, 1977. Drinking Water and Health,National Academy of Sciences, 2101 Constitution Ave, Washington,D.C 20418

NIOSH, 1984. National Institute for Occupational Safety andHealth. Manual of Analytical Methods, 3rd Ed., Cincinnati, OH: NIOSH, DHEW, (NIOSH) Publication No. 84-100.

USEPA, 1983. Radionuclide Removal for Small Public WaterSystems. SMC Martin Inc. Office of Drinking Water (WH - 550), orEnvironmental Protection Agency (EPA) 570/0 - 83 - 010

USEPA, 1986. Office of Water Regulations and Standards. Qualityfor Water 1986. Washington, D.C.: Environmental ProtectionAgency (EPA), May 1986. EPA/440/5-86-001. (May 1, 1987, update).

USEPA 1987. Polychlorinated Biphenyls Spill Cleanup Policy,Federal Register (CFR) Part 761.

USEPA 1989A. OSWER (OS - 230), ORD (RD - 689), OERR 9200.6 - 303- (89 - 4), Health Effects Assessment Summary Tables (HEAST),Fourth Quarter FY 1989 and IRIS update May 1, 1990 (used fordetermining that Carcinogen Potency Factors have not beencalculated for gross alpha and radium)

USEPA 1989B. Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund, Vol. 1,Human Health Evaluation Manual (Part A) Office of Emergency andRemedial Response, Environmental Protection Agency. EPA/540/1-89/002.

USEPA, 1990. Toxicity Characteristics Leaching Procedure,Appendix 11 to 40, Federal Register (CFR) Part 261


APPENDIX

Site Location Map
Figure 1. Site Location Map

Site Layout and Topographic Survey
Figure 2. Site Layout and Topographic Survey

Area Map
Figure 3. Area Map

Delineation of Investigated Areas
Figure 4. Delineation of Investigated Areas


Table 1.

Water Supply Wells Downgradient from the Florida Steel Corporation Site - Indiantown, Florida
Well No. (1) Well Description
W-1 Probably shallow, 2-inch or less diameter
W-2 Two-inch well reported to be 30 feet deep
W-3 No specifications available
W-4 Reported to be 100 feet deep; installed in 1980
W-5 Reported to be 104 feet deep
W-6 & W-7 Two wells reported to be 60-100 feet deep
W-8 Reported to be over 100 feet deep
W-9 Reported 30 feet deep; hand dug
W-10 Reported 103 feet deep; completed 5/5/89

Source: Ardaman and Assoc., 1989

Table of Contents

  
 
USA.gov: The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 4770 Buford Hwy NE, Atlanta, GA 30341
Contact CDC: 800-232-4636 / TTY: 888-232-6348

A-Z Index

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z
  27. #