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

PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

McCORMICK & BAXTER CREOSOTING COMPANY (PORTLAND)
PORTLAND, MULTNOMAH COUNTY, OREGON


CONCLUSIONS

  1. ATSDR considers the site to have been a public health hazard for former plant workers becauseof past ingestion exposure to arsenic, creosote, pentachlorophenol, polychlorinateddibenzodioxins, and dibenzofurans at levels of public health concern. Past estimated exposuredoses indicate a low to moderate increased cancer risk. Additional exposure via inhalation orskin contact could increase the health risk.

  2. ATSDR considers the site to pose a public health hazard because people might encounterhazardous chemicals along the shoreline on or near the site at levels that can damage the skin, aswas reported to have happened to two boys.

  3. Dioxin levels would pose a public health hazard for people subsisting on contaminated crayfishand suckers.

  4. The site poses an indeterminate public health hazard for nearby residents because of past, presentand future inhalation exposure. Insufficient information regarding air contaminant levelsprevents the evaluation of inhalation exposure. Some of the information needed for such anevaluation, especially information regarding past exposures, might never be acquired. Community members reported odors and lung effects, including bronchitis, breathing difficulties,lung tissue damage, lung spots, and lung cancer. These self-reported symptoms have not beenconfirmed by ATSDR. The source or sources of air contaminants causing odors that continue tobe reported by community members has not been determined. The adverse lung symptoms arenon-specific symptoms known to be experienced by people with no known exposure tohazardous waste, but they are also consistent with exposure to site-related contaminants.

  5. ATSDR considers the site to pose an indeterminate public health hazard to workers on theadjacent industrial property because of incidental soil ingestion. Limited soil data show thatcontaminant levels are so low that workers are unlikely to get sick from incidental soil ingestion;however, we do not have enough soil sampling information to be reasonably sure that thecontaminant concentrations found represent the true concentrations in that area.

  6. ATSDR considers the site to pose no apparent public health hazard for other exposed populationsat the present. However, the site should not be developed or otherwise accessed by the publicuntil remediation measures are accomplished in a manner that effectively prevents humanexposures from occurring at levels of public health concern.

  7. Should additional data become available indicating that people are being exposed tocontaminants at levels of public health concern, the conclusions drawn above will be revised.

  8. With a few exceptions, media sampling conducted to date provides ATSDR with sufficientinformation for examining public health issues. Additional sampling appears appropriate for thefollowing:

    1. soils on adjacent industrial property,
    2. air quality on site while air-release-related remediation activities are in progress, and
    3. ambient air quality where residents continue to express concern about odors.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Information identifying appropriate agencies to implement recommendations is contained in thePublic Health Actions section.

Site/Area Characterization Recommendations

  1. ODEQ reports that the industrial property southeast of the site is undergoing an environmentalassessment because of past industrial practices. ATSDR recommends that the soil analytical databe reviewed for evidence of contaminants associated with the wood treatment facility. Additional soil sampling should be conducted on the other adjoining industrial properties.

  2. Conduct real-time air monitoring on site while remedial activities that are likely to affect airquality are in progress. Particulates should be analyzed for semivolatiles and the followingmetals: arsenic, chromium, copper and zinc. The vapor phase should be analyzed forsemivolatiles. A detection limit suitable for contaminants at a level which can cause healtheffects with chronic exposure should be used.

  3. Conduct ambient air monitoring nearby where residents have continuing concerns about odors,which could be from multiple sources. If monitoring and analyses indicate that airbornecontaminants are present at a level of public health concern, consider whether it is feasible toidentify the source or sources and to implement measures to reduce releases. Particulates shouldbe analyzed for semivolatiles and the following metals: arsenic, chromium, copper and zinc. Thevapor phase should be analyzed for semivolatiles and common industrial volatiles. A detectionlimit suitable for contaminants at a level which can cause health effects with chronic exposureshould be used.

Cease/Reduce Exposure Recommendation

  1. Prevent the site from being developed or otherwise accessed by the public until remediationmeasures are accomplished in a manner that effectively prevents human exposures fromoccurring at levels of public health concern, as described in the summary.

Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP) Recommendations

In accordance with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and LiabilityAct of 1980, as amended, the data and information developed in the Public Health Assessmentfor the McCormick and Baxter site in Portland, Oregon, have been evaluated for appropriatefollowup with respect to health activities. Available information indicates that exposure ofindividuals to contaminants at levels of public health concern has occurred in the past and mightstill be occurring. Plant workers were exposed to chemicals at levels of public health concern inthe past. People might encounter acutely hazardous levels of chemicals along the shoreline on ornear the site. There is potential public health concern for persons who ingest shellfish from thatsite. Additionally, community members have expressed public health concerns aboutnon-specific symptoms known to be experienced by people with no known exposure tohazardous waste, but that are also consistent with exposure to site-related contaminants. Theseself-reported symptoms have not been confirmed by ATSDR. ATSDR recommends thatcommunity and health professions education should be conducted at this site. The educationwould focus on the actions of exposure to chemicals involved in wood treatment. If a populationcan be identified that has been exposed to wood treatment process chemicals from the site,ATSDR will evaluate whether a health investigation is appropriate. Worker exposures will bereferred to the appropriate occupational health authorities.

If more information indicating that human exposure to hazardous substances is occurring or hasoccurred at levels of public health concern becomes available, ATSDR will reevaluate this sitefor any additional indicated followup.

PUBLIC HEALTH ACTIONS

The purpose of the Public Health Action Plan (PHAP) is to ensure that this public healthassessment not only identifies public health hazards but also provides a plan of action designedto mitigate and prevent adverse human health effects resulting from exposure to hazardoussubstances in the environment.

EPA or ODEQ will monitor the air on site while remedial activities that are likely to affect airquality are in progress.

Based on the Health Activities Recommendation Panel's determination that community andhealth professions education activities are indicated, ATSDR's Division of Health Education willdetermine appropriate site-specific health education activities for health professionals andcommunity members through a needs assessment.

The question of whether an exposed population can be identified is being pursued as we proceedwith this assessment and the release of this information.

Future environmental or health outcome data might determine the need for additional actions atthe McCormick and Baxter site.

PREPARERS OF REPORT

Stephanie Prausnitz
Environmental Health Scientist
Remedial Programs Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

Don Gibeaut
Environmental Health Engineer
Remedial Programs Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

ATSDR Regional Representative:
Greg Thomas
Public Health Advisor
Region X

REFERENCES

  1. PTI Environmental Services. Remedial investigation report, McCormick & Baxter CreosotingCompany. September 1992.
  2. Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. Environmental cleanup report, McCormick &Baxter update. Salem, Oregon. August 1993.
  3. Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. Environmental cleanup report, proposedcleanup plan. Salem, Oregon. December 1992.
  4. 1990 TIGER/Line Census Files, Oregon [computer program]. Washington: US Bureau of theCensus, 1991
  5. Public Law 94-171 (Oregon). Washington: U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1991.
  6. Multiple Well Driller Authors. Water Well Report(s). Multiple dates.
  7. Toxic Chemical Release Inventory. Washington: US Environmental Protection Agency, 1991.
  8. Centers for Disease Control. Guidelines for investigating clusters of health events. MMWR.1990;39(RR-11): 1-16.
  9. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for arsenic. Atlanta:US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, 1993.
  10. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile forpentachlorophenol (draft update). Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services, PublicHealth Service, 1992.
  11. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,Public Health Service, 1989.
  12. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for creosote.Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, 1990.
  13. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for phenol (draft).Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, 1988.
  14. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for cresols.Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, 1992.
  15. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for polycyclicaromatic hydrocarbons (draft update). Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,Public Health Service, 1993.
  16. Casey KR. Industrial bronchitis. In: Rom WN, editor. Environmental and occupationalmedicine. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1983:267-272.
  17. The New Grolier Electronic Encyclopedia [on-line database]. Grolier Incorporated, 1991.

Next Section    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. #