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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT
REYNOLDS METALS COMPANY
TROUTDALE, MULTNOMAH COUNTY, OREGON

CONCLUSIONS

Surface soils and sediments on the Reynolds Metals site have become contaminated with aluminum, fluoride, and PAHs. Additional contaminants include PCBs, mercury, and arsenic. Shallow groundwater in the area has been affected by this contamination, and deeper groundwater has also become affected, although to a lesser degree.

Site contamination may have also migrated into the nearby Columbia and Sandy rivers. Some of the site contaminants have the potential to concentrate in fish tissues. These contaminants are PCBs, mercury, and, to a much lesser extent, fluoride and PAHs. However, because most of the fish in the Columbia River are migratory, the effects of this site would not be significant. On the other hand, there are several other sources for these contaminants along the Columbia River, which can increase the amount of total contamination fish may absorb.

One area to the north of the industrial facility borders the Columbia and Sandy rivers and is accessible to people who land their boats on the shoreline or who hike into the area from the facility parking lot. This area contains a landfill and Company Lake, which receives wastewater and discharges it into the Columbia River. No adverse health effects are expected to occur to recreational users who enter the area once a month or less. However, should a child visit this area and wade in Company Lake or its outfall ditch more frequently, he or she could experience adverse health effects in the form of tooth mottling, increased dental caries, and skeletal fluorosis.

Blackberries grow in the area near Company Lake, and some people have harvested these berries in the past. Although there is no information about how well blackberries may concentrate the site contaminants in the fruit, there is evidence that the plants could absorb PAHs and fluoride(7).

Workers at the Reynolds site are exposed to contaminated soils, sediments, and groundwater. Fluoride is the only site contaminant which may cause adverse health effects to workers. Fluoride levels can result in an increase in the incidence of dental caries and skeletal fluorosis. In addition, there is recent evidence of PCB contamination at the site.

Because of the possibility that on-site workers could experience adverse health effects from exposure to fluoride, ATSDR has concluded that the Reynolds Metals site is a public health hazard.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Restrict access to the area north of the Reynolds facility and bordering the Columbia and Sandy rivers. Clear warnings against entering should be posted.
  • Inform and educate workers in contaminated areas and provide appropriate protective equipment and monitoring.
  • Ongoing site characterization should continue to further identify contaminated areas on or near the site, including the rivers.
  • Recent evidence of on-site PCB contamination and how it may affect public health should be considered.

Health Activities Recommendation Panel Recommendations

The Health Activities Recommendations Panel (HARP) is an ATSDR agency-wide panel whose members evaluate hazardous waste sites and determine the appropriate activities necessary to protect the public health. HARP evaluated the Reynolds Metals site and determined that ATSDR representatives should work to inform community members about the need for access restrictions.

PUBLIC HEALTH ACTION PLAN

The public health action plan (PHAP) for the Reynolds Metals Company site in Troutdale, Oregon, contains a description of actions ATSDR representatives will take at and near the site. The PHAP is designed to ensure that this public health assessment not only identifies public health hazards but also provides an action plan for mitigation and prevention of adverse human health effects resulting from exposure to hazardous substances in the environment.

Actions Planned

  1. ATSDR staff members will work with representatives of the EPA and the Reynolds Metals Company to ensure that access is restricted to the site and affected areas. ATSDR representatives will also help community members understand the necessity of this access restriction and recognize the potential hazard to their health.
  2. ATSDR staff members will work with representatives of the Reynolds Metals Company as needed to ensure the safety and protection of workers at the site.
  3. ATSDR staff members will evaluate the recent evidence of on-site PCB contamination and potential effects to public health.

ATSDR PERSONNEL INVOLVED AT THIS SITE

Preparers of Report:

    Dana M. Abouelnasr, Ph.D.
    Environmental Engineer
    Superfund Site Assessment Branch
    Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

    Robert B. Knowles
    Environmental Health Specialist
    Superfund Site Assessment Branch
    Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

ATSDR Regional Representative:

    Steve Haness, Ph.D.
    ATSDR Region X Representative

REFERENCES

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Aluminum. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, 1992.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Fluorides, Hydrogen Fluoride, and Fluorine. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, 1993a.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs). Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, 1993b.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Selected PCBs (Aroclor -1260, 1254, 1248, 1242, 1232, 1221, and 1016). Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, 1993c.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Arsenic. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, 1993d.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Mercury. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, 1994.

Census of Population and Housing, 1990: Summary Tape File 1A (Oregon) [machine-readable data files]. Prepared by the Bureau of the Census. Washington, DC: The Bureau [producer and distributor], 1991.

CH2M Hill. Reynolds Metals Company, Troutdale Facility, Operable Unit 1, Removal Site Assessment. October 28, 1994.

Hazardous Substances Data Bank [computer database]. National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD, 1996.

Lower Columbia River Bi-State Program. Reconnaissance Survey of the Lower Columbia River, Task 6: Reconnaissance Report. Prepared by Tetra-Tech. May 17, 1993.

Lower Columbia River Bi-State Water Program. Backwater Reconnaissance Survey. Prepared by Tetra-Tech. May 26, 1994.

Lower Columbia River Bi-State Program. Assessing Human Health Risks from Chemically Contaminated Fish in the Lower Columbia River. Prepared by Tetra Tech. May 30, 1995.

PRC Environmental Management, Inc. Final Site Inspection Prioritization, Reynolds Metals Company, Troutdale, Oregon. October 19, 1993.

Reynolds Metals Co. v Yturbide, 258 F2d 321, (9th Cir) cert. den. 358 US 840 (1958).

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