PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT
A. O. POLYMER
SPARTA TOWNSHIP, SUSSEX COUNTY, NEW JERSEY
The data tables in this section list the site contaminants of concern. ATSDR and NJDOH evaluate these contaminants in the subsequent sections of the public health assessment to determine whether exposure to them has public health significance. ATSDR and NJDOH select and discuss these contaminants based upon the following factors:
- Concentrations of contaminants on and off the site.
- Field data quality, laboratory data quality, and sample design.
- Comparison of on-site and off-site concentrations with health assessment comparison values for (1) non-carcinogenic endpoints and (2) carcinogenic endpoints.
- Community health concerns.
In the data tables that follow under the On-site Contamination subsection and the Off-siteContamination subsection, the listed contaminant does not mean that it will cause adverse healtheffects from exposures. Instead, the list indicates which contaminants will be evaluated further inthe health assessment. When selected as a contaminant of concern in one medium, thatcontaminant will be reported in all media. The Data tables include the following acronyms:
|= ATSDR Cancer Risk Evaluation Guide|
|= ATSDR Environmental Media Evaluation Guide|
|=Reference Dose Media Evaluation Guide, calculated from EPA's reference dose (RfD).|
|= Not Analyzed|
|= New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection|
|= New Jersey Soil Action Level|
|= USEPA's Lifetime Health Advisory|
|= NJ Maximum Contaminant Level|
|= Parts Per Billion|
|= Not Detected|
|= USEPA Maximum Contaminant Level Goal|
|= USEPA Maximum Contaminant Level|
| ||= USEPA Proposed Maximum Contaminant Level Goal|
|= parts per million|
|= USEPA Reference Dose|
|= USEPA Reference Concentration|
Comparison values for public health assessments are contaminant concentrations in specific mediathat are used to select contaminants for further evaluation. These values include EnvironmentalMedia Evaluation Guides (EMEGs), Cancer Risk Evaluation Guides (CREGs), and other relevantguidelines. CREGs are estimated contaminant concentrations based on a one excess cancer in amillion persons exposed over a lifetime. CREGs are calculated from EPA's cancer slope factors.
EPA's Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) is a drinking water health goal. EPA believesthat the MCLG represents a level that no known or anticipated adverse effect on the health ofpersons should occur which allows an adequate margin of safety. Proposed MaximumContaminant Level Goals (PMCLGs) are MCLGs that are being proposed. Maximumcontaminant levels (MCLs) represent contaminant concentrations that New Jersey or a Federalregulatory agency, eg. EPA, deems protective of public health (considering the availability andeconomics of water treatment technology) over a lifetime (70 years) at an exposure rate of 2 litersof water per day. MCLs are regulatory concentrations. EPA's Reference Dose (RfD) andReference Concentration (RfC) are estimates of the daily exposure to a contaminant that isunlikely to cause adverse health effects.
The environmental contamination section includes sampling data from a variety of media sourcesincluding: groundwater (Monitoring wells and residential wells); surface water; surface soil;subsurface soil; and sediments.
Tables I through III list the contaminated media and maximum concentrations of contaminants found at the A.O. Polymer site. Contaminants of concern are selected by comparing contaminant levels detected at the site to public health assessment comparison values. These values may include ATSDR Environmental Media Evaluation Guides (EMEG's) and Cancer Risk Evaluation Guides (CREG's), New Jersey Soil Action Levels (NJSAL's), and New Jersey Maximum Contaminant Levels (NJMCL's). Selected contaminants are further evaluated in subsequent sections of the public health assessment to determine whether exposure to these contaminants are likely to result in harmful health effects in humans. When selected as a contaminant of concern in one medium (i.e., water, soil, air), that contaminant is reported for all media.
On June 12, 1979 the NJDEP sampled on site soil for VOC's, pesticides and polyaromatichydrocarbons (PAH's). On March 28, 1980 the NJDEP took 37 drum and soil samples and testedfor VOC's. Surface and subsurface samples were taken throughout the month of May, 1987. In1993, additional soil samples were collected and analyzed from the former lagoon area. Sampleswere analyzed for volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds, inorganic compounds, and totalpetroleum hydrocarbons.
On-site soil samples taken from 15 borings revealed the presence of various organic compoundssignificantly above background levels. The compounds detected most frequently were PAHsconsisting of acenaphthene, benzo(A)-anthracene, benzo(B)-fluroanthene, benzo(K)-fluoranthene,benzo(A)pyrene, chrysene, naphthalene, indeno(1,2,3-CD)-pyrene, and N-nitrosodiphenylamineall at levels below ATSDR comparison values. The base neutral acid extractable compounds suchas bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (BEHP) and di-n-butyl phthalate were also detected in soil samplesat levels below ATSDR comparison values.
The maximum reported concentrations of VOC's in soil samples were detected 10 to 12 feetbelow the surface: trichloroethene (TCE - 27 ppm); tetrachloroethene (PCE- 2.6 ppm); 1,1,1-trichloroethane (32 ppm); chlorobenzene (1.5 ppm); trans 1,2-dichloroethylene (5.1 ppm); andtrichlorofluromethane (53 ppm) all at levels below ATSDR comparison values. The presence ofthese compounds in high concentrations in Test Borings 11 and 12 corresponds well with theknown locations of waste disposal lagoons remediated by NJDEP in 1980 and 1981. Inorganicchemicals detected in soil samples were at levels similar to background concentrations and werebelow ATSDR comparison values.
Surface soils from the former waste lagoons were remediated by NJDEP in 1980 and 1981. During this removal action, the top 10 feet of the contaminated soils in the lagoon area wereexcavated and disposed of off-site. The excavated area was then backfilled with clean fill, leavingbehind unsaturated residual soil contamination between a depth of approximately 10 to 25 feet.Residual soil contamination from the former lagoon disposal area is the major source of thegroundwater contamination emanating from the site. The source area is located approximately 10feet below the ground surface down to the water table at a depth of 25 feet. Contaminants insubsurface soils are not readily accessible for human contact and, therefore do not pose a directcontact hazard. However, contaminants from this soil continue to be released into groundwater.
There are presently 35 monitoring wells either on the A.O.Polymer site or the adjoining park.Various monitoring wells in this system have been sampled in 1984, 1987, 1990, 1993, and 1994for the purpose of delineating the nature and extent of groundwater contamination. Organiccontaminants detected in on-site overburden monitoring wells were mainly volatile organicchemicals. The highest concentrations of most contaminants were detected in AOP-6; locatednear the northern boundary of the site. Table I summarizes maximum concentrations ofcontaminants detected in on-site groundwater samples.
- Soil Gas
A pilot soil gas investigation was conducted at the site perimeter and on-site to determine theextent of migration of 2-butanone contamination. Although some VOC's were detected,however, 2-butanone was not found. A full-scale soil gas investigation was conducted in thesummer of 1993. This soil gas investigation showed volatile organic contaminants to be presentbeneath the former lagoon area at a depth between 10 and 20 feet. This finding was laterconfirmed by 12 soil borings in the area of the former lagoon.
- Ambient Air
VOC concentrations in air were calculated, by the USEPA, using a mathematical model that isbased on the volatilization of chemicals from the groundwater plume. The model did not takeinto account the release of contaminants from manufacturing practices or from the volatilizationof contaminants from the buildings themselves. Air sampling on-site and off-site were notconducted as part of the RI/FS.
On September 23, 1993, an extensive Removal Site Evaluation (RES) was conducted at the A.O. Polymer site. In order to evaluate and document a release or threat of release from the facility 3air samples, 5 soil samples, and 4 waste/product/raw material samples were collected. Theanalytical results indicated that hazardous substances contained in the drums and containers foundat the site are being released onto and into surface soils. A removal action was initiated on April27, 1994. By May 5, 1994, all 27 tanks on site were inspected, and sampled. Liquids, sludges andsolid materials were removed from all of the outside aboveground storage tanks. Theunderground storage tank was excavated and cleaned. On-going removal action has secured andstabilized the A.O. Polymer site.
- Standing Water
Two septic tanks were believed to have been used by A.O. Polymer for sewage disposal. Thecontents of one tank was sampled and analyzed in December 1987. Mercury, methylene chlorideand m-xylene was found in the 3 to 7 ppb range. The other septic tank was inaccessible and, thus,was not sampled. Xylene was detected at 17 ppb in the on-site cooling pond. No othercontaminants were detected in cooling pond samples that were in excess of ATSDR or NewJersey comparison values.
In May 1987, three surface soils samples were taken from Station Park. There were nocontaminants detected in these samples in excess of ATSDR comparison values.
- Shallow Monitoring wells
The RI/FS defined the extent of the shallow groundwater contaminant plume. The northernboundary is 400 ft north of the site and the southern boundary does not appear to extend past thesite. The plume, which emanates from the former disposal lagoon area, appears to have stabilizedlatitudinally, extending to the Wallkill River. Further, the downgradient extent of the plumeappears to be limited by the Wallkill River because it is a groundwater discharge area. Table II contains the maximum concentrations of contaminants detected during December 1994 sampling of monitoring wells located off the A.O. Polymer property. Off-site monitoring wells were sampled in June 1987, July 1987, January 1990, 1993, and December 1994.
|Contaminant||Maximum Conc. (ppm)||Comparison Values|
|Carbon Tetrachloride||0.0007||0.002||NJ MCL|
- Bedrock Monitoring Wells
Four of the monitoring wells were sunk into bedrock (AOP-109, AOP-112, AOP-116, andAOP-118). Samples from these deep wells, which were collected in June 1987, and January1990, were not contaminated. In 1993, four additional monitoring wells were placed in the park(2 shallow and 2 deep monitoring wells). Contaminant transport from the former lagoon area isbelieved to be approaching an almost steady state condition, and the plume may not continue tospread. Groundwater concentrations near the contaminant source have decreased since 1985 buthave remained relatively stable for the last two monitoring episodes. This suggests a nearlyconstant input from residual contamination at the source. Downgradient from the source, nearthe center of the plume, a slow but gradual increase in concentration of contaminants wasobserved until 1987.
- Potable Wells
Environmental problems resulting from the site were initially detected as a result of thecontamination of the Sparta High School well and three other residential wells, in 1979. The onlycontaminant detected in the Sparta High School well was formaldehyde, at 60 ppb. However,QA/QC was insufficient to determine if the presence of formaldehyde in the environmental samplewas real or if it was due to laboratory error. Formaldehyde was not found to be present in on-sitegroundwater. Although formaldehyde was used at the A.O. Polymer site, the presence offormaldehyde in the Sparta High School well water sample may have been an anomaly.Subsequent water sampling did not show any contamination in well water. The Sparta HighSchool well is monitored on regular basis. Formaldehyde was found in domestic well watersamples at a maximum concentration of 100 ppb. In July 1987, potable wells on the opposite sideof the WallKill were sampled and no contaminants were detected. The most recent groundwatersampling data indicates a decrease in groundwater contamination suggesting a levelling off trend. Therefore, all known existing water supply wells, including the Sparta High School well, arecurrently at minimal risk of becoming contaminated. Table III summarizes the contaminants of concern detected in potable well samples in 1979 (these wells are no longer in use).
|Contaminant||Maximum Conc.(ppm)||Comparison Values|
- Surface Water
The groundwater contaminant plume is presently discharging to the wetland located on the westside of the river as well as to the river itself. It is believed that most volatile organic compoundsentering the Wallkill River from the contaminated groundwater are quickly attenuated by dilution,volatilization and degradation as reflected by the low levels detected in the downstream samples.
The Wallkill River was sampled at five locations in June of 1987 (RI/FS). One location wasupgradient from the site, one was at the same gradient as the site, and three locations weredowngradient from the site. No inorganic chemicals were detected at concentrations whichwould pose a public health concern. Although acetone, and methylene chloride were detected indowngradient samples, similar concentrations were also found in the field and the laboratoryblanks. Therefore, the presence of these chemicals in samples is probably due to the handling ofthe samples during the analytical processes. The maximum concentrations of 1,2-dichloroethyleneand 1,1-dichloroethane detected in the down-gradient surface water was 6.3 ppb and 2 ppb,respectively.
Two other surface water areas were sampled in January 1990. These areas are identified as theNorth Seep and the East Seep. They are actually marsh-like wetland areas along the west side ofthe Wallkill River. Contaminants were not detected at the North Seep, which is at the samegradient as the site. The East Seep area is a marsh-like wetland, located past the baseball field. Apparently, groundwater contamination is responsible for the presence of low levels of VOC's inthe wetlands. Elevated levels of a variety of VOC's were detected in the East Seep: benzene at 4ppb; carbon tetrachloride at 10 ppb; chlorobenzene at 6 ppb; 1,1-dichloroethylene at 8 ppb;tetrachloroethylene at 4 ppb; 1,1,1-trichloroethane at 120 ppb; trichloroethylene at 18 ppb; andvinyl chloride at 240 ppb. Several contaminants in the East Seep were at concentrations higherthan expected, based on the chemical concentrations in the groundwater plume. Eight rounds ofsurface water sampling was conducted in the fall of 1994. Although accessible, the East Seep isnot an inviting area, and it is unlikely that residents would repeatedly access or ingest water fromthe East Seep area. Concentrations of the contaminants found in the East Seep samples are not atlevels of public health concern.
The sediment of the Wallkill River was sampled in June 1987. The sediment contained a varietyof PAH's at concentrations below ATSDR comparison values. Further, the highestconcentrations of PAH's were in the upgradient sample. PAHs are ubiquitous in the environmentbecause of their close association with the use of fossil fuels and fossil fuel by-products. Inaddition, PAHs tend to accumulate in sediment because of their high affinity for organic carbon.Therefore, the source of contamination may be the general human activities throughout theWallkill River Valley upstream from the site.
- Ambient Air
There is a lack of data regarding air quality in and around the A.O. Polymer facility. This data gap precludes evaluation of the adverse health effects reported by residents and employees (throatirritation and watery eyes) upon past exposure to site-related odors. Air monitoring wasperformed during EPA's removal actions.
On September 23, 1993, air monitoring with an organic vapor analyzer (OVA) was conductedduring the soils and liquid sampling events. No readings above the background (0-3 units) weredetected during soil sampling. Prior to air sampling using sample pumps containing the 150 mgcharcoal tubes, air monitoring of the facility grounds and buildings was conducted using directreading instruments and colorimetric detector tubes. A positive result was obtained for Xyleneand Toluene using the colorimetric detector tubes (Draėgers). Xylene was detected at aconcentration of 50 ppm in storage building and 10 ppm in warehouse building. Toluene wasdetected at a concentration of 50 ppm in storage building. The site investigation revealed thepotential release of hazardous materials in the environment through current operational practices.The Soil Vapor Extraction system is currently removing contaminants from soils located beneaththe area of the former disposal lagoons. This system is continuously monitored to preventuntreated releases into the atmosphere.
In preparing this public health assessment, ATSDR and NJDOH relied on the informationprovided in the referenced documents and assumes that adequate quality assurance and qualitycontrol measures were followed with regard to chain-of-custody, laboratory procedures, and datareporting. The validity of analyses and conclusions drawn for this health assessment is determinedby the completeness and reliability of the referenced information. Environmental samples wereanalyzed under the guidelines of the USEPA Certified Laboratory Program. Analytical data werevalidated by the NJDEP. While proper quality assurance and control measures were generallyfollowed during sample collection and analyses, the quality of the data was affected by qualitycontrol sample contamination.
The validity of analytical results received from Compuchem were evaluated by both ICF/SRWAssociates and by the NJDEP. The Remedial Investigation Feasibility Study (RI/FS) addressessome QA/QC problems. Acetone and methylene chloride were found in the laboratory's field andtrip blanks, for at least one monitoring well. Thus, the concentrations of acetone and methylenechloride in the environmental samples could not be verified. There was also uncertainty about thepresence of phthalates in the environmental samples. These compounds are not included in anydiscussions. Water samples taken by ICF/SRW and by the NJDEP were properly analyzed anddocumented. No standard method exists for the analysis of formaldehyde at low concentrations inwater. Therefore, no definitive conclusions can be drawn regarding the presence of formaldehydein the potable wells.
On-going removal actions have secured and stabilized the site. To address physical hazards on-site, USEPA has boarded and/or secured points of access to all buildings, removed hazardousmaterials from buildings and tanks, cleaned all tanks and welded shut access ports to tanks. However, only a portion of the site has a fence, thus, it is accessible to trespassers. In response tocommunity concern, an emergency response plan was developed by the local fire preventionofficials in case of on-site fires.
The NJDOH conducted a search of the Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (TRI) in an attempt toidentify any possible facilities that could be contributing to the environmental contamination nearthe site. The TRI is compiled by USEPA and is based on estimated annual releases of toxicchemicals to the environment (air, water, soil, or underground injection) provided by certainindustries. The TRI search for the years from 1987 to 1992 did not list any reported emissions ofchemicals that are pertinent to this health assessment.
To determine whether nearby residents are exposed to contaminants migrating from the site,NJDOH evaluates the environmental and human components that lead to human exposure. Thispathways analysis consists of five elements: (1) a source of contamination; (2) transport throughan environmental medium; (3) a point of human exposure; (4) route of human exposure; and (5)an exposed population.
NJDOH classifies exposure pathways into three groups: (1) "completed pathways", that is, thosein which exposure has occurred, is occurring, or will occur; (2) "potential pathways", that is,those in which exposure might have occurred, may be occurring, or may yet occur; and (3)"eliminated pathways", that is, those that can be eliminated from further analysis because one ofthe five elements is missing and will never be present, or in which no contaminants of concern canbe identified. A summary of the pathways for the A.O. Polymer site are discussed below. Table IV identifies the completed exposure pathways at the A.O. Polymer site. Table V identifies thesite's potential exposure pathways. The discussion following the two tables address onlypathways important and relevant to the site.
- Potable Wells
The A.O. Polymer facility contaminated the shallow groundwater aquifer. The residents andemployees of businesses along Station Road and the employees of A.O. Polymer were exposed tovolatile organic compounds in the groundwater through the use of well water. The routes ofexposure included ingestion due to drinking the water, inhalation of the volatile organic chemicals(e.g., watering the lawn, dish washing), and dermal absorption of the contaminants by direct(skin) contact with the groundwater (e.g., showers, washing hands) (Table V). However, this isno longer a completed exposure pathway. The wells were closed and the residents were givencity water lines when the contamination was discovered. Although Sparta High School remains onprivate well water, the Sparta Department of Health routinely samples the water to assure itsquality. The length of exposure to contaminated groundwater in domestic well is unknown, so itis assumed to be the length of time that the company was in existence, approximately 20 years.
The groundwater contaminated by the A.O. Polymer facility, underlying sections of the baseballand soccer field at Station Park, is extremely shallow (up to one foot below grade). The deepbedrock aquifer under the Township of Sparta has not exhibited site related contaminants. Thecontaminant plume of the shallow aquifer flows above the bedrock aquifer. Since the bedrock ishighly fractured and fissured, contaminant migration may be possible in the future. If the bedrockaquifer becomes contaminated, the quality of the public water supply may be at risk.
The east side of the A.O. Polymer plant, which faces Station Park, is not fenced or posted. Thereis evidence that trespassing has occurred in the past. Thus, the potentially exposed population tocontaminated soil at the A.O. Polymer site are the former A.O. Polymer employees andtrespassers (Table V). Exposure to the contaminated soil may have occurred in the past viadirect contact, through ingestion or indirectly by the inhalation of volatilized chemicals that havesequestered in the soil (Table V). Surface soils from the former waste lagoons were remediatedby NJDEP in 1980 and 1981. During this removal action, the top 10 feet of the contaminatedsoils in the lagoon area were excavated and disposed of off-site. The excavated area was thenbackfilled with clean fill, leaving behind unsaturated residual soil contamination between a depthof approximately 10 to 25 feet.
There are five remaining buildings on-site. They are the laboratory building, the urethaneprocessing building, a building to store drums, a shed that housed chemicals, and an office. Theoffice is on the periphery of the site and is not expected to have been contaminated. The storageof chemicals in the buildings represented a potential inhalation exposure hazard pathway in thepast to the former employees at the site. The on-going removal actions have secured andstabilized the site. Buildings no longer pose a current potential pathway for trespassers viaingestion, inhalation, and dermal contact pathways, as documented in previous reports. Thematerials inside the buildings were sampled and classified prior to their disposal by USEPA.
Complaints of odors emanating from the A.O. Polymer facility have been registered for manyyears with the Local Health Officer and the NJDEP Regional Enforcement Office. Although theodors have been found both on and off-site, the vast majority of complaints were from thebusinesses and residences along Station Road. These odors were associated with a concurrentburning sensation in the back of throats and watering eyes. The routes of exposure wereinhalation and skin contact for the Sparta residents and A.O. Polymer employees. The airborneexposure route occurred in the past (Table V). Residents living near the site no longer complain of odors as the facility is closed.
|EXPOSURE PATHWAY ELEMENTS||TIME|
|SOURCE|| ENVIRONMENTAL |
|POINT OF |
|ROUTE OF EXPOSURE||EXPOSED |
|A.O. Polymer||Groundwater (Residential wells)||Station Road Residents & Employees (Taps)||Ingestion, Inhalation, Skin contact||Sparta Residents, A.O. Polymer employees||Past|
|EXPOSURE PATHWAY ELEMENTS||TIME|
|SOURCE||ENVIRONMENTAL MEDIA||POINT OF EXPOSURE||ROUTE OF EXPOSURE||EXPOSED POPULATION|
|A.O. Polymer||Soil||A.O. Polymer Site||Ingestion, Inhalation, Skin contact||Former Employees, Trespassers||Past|
|A.O. Polymer||Buildings||On-Site||Inhalation, Ingestion, Skin Contact||Former Employees, Trespassers||Past|
|A.O. Polymer||Air||On-Site Off-Site||Inhalation, Skin Contact||Sparta Residents, A.O. Polymer Employees||Past|
In this section, NJDOH will discuss the health effects in persons exposed to specific contaminants. To evaluate health effects, ATSDR has developed a Minimal Risk Level (MRL) for contaminants commonly found at hazardous waste sites. The MRL is an estimate of daily human exposure to a contaminant below which non-cancer, adverse health effects are unlikely to occur. MRLs are developed for each route of exposure, such as ingestion and inhalation, and for the length of exposure, such as acute (less than 14 days), intermediate (15 to 364 days), and chronic (greaterthan 365 days). ATSDR presents these MRLs in the Toxicological Profiles. These chemical-specific profiles provide information on health effects, environmental transport, human exposure,and regulatory status. In the following discussion, NJDOH used ATSDR Toxicological Profilesfor the contaminants of concern at the site. The NJDOH will use a USEPA Reference Dose (RfD)as a health guideline, when a MRL is not available. The RfD is an estimate of daily humanexposure of a contaminant for a lifetime below which (non-cancer) health effects are unlikely tooccur.
The toxicological effects of the contaminants detected in the groundwater have been consideredsingly. The cumulative or synergistic effects of mixtures of contaminants may serve to enhancetheir public health significance. Additionally, individual or mixtures of contaminants may have theability to produce greater adverse health effects in children as compared to adults. This situationdepends upon the specific chemical being ingested or inhaled, its pharmacokinetics in children andadults, and its toxicity in children and adults.
In the past, residents and workers along Station Road who used well water were exposed togroundwater that was contaminated with numerous toxicants for an undetermined length of time.It is unlikely that prolonged exposure to most of these contaminants at the concentrations thatwere detected in the groundwater samples would result in adverse health effects.
It is known that Mohawk Industries started operations in the early 1960's. Residents living nearthe site and employees of A.O. Polymer were exposed to site related contaminants (as reported inTable III) in their drinking water for approximately 20 years until 1980, when contamination wasdetected. The Township extended municipal water service into the area. The toxicologicalevaluation of the completed human exposure pathway at the A.O. Polymer site is based uponchronic oral ingestion of contaminants in potable well water. Cancer estimates are based on anintake of 2 liters of water per day for a 70 kilogram adult and an intake of 1 liters of water per dayfor a 35 kilogram child for the period indicated. Toxicological evaluation were based upon themaximum concentrations detected.
The exposed population via groundwater exposure consists of approximately eight residents who live in three dwellings on Station Road who used well water, workers along Station Road and A.O. Polymer employees using well water. The total population at risk is considered to be approximately 70 people. However, there were several contaminants of concern that were found in groundwater samples on or off-site but not found in samples taken from the residential wells.
Diethyl ether, trifluorodichloroethane, and trifluorotrichloroethane were found in samples ofpotable well water (Table III). There are no ATSDR MRL's or USEPA RfD's and no ATSDRtoxicological profiles for these compounds. Therefore, exposure doses were not calculated.These compounds are considered to be at insufficient concentrations to cause adverse healtheffects for the exposed population based on existing information.
Site data indicate that exposure to formaldehyde occurred in the residences along Station Roadthat used well water. Also, any workers on Station Road and any A.O. Polymer employees whodrank well water were also potentially exposed to formaldehyde. Thus, a maximum ofapproximately 70 people were exposed to formaldehyde for up to 20 years.
Formaldehyde is used as a disinfectant and is used in the production of phenolic, urea, melamine,and acetal resins. It is also used in textiles, embalming fluids, fungicides, air fresheners, andcosmetics. Formaldehyde is irritating to mucous membranes and sufficient direct contact maycause dermatitis. Ingestion may cause abdominal pain, hematemesis, hematuria, proteinuria,anuria, and acidosis. Formaldehyde was detected in domestic well water samples at a maximumconcentration of 100 ppb. No chronic oral MRL or RfD is available for formaldehyde to evaluatethe potential for non-carcinogenic health effects.
Formaldehyde is considered a probable human carcinogen by the USEPA(limited human,sufficient animal studies). Based on calculated exposure doses, the lifetime excess cancer risk(LECR) associated with the chronic oral exposure route for formaldehyde present a low increasedrisk of cancer. The cancer risk associated with formaldehyde exposure obtained by drinkingcontaminated well water may be interpreted according to the following example. If 10,000residents were exposed through ingestion of 2 liters of water a day for 20 years to the maximumconcentration detected in the potable well water samples, approximately one additional case ofcancer may occur in 70 years.
- Trichloroethylene (TCE)
Site data indicate that exposure to trichloroethylene (TCE) occurred in the residences alongStation Road that used well water. Also, any workers on Station Road and any A.O. Polymeremployees who drank well water were also potentially exposed to TCE. Thus, a maximum ofapproximately 70 people were exposed to TCE for up to 20 years. There have been no studies onchronic oral human exposure to TCE. Chronic exposure to TCE has been found to cause adverseneurological, renal and hepatic effects in mice and rats via the ingestion route of exposure. Nochronic oral MRL or RfD is available for trichloroethylene to evaluate the potential for non-carcinogenic health effects. However, Estimated Exposure Doses (EED) calculated from themaximum reported concentration of trichloroethylene in potable well water samples (Table III)were well below the No Observed Adverse Effects Level (NOAEL) for ingestion exposures of prolonged duration cited for animal studies in the ATSDR Toxicological Profile for this chemical. At such concentrations, it is unlikely that non-carcinogenic adverse health effects would occur.
Currently there is scientific debate regarding the carcinogenicity of TCE in humans. However,animal studies have shown that tumors can result from oral exposure to TCE. TCE is underconsideration for placement into either probable human carcinogen or possible human carcinogenby the USEPA. NJDOH concur with USEPA regarding TCE's potential carcinogenicity inhumans. Based on calculated exposure doses, the lifetime excess cancer risk (LECR) associatedwith the chronic oral exposure route for trichloroethylene at the site present insignificant or noincreased risk of cancer.
The cancer risk associated with TCE exposure obtained by drinking contaminated well water maybe interpreted according to the following example. If 1,000,000 residents were exposed to themaximum detected concentration of TCE through ingestion of 2 liters of water a day for 20 years,approximately five additional case of cancer may occur in 70 years. For the approximately 70residents who were exposed to TCE, it is, therefore, unlikely that they will develop cancer as aresult of their exposure.
Health outcome data was not reviewed for this contamination site. There were no more than 70people exposed to the contamination both on and off-site. Of these, approximately eight were fulltime residents. Thus, health outcome data for the site were not reviewed because the populationsize was too small for the application of relevant data bases to yield statistically significant results.
Community health concerns are addressed as follows:
1) Do the odors pose a health problem? What is the quality of the ambient air?
Intermittent odor complaints were received by the Local Health Officer and the regional NJDEPoffice while the facility was in operation. The air in and around the A.O. Polymer site while thefacility was in operation was never sampled. Thus, the air contaminants and their concentrationsare unknown. Further, standard air sampling methods do not exist for all of the volatile chemicalsthat were used at the site. Without this information, it is not possible to assess the potentialadverse health impacts from the air. Since the active facility at A.O. Polymer has ceasedoperations, residents living near the site no longer complain of odors.
2) Is the water in existing private potable wells, or in the supply water supply safe for drinking?
Contaminants have not been found in currently operating potable wells. Public water is a blend of groundwater and surface water. The public supply well is not in the path of the identified contaminant plume. However, if the bedrock aquifer becomes contaminated by the groundwater plume, then there is a chance that the city water supply could be impacted by the site. By law, private wells in New Jersey must be sampled and analyzed for a limited number of parameters. Most of these parameters do not include chemicals that are on the Priority Pollutant List of toxic chemicals. It is up to the seller and purchaser of the property to decide if additional analyses should be conducted.
3) Why are the wells of homes that are sold not sampled for formaldehyde and other chemicals?
By law, private wells in New Jersey must be sampled and analyzed for a limited number of parameters. Most of these parameters do not include toxic chemicals. It is up to the seller and purchaser of the property to decide if additional analyses should be conducted.
3) Isn't inhalation of volatiles from the groundwater a concern for recreational users of Station Park?
Volatilization does not occur directly from sub-surface groundwater. It may, however, occurindirectly by mixing with the surface water and then volatilizing. Due to dilution and degradationof the volatile chemicals, it is unlikely that this is a pathway of concern.
4) If there are chronic effects associated with the active facility or the site, wouldn't a health study be appropriate?
The NJDOH/ATSDR have determined that no follow up health studies are indicated at this time because there were no more than eight full time residents were exposed to groundwater contaminants (Superfund related). Thus, a health study for related to the contaminants is not indicated because the population size was too small for the application of health study techniques that would yield a statistically significant result. Furthermore, the chemicals and levels of past exposure to contaminated air released from the former active facility is unknown; therefore, NJDOH/ATSDR cannot determine what types of adverse health effects to study. However, if additional information becomes available, further health activities will be considered.
- Public Comment Period
The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) conducted a comment period for the publichealth assessment for the A.O. Polymer site from March 28, 1994 to April 29, 1994. The publichealth assessment was placed in local repositories to facilitate commentary and reaction from thepublic at large. Additionally, the public health assessment was circulated to the Sparta TownshipDepartment of Health for the purpose of soliciting commentary by local health officials.
A summary of commentary received by the NJDOH and associated responses are contained in Appendix B.