PRELIMINARY PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT
CHEMICAL INSECTICIDE CORPORATION
EDISON TOWNSHIP, MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NEW JERSEY
The Chemical Insecticide Corporation (CIC) site is located at 30 Whitman Avenue in Edison Township, Middlesex County, New Jersey, and occupies approximately 5.8 acres. Presently inactive, the Chemical Insecticide Corp. manufactured a variety of insecticides, fungicides, rodenticides, and herbicides from 1958 to 1970. Inappropriate production, storage, and waste disposal practices resulted in the contamination of soils, ground water, and surface water with pesticides, herbicides, and inorganics. Additionally, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) have confirmed the presence of dioxins on site. Phase I and Phase II field investigations of the CIC site have been completed by the USEPA. Off-site contamination of groundwater, surface water, and sediments has been documented. The property is located in a mixed residential and industrial area, with approximately 15,000 persons living within 3,000 feet of the site. A Record of Decision (ROD) to address the first operable unit for the site (surface-water run-off) was signed in September 1989. The CIC site was added to the National Priority List (NPL) in October, 1989.
The CIC site is considered to be a public health hazard because humans have probably been exposed to hazardous substances at concentrations that may result in adverse health effects. Human exposure to site-related contaminants is probably occurring and has probably occurred in the past. Contaminants (Dinoseb, arsenic) are migrating off-site borne by surface water runoff during precipitation events, and are entering the Metroplex property and the unnamed creek probably in sufficient concentration as to constitute a public health hazard.
The CIC site, Edison Township, New Jersey, has been evaluated by ATSDR's Health Activities Recommendation Panel for appropriate followup with respect to health activities. Although exposure to surface water contaminated with Dinoseb is probably occurring and has probably occurred in the past, this site is not being considered for follow-up health activities at this time because the population probably exposed can not be characterized, primarily due to the transient nature of persons using the Metroplex property. However, ATSDR strongly recommends that the exposure to surface water cease by implementing the mitigative measures specified in the USEPA Record of Decision. If these measures can not be promptly implemented, then sampling of surface-water run-off at potential points of exposure and under precipitation conditions, is recommended to determine the nature and concentrations of contaminants which are apparently migrating off site. ATSDR and the USEPA have developed actions in relation to the recommendations of this Preliminary Public Health Assessment. Particularly, USEPA plans to perform human exposure point sampling, provided there is evidence of surface water run-off and the site has not yet been capped. ATSDR and NJDOH will review, within the context of potential public health implications, proposals for and results of additional investigations of the CIC site which may be considered by USEPA.
The Chemical Insecticide Corporation property is located at 30 Whitman Avenue in Edison Township, Middlesex County, New Jersey (See Figure 1). Presently unoccupied, the 5.8 acre tract is the former location of a pesticide, herbicide, and insecticide formulating facility which ceased operations in 1970. On the northern side of the site is an approximately 35 foot downgrade to N.J. Interstate 287. On the southern side of the site is a 15 foot downgrade which falls to a Conrail railroad spur. To the west of the CIC site is the property of Muller Machinery, to the east is the Metroplex property (See Figure 2). Current on-site conditions are shown in Figure 3. To the southeast of the site is the Mill Brook drainage basin (See Figure 4).
In 1972, after the Chemical Insecticide Corporation ceased operations, the property was purchased by a real estate development firm. In 1975, on-site buildings and structures were razed in anticipation of future development. Presently the only structural formations remaining on-site are building foundations, flooring, and asphalt roadways. In addition, there are piles of refuse and debris scattered across the property. Numerous surface drainage channels, the result of erosion, are present on the site and flow eastward toward the Metroplex property, through various drainage channels, and ultimately into the Mill Brook. There is visible evidence to suggest the presence of an on-site subsurface wastewater disposal system with interconnecting sanitary and industrial lines terminating in a common collection point, although presently the configuration of this system is unknown.
The title search conducted for the property covers the period of time from 1885 to present, and indicates industrial activity at the site beginning in 1910. Former operations at the site included the production of rubber and rubber products, flares and munitions, and plastics. Chemical Insecticide acquired the property in 1954, and was incorporated in 1958. Throughout its period of operation (1958 through 1970), the CIC formulated, manufactured and handled a variety of insecticides, fungicides, rodenticides, and herbicides which included 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T) which is thought to have contained tetrachloro-dibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) as a by-product.
CIC accumulated a history of public health complaints, citations, chemical releases, and fires. The extent of on-site and off-site contamination was compounded by improper manufacturing and storage practices; arsenic-based herbicides were produced outdoors, wastewater and sludge by-products were stored in unlined on-site settling ponds, and contaminated cooling water from rotenone processing was discharged to surface drainage ditches. Numerous spills resulting from tanker truck activity and on-site bulk storage occurred throughout CIC's period of operation.
Past investigations at the CIC site have focused upon the presence of chlorinated dioxins, organic, and inorganic compounds. During the Hazard Ranking System (HRS) investigations, significant on-site and off-site contamination by Hazardous Substance List (HSL) compounds (most notably pesticides and metals) was documented. On June 7, 1983, as part of a statewide dioxin screening program the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) collected samples of surface and subsurface soils from drainage ditch sediment, lagoon backfill material, and areas of former production activities. The presence of 2,3,7,8TCDD was confirmed at concentrations up to 5.1 parts per billion (ppb).
On June 23, 1983, USEPA's Environmental Response Team collected samples of surface soils and detected 2,3,7,8-TCDD at a maximum concentration of 17 ppb. Additional sampling events were conducted by USEPA to determine the extent of off-site migration of TCDD from the CIC site. Of 68 off-site samples collected from nearby residential and commercial areas, only two (from the Mill Brook drainage basin) contained detectable concentrations of TCDD, and none were above USEPA's action level of 1 ppb.
In March of 1986, the ATSDR provided a consultation and reviewed the proposed workplan for the Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) for the CIC site. ATSDR recommended immediate measures be implemented to prevent continued off-site transport of contaminants through surface-water run-off. Additionally ATSDR reviewed proposed soil cleanup levels for 2,3,7,8-TCDD at the request of USEPA.
NJDOH (J. Pasqualo), and ATSDR (L. Voyce, B. Nelson; Region II) personnel visited the CIC site on July 19, 1990. (See Figure 3.) NJDOH and the Edison Township Health Officer visited the site on July 25, 1990. An additional site visit was conducted by NJDOH in January 1992. The site was well secured by a chain-link fence and posted with warning signs; unauthorized access is presently unlikely. The site contained evidence of past unauthorized access. The CIC site was apparently occasionally utilized as a dump before installation of the fence: a discarded automobile engine block and other refuse was observed.
Numerous surface drainage channels were observed on-site, generally flowing toward N.J. Interstate 287 (northeast) and toward the Metroplex property (southeast). These channels were apparently the product of erosion by surface water run-off and are a significant mechanism for the off-site migration of contaminants. The soils in the channels were visibly discolored and supported no vegetative growth.
Areas of the south eastern portion of the site contained soils exhibiting a distinct yellow color, suggesting the presence, in high concentration, of the herbicide Dinoseb. No plants or insects were observed in this area.
Populations potentially threatened by the site include the Metroplex property to the immediate southeast where two active bakeries and numerous small and mid-sized businesses are located, and residential areas approximately 900 feet to the west.
The site contained no apparent or discernible physical hazards. The terrain was flat, containing building foundations and asphalt roadway as evidence of past industrial activity.
The CIC property is part of a 94 acre area of industrial development. Within one mile of the site, approximately 50% of the land is zoned for residential use, 30% is zoned for commercial and industrial uses, 10% is zoned for recreational uses, and 10% is occupied by major highway and transportation systems. Located less than 1/4 mile to the west and north of the site are residential developments which are predominately single-family homes on quarter acre lots. The 1980 US census reported population in the vicinity of the site is estimated to be approximately 2,870 persons within a 1/2 mile radius. Additionally, 10,640 persons live within a one mile radius, 37,720 within a 2 mile radius, and 76,700 within a 3 mile radius of the site. Most recent estimates indicate a population of approximately 15,000 within 1/2 mile of the site, indicating rapid growth in the area. Five schools (four in the Borough of Metuchen and one in Edison Township) are located within a one mile radius of the site. The Metuchen Municipal Recreation Complex is located within one half mile of the site.
Asphalt and concrete cover approximately 36% of the area of the CIC site. The remainder of the site supports various herbaceous plants. There are no occurrences of significant ligneous growth on the CIC property, although scattered small oaks and shrubs do occur on surrounding properties. Stands of reeds and rushes occur on the eastern side of the site, which is lower in elevation and receives run-off during precipitation events. The site is of minimal value as a wildlife habitat due to its relatively small size, low diversity of species, and isolation from other habitat areas. With the exception of rabbits, the site does not support fauna which might enter the human food chain; there is no hunting either on-site or in the immediate environs.
The regions to the north, south, and west of the CIC site extensively developed for industrial, commercial, and transportation uses. To the south of the site exists abandoned commercial land which supports successional species of plants. Wildlife and vegetation in this area and the extended site environs are not likely to enter the human food chain.
The nearest permanent surface water to the CIC site is an unnamed creek which receives run-off from the various drainage channels associated with the site, and terminates into the Mill Brook approximately 1,800 feet away. Along the creek, land usage is a combination of residential and light commercial properties. On the eastern side of the unnamed creek is located the Renora Landfill, a N.J. NPL site. The unnamed creek and the Mill Brook are not used for recreation purposes, although contact with them is not restricted. These bodies have been repeatedly ecologically stressed and are devoid of fish or other aquatic species which might enter the human food chain.
There are multiple sources of health data in New Jersey. State and local data for health outcome information include the New Jersey State Cancer Registry, Birth Defects Registry, Vital Statistics Records, Renal Dialysis Network, and Hospital Discharge reports. Federal databases such as those maintained by the Department of Health and Human Services (National Cancer institute, NIOSH, and ATSDR) are not site-specific but may be used for comparison and evaluation purposes.
Community health concerns associated with the CIC site have been documented since 1960, when the Edison Fire Department responded to a chemical fire in the rotenone processing facility of the company. In 1963, NJDOH issued an order to CIC to cease the discharge of industrial wastes from wastewater lagoons into the unnamed creek and the Mill Brook. From 1966 through 1970, there were numerous complaints by area residents and owners of nearby businesses made to the Edison Department of Health and Human Resources (EDHHR) and the NJDOH regarding chemical odors emanating from the site. A noteworthy incident occurred in November 1969, when the Edison Division of Health and Human Resources responded to a report of the poisoning and subsequent death of four black angus cattle due to ingestion of surface water containing contaminants emanating from the site. Analysis of surface water from the unnamed creek and animal tissues indicated the presence of arsenic in lethal amounts.
Community interest in the CIC site increased in June 1983 when NJDEP and USEPA collected samples for a State-wide dioxin screening program. At that time, residents were primarily concerned with the possibility of off-site migration of dioxins into nearby residential areas. A public meeting conducted by USEPA in June 1983 was attended by hundreds of residents and resulted in extensive media attention.
In 1987, during development of the site Community Relations Plan, USEPA conducted interviews of residents, owners of nearby businesses, and local officials. Their concerns at that time may be summarized as follows:
- Residents and nearby business owners were concerned over the potential contamination of surrounding residential and commercial properties.
- Residents were concerned about possible dioxin exposure during USEPA remedial activities at the site.
- Residents and local officials expressed concern regarding the site's adverse impact to local property values.
- Residents expressed a desire for better communication regarding USEPA activities at the site.
In August 1989, USEPA conducted a public meeting to announce the initiation of a public comment period for the first operable unit (surface-water run-off) RI/FS and the Proposed Remedial Action Plan (PRAP). The comments received by USEPA at that time focused upon the following issues:
- Concerns were expressed regarding the nature and extent of on-site and off-site contaminants. Residents requested information regarding off-site transport mechanisms and referred specifically to contamination of the Mill Brook drainage basin and the periodic flooding of the adjacent Metroplex property (parking lot) by surface-water run-off during storm events.
- Residents inquired as to the possible effects of site contaminants upon previous on-site workers, the community at large, the surrounding lands, and area fauna.
- Residents questioned whether present off-site sampling was definitive, or if additional off-site sampling of residential areas for dioxins was necessary.
- Residents inquired whether a health study was planned for the site. USEPA indicated that ATSDR had indicated in August 1989 that no health study or investigation was planned at that time for the site.
- Residents expressed concern that remedial activities at the site would increase exposure to on-site contaminants.
- Residents inquired as to the suitability and effectiveness of the proposed interim remedy for surface run-off versus what would be necessary to effect a final cleanup of the site.
The Health Officer for the Edison Township Department of Health and Human Resources (EDHHR) was interviewed during the formulation of this Preliminary Public Health Assessment, and accompanied NJDOH personnel during a site visit to CIC. He provided the following summary of site-related health concerns and observations:
- Possible off-site contaminant migration by fugitive dust generation is of concern to local residents and area commercial establishments. Located on the Metroplex Property, immediately adjacent to the CIC fence, are two commercial bakeries which have the capacity to produce approximately 10,000 rolls per hour, and supply numerous fast food and supermarket clients. These operations have a substantial air intake requirement. Air intake filters have been tested by USEPA and found not to contain site related contamination. However, due to their proximity to the CIC site and the sensitivity of these operations (and area residents) to ambient air quality, future activities at the site should include close surveillance of off-site air quality with particular attention to suppression of fugitive dust and particulates.
- City water has been available to area residents since 1957.
- Area children routinely played on, and area residents scavenged, the CIC site in the 1970's, prior to its restriction.
- Extensive amounts of yellow stained soils and yellow water (presumed to be caused by the presence of Dinoseb) were encountered when the building foundations of the Metroplex property were under construction.
- Yellow/green snow has been observed on the Metroplex Property during the winters of 1985-1988.
- The EDHHS received occupational health complaints concerning past employees of CIC and has information sufficient to facilitate individual follow-up.
- EDHHS maintains an extensive, computerized well census (1 mile radius from the site) and is confident groundwater is not being used for potable/domestic purposes.
A public comment period for the CIC Preliminary Public Health Assessment was conducted from October 21 through November 20, 1991. Appendix 3 contains the resultant response summary.
To identify possible facilities that could contribute to contamination of environmental media near the Chemical Insecticide Corporation site, the ATSDR and the NJDOH searched the 1987 and 1988 Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (TRI). TRI is developed by the USEPA from the chemical release (air, water, and soil) information provided by certain industries. Upon review and evaluation, TRI was not found to contain information on toxic chemical release in Edison Township which was pertinent to the contaminants and pathways of concern at the CIC site.
The USEPA and NJDEP conducted site investigations of the CIC and adjacent properties between June 1983 and April 1985 to confirm the existence and extent of dioxin contamination resulting from pesticide and herbicide production by CIC. Those investigations resulted in USEPA authorizing a RI/FS to be conducted at the site in 1987.
Environmental sampling for the Remedial Investigation and Feasibility study was conducted at the CIC site and adjoining properties during the period from August 1987 to March 1988. The results of the RI/FS investigation were validated in November 1988, and are contained in the Draft Final Remedial Investigation Report (March 1990). A grid co-ordinate system (50 foot transects) was established to facilitate mapping of sample locations and presentation of analytical results. The CIC site has been extensively sampled across all environmental media, resulting in a comprehensive set of site data.
Generally, the findings of the Phase I and Phase II CIC Remedial Investigation, (Ebasco; March 1990) regarding site-related contamination may be summarized as follows:
- Arsenic, pesticides, and herbicides dominated on-site and off-site sample results. These compounds were detected at high frequency and at high concentrations above available ARAR's (Applicable or Relevant and Appropriate Requirements) across all environmental matrices, and were particularly prevalent in samples associated with surface and subsurface soils, borings, groundwater, and building remnants. On-site contaminant concentrations were usually 10 to 100 times greater than off-site concentrations.
- With the exception of two surface soil samples, concentrations of dioxins/furans were not detected at toxic levels exceeding available ARAR's (i.e. NJDEP ECRA cleanup objectives) in any environmental media on the CIC or adjacent properties.
- Volatile and semivolatile compounds were detected in environmental media. However, these compounds occurred at relatively low frequency and concentration, and were associated with two distinct and specific locations on the CIC site.
Surface soils on the CIC site are heavily contaminated with pesticides, arsenic, and herbicides. High levels of pesticides exist throughout the site with little attenuation or variation with depth (0-5 feet). Data from numerous (170) surface and subsurface soil samples (ranging in depth from 0 to 5 feet) indicated arsenic concentrations exceeding NJDEP ECRA criteria throughout the site to depths of 2 to 3 feet, and hot spots associated with previous pesticide drying areas. Herbicide contamination of surface and shallow subsurface soils was less extensive and widespread than that of arsenic and TCL pesticides, and was generally localized to the southeast corner of the property and the adjacent easement property.
Additionally, dioxins and furans (2,3,7,8-TCDD at a maximum of 1.38 ug/kg or ppb) are present in on-site surface soils. Volatile and semivolatile organic compounds were detected in on-site surface soils, but were associated with two distinct areas of the site and were not ubiquitous. Table 1 summarizes contaminants of concern detected in on-site surface soils.
Deep soil borings on-site revealed patterns of contamination similar to shallow/surface soil samples. Pesticides, herbicides and arsenic were detected in significant concentrations, and 2,3,7,8-TCDD was detected in 11 of 49 soil boring samples. TCL base/neutral and volatile organic compounds were detected in on-site soil borings. High levels of volatile organic compounds were liberated during soil borings at the former location of an on-site lagoon, and small explosions were reported at the 4-6 foot level during this operation. Table 2 summarizes the contaminants of concern detected in on-site and off site soil borings at the CIC site.
No permanent surface water exists on the CIC site although ponding occurs in depressions during prolonged or intense precipitation events. The site does exhibit obvious erosion channels which would serve to conduct surface water to the unnamed creek and Mill Brook which is discussed in the off-site surface water section of this Preliminary Public Health Assessment. Contaminants of concern in on-site surface water samples include herbicides (particularly Dinoseb: 2-sec-butyl-4,6 dinitrophenol), and inorganics (arsenic). Pesticides, furans, BNA extractable compounds, and volatile organic compounds were detected at relatively low concentrations. The compound 2,3,7,8-TCDD was not detected in on-site surface water. Table 3 summarizes the contaminants detected in on-site surface water samples.
On-site sediments are described in the RI report as those soils existing under standing water at the CIC site. On-site sediments contained high concentrations of pesticides, herbicides, and inorganics (arsenic, lead). Additionally, significant concentrations of dioxins/furans, BNA extractable and volatile organic compounds were detected. Table 4 summarized contaminants detected in on-site sediments at the CIC site.
The CIC site overlies two aquifers, the Pennsauken Formation which occurs on-site at a depth of approximately 40 feet and ranges from 8 to 40 feet in width, and the underlying Brunswick Formation. The two aquifers are separated by a relatively less permeable confining layer of clay and silt. During the Remedial Investigation, 22 monitoring wells and three piezometers were installed and sampled. All wells/piezometers were screened at various depths within the Pennsauken formation and confining layer, with the exception of six wells which were partially screened in the Brunswick formation. Thus, groundwater data primarily describes conditions in the overburden Pennsauken formation (shallow aquifer). The Remedial Investigation Report states that further hydrogeologic investigation of the bedrock (Brunswick) aquifer is desirable to detect the possible downward migration of contaminants from the overburden aquifer through the intervening confining layer.
On-site ground water is heavily contaminated with pesticides (DDT and metabolites), herbicides (Dinoseb), and inorganics (arsenic). Additionally, elevated levels of BNA extractable and volatile organic compounds were detected. Hepta CDD/CDF and Octa CDD/CDF were detected in on-site ground water, but 2,3,7,8-TCDD/TCDF was not detected. Table 5 summarizes contaminants detected in on-site ground water and available Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCL's).
High volume air sampling for inhalable (<10 microns) and total particulates (for pesticides, PCDD's/PCDF's, and inorganics only) was conducted on the CIC site as part of the Remedial Investigation. This sampling program was designed to provide: (A) data describing background levels present at the site, and (B) data describing conditions during operational (soil disturbance) periods. Resuspension of dust at the site was found to occur with wind speeds of approximately 12 miles per hour. Background sampling detected no pesticides or PCDD's/PCDF's in either inhalable or total particulates. Inorganics were present in inhalable particulates (arsenic: 6.8 ng/m3, lead: 68.7 ng/m3). Operational sampling results showed significant resuspension of pesticides (4-4-DDT) and TCDD/TCDF congeners. Specific isomer ratios of TCDD's/TCDF's were not quantified. There was no operational period inorganic data reported in the RI. Table 6 summarizes contaminants detected in on-site total particulate operational air sampling. There are no federal or state ARAR's for contaminants of concern at the CIC site against which comparison of air monitoring data can be made.
Above surface residual structures present on the CIC site fall into two categories: asphalt roadways and concrete foundation remnants. Analysis of asphalt cores detected high levels of pesticides and herbicides in virtually all samples, and PCDD's/PCDF's (including 2,3,7,8-TCDD) in approximately half the samples taken. Wipe samples (analyzed for pesticides, herbicides, inorganics, PCDD's/PCDF's, and BNA extractable compounds) of concrete structures detected pesticides and PCDD's/PCDF's in approximately half of the samples. Arsenic (6,740 ug/ft2 max.) and lead (6,000 ug/ft2 max.) were also detected in all wipe samples. Table 7 summarizes residual structure contaminants at the CIC site.
Off-site surface soil sampling was not conducted at the CIC site as part of the Remedial Investigation. Pesticides and dioxins/furans were found in significant concentrations in off-site deep soil borings. However, 2,3,7,8-TCDD was not detected in off-site samples during the RI/FS. Similarly, herbicides were not detected. Inorganics (particularly arsenic), TCL base/neutral compounds, and volatile organic compounds were detected, but at diminished concentration and frequency as compared to on-site samples. Table 2 summarizes contaminants detected in off-site soil boring analysis.
Off-site surface-water features impacted by the site include various natural and man-made drainage channels which feed the unnamed creek, the creek itself, and the Mill Brook. Surface water run-off originating at the site during heavy or prolonged precipitation events has historically shown evidence of the presence of herbicides (Dinoseb) and arsenic. Off-site analysis of permanent surface water samples detected pesticides, herbicides, inorganic and volatile organic compounds. Based upon the distribution and concentration of volatile organics on the site and the multitude of non-site related sources in the environs of the CIC site, the presence of volatile organic compounds in off-site surface water could not be conclusively attributed to on-site sources. No dioxins or furans were detected in off-site surface water. Table 3 summarizes contamination detected in off site surface water samples.
Activities at the CIC site have historically affected sediments downgradient of the site. Contaminants of concern include inorganics (arsenic, lead), and several BNA extractable compounds. Pesticides and a herbicide (Silvex) were found at relatively low concentration and frequency as compared to on-site samples. furans were not detected in off-site sediment samples, and only one dioxin congener, Octa CDD, was detected off-site. This congener carries a toxicity weighting factor of 0.0 as compared to the 2,3,7,8 TCDD isomer. A PCB (Arochlor 1260) was detected in high concentrations in a few off-site sediment samples, but it's occurrence was limited to a specific location and not attributed to the CIC site. Likewise the presence of toluene in off-site sediments, in concentrations exceeding those found on-site, is considered to be an anomaly and not attributable to on-site contamination. It is unclear whether PAH's in off-site sediments (anthracene, for example) are entirely site-related as they occur in concentrations greater than those found on-site, and were detected in sediments in a part of the unnamed creek which has been subject to various oil discharges in the past. Table 4 summarizes the contaminants detected in off-site sediments.
Off-site ground-water data are available only from the adjacent Allied, Metroplex, and Berger properties. Pesticides and herbicides were detected in off-site downgradient monitoring wells at levels 1 to 4 orders of magnitude less that observed on-site concentrations, indicating off-site migration of pesticides and herbicides. Inorganics (arsenic, lead) were detected in significant concentrations. Dioxins and furans were not detected in off-site groundwater samples. BNA extractable and volatile organic compounds (except for trichloroethene) were not detected in significant concentration in off-site ground-water samples. Trichloroethene concentrations were considered anomalous, and not site related. Table 5 summarizes off-site ground-water contaminants and available MCL's (Maximum Contaminant Levels; promulgated by NJDEP or USEPA).
Off-site air sampling for contaminants of concern at the CIC site was not performed during the remedial investigation.
In preparing this Preliminary Public Health Assessment, ATSDR and NJDOH rely on the information provided in the referenced documents and assumes that adequate quality control measures were followed with regard to chain-of-custody, laboratory procedures, and data reporting. The validity of analysis and conclusions drawn for this health assessment is determined by the availability and reliability of the referenced information.
Data utilized in formulation of this Preliminary Public Health Assessment were subject to level 4 data quality objectives which require the greatest amount of analytical documentation and quality control/quality assurance methods. Additionally, analytical results were validated according to USEPA criteria.
Physically, the CIC site is relatively flat and featureless with no steep grades except for the boundary with Interstate 287. Residual structures on-site present no physical hazards, although the subsurface septic system reported to be on-site may pose a hazard if unfilled or structurally compromised. The CIC site is secured by means of a steel chain-link fence and is well posted. Unauthorized access to the site is unlikely.
Based upon analysis of factors relating to the mobility and persistence of the classes of contaminants of concern found at the CIC site, the environmental media in which they were detected, and conditions at the site and its environs, the following summary of completed and potential exposure pathways of concern may be made:
Environmental pathways of concern at the CIC site are associated with soils, surface water (in the form of run-off), sediments, and fugitive dusts. On-site soils at the site are heavily contaminated with pesticides, herbicides, and inorganics. Of immediate concern is surface-water run-off transporting contaminated sediments and water-soluble contaminants to off-site areas. A potential environmental pathway is associated with fugitive dusts which may arise from exposed on site soils, or result from future remedial activities which disturb on site soils.
Based upon evaluation of documented environmental pathways of concern and review of current conditions existing at the CIC site and its environs, principal completed and potential exposure pathways are associated with off-site surface water (runoff), off-site sediments, and fugitive dusts.
The chlorinated pesticides detected at the CIC site are highly persistent chemicals which exhibit a strong tendency to adsorb to soils, sediments and organic matter. Observed concentrations of pesticides in on-site surface and vadose soils suggest soil sorption is a primary environmental process affecting the fate of pesticides detected at CIC. Thus, mechanisms which act to transport soils will serve to promote off-site migration of soil bound contaminants.
Many of the herbicides and inorganics (particularly arsenic) detected at CIC exhibit a relatively high degree of solubility in water, and data indicate these are leaching out of soils and into ground and surface waters. For example, off-site transport of the compound Dinoseb is evidenced by its characteristic yellow color which is imparted to surface water run-off and snow, both of which have been observed on the adjacent Metroplex property. This compound is readily soluble in most organic solvents, and readily forms water soluble salts with inorganic and organic bases. Documentation (arsenic poisoning of cattle drinking creek water) provided by the Edison Department of Health and Human Resources (EDHHR) suggests that arsenic contamination of the unnamed creek has been a historical problem (during CIC's operational years) whose magnitude is not reflected in RI data.
Surface-water run-off originating on the CIC site ultimately enters the unnamed creek which is a tributary of the Mill Brook. During periods of heavy precipitation, run-off has occurred outside of the established channels and entered adjacent properties. In particular, the Metroplex property (immediately south/east of CIC) has been the recipient of visibly contaminated (Dinoseb) water and, presumably, contaminated sediments. This industrial park contains numerous businesses and consequently a large number of persons that have probably been exposed by direct contact with soluble or sediment-borne contaminants. Additionally, contaminants transported to asphalt lots and surrounding soils may precipitate out of solution as conditions dry and be subject to propagation as dusts which may be ingested or inhaled.
Off-site sediments exhibited concentrations of inorganic and BNA extractable compounds which constitute an environmental pathway of concern. Dioxins and furans are very persistent in the environment, and generally demonstrate a high sorptive affinity to clays and organic matter, low solubility, low volatility, low reactivity, and a potential for bioaccumulation. Although PCDD's and PCDF's have been detected on-site (including the isomer 2,3,7,8-TCDD), data indicate these compounds are associated with on-site soils and residual structures, and are not migrating off site via ground water, surface water, and sediments (excepting Octa CDD). Measurable levels of PCDD's/PCDF's were detected during operational (soil disturbance) particulate air sampling, suggesting air transport of fugitive dusts may be a pathway of concern for these compounds during remedial activities.
In 1983, the USEPA sampled for 2,3,7,8-TCDD in five air filter dust samples from the Metroplex Plant. Dioxins were not found at limits of detection ranging from 0.28 - 0.65 ug/kg. However, operational air sampling which has demonstrated suspension of particulates suggests that fugitive dusts may constitute a potential exposure pathway. Dust generation during soil disturbing activities on site may be of particular concern to the adjacent Metroplex and residential properties.
Fugitive dusts originating from exposed or disturbed soils on site may be directly inhaled by residents or workers in the environs of the CIC site. Such dusts may also be deposited on domestic and commercial structures, automobiles and machinery, and on lawns and gardens. The presence of two high volume bakeries on the Metroplex property which utilize ambient air in their production process is a potential human exposure pathway to contaminants originating on site which are transportable by air mechanisms.
With the exception of fugitive dusts, contamination of ambient air, under current site conditions, has not been documented. Although some of the chlorinated pesticides and volatile organic compounds detected on-site do demonstrate a relatively high vapor pressure and would be expected to volatilize (i.e., evaporate), only particulate air sampling was conducted at the site. Thus, there are insufficient data to confirm or reject volatilization of on-site contaminants as an environmental pathway of concern. If on-site soils are disturbed during remedial activities, significant volatilization of pesticides, semi-volatile, and volatile organic chemicals may result.
Various drainage channels, the unnamed tributary creek, and Mill Brook have in the past, and continue to receive, surface-water run-off from the CIC site. Although these features are not widely used for recreational purposes or as a potable water supply, they flow past residential areas and are unrestricted. Human exposure through contact with contaminated water and sediments is possible, although concentrations decrease as a function of distance from the site.
However, during CIC's operational period, concentrations of contaminants in surface waters and sediments may have been substantially higher, and thus constituted a more serious human exposure pathway. The unnamed creek and Mill Brook do not show evidence of aquatic life above common insects, which implies a minimal impact to the human food chain.
While on-site media (soils, surface water, sediments, residual structures) are heavily contaminated and could be associated with significant potential human exposure pathways; humans are not frequently on-site. Access to the site is effectively restricted, and trespassing by non-authorized personnel is highly unlikely. Due to the nature and extent of contaminants detected at the CIC site, authorized personnel entering the area are exposed by all the principal routes (ingestion, inhalation, dermal absorption) and should strictly conform to current site safety plans and employ adequate personal protective practices.
Adjacent, off-site surface soils were not sampled; therefore, there are insufficient data to confirm or reject off-site surface soils as an environmental pathway of concern.
While there is extensive data describing ground-water quality of the overburden Pennsauken (shallow) aquifer and the semi-permeable separation layer, there are no data specifically reflecting the quality or hydrogeologic characteristics of the Brunswick (deep) aquifer. Such data are necessary to confirm or reject ground water from this aquifer as an environmental pathway of concern.
Although ground-water quality of the Pennsauken aquifer has been severely impacted by on-site contamination, ground water does not presently constitute an environmental pathway of concern as this aquifer is not utilized for potable/domestic purposes. All residents in the area of the CIC site utilize public water supplies, and there are presently no known, active industrial wells in the area. According to EDHHR, the well nearest to the site is located upgradient, 1/2 mile away.
Regarding the CIC site, the public health implications of the completed and potential human exposure pathways are summarized as follows:
Dermal exposure to the herbicide 2-sec-butyl-4,6-dinitrophenol (Dinoseb) transported by surface-water run-off to Metroplex property and drainage channels associated with the site is a concern. As indicated in Table 3, Dinoseb concentrations of up to 16,000 ug/l have been detected in standing water on the CIC site. When standing water is present in sufficient quantity on-site, as would happen during a heavy rain or during a significant snowfall, water run-off to the adjacent Metroplex property and existing drainage channels occurs. During such an event, dermal contact with significant concentrations of the compound by persons and employees utilizing the parking lot serving those companies located on the Metroplex property is probable. Dinoseb exhibits acute dermal (and oral) toxicity. Although human data are limited, dermal contact is thought to produce rapid effects including: vomiting, irritation of the mucosa and eyes, and dermatitis. Dinoseb is classified as a teratogen, and has been designated as a probable carcinogen based upon animal studies, although its human carcinogenic potential has not been classified by USEPA. Chronic health effects cited in the general literature include decreased fertility, decreased renal and hepatic function, and the promotion of cataracts (Hallenbeck, 1985; Hayes, 1982; and Morgan, 1989).
Arsenic, associated with both surface-water run-off and sediments from the CIC site is presently also a concern. The public health implications of on-site and off-site arsenic likely greater in the past during CIC's operational period (surface-water run-off) and before the site was fenced (when exposure to persons on-site from soils and dusts was possible). Presently, contact with run-off or sediments containing arsenic by persons living downgradient of the site, or present on the Metroplex property, is possible, although ingestion of surface water or contact with creek sediments is not a likely or common occurrence at this time. A documented human carcinogen, arsenic is primarily absorbed into the body through the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts; its dermal toxicity is relatively low. At low concentrations acute effects associated with arsenic include dermatitis and irritation of the mucosa. Chronic health effects associated with arsenic can include adverse pregnancy outcomes (evidence of fetotoxicity and teratogenicity), nervous system and hepatic damage, and cardiovascular changes (ATSDR Toxicological Profile, March, 1989).
Several polynuclear aromatic (PNA) compounds have been associated with off-site sediments collected from established surface-water drainage channels. Such compounds are generally associated with oils and petroleum products and are also products of pyrolysis. Their presence, in concentrations exceeding those observed in on-site soils and sediments, suggests an origin other than the CIC site; the drainage channels (the unnamed creek) in question have been subject to oil and petroleum product spills in the past. Contact with these sediments by area residents is possible, but not likely to be frequent. These compounds (anthracene, phenanthrene, benzanthracene, fluoranthrene, pyrene) generally exhibit a relatively low dermal toxicity. Cancer and other health effects have been associated with repeated long-term exposure to PAH's, but such exposure (through contact with off-site sediments) is not likely based upon current conditions at the site and its immediate environs.
DDT (4,4'-dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane), DDE, and DDD, and the hexachlorocyclohexanes (alpha, beta, delta, and gamma BHC's) in site soils represent a potentially significant public health concern. DDT, DDE, and DDE are primarily absorbed by humans through direct ingestion (of contaminated foods), and ingestion of respirable dusts; they exhibit a relatively low dermal toxicity. The potential public health concern posed by these compounds at this site is related to the air dispersal of contaminated dusts into adjacent residential and commercial areas (e.g., the bakeries in the Metroplex property). While windblown contaminated dust, at the concentrations presently documented, present a relatively minimal public health threat, the potential for dust generation and dispersal will likely increase as remedial activities take place on the CIC site. DDT, DDE, and DDD (and organochlorine pesticides in general) interfere with the axonal transmission of nerve impulses, and disrupt the function of the central nervous system. These compounds have an affinity for adipose tissue and tend to bioaccumulate. Acute health effects of exposure to DDT, DDE, and DDD include abnormal (tingling) sensations which may develop into loss of muscle control and tremors. Exposure to high concentrations may lead to severe convulsions. Chronic health effects include renal and hepatic injury. Additionally, these compounds are probable human carcinogens and are considered fetotoxic. Prolonged and/or repeated exposure to low levels may induce irritation of the eyes, skin, and nose (ATSDR Toxicological Profile, December, 1989).
Similarly, the hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCH's; presented in the RI data as alpha, beta, gamma, and delta BHC) were detected in high concentration in on-site soils and sediments. These compounds may be of increased public health concern to area residents and employees on the Metroplex property, during on-site activities that generate fugitive dusts or disturb soils, facilitating volatilization. HCH's may be absorbed by humans directly by inhalation of vapors, or through the ingestion of contaminated dusts. HCH's also demonstrate a high lipid solubility; hence, they can be absorbed directly across the skin. Therefore, dermal or oral contact with these compounds is a potential concern. Acute health effects of exposure to HCH's include CNS disruption at lower concentrations and loss of voluntary muscle control, seizures, and convulsions at higher concentrations. The HCH's are carcinogenic in animals and are suspected human carcinogens. Chronic exposure to HCH's may result in liver damage, and aplastic anemia, as well as decreased fertility in females (ATSDR Toxicological Profile, December 1989).
Health outcome data for the community surrounding the Chemical Insecticide Corporation site were not evaluated. Although completed exposure pathways for on-site contaminants exist or did exist in the past, primarily through contact with on-site soils and surface water run-off, the characteristics of the exposure pathway and transient nature of the exposed population at the Metroplex Property are such that analysis of available health outcome databases, which are residence based, would not yield useful information.
The community health concerns associated with the Chemical Insecticide Corporation site, focus upon three general categories: A) CIC's operational period, B) the USEPA dioxin screening in 1983, C) the interim measure to prevent continuing off-site transport of site contaminants identified in the 1989 ROD.
CIC's operational period was characterized by history of complaints to the EDHHR regarding chemical odors, and citations to the company regarding discharge of industrial wastes to lagoons on-site. Evidence presented by the EDHHR suggests that the off-site migration of arsenic resulting from careless uncovered production and storage practices and surface-water run-off (into drainage channels and ultimately into the unnamed creek) was a serious public health problem. The deaths, due to arsenic poisoning, of four cattle in November 1969, after ingesting water from the unnamed creek, indicates contamination in concentrations of serious concern for humans. The health impact of past exposure to arsenic and other site contaminants is unclear and difficult to quantify at this time. CIC ceased operations in 1970, and the plant was razed in 1975. With the removal of on-site storage piles and the closure of waste lagoons, arsenic concentrations in surface water run-off and in the creek have evidently decreased from what must have been much higher levels. There are no available data describing surface water quality prior to 1970.
In 1983, the CIC site was sampled for dioxins as part of a Statewide dioxin screening program. The presence of dioxins (including 2,3,7,8-TCDD) in on-site soils, and in off-site soils, sediments and air filter dust samples was confirmed by USEPA. Residents and the EDHHR expressed concern regarding the possibility of dioxin migration to nearby residential areas. Dioxin migration at the CIC site may occur through the dispersal of fugitive dusts and through transport of sediments by surface-water run-off. USEPA's selected alternative (capping the site) for operable unit one (surface water run-off) when implemented, will effectively prevent off-site migration of dioxins by these mechanisms. Residents have expressed concern regarding increased dust generation during remedial activities which disturb on-site soils, and the necessity for effective dust suppression measures and monitoring. Results of operational phase air sampling for particulates, conducted during the RI/FS, confirm the possibility of fugitive dust dispersal of site contaminants during soil disturbing activities.
Surface-water transportation of on-site contaminants to the Metroplex property and to the unnamed creek and Mill Brook Drainage basin has been identified as a primary health concern by the EDHHR and area residents. During heavy rains run-off apparently contaminated with Dinoseb (which imparts a characteristic yellow color) has been observed at the CIC site. These reports exemplify a continuing condition of possible off-site migration of contaminants which would be directly addressed and ameliorated with the implementation of the recommended alternative proposed in the ROD.
Residents have expressed concern regarding contact with on-site soils during the period from 1970 when CIC ceased operations, to the early 1980's when access to the site was effectively restricted. Reports by the EDHHR of the site being utilized as a recreation area suggest human exposure to on-site contaminants likely occurred during this time. The nature and health implications of such exposure is presently impossible to quantify. The CIC site is currently secured, making unauthorized access and contact with on-site contaminants unlikely.
Based upon information reviewed, the CIC site is considered to be a public health hazard because humans have probably been exposed to hazardous substances at concentrations that may result in adverse health effects. As noted in the Pathways Analysis sections above, human exposure to site-related contaminants is probably occurring and has probably occurred in the past. Contaminants (Dinoseb, arsenic) are migrating off-site borne by surface water runoff during precipitation events, and are entering the Metroplex property and the unnamed creek probably in sufficient concentration as to constitute a public health hazard.
Off-site dispersal of contaminants contained in on-site soils via fugitive dusts represents a potential public health concern. Of particular concern are nearby residential areas, and the bakeries present immediately adjacent to the site on the Metroplex property, which may be impacted by site activities involving soil disturbance.
Insufficient data exist to fully characterize the nature and extent of deep (Brunswick) aquifer contamination.
Off-site transport of site contaminants will be addressed in a manner consistent with the protection of the public health by implementing the selected interim remedial action presented in the Record of Decision for the CIC site dated September 28, 1990.
The interim remedial action for the CIC site selected in the Record of Decision for the first operable unit (run-off control) should be initiated as soon as is practical. The remedial activities should be conducted in such a fashion as to minimize the generation and migration of fugitive dusts in recognition of nearby sensitive populations and commercial operations, and their proximity to the site.
A determination of the nature and extent of deep (Brunswick) aquifer contamination should be conducted and data evaluated for possible public health implications.
HEALTH ACTIVITIES RECOMMENDATION PANEL (HARP) RECOMMENDATION
The CIC site, Edison Township, New Jersey, has been evaluated by ATSDR's Health Activities Recommendation Panel for appropriate follow-up with respect to health activities. Although exposure to surface water contaminated with Dinoseb is probably occurring and has probably occurred in the past, this site is not being considered for follow-up health activities at this time because the population probably exposed can not be characterized, primarily due to the transient nature of persons using the Metroplex property. However, ATSDR strongly recommends that the exposure to surface water cease by implementing the mitigative measures specified in the USEPA Record of Decision. If these measures can not be promptly implemented, then sampling of surface-water run-off at potential points of exposure and under precipitation conditions, is recommended to determine the nature and concentrations of contaminants which are apparently migrating off site.
The Public Health Action Plan for the Chemical Insecticide Corporation site contains a description of actions to be taken by the ATSDR and the NJDOH at and in the vicinity of the site subsequent to the completion of this health assessment.
Public Health Action Taken
- The ATSDR and the NJDOH have communicated to USEPA, through written communication and personal meetings with the remedial project manager, continued concern regarding the potential human exposure pathway associated with surface water runoff into the Metroplex property, the unnamed creek and the Mill Brook.
Public Health Actions Planned
- The ATSDR and the NJDOH will review deep (Brunswick) aquifer data, estimated to be available from USEPA in 1992. This information will be analyzed to determine the public health implications of possible deep aquifer ground-water contamination. If necessary, conclusions and recommendations of this health assessment will be modified to reflect the implications of this new information.
- The ATSDR and the NJDOH will review, within the context of potential public health implications, proposals for and results of additional investigations of the CIC site which may be considered by USEPA.
Furthermore the USEPA has indicated they will take the following actions related to the recommendations in the health assessment:
- The USEPA has concurred with the ATSDR/NJDOH recommendation to perform human exposure point sampling after the advent of warm weather (when contact with the unnamed creek is most likely), provided there is evidence of surface water run-off and the site has not yet been capped as specified in the Record of Decision.
- The USEPA will take appropriate dust suppression measures during remedial activities to minimize fugitive dusts in recognition of nearby sensitive populations and commercial operations.
This Preliminary Public Health Assessment was prepared by the New Jersey State Department of Health under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). It is in accordance with approved methodology and procedures existing at the time the health assessment was initiated.
Gregory V. Ulirsch
Technical Project Officer, SPS, RPB, DHAC
The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation (DHAC), ATSDR, has reviewed this Preliminary Public Health Assessment and concurs with its findings.
Division Director, DHAC, ATSDR
Preparer of Report:
Project Manager; ATSDR Health Assessment Project
Environmental Health Service
New Jersey Department of Health
ATSDR Regional Representative:
Senior Regional Representative
ATSDR Technical Project Officer:
Gregory V. Ulirsch
Environmental Health Specialist
Remedial Programs Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Arsenic. Atlanta: U.S. Public Health Service, March, 1989.
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for p,p'-DDT, p,p'-DDE, p,p'-DDD. Atlanta: U.S. Public Health Service, December, 1989.
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Alpha-, Beta-, Gamma-, Delta- Hexachlorocyclohexane. Atlanta: U.S. Public Health Service, December, 1989.
Clayton, G.D. and Clayton, F.E. Patty's Industrial Hygiene And Toxicology. 3rd Edition. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1981.
Hallenbeck, W.H. and Cunningham-Burns K.M. Pesticides and Human Health. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1985.
Hayes, Wayland J. Jr. Pesticides Studied in Man. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1982.
Morgan, Donald P. Recognition and Management of Pesticide Poisonings. 4th. ed. Washington, D.C.: USEPA (540/9-88-001), 1989.
Verschueren, Karel. Handbook of Environmental Data On Organic Chemicals. 2nd. ed. New York: Vannostrand Reinhold Company, 1983.
Health Officer; Edison Township Department of Health and Human Resources.
Remedial Investigation Report: Chemical Insecticide Corporation. EBASCO Services Incorporated. USEPA Contract 68-01-7250. March, 1990.
Chemical Insecticide Corporation: Record of Decision For The First Operable Unit. USEPA Region 2. September, 1989.
Community Relations Plan. Chemical Insecticide Corporation Site. TAMS Consultants Inc. USEPA Contract 68-S9-2001. 1987.