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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

CURCIO SCRAP METAL, INCORPORATED

SADDLE BROOK TOWNSHIP, BERGEN COUNTY, NEW JERSEY


ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION AND OTHER HAZARDS

Comparison values for health assessment are contaminant concentrations in specific media that are used to select contaminants for further evaluation. These values include Environmental Media Evaluation Guides (EMEG's), Cancer Risk Evaluation Guides (CREG's), and other relevant guidelines. CREG's are estimated contaminant concentrations based on a one excess cancer in a million persons exposed over a lifetime. CREG's are calculated from EPA's cancer slope factors. EPA's maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) is a drinking water health goal. EPA believes that the MCLG represents a level that no known or anticipated adverse effect on the health of persons should occur which allows an adequate margin of safety. Proposed Maximum contaminant Level Goals (PMCLG's) are MCLG's that are being proposed. Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCL's) represent contaminant concentrations that USEPA deems protective of public health (Considering the availability and economics of water treatment technology) over a lifetime (70 years) at an exposure rate of 2 liters of water per day. While MCL's are regulatory concentrations, PMCLG's and MCLG's are not. USEPA's Reference Dose (RfD) and Reference Concentration (RfC) are estimates of the daily exposure to a contaminant that is unlikely to cause adverse health effects.

The Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (TRI), developed by the USEPA, estimates the annual release of toxic substances into the environment (Air, water and soil) by industries. The NJDOH conducted a search of the TRI, from 1987 through 1989, to identify facilities that had toxic chemical releases near the site and the Township of Saddle River. Three facilities reported emissions of chemicals. Fein Container released 71 pounds of xylenes and 1 pound of toluene in 1987 and 5 pounds of lead in 1988. Coining Corporation of America released 250 pounds of copper in 1987 and 22.5 pounds of 1,1,1-trichloroethane in 1988. Seventy pounds of tetrachloroethylene was released by Custom Optics in 1987. These releases are comprised of chemicals different from those found at the Curcio site. Therefore, additional exposure to site-related chemicals from these releases is unlikely.

A. ON-SITE CONTAMINATION

Refer to page 2 in the Preliminary Health Assessment document for Saddle Brook Township, July 7, 1988, for basic information regarding on-site contamination (Appendix B). Further sampling was done subsequent to the Preliminary Health Assessment.

Soil

The USEPA remediated the East lot in January 1994 by excavating the contaminated soil, replacing it with clean-fill, and then placing a concrete cap over the entire lot. Until the East Lot was paved it was the most contaminated section of the site. The overburden soil extends to a depth of about 16 feet in the East Lot. The overburden soil in the top four to six feet contained reworked natural soil mixed with various fill material and scrap metal fragments. Saturated soil, due to the shallow aquifer, started at a depth between six to eight feet below the surface of the East Lot. The soil on the East Lot was continually mixed and regraded as a normal part of the salvaging operation. Thus, the soil should have been fairly homogeneous.

More than 50 on-site soil samples were taken for the RI/FS in July and August 1989 (8). Most of the samples were taken from the East Lot either at a depth of 0 to 2 feet, from 2 to 4 feet or 4 to 6 feet. Analyses found that the contaminants were predominantly PCB's, volatile organic chemicals (VOC's) and inorganic chemicals at all depths. The range of PCB's at 0 to 2 feet ranged from 0 to 6200 ppm with an average of 630.9 ppm for 28 samples. All but one sample was found to contain PCB's. For lead, the range was 93.3 to 11,300 ppm for 21 soil samples, with an average of 5393.7 ppm. All samples contained lead.

During the same period, the NJDEP sampled the South Lot at six locations for VOC's and for PCB's at a depth up to six feet. The results were determined via gas chromatography in a mobile field laboratory. The maximum concentrations found at the South Lot were 0.88 ppm of VOC's and 13.5 ppm of PCB's. Analyses were not performed for either inorganic or base/neutral compounds. No samples were taken under the warehouse on the South Lot or in the area between the East Lot and the West Lot. Only limited sampling was conducted at the West Lot, with maximum concentrations of 0.045 ppm of VOC's and 3.2 ppm of PCB's being found. Table I lists the chemicals found in on-site soil samples that were above their comparison values prior to remediation.

Lead and PCB's were detected in bulk samples taken throughout the site by OSHA. Samples ranged from not detectable to 1.0%, for lead and not detectable to 265 ppm, for PCB's. Lead wipe samples ranged from not detectable to 91 µg.

Oil-laden soil is suspected to have been moved, in 1983, from the East Lot to the South Lot and then moved back to the East Lot. Two samples in the East Lot were found to contain total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) at concentrations that are considered to be hazardous by the NJDEP, 30,000 ppm. One sample contained 31,000 ppm of TPH at a depth of 2 to 6 feet and the other sample contained 53,000 ppm of TPH at a depth of to 6 feet. The warehouse was built on the South Lot, in 1985, covering the area which might have contained this soil. Contamination occurring as a result of soil piles having been moved around the site is of concern and has not been adequately investigated.

Table I - CONTAMINANTS FOUND IN PRE-REMEDIATION EAST LOT SOIL SAMPLES

Contaminant MaximumConc. (ppm) Depth (Inches) Comparison Values
ppm Source
Lead 39300.0 0-2 *N/A
Mercury 466.0 0-2 N/A
PCB's 6200.0 0-2 0.1 **CREG
Trichloroethylene 6.4 2-4 N/A

*N/A - Not Available
**CREG - ATSDR Cancer Risk Evaluation Guide

Air

On-site air sampling was performed by OSHA at the request of the USEPA, from July 1990 to March 1991. No air samples were found to be contaminated above OSHA limits.

Air samples were collected by OSHA in 1992, and analyzed for lead, mercury, and PCB's. One lead level which was taken near a torch cutter, was 73.28 µg/m3, which exceed the OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) of 50 µg/m3. OSHA investigators believe that this elevated level was due to the material that was being cut. All of the other air lead levels were below 12 µg/m3. Neither mercury nor PCB's were found in any air samples.

Groundwater

Groundwater samples were taken from three on-site monitoring wells in July and August 1989 (8). Some VOC's, non-volatiles and metals were detected in the monitoring well samples at concentrations below their comparison values. Table II lists those compounds found between 4 to 6 feet deep that were above their comparison values. The monitoring well samples were taken from the shallow aquifer and not from the deep bedrock Brunswick Formation aquifer. The monitoring wells were driven to a depth of 6 feet but did not appear to hit the saturated zone. At six feet, the soil was wet but not saturated. However, it is probable that the superficial aquifer has been contaminated.

Table II - CONTAMINANTS FOUND IN ON-SITE GROUNDWATER SAMPLES

Contaminant Maximum
Conc. (ppm)
Depth (Inches) Comparison Values
ppm Source
Bis(2-ethylhexyl)-phthalate 44.0 4-6 0.0025 *CREG
Cadmium 77.8 4-6 0.007 **EMEG
Lead 5280.0 4-6 0.05 +MCL
Mercury 12.3 4-6 ++N/A
Polychlorinated biphenyls
(PCB's)
47.0 4-6 0.00018 EMEG
Selenium 2.2 4-6 0.11 EMEG

*CREG - ATSDR Cancer Risk Evaluation Guide
**EMEG - EPA Environmental Media Evaluation Guide
+MCL - EPA Maximum Contaminant Level
++N/A - Not Available

Biological Monitoring

NIOSH sampled the blood of 17 workers at the Curcio site for lead and PCB's In June 1993. Blood lead levels ranged between 4 and 39.8 µg/dl, with a mean of 19.9 µg/dl. The blood samples were below OSHA's current limit of 40 µg/dl. Four workers had blood lead levels greater than 25 µg/dl, OSHA's limit for the year 2000. PCB levels ranged from less than 1 to 65.3 ppb, with a mean of 7.5 ppb. All but one worker, with a serum PCB level of 65.3 ppb, had PCB levels below 14 PPB which is slightly higher than that for the mean general population (<10 ppb).

B. OFF-SITE CONTAMINATION

Soil

Soil samples were taken along Lanza Avenue, north of the site during the phase I Remedial Investigation in July and August, 1989 (8). PCB's were found to be at a maximum level (3.6 ppm) in sample cores, at a depth of 0 to 2 feet. This was the only chemical that was above it's respective health comparison value. The maximum concentration of lead, 107 ppm, was detected at a depth of 0 to 2 feet. There is no comparison value for lead in soil. This indicates that there was some migration of the contaminants off-site. No off-site soil samples were taken at private homes.

Groundwater

PCB's were detected at concentrations of 3.2 ppm of arochlor 1248 and 5.6 ppm of arochlor 1260, in a private well water sample (Appendix B). However, the location of the well was not reported in the RI. There are four private wells in the vicinity of the site, two of which were in use in 1988 (Appendix B). However, city water is available for all residences and businesses. The wells are probably being used for industrial purposes rather than as a source of drinking water. Also, the Remedial Investigation (8) mentions a well adjacent to the Curcio Site. One up-gradient monitoring well was installed on Lanza Lane, but there were no results because the monitoring well was ruined by vandals (8).

Sediment and Surface Water

Oil was found in a nearby pond 200 feet east of the property on May 15, 1985. The property was inspected in June 1985, by the NJDEP who determined that CISC had a spill of approximately 200 gallons of hydraulic fluid that flowed off-site. On August 8, 1989, CIS had a PCB-contaminated oil spill of undetermined quantity which also probably flowed off-site into surface waters. Insufficient numbers of off-site sediment and surface water samples have been taken to determine the extent of pollution for these media.

Air

Off-site air sampling was not performed.

C. QUALITY ASSURANCE/QUALITY CONTROL

The NJDOH relied on the information provided by the NJDEP for quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) information. Thus, it must be assumed that the proper procedures were followed with regard to chain-of-custody, laboratory analyses and data reporting if there were no negative declarations. Environmental samples were analyzed under the guidelines of the USEPA Certified Laboratory Program. Analytical data were validated by the NJDEP. While proper quality assurance and control measures were generally followed during sample collection and analyses, the quality of the data was affected by quality control sample contamination for some of the samples.

D. PHYSICAL AND OTHER HAZARDS

Physical hazards exist on the Curcio site due to the operation of a metal reclamation facility. These hazards include exposure to large sharp metal edges, exposure to the compaction area and the use of heavy equipment such as cranes, bulldozer and front-loaders within a small work area. Noise is of concern for the workers on-site.

PATHWAY ANALYSES

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. Pathway analysis consists of five elements: A source of contamination, transport through an environmental medium, a point of exposure, a route of exposure, and an exposed population.

NJDOH categorizes an exposure pathway as a completed or potential exposure pathway if the exposure pathway cannot be eliminated. Completed pathways require that the five elements exist and indicate that exposure to a contaminant has occurred in the past, is currently occurring, or will occur in the future. Potential pathways, however, require that at least one of the five elements is missing, but could exist. Potential exposure pathways indicate that exposure to a contaminant could have occurred in the past, could be occurring now, or could occur in the future. An exposure pathway can be eliminated if at least on of the five elements is missing and will never be present. Table II identifies the completed exposure pathways. Table III identifies the potential exposure pathways. The discussion that follows these tables incorporates only those pathways that are important and relevant to the site.

A. COMPLETED EXPOSURE PATHWAYS

Soil Pathway

Completed exposure pathways in the past at the Curcio Scrap Metal site and were limited to those pathways associated with contaminated soil generated on-site (Table III). Salvage operations began in the early 1950's recycling paper and rags and later on recycled aluminum and copper. Salvage operations continue at the present time. Although the East Lot was remediated, the potential duration for exposure could continue until salvage operations cease. The time from the beginning of operations to the time that remediation of the East Lot occurred is approximately 40 years.

The exposed population consisted of the approximately 25 employees who worked on-site either at Curcio Scrap Metal, or at Cirello Iron and Steel Company. Scrap waste haulers continuously bring the scrap metal to the site. There are unknown numbers of trespassers on the site who are at risk. The total number of people considered to be at risk is approximately 100. There are several likely routes of exposure. Inhalation of contaminated soil particles that became resuspended in the air was a major concern since the soil was frequently being regraded during the salvaging operations. Ingestion may have occurred if food containing contaminated dust or soil particles was eaten or if oral contact was made with soil-laden hands. Also, there is the possibility of direct contact with contaminated soil allowing PCB's to be absorbed through the skin. Adults ingest small amounts of soil, usually around 100 mg/day. Soil ingestion could be higher for jobs that require close contact with the soil or where dust is generated.

ATSDR's Letter of Concern (Appendix C) described the reasons that completed exposure pathway may have existed for soil. The East Lot had extremely high levels of soil that were being pertubated during normal operations which take place during hot, dry, and windy days. Thus, lead contaminated dust would be generated and could either be inhaled by the workers or would contaminate their clothes and equipment. Since these were not decontaminated ingestion of the contaminated dust was likely to occur.

NIOSH reported in the health hazard evaluation report (Appendix D) that four workers had blood lead levels greater than 25 µg/dl, which is OSHA's blood lead limit for the year 2000. Two workers had elevated PCB blood levels (One worker had 13.2 ppb and the other had 65.3 ppb of PCB's in their blood) reported that they eat lunch in the work area. These elevated blood lead levels indicates that a past completed exposure pathway existed for lead. The exposed population consisted of the workers at the Curcio site.

Analytical samples indicate that the unpaved portion, the East Lot, was the most heavily contaminated section of the site. The highest levels of contamination occurred within the first four feet of soil but the soil was shown to be contaminated down to a depth of six feet, the level of the water table. The chemicals found in soil samples at concentrations above ATSDR comparison values (Table I) were lead, mercury, PCB's and trichloroethylene.

B. POTENTIAL EXPOSURE PATHWAYS

Groundwater Pathway

The shallow groundwater aquifer below the Curcio site is contaminated. Although Saddle Brook residences use the city water supply, at least some private wells exist. It is not known if these wells are the source of drinking water or are used for other purposes, although the residences and/or businesses with the private wells probably also have city water.

It is possible that there are sufficient concentrations of contaminants of concern in the groundwater contaminant plume off-site so that a risk of adverse health effects exist if exposure were to occur. However, groundwater sampling has not delineated the contaminant plume or determined if the plume is expanding or receding. The contaminated shallow aquifer sits above the highly fractured Brunswick Formation which supplies water for residences in neighboring areas. Therefore, there is a risk that the deep bedrock aquifer is or may become contaminated (Table IV). The residents on city water could become exposed by ingestion, inhalation or by skin contact.

Off-Site Soil Pathway

It is possible that in the past contaminated soil migrated off-site. Unwashed trucks leaving the site were laden with contaminated soil. Consequently, the pavement on Lanza Avenue was covered with soil. However, inconclusive off-site soil sampling was conducted. Thus, nearby residents could have been exposed via direct contact with contaminated soil, by inhaling fugitive dusts or by ingestion. Possible exposure occurred in the past (Table IV). The migration of contaminants into off-site soils should be quantified.

Air Pathway

Contaminants of concern that are generated at the Curcio site may have become air-borne via the generation of fugitive dusts during normal operating procedures. Workers at the Curcio site and perhaps nearby residents may have been exposed directly by skin contact or by inhalation of the air-borne contaminants. Exposure occurred in the past (Table IV). Air sampling has not been conducted off-site, nor is it indicated now since on-site contaminated soils have been remediated.

Table III. Completed Exposure Pathways

EXPOSURE PATHWAY ELEMENTS TIME
SOURCE ENVIRONMENTALMEDIA POINT OF EXPOSURE ROUTE OF EXPOSURE EXPOSED POPULATION
Curcio Scrap
Metal Site
Soil Curcio Scrap
Metal Site
Ingestion,
Inhalation,
Skin contact
Curcio
Employees,
Scrap Haulers & Trespassers
Past




Table IV. Potential Exposure Pathways

EXPOSURE PATHWAY ELEMENTS TIME
SOURCE ENVIRONMENTALMEDIA POINT OF EXPOSURE ROUTE OF EXPOSURE EXPOSED POPULATION
Curcio Scrap
Metal Site
Groundwater Saddle Brook
Wells
Ingestion
Inhalation,
Skin Contact
Saddle Brook
Residents
Past,
Present,
Future
Curcio Scrap
Metal Site
Off-Site Soil Saddle Brook
Streets
Ingestion,
Inhalation,
Skin Contact
Saddle Brook
Residents
Past,
Present,
Future
Curcio Scrap
Metal Site
Air On-Site,
Off-Site
Inhalation,
Skin Contact
Saddle Brook
Residents,
Curcio site
Employees
Past


PUBLIC HEALTH IMPLICATIONS

Introduction

In this section, NJDOH will discuss the health effects in persons exposed to specific contaminants, evaluate state and local health databases, and address specific community health concerns. 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. MRL's 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 (greater than 365 days). ATSDR presents these MRL's in Toxicological Profiles. These chemical-specific profiles provide information on health effects, environmental transport, human exposure, and regulatory status. In the following discussion, ATSDR Toxicological Profiles were used for several different toxic chemicals.

A. TOXICOLOGICAL EVALUATION

The toxicological effects of the contaminants detected in the groundwater have been considered singly. The cumulative or synergistic effects of mixtures of contaminants may serve to enhance their public health significance. Additionally, individual or mixtures of contaminants may have the ability to produce greater adverse health effects in children as compared to adults. This situation depends upon the specific chemical being ingested or inhaled, its pharmacokinetics in children and adults, and its toxicity in children and adults. Please refer to the Letter of Concern (Appendix C) for additional information.

Soil Exposure

Based on the results of the blood analyses taken in June 1993, NIOSH found that PCB's were elevated for two workers who reported eating lunch in the work area. One of these workers, with an elevated PCB serum level of 65.3 ppb, may have had some unidentified exposure at the site, a non-occupational exposure, or contamination of his blood sample. Serum PCB levels among the workers were not higher than those of the general population.

Four workers had excessive exposures to lead, based on NJDOH and Public Health Service guidelines of 25 µg/dl. Insufficient data was available to determine the source of lead at the worksite, although exposure to contaminated soil was probably a source of lead exposure for some workers. A correlation between blood lead levels and the number of cigarettes smoked at work, and between serum PCB and eating lunch in the work area, indicates that hand to mouth contact may have been a route of exposure. (Appendix D)

The soil in the East Lot contained high concentrations of lead. Lead-contaminated dust was generated during hot dry days and when the soil was pertubated as a result of normal operations. This indicated that hand to mouth contact and inhalation of the contaminated dust may have been routes of exposure.

In the past, workers at the site were exposed to soil that was contaminated with a variety of different toxicants for up to 40 years. It is unlikely that prolonged exposure to most of these contaminants at the concentrations that were detected in the soil samples would result in adverse health effects. It is known that Curcio started its recycling operation in the 1950's. The exposure dose assessment is based on adults and assumes that they ingested 100 mg of contaminated soil per day for 40 years. The exposed population via on-site soil exposure consists of approximately 100 workers employed by Curcio Scrap Metal, Inc., Cirello Iron and Steel Company, scrap haulers and trespassers on the site.

Off-site soil testing is inadequate to determine if the contaminants of concern that were found in on-site soil samples are present in off-site soils. Thus, the public health implications of off-site exposures cannot be evaluated.

Lead

The adverse health effects caused by exposure to lead has been well documented in both animal and human studies. Lead may decrease the mental capacity of children, retard their growth and development and may cause premature births and smaller babies. In adults, lead exposure may cause slower reaction time, memory loss, anemia, brain damage, kidney damage, colic, male reproductive system damage, weakness in the fingers, wrists and/or ankles, increased blood pressure in middle-aged men and possibly death. The effects caused by lead are the same regardless of the route of exposure. Some animal studies have linked exposure to lead with cancer. However, there is inconclusive evidence relating oral lead exposure with cancer (7).

There is no current chronic oral Minimum Risk Level (MRL) or oral Reference Dose (RFD) value for lead. Based upon maximum levels of lead detected in on-site soil samples, calculated exposure doses were above the No Observed Adverse Effect Level (NOAEL) for ingestion exposures of prolonged duration cited in the ATSDR Toxicological Profile for lead (1). Such concentrations may equal and perhaps exceed the NOAEL for chronic exposure in animals (for effects other than cancer). Thus, it is possible for adverse health effects to occur. The calculated exposure dose was based, for the 100 workers, scrap haulers and trespassers at the Curcio site, on adults ingesting 100 mg of soil per day for 40 years.

According to the ATSDR's Toxicological Profile for lead (1), the four workers with elevated blood lead levels above 25 µg/dl might have elevated blood pressure, degenerative changes in the myocardium, renal impairment, gout, and depression of cellular immune function. These effects, if any, are probably minor in extent.

OSHA took air samples and found that no standards were surpassed. However, it is possible that at other periods of time climatic conditions might have been adequate for a completed exposure pathway to occur by the inhalation route.

Mercury

Mercury is a naturally occurring ubiquitous element that is found either in the inorganic form as a mineral or in the organic form, usually as methylmercury. Chronic exposure to inorganic mercury may cause behavioral changes, weight loss, anorexia and immune deficiency. There is insufficient human or animal evidence to link mercury with cancer. (6)

Mercury was found in on-site soil samples at a maximum concentration of 466 ppm (Table I). The estimated chronic exposure dose is below the adult Rfd value for the on-site soil samples based on adults ingesting 100 mg of soil per day for 40 years. Further, the estimated exposure dose was below the chronic oral and dermal No Observed Adverse Effect Level (NOAEL) for animals (2). Thus, the data indicate that the population exposed to mercury contamination (Approximately 100 workers, scrap haulers and trespassers) in on-site soils was at insufficient levels to cause adverse health effects. Since no air samples were taken, it is impossible to estimate the exposure dosages and resultant health effects that might have occurred due to the inhalation route.

PCB's

Site data indicate that exposure to PCB's occurred for the adult workers and trespassers at the Curcio Scrap Metal Site through the ingestion pathway. There was no data describing concentrations of PCB's in the air. For a period of approximately 40 years, as many as 100 people were exposed daily to low levels of PCB's by the direct contact of contaminated soil. Exposure dose assessment assumes that adults ingested 100 mg per day of soil.

On-site personnel who worked in areas of the East Lot that contained the highest PCB contamination may have been exposed to PCB's. That exposure exceeded ATSDR's MRL for chronic (greater than 1 year) oral exposure. Such concentrations may equal and perhaps exceed the NOAEL for chronic exposure in animals (For effects other than cancer) represented in the ATSDR Toxicological Profile for PCB's (3). Therefore, it is possible for those personnel to develop non-cancer health effects due to PCB exposure.

On June 21-22, 1993, NIOSH sampled the blood of Curcio workers for PCB's and lead. PCB levels were found to be similar to the general population. This indicated that there was no current exposure to PCB's at the site.

Polychlorinated biphenyls are carcinogenic in animals and potentially carcinogenic in humans. According to the USEPA, PCB's as a group are classified as probable human carcinogens. In animals, hepatocarcinogens, adenocarcinomas and hepatocellular carcinomas have been reported (3). The maximum reported concentration of PCB's in on-site soil exceeded the minimum dose needed for cancer effects. The lifetime excess cancer risk (LECR) associated with the oral exposure route for PCB's at the site present a high increased risk of cancer.

The cancer risk associated with PCB exposure at the Curcio Scrap Metal site may be interpreted according to the following example. If 100,000 on-site workers were exposed through ingestion by working eight hours per day, five days a week for 40 years to the maximum concentration detected in the soil samples, approximately an additional 1667 cases of cancer may occur in 70 years. For the approximately 100 workers, scrap metal haulers and trespassers at the site who were exposed to PCB's, it is, therefore, possible that they will develop cancer as a result of their exposure. The risk of contracting cancer from exposure to PCB's is greater for those workers and waste metal haulers who had prolonged contact with PCB-contaminated soil. However, due to inadequate off-site sampling, the potential for a completed exposure pathway for the residents and workers at businesses around the site cannot be determined.

Trichloroethylene

Animal studies suggest that TCE may be an animal carcinogen. However, conclusive evidence is not yet available. It is considered to be a potential cancer hazard to humans because no definitive causal relationship has been established between chronic exposure to humans exposed to trichloroethylene and cancer. There are no health guidelines for non-cancer effects for TCE given by either the ATSDR or the USEPA. On-site soil data indicated that exposure to trichloroethylene (TCE) occurred for the approximately 100 workers, scrap haulers and trespassers at the Curcio site for approximately 40 years. The calculated chronic exposure dose for trichloroethylene found in on-site soil was below the concentration found to elicit a carcinogenic effect in laboratory animals, based on adults ingesting 100 mg of soil per day. Therefore, the concentration of TCE found in soil samples was probably unlikely to cause cancer in humans.

Based upon maximum levels of TCE detected in on-site soil samples, exposure doses were below the "no observed adverse effect level" (NOAEL) for ingestion exposures of prolonged duration (4). At such concentrations, adverse health effects are not likely to occur.

B. HEALTH OUTCOME DATA EVALUATION

Health outcome data was not reviewed for this contamination site. There were no more than 100 people exposed to the contamination on-site. Thus, the exposed population is so small that any increased rates of cancer or other diseases due to the contamination would not be observable by a review of the data bases. Further, the data bases are residence based and the workers could live in different areas. The occupational evaluation performed by NIOSH was the appropriate route to be taken.

C. COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS EVALUATION

Community health concerns are addressed as follows:

Question 1) How do I know if the concentration of contaminants in my yard is lower than the clean-up levels being applied to the site? Is there a need for additional off-site soil sampling?

Answer 1) There is a need for additional soil sampling. The possibility exists that off-site areas may contain PCB's or other contaminants of concern at concentrations greater than background levels.

Question 2) I have relatives that work on the site. What about worker health and safety issues? If it's a Superfund site why has the site not been closed?

Answer 2) Worker health and safety issues are of concern. OSHA conducted air sampling between July 1990 and March 1991 and found that all air samples were within OSHA limits. NIOSH conducted biological monitoring, in June 1993, for lead and PCB's in the blood of the workers and determined that there was evidence of occupational exposure to lead. Workers received hazard education and were referred to their physician if needed. In January 1994, the USEPA removed the contaminated soil, replaced it with clean-fill, and then placed a concrete cap over the clean-fill.

Question 3) Were enough soil samples taken to characterize the on-site contamination? What about areas outside of the East Lot? What about Radioactive substances?

Answer 3) Sufficient sampling has been done to adequately characterize the East Lot soil. Based on preliminary tests, there is no indication that radioactive materials were used or disposed of at the site. Off-site soil samples were not taken.

Question 4) Is incineration of the waste safe?

Answer 4) PCB incineration does not pose a public health concern when performed properly.

Question 5) What if the area is developed in the future? Are deed restrictions being considered?

Answer 5) Deed restrictions may be used if significant levels of contamination are left in the area. However, since the contaminated soil was remediated, the area should not pose a concern for residential development and, so, deed restrictions would not be needed.

Question 6) Trucks leaving the site carry a lot of dirt through the residential streets. Why not use a catch basin with grates that would remove some of the soils that the trucks are carrying?

Answer 6) The public health concern has probably been reduced by the remediation and paving of the East Lot in January 1994. This was the only portion of the site that had remained unpaved. However, this has not been evaluated.


Public Comment Period

The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) conducted a public comment period for the Public Health Assessment for the Curcio Scrap Metal site from September 23, 1994 to October 28, 1994. The Public Health Assessment was placed in local repositories to facilitate commentary and reaction from the public at large. Additionally, the Public Health Assessment was circulated to the Bergen County Department of Health Services, and the Saddle Brook Township Board of Health for the purpose of soliciting commentary by local health officials.

The NJDOH did not receive commentary regarding the Curcio Scrap Metal site during this public comment period.

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