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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

GRAND STREET MERCURY SITE
HOBOKEN, HUDSON COUNTY, NEW JERSEY


CONCLUSIONS

(1) Based on the results of indoor air mercury surveys, urine mercury analyses, and the presence of pools of elemental mercury in the floors, ATSDR and NJDHSS concluded that the building at 722 Grand Street posed an imminent public health hazard. Mercury has been detected in indoor air samples at concentrations that exceed a level of public health concern.

(2) Elevated concentrations of mercury have been detected in urine samples from former residents. The urinary mercury concentrations in 20 of 29 residents exceeded the range (0-20 µg/L) for an unexposed adult population. The elevated concentrations of mercury detected in the residents were in a range potentially associated with subtle neurological changes.

(3) The ATSDR and the NJDHSS consider the GSMS to have represented a public health hazard in the past. Based upon the site data, adults and children were likely exposed to mercury in building at levels of public health concern. Subsequent to interim remedial measures conducted by the USEPA and relocation of residents, the site is evaluated by the ATSDR and the NJDHSS to present no apparent public health hazard as currently the exposure pathway has been interrupted.

(4) The remedial activities specified in the USEPA's work plan, when implemented, should be sufficient to address concerns of the ATSDR and the NJDHSS regarding the GSMS and are consistent with protection of the public health.


RECOMMENDATIONS

Cease/Reduce Exposure

    Based on the ATSDR public health advisory, USEPA's action to relocate residents and completely restricting the access to GSMS have eliminated the site related exposure.

Site Characterization

    Results of the on-going remedial activities and environmental monitoring program should be periodically reviewed for public health significance when available. Should the data indicate a change in site conditions, it will be evaluated within the context of potential public health implications.


PUBLIC HEALTH ACTION PLAN (PHAP)

The Public Health Action Plan (PHAP) for the Grand Street Mercury Site contains a description of the actions to be taken by ATSDR and/or NJDHSS at or in the vicinity of the site subsequent to the completion of this Public Health Assessment (PHA). The purpose of the PHAP is to ensure that this PHA not only identifies public health hazards, but provides a plan of action designed to mitigate and prevent adverse human health effects resulting from exposure to hazardous substances in the environment. Included is a commitment on the part of ATSDR/NJDHSS to follow up on this plan to ensure that it is implemented. The public health actions undertaken by ATSDR/NJDHSS are as follows:

Public Health Actions Completed by ATSDR/NJDHSS:

(1) Environmental data and proposed remedial activities have been evaluated within the context of human exposure pathways and relevant public health issues.

(2) Urine samples collected from residents were analyzed for total mercury, specific gravity, and creatinine by the NJDHSS laboratory.

(3) ATSDR issued a Public Health Advisory proclaiming an imminent public health hazard posed to residents of 722 Grand Street from past, current, and potential future exposures via inhalation, direct dermal contact and possible ingestion metallic (elemental) mercury and mercury vapor.

(4) The NJDHSS has prepared a site specific fact sheet for the GSMS which was made available to residents, local health agencies, and other interested parties.

(5) Physician education, in the form of Grand Round Case Presentation was conducted at Bayonne Hospital. Case Studies in Environmental Medicine (Exposure History and Mercury) and Hudson County Environmental Resource Guides for Health Care Professionals, were provided to area physicians.

(6) ATSDR arranged for medical evaluations of building residents at the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute (EOHSI) Clinical Center in Piscataway, New Jersey. Results of these evaluations are confidential.

Public Health Actions Planned by ATSDR/NJDHSS:

    This document will be provided to the HBH and HRHC. ATSDR will provide an annual follow up to this PHAP, outlining the actions completed and those in progress. This report will be placed in repositories that contain copies of this PHA, and will be provided to persons who request it.


CERTIFICATION

The Public Health Assessment for the Grand Street Mercury site was prepared by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services 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 begun.

Gregory V. Ulirsch
Technical Project Officer
Superfund Site Assessment Branch (SSAB)
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation (DHAC)
ATSDR

The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation, ATSDR, has reviewed this Public Health Assessment, and concurs with its findings.

Richard Gillig
Acting Chief, SSAB, DHAC, ATSDR


DOCUMENTS REVIEWED

  1. Pollution Report, Grand Street Mercury Site, Hoboken, Hudson County, USEPA, October 31, 1997.
  2. Record of Decision, Grand Street Mercury Site, Hoboken, Hudson County, USEPA, October 6, 1997.
  3. National Priorities List (NPL) Update, Grand Street Mercury Site, Hoboken, Hudson County, USEPA, September 1997.
  4. Superfund Proposed Plan, Grand Street Mercury Site, Hoboken, Hudson County, USEPA, July 1997.
  5. Community Relations Plan, Grand Street Mercury Site, Hoboken, Hudson County, USEPA, July 1997.
  6. ATSDR Record of Activity, Grand Street Mercury Site, Hoboken, Hudson County, USEPA, January 27, 1997.
  7. National Priorities List Nomination, Grand Street Mercury Site, Hoboken, Hudson County, USEPA, November 18, 1996.
  8. Mercury Exposure Among Residents of a Building Formerly Used for Industrial Purposes, New Jersey, 1995 - MMWR, CDC, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, May 24, 1996.
  9. Public Health Advisory, Grand Street Mercury Site, Hoboken, Hudson County, ATSDR, January 22, 1996.
  10. Mercury Exposure and Health, Grand Street Mercury Site, Hoboken, Hudson County, ATSDR, January 4, 1996.
  11. Health Consultation, Grand Street Mercury Site, Hoboken, Hudson County, ATSDR/NJDHSS, January 3, 1996.
  12. Memorandum from Jerry Fagliano, NJDHSS to Greg Ulirsch, ATSDR (Analysis of Urine Mercury Data from 722 Grand Street, Hoboken, New Jersey), January 2, 1996.
  13. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Toxicological Profile for Mercury, May 1994.

PREPARERS OF REPORT

Preparer of Report:

      Narendra P. Singh, MD, MS, CIH
      Research Scientist II
      ATSDR Health Assessment Project

ATSDR Regional Representative:

      Arthur Block
      Senior Regional Representative, Region II
      Regional Operations
      Office of the Assistant Administrator

ATSDR Technical Project Officer:

      Gregory V. Ulirsch, M.S.
      Environmental Health Engineer
      Technical Project Officer
      Superfund Site Assessment Branch
      Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

Any questions concerning this document should be directed to:

      James Pasqualo, M.S.
      ATSDR Health Assessment Project Manager
      Hazardous Site Health Evaluation Program
      Consumer and Environmental Health Services
      Division of Environmental and Occupational Health
      New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services
      210 South Broad Street
      P. O. Box 360
      Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

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