PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT
MONTCLAIR/WEST ORANGE RADIUM SITE
MONTCLAIR/WEST ORANGE, ESSEX COUNTY, NEW JERSEY
- Based upon the review of site data and information, ATSDR and the NJDOH have concluded that the Montclair/West Orange/Glen Ridge Radium Contamination site posed a public health hazard in the past (Prior to the remedial activities completed or underway at the site[s]). Chronic exposure to excess radon and its progeny occurred in residences, and the presence of radium in residential soils and building materials resulted in chronic exposure to gamma radiation in excess of background levels. Furthermore, the site(s) currently are evaluated to be an indeterminate public health hazard to occupants of those residences in sections of study areas which remain to be screened during future remedial activities.
- The remedial activities which have been conducted at the site by the USEPA were appropriate and effective in eliminating the human exposure pathways identified at those properties which have been screened, and are consistent with protection of the public health.
- The Health Assessment for the MWG study areas (Appendix 5) considered the sites to be of public health concern. Additional information and community concerns were sufficient to warrant a new public health assessment.
- For 30 years in the past and at the present time, until all surveys and abatements are completed, about 290 residents at the Montclair site, 30 residents at the West Orange site, 210 residents at the Glen Ridge site, and 100 Glen Ridge residents who frequented Barrow's Field may have been exposed to hazardous concentrations of radon and/or radium/thorium.
- Community health concerns focused on remediation efforts, adverse health effects, and property values.
- Passersby who walk past soils contaminated with excess radium/thorium probably receive an insufficient exposure to warrant health concerns.
- The potential for adverse health effects resulting from groundwater contamination is not considered to be a viable concern because the residents in the site use city water supplies. However, the potential for adverse health effects exist if the bedrock aquifer becomes contaminated with radium/thorium.
- Many houses in the three study areas have not yet been evaluated for elevated radiation levels. Residents of these houses may continue to be exposed to excess radiation until the houses are screened and abated.
- Preliminary analyses found that non-radioactive toxicants were in elevated concentrations. Thus, they may be of concern. There is insufficient information to determine the possibility that non-cancer health effects may have occurred as a result of toxic exposures.
Cease/ Reduce Exposure Recommendations
- The exposed residents should be educated regarding the health issues of past exposure to the relevant contaminants.
Site Characterization Recommendations
- The ATSDR and the NJDOH concur with USEPA's remedial plan for the site(s), and
encourage the following specific actions:
* Completion of the screening of all homes at the MWG sites for elevated radiation levels;
* Continuation of temporary abatement measures for all additional homes found to be contaminated with excess radon and/or radium/thorium;
* Determination of the nature and extent of any nonradioactive chemical toxicants that emanated from the U.S. Radium facility.
The data and information developed in the Public Health Assessment for the Montclair/West Orange/Glen Ridge sites, East Orange Townships, New Jersey, has been evaluated by ATSDR's Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP) for appropriate follow-up with respect to health activities. The panel determined that the community health education being conducted by the U.S. EPA is appropriate. In addition, the panel determined that because of the limited cancer data, a health statistics review is needed.
The Public Health Action Plan (PHAP) for the Montclair/West Orange/Glen Ridge site contains a description of actions to be taken by the NJDOH and/or the ATSDR at the site subsequent to the completion of this public health assessment. The purpose of the PHAP is to ensure that this public health assessment 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 by the NJDOH and the ATSDR to follow-up on this plan to ensure that it is implemented.
- Environmental data and proposed remedial activities have been evaluated within the context of human exposure pathways and relevant public health issues.
- NJDOH will work with the ATSDR to develop a mechanism to fund a health statistics review to further evaluate the incidence of cancer in the community.
- ATSDR and the NJDOH will coordinate with the appropriate environmental agencies to develop plans to implement the cease/reduce exposure and site characterization recommendations contained in this health assessment.
- 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 health assessment, and will be provided to persons who request it.
ATSDR will reevaluate and expand the Public Health Action Plan (PHAP) when needed. New environmental, toxicological, health outcome data, or the results of implementing the above proposed actions may determine the need for additional actions at this site.
The Public Health Assessment for the Montclair/West Orange/Glen Ridge Radium Contamination sites was prepared by the New Jersey 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 public health assessment was initiated.
Gregory V. Ulirsch, Technical Project Officer, SPS, SSAB, DHAC
The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation (DHAC), ATSDR, has reviewed this Public Health Assessment and concurs with its findings. Lisa C. Hayes/ for Division Director, DHAC, ATSDR
Preparers of Report:
Howard E. Rubin, Ph.D.
New Jersey Department of Health
ATSDR Regional Representatives:
Senior Regional Representative
Office of the Assistant Administrator
ATSDR Technical Project Officer:
Gregory V. Ulirsch
Environmental Health Engineer
Superfund Site Assessment Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Any questions concerning this document should be directed to:
James Pasqualo, ATSDR Project Manager
The New Jersey Department of Health
Environmental Health Service,
210 South Broad St.
Trenton, NJ 08625
- Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Toxicological Profile for Radium. Atlanta, Georgia: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, December 1990.
- Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Toxicological Profile for Radon. Atlanta, Georgia: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, December 1990.
- Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Toxicological Profile for Thorium. Atlanta, Georgia: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, October 1990.
- Clayton, G.D. and Clayton, F.E. Patty's Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology. Volume 2C. Third Edition, New York. John Wiley & Sons, New York. 1982.
- Klotz, J., J. Petix, A. Gilbert, J. Rizzo and R. Zagraniski. Mortality Experience of Residents Exposed to Elevated Indoor Levels of Radon From an Industrial Source. New Jersey Department of Health. May 1988.
- Samet, J. M. Review: Radon and Lung Cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst. 81:745-757. 1989.
- Shleien, B. The Health Physics and Radiological Health Handbook. Scinta, Inc. Silver Spring, MD. 1989.
- United States Environmental Protection Agency. Draft Supplemental Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study for the Montclair/West Orange and Glen Ridge Radium Sites. Essex County, New Jersey. April, 1989.
- United States Environmental Protection Agency. Record of Decision: Montclair/West Orange/Glen Ridge Radium Site. USEPA Region II. June, 1990.
- United States Environmental Protection Agency. Community Action Plan: Montclair/West Orange/Glen Ridge Radium Site. USEPA Region II. June, 1992.
- United States Environmental Protection Agency. Technical Support Document for the 1992 Citizen's Guide to Radon. May, 1992.