PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT
JANESVILLE, ROCK COUNTY, WISCONSIN
EPA FACILITY ID: WID980610620
January 19, 1994
Wisconsin Department of Health and Social Services
Under Cooperative Agreement with the
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
PREFACE: THE PURPOSE OF HEALTH ASSESSMENTS
The federal "Superfund" law requires the U. S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to conduct a public health assessment of all toxic waste sites that the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposes for inclusion on the list of the nation's most hazardous waste sites. This list formally is called the National Priorities List. The Wisconsin Division of Health (WDOH) works with ATSDR to prepare assessments. The purposes of health assessments are:
- To evaluate whether contaminants at the site pose a current or future threat to public health;
- To recommend any steps needed to protect the public from exposure to toxic substances, and
- To recommend long-term health studies, when appropriate.
For each assessment health professionals look at the types of contamination present, including each chemical's toxicity; ability to move through soil, water or air; persistence in the environment; and ability to accumulate in the food chain. They look at ways that people could be exposed to contaminants such as eating, breathing, or touching the chemicals. Investigators check relevant health records when appropriate to see if there may be increases in health effects related to public exposure to contaminants from the site. Finally, an assessment identifies the health hazards that a site may pose and recommends action to protect public health now and in the future.
The WDOH and ATSDR conduct a "preliminary" health assessment after EPA proposes to include a site on the National Priorities List. The preliminary assessment relies on data available at the time. It also identifies sampling to be addressed by the remedial investigation conducted as part of the Superfund clean-up of the site. The WDOH, in cooperation with ATSDR, completed the Preliminary Health Assessment of the Wheeler Pit in April 1990. Now that the remedial investigation of this site is completed, WDOH conducted a "full" health assessment using the more complete set of data that the investigation provided. Local, state and federal agencies and the local community had an opportunity to comment on this assessment in the spring of 1993. This final release of the assessment addresses the comments that WDOH received.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Quality Assurance and Quality Control
Physical and Other Hazards
Toxic Chemical Release Inventory