Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to site content

PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

SHERWIN WILLIAMS
EMERYVILLE, ALAMEDA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA


CONCLUSIONS

The data that CDHS reviewed for this public health assessment show that residents of the 45th StreetArtists' Cooperative and the Horton Street Lofts may have been exposed in the past to levels ofarsenic and lead that were of potential health concern. The period of potential exposure starts in1974, when the Coop was created, to 1997, when the contaminated areas were cleaned up. The mostlikely route of exposure would have been incidental ingestion of dust while playing or gardening incontaminated areas. The contaminated areas include the Garden Area on the Coop property, and theflower beds along Horton Street that are adjacent to the Coop. Those most likely to have beenexposed to this contamination include children who might have played in contaminated areas on theCoop property, and adults who may have gardened in these contaminated areas.

CDHS concludes that prior to September 1997, the Garden Area of the Coop Property, the flowerbeds along Horton Street adjacent to the Coop, and the Patio Area prior to addition of fresh soilconstituted a public health hazard. Following cleanup of these areas by September 1997, these areasno longer pose a public health hazard.

This conclusion is based upon the assumption that those at greatest risk for adverse health effectsgardened or played in the contaminated areas every day, for a period of one year or longer, and thatthey were exposed to the maximum concentration of arsenic and lead in the contaminated areas eachtime they played or gardened in that area. If those at risk played or gardened in the contaminatedareas less frequently, or if they were exposed to less than the maximum concentration of arsenic and lead when they played or gardened, then the likelihood of adverse health effects decreases.


PUBLIC HEALTH RECOMMENDATIONS AND ACTIONS

The Public Health Recommendations and Action Plan (PHRAP) for this site contains a descriptionof actions taken, to be taken, or under consideration by ATSDR and CDHS at and near the site. Thepurpose of the PHRAP is to ensure that this public health assessment not only identifies publichealth hazards, but also provides a plan of action designed to mitigate and prevent adverse humanhealth effects resulting from exposure to hazardous substances in the environment. CDHS andATSDR will follow-up on this plan to ensure that actions are carried out.

Actions Completed

  1. Sherwin-Williams has sampled the Coop property and adjacent flower beds for arsenic, lead, zinc, and cadmium.


  2. Sherwin-Williams has identified and cleaned up those areas with elevated levels of arsenic and lead in the soil. These are the Garden Area on the Coop property, the flower beds adjacent to the 45th Street building, and the flower beds adjacent to the Coop Annex/Horton Street Lofts.


  3. Sherwin-Williams offered free blood and urine testing to interested Coop residents.Approximately 25 residents have utilized this service.


  4. CDHS has reviewed the results of the blood and urine testing discussed in 3 above.

Current Activities

  1. Coop residents have expressed interest in having their studios tested for the presence of lead and arsenic contamination. CDHS has chosen a contractor to conduct a lead based paint inspection and wipe sampling of household dust. Samples will be analyzed for lead and arsenic. The contractor will evaluate lead results according to Department of Housing and Urban Development guidelines for potential risk to occupants. CDHS will evaluate arsenic results for potential adverse health effects.

PREPARERS OF REPORT

Health Assessors

F. Reber Brown, Ph.D.
Research Scientist II
Impact Assessment Inc.
Consultant to Environmental Health Investigations Branch
California Department of Health Services

Marilyn C. Underwood, Ph.D.
Staff Toxicologist
Environmental Health Investigations Branch
California Department of Health Services

Jane Riggan, M.S.W.
Public Health Social Work Consultant
Environmental Health Investigations Branch
California Department of Health Services

ATSDR Regional Representatives

William Q. Nelson
Gwendolyn Eng
Dan Strausbaugh
Regional Representatives, Region IX
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

ATSDR Technical Project Officer

William Greim
Environmental Health Scientist
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry


CERTIFICATION

The Sherwin Williams Public Health Assessment was prepared by the California Department ofHealth Services under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and DiseaseRegistry (ATSDR). It is in accordance with approved methodology and procedures existing at the time the public health assessment was initiated.

Technical Project Officer, SPS, SSAB, DHAC

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

Chief, SPS, SSAB, DHAC, ATSDR


REFERENCES

  1. Mara Feeney and Associates, "Public Participation Plan for the Sherwin-Williams Site, Emeryville, CA." San Francisco: June, 1998.


  2. Memo from Mark Knox, Principle Engineer, Levine-Fricke-Recon, to Reber Brown, Research Scientist, California Department of Health Services. June, 1998.


  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Arsenic. April, 1993.


  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Lead - Draft for Public Comment. August, 1997.


  5. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Hazard Evaluation Report - HETA 90-070-2181 - HUD Lead-Based Paint Abatement and Demonstration Project.


  6. California Environmental Protection Agency - Department of Toxic Substances Control. "Assessment of Health Risks from Inorganic Lead in Soil - Lead Risk Assessment Spreadsheet". June, 1993.


  7. Personal communication: Reber Brown, Research Scientist, California Department of Health Services, and Ignacio Dayrit, Projects Coordinator, City of Emeryville Redevelopment Agency. July 2, 1998.


  8. Protocol for Determining Background Concentrations of Metals in Soil at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California. August, 1995.

APPENDIX A: Figures

Map showing location of Emeryville and Sherwin-Williams site
Figure 1. Map showing location of Emeryville and Sherwin-Williams site

Map of Sherwin-Willams site showing location of 45th Street Artists' Cooperative, the Coop Annex, and the Horton Street Lofts
Figure 2. Map of Sherwin-Willams site showing location of 45th Street Artists' Cooperative, the Coop Annex, and the Horton Street Lofts

Location, depth, and concentration of samples collected from the Coop property and flower beds along Horton Street
Figure 3. Location, depth, and concentration of samples collected from the Coop property and flower beds along Horton Street. Values shown in BOLD face are those evaluated for adverse health effects.

Sample number for each sample evaluated for adverse health effects
Figure 4. Sample number for each sample evaluated for adverse health effects. Sample numbers correspond to sample numbers in Tables 5 - 8.

Location and concentration of contaminants in samples collected from the Garden Area (shaded samples) and from the Patio Area (unshaded samples)
Figure 5. Location and concentration of contaminants in samples collected from the Garden Area (shaded samples) and from the Patio Area (unshaded samples)

Location and concentration of contaminants in samples collected from the flower beds adjacent to the 45th Street Building (unshaded samples) and from the flower beds adjacent to the Coop Annex/Horton Street Lofts (shaded samples)
Figure 6. Location and concentration of contaminants in samples collected from the flower beds adjacent to the 45th Street Building (unshaded samples) and from the flower beds adjacent to the Coop Annex/Horton Street Lofts (shaded samples)


APPENDIX B: Tables

Tables 1 and 2

Tables 3 and 4

Tables 5 and 6

Table 7

Table 8

Table 9


APPENDIX C: Public Comments and CDHS Response to Public Comments

On October 19, 1998, CDHS mailed copies of the document Public Health Assessment: Evaluationof Lead and Arsenic Levels In and Near the 45th Street Artists' Cooperative and the Horton StreetLofts, Emeryville, California to members of the Sherwin-Willliams Consultative Work Group forreview. Copies of this document were later placed in the office of the 45th Street Artists' Cooperativeat 1420 45th Street in Emeryville, California, and in the Golden Gate Branch of the Oakland PublicLibrary. The public comment period for this document ended on December 7, 1998.

This appendix contains the comments received from a Coop resident, a governmental regulator, and an engineering firm representing a previous owner of the 45th Street Building.

1. Comment from Coop Resident

Reber Brown gave a report, on November 9, on lead and arsenic content at variouslocations at the artist' coop. The study failed to take into consideration that the soil inmost of the back of the 45th Street Building was substantially new, having beenbrought in the previous year to make a new garden. So naturally the readings werevery low in these areas.

How do we assess the original soil quality in these areas and its potential deleterious effects over 20 years?

CDHS Response to comments from Coop resident

When the soils in the back of the 45th Street Building were sampled in early April1997, they were sampled at both three inches and at two or 2.5 feet. AccordingLevine, Fricke, and Recon, the samples collected from three inches would have beenfrom the fresh soil, whereas the other samples were collected from two or 2.5 feet so asto be sure that original soil, and not the new soil, was evaluated. CDHS hasreevaluated the potential adverse health effects for both children and adults in thePatio Area, using arsenic and lead concentrations from two or 2.5 feet. The text of thisdocument has been updated to reflect this results of this reevaluation.

2. Comment from engineering firm representing a previous owner of 45th Street Building

These comments make suggestions regarding wording changes. Suggested changes are shown in italics.

1. Page 2, Paragraph 5: Shell Oil Company owned the property currently occupiedby the 45th Street Artists' Cooperative (the Coop) until about 1969. We request thatParagraph 3 be modified so that a direct conversion in 1974 from Shell's operations tolive/work studios is not implied in this report. Suggested language for yourconsideration (changes in italics): "The Coop facility was converted from a formerindustrial facility to live/work artist studios in 1974. For a period of time until about1969, the Coop building was part Of a petrochemical research and developmentfacility."

2. Page 13, Paragraph 2: Since, as the report states, that the "source(s) ofcontamination ... is not clearly understood" and the property in question has beenowned and occupied by others in the past, we request that Paragraph 2 be modified toremove the reference to "Shell" by deleting the entire fourth sentence (starting with "Itis not known . . . "). Alternatively, we suggest the following language for yourconsideration (changes in italics): "It is not known what effect, if any, that previousactivities at the 45th Street Building when it was owned and/or operated by others inthe past might have on contamination . . . "

CDHS Response to Comments from engineering firm representing a previous owner of 45th Street Building

These changes have been incorporated into the document.

3. Comments from governmental regulator

Comments from governmental regulator are in plain type. CDHS response to comments fromgovernmental regulator are in italics

BACKGROUND

The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) Site Mitigation Program(SMP) has requested that Human and Ecological Risk Division provide review andwritten discussion of the document Evaluation of Lead and Arsenic Levels In andNear the 45th Street Artists' Cooperative and the Horton Street Lofts, Emeryville.This document was produced by the California Department of Health Services under acooperative agreement with the United States Agency for Toxic Substances andDisease Registry (ATSDR).

In conducting this review, we will discuss the technical merits of the analysis, and doso in the context of how the DTSC evaluates similar situations. This should not betaken of a critique of ATSDR, it's mission, and the guidance issued by that agency. Itis done purely for the sake of consistency of approach, where DTSC and other stateand local agencies share responsibility with ATSDR on a joint project. Our commentsare written below.

GENERAL COMMENTS

1. Exposure Assessment

We have a difficult time understanding the process by which exposure was assessedfor carcinogens. This is for two reasons: First, the exposure pathway does not seem tofit the conceptual picture inherent in its assessment, and second, the criteria utilizedwas developed to be used under circumstances not matched by the situation beingevaluated. As an example, the assessment of an increased lifetime cancer risk due toexposure to arsenic in flower beds (Page 19) assumes that a lifetime average dailydose can be calculated for exposures to the maximum detected concentration of arsenic(920 ppm, at a depth of 0.5 feet) in a flower bed. This is puzzling for many reasons.First, it assumes no other exposures to flower bed soils other than the one location anddepth, and it is difficult to imagine how this could occur either conceptually on asingle day or each day of a person's life. Second, the cancer slope factor developed forarsenic is intended to be applied to a significant fraction of a lifetime. As stated above,calculating a "risk" of 6.8 x 10-4 and interpreting it to the public as "low" risk appearsto lend credibility to the scenario that an adult will go to, say, a flower box every dayfor 24 years and come into contact with soil at depth, and no other soils, ingesting alittle bit each day. The DTSC would have a difficult time presenting such a scenario toanyone and stating that it represented useful health-related information for the public.

CDHS response to comments form governmental regulator

General Comments: Exposure Assessment

The approach that CDHS used in preparing this document was to look at twoexposure scenarios per receptor population in each area; exposure to only themaximum concentration in an area (Patio Area, Garden Area, flower beds adjacentto 45th Street Building, flower beds adjacent to Coop Annex), and exposure to theaverage concentration of contamination in one each of these areas. Admittedly,exposure to only the maximum concentration of a contaminant in a given area foran extended period of time is unrealistic. However, this was included as anabsolute worst case scenario. Exposure to the average concentration of acontaminant in an area more closely approximates a person's exposure to all ofthe soils in an area, not just at the location of maximum contamination, and is amore realistic exposure scenario. However, even this scenario is conservative, inthat it assumes daily exposure for a period of greater than one year.

This comment also raises the question of calculating an increased lifetime cancerrisk, using a qualitative descriptor for this value (very low, low, etc.), and the ideathat a cancer slope factor is "intended to be applied to a significant fraction of alifetime." The average lifetime used in calculating the increased lifetime cancerrisk is 70 years. It is CDHS's understanding that there are several residents of theCoop who have lived at the Coop for approximately 20 years or longer, whichCDHS considers to be a significant faction of a 70 year lifetime. CDHS believesthat it is not unreasonable to calculate an increased lifetime cancer risk for aperiod of 24 years, which is the length of time the Coop has been in existence. Itshould be noted that the increased lifetime cancer risk that CDHS calculated is"pro rated" to account for an exposure of 24 years out of a 70 year lifetime. CDHSdoes not understand how the use of a qualitative description for a quantitativevalue lends or denies credibility to an exposure scenario.

2. Background Concentrations

It has been the experience of this Division, working in conjunction with your Program,that many inorganic soil constituents exist at detectable concentrations throughout theSan Francisco Bay Area. Such is the case for arsenic, which the document underreview states exists at a background concentration of 4 ppm (Page 16).

Our experience has shown that arsenic "background" is a range of concentrations,from 1 to 97 ppm nationally, and conservatively estimated to be 0.59 to 11 ppm inCalifornia. In the Bay Area, soils not impacted by any human activity often exceedthis, with "background" levels near 19 ppm at some locations(Protocol forDetermining Background Concentrations of Metals in Soil at Lawrence BerkeleyLaboratory (LBNL) dated August 1995).

If this exercise is part to present health information to persons working or near theSherwin-Williams facility, it is difficult to see the utility of calculating lifetime excesscancer risk to children from concentration of arsenic averaging 7.7 ppm in the GardenArea (Page 21). We do not recommend evaluating site-related risk for purposes ofremedy selection by evaluating background. Background levels of other carcinogens(e.g. hexavalent chromium, beryllium) also present hypothetical risks and singling outbackground arsenic is misleading.

CDHS response to comment from governmental regulator

General Comments: Background Concentrations

The comments regarding the background concentration of arsenic in the SanFrancisco Bay Area are well taken, and identifying the reference (Protocol forDetermining Background Concentrations of Metals in Soil at Lawrence BerkeleyLaboratory (LBNL), dated August 1995) is also very helpful. Others have alsobrought this reference to our attention as being a useful reference for estimating background concentrations of metals in Bay Area soils. CDHS was not aware of this document when this Public Health Assessment was prepared.

Revising the background concentration of arsenic from 4 ppm to 14 does not affectCDHS's calculations regarding potential adverse health effects for residents of theCoop. However, it does change CDHS's general discussion of the situation.Appropriate changes have been incorporated into the text of this document.

Concerning the evaluation of contaminants that are present at concentrationscomparable to normal background concentrations of that contaminant: thepresence of a chemical at background concentrations does not necessarily implythat there is no risk of adverse health effects due to exposure to that chemical. Theterm "background" does not mean "without risk." Nor does CDHS mean to implythat arsenic and lead are the only chemicals that may be of potential healthconcern to the Coop residents. The reviewer is correct in that other species may bepresent that could potentially be of concern. However, as was discussed in theSummary Section, this document is not designed to be an exhaustive investigationof all risks, but rather only of arsenic and lead.

3. Lead

The document under review refers to a "California Preliminary Remediation Goal"(PRG) of 130 ppm for lead (page 10). Please note that this numerical standard wasremoved from our own Preliminary Endangerment Assessment Guidance Manual byan errata sheet developed in you own office and distributed statewide.

We have attempted to duplicate some of the predicted blood lead levels depicted in thereport using the DTSC Lead Risk Assessment Spreadsheet the report references.Again, conceptual difficulties arise. Take for example the following statement on Page18 of the report under review:

At an average concentration of 23.9 ppm, the predicted blood lead for a child exposed to lead through incidental ingestion of contaminated soil in the Patio Area would have been 4.3 µg/dL.

This statement contains two errors, one factual, and one conceptual. The DTSC Lead Risk Assessment Spreadsheet does not circulating concentrations for "a child" but for a percentage of the population, this is why the outputs are expressed as percentiles. In any case we cannot duplicate the reported model outputs, leaving on all the standard default assumptions for lead in air and water a concentration of 23.9 ppm lead in soil predicts a circulating lead level of 4.3 µg/dL in the 99th percentile of adults, not children.

Conceptually, the model used was intended to be applied in a residential setting. Is itplausible that a young child would be playing every day in the patio area as if it werea backyard?

CDHS response to comment from governmental regulator

General Discussion: Lead

Regarding the use of 130 mg/kg as the standard value for the CaliforniaPreliminary Remediation Goal (PRG), the errata sheet that the reviewer mentionswas not developed in our office, and CDHS was unaware of this document, which isdated June 10, 1998. However, we have received a copy of this errata sheet, andhave updated the text of this document to reflect the changes indicated.

Concerning the factual error (example on page 18 of the document), the output ofthe DTSC Lead Risk Assessment Spreadsheet, BLOODPB.XLS, includes adults,children, pica children, and industrial workers. However, the comment that thecalculated blood lead level reflects that of a percentage of the population is welltaken, and the text of this document has been corrected to reflect this. Concerningthe inability to reproduce the model's output, CDHS considered only lead ingestionfrom soil, not from any other sources. CDHS also used ATSDR default values forsoil ingestion rate and water ingestion rate rather than the default values used byDTSC.

With these concerns in mind, CDHS reran the BLOODPB.XLS model using DTSCdefault values, with the exception of soil and water ingestion rates, where ATSDRdefault values were used, and the concentration of lead in air. The concentration oflead in PM10 at the San Leandro sampling station, obtained from California AirResources Board, was used for this value. The text of this document has beenchanged to reflect the recalculated blood lead levels, and a sample of the output ofthe model has been included (Table 9).

Regarding the conceptual plausibility of this scenario: this is not a residentialsetting, and the children in the Coop do not have backyards in which to play. Itseems to CDHS to be completely reasonable to assume that children withoutbackyards would play in the Patio Area as if it were a backyard.

Comment from governmental regulator

CONCLUSIONS

Bearing in mind that the ATSDR has a different mission than the, DTSC, theconceptual framework under which we operate should be similar. This Division wouldnot predict lifetime excess cancer risks or noncancer health hazard in a manner similarto the report under review. We would question the benefit to the public audience ofassessing essentially background conditions for the chemical of concern, as weunderstand the concern to be the proximity of the Sherwin-Williams facility, and pastwaste disposal practices.

Table of Contents

  
 
USA.gov: The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 4770 Buford Hwy NE, Atlanta, GA 30341
Contact CDC: 800-232-4636 / TTY: 888-232-6348

A-Z Index

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z
  27. #