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HEALTH CONSULTATION

B & B MANUFACTURING
MOBILE, MOBILE COUNTY, ALABAMA
CERCLIS NO. AL0001695659

March 20, 1998

Prepared by:

Alabama Department of Public Health
Under Cooperative Agreement with the
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry


BACKGROUND AND STATEMENT OF ISSUES

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) has requested that the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) review the environmental sampling data from B & B Manufacturing, Mobile, Mobile County, Alabama, to determine if human exposure to levels of contaminants detected at the site are of public health significance.

B & B Manufacturing is a 0.84 acre site located at 401 South Carolina Street in Mobile, Alabama. The site lies within a 500-year flood plain, with a small corner at the northeastern part of the property in the 100-year flood plain [1]. The site is bordered to the north, northeast, west, and southwest by residential homes. Various industries border the site as well. A tire company is located southwest of the site. I.C.G. railroad borders the site to the east and southeast. Immediately adjacent to the northeastern side of the site is a one story metal warehouse. The entire property is fenced with a gate on the north and southwest sides of the property.

Currently, two companies are operating at the site, B & B Manufacturing and Lesco-Chemco. For the purpose of this health evaluation, both companies will be considered as one site. According to the property owner, B & B Manufacturing mixes polyvinyl acetate, small amounts of toluene, and Santicizer 160 to form glue. After combining the components, the glue is put in totes for shipment. Lesco-Chemco manufactures a concrete curing compound resulting from a mixture of water, a pre-made wax emulsion, and titanium oxide. The materials are shipped off-site in tote tanks. Prior to the operations of B & B Manufacturing and Lesco-Chemco, Research Solvent and Chemical Company leased the site for several years [1]. Their activities included repackaging and distributing cleaning solvents and printing solvents containing perchloroethylene, acetone, glycol ether, xylene, methylene chloride, toluene, isopropyl alcohol, methyl ethyl ketone, ethyl benzene, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, trichloroethylene, and mineral spirits and naptha [2].

A site visit was conducted in October 1997 by Brian Hughes and Yvonne Barnett of the ADPH. ADEM records and information gathered from the site visit indicate that the site contains two metal warehouses, a diked tank farm area consisting of four above ground storage tanks, a small metal storage building, several small tanks, and numerous plastic containers and 55-gallon drums [1]. The diked tank farm area is in poor condition. Two above ground storage tanks in the diked area have had holes cut in them allowing the materials from the tanks to spill [1]. Previously, a residential fire caused several drums on the southwest side of the site to ignite, leaving the area covered with ash and lacking vegetation. No standing water was noted at the site.

During the site visit, various physical hazards and fire hazards were noted. Many of the drums were rusting and/or bulging. According to an employee at the site, most of the drums, tanks, and plastic containers have been refilled with other chemicals and are not properly labeled as to their contents or hazards [3]. Inside one warehouse, oil covered several appliances and a large area of the floor. Evidence of other previous chemical spills were also noted. This information is noted as a safety issue.

In 1988, Research Solvents & Chemicals had on-site soil tested for contamination. Four subsurface (1 - 3 feet) soil samples were collected at the site. The samples were analyzed for perchloroethylene, acetone, glycol ether, total xylene, methylene chloride, toluene, isopropyl alcohol, methyl ethyl ketone, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, benzene, ethylbenzene, 1,1,2-trichloroethane, trichloroethylene, and mineral spirits and naphtha. All contaminants were below applicable comparison values except 1,1,1-trichloroethane, detected at 6.2 parts per million (ppm). Mineral spirits & naphtha was also detected at heavy concentrations. Neither have established comparison values.

On November 1, 1995, ADEM conducted an investigation at the site in response to an accidental release, which had occurred four or five days earlier. Water Wax Clear Cure, a material used in curing cement, was noted leaving the site and flowing into a storm drain inlet northwest of the site. ADEM officials collected two surface water samples. Sample A was collected from runoff leaving the southwest corner of the site, and sample B was collected from the drainage ditch located near the north side entrance of the site. Trichloroethylene was detected at 4,430 parts per billion (ppb) in sample A and toluene was detected at 20,870 ppb in sample B.


DISCUSSION

To determine if a public health threat exists at the B & B Manufacturing site, the ADPH identified and evaluated contaminant concentrations and exposure pathways.

Subsurface soil: 1,1,1 - trichloroethane was detected at a level above ATSDR comparison values. All other compounds detected were not at levels predicted to cause adverse health effects. However, an exposure pathway does not exist for the contaminants detected in subsurface soil, because exposure to contaminants in soil usually occurs in the top several inches. It is unlikely that adults or children would come into contact with subsurface soil.

Surface water: Surface water samples collected after an accidental release in 1995, detected toluene and trichloroethylene at high concentrations. At the time of the spill, on-site employees and neighboring adults and children were potentially exposed to contaminants in surface water runoff via inhalation and direct contact. However, considering the evaporation rate of the compounds in question and the brief amount of time that workers could have been exposed, it is not likely that exposure to the contaminants would present a public health threat. No follow-up sampling has been conducted at the site to determine the current nature and extent of contamination.

It must be assumed that children live in the residential homes surrounding the site. It is unlikely that children would be exposed to contaminants from on-site subsurface soil. Potential exposure to surface water runoff may have occurred at the time of the accidental release; however, any incidental exposure and brief time period would not likely present a public health threat.

Inhalation exposure to toluene may effect the brain and nervous system. Inhaling toluene can cause headaches, confusion, and memory loss, depending upon the dose and duration of exposure. Exposure to high levels of toluene in a short period of time may cause lightheadedness, dizziness, sleepiness, or unconsciousness. These symptoms usually disappear when exposure is stopped. Prolonged dermal contact with toluene may cause skin damage because it removes skin oils [4].

Trichloroethylene was once used as an anesthetic for surgery. When inhaled it produces similar health effects as toluene. Depending upon the dose and duration of exposure, trichloroethylene can cause headaches, dizziness, sleepiness, or unconsciousness. Dermal contact with trichloroethylene can cause skin rashes. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined that trichloroethylene is probably carcinogenic to humans [5].


CONCLUSIONS

Based on the review of the information, the Alabama Department of Public Health has determined that exposure to contaminants at the the site does not represent a public health hazard. Human exposure to contaminants in subsurface soil is not expected to occur. Potential exposure to the accidental release of toluene and TCE was likely; however, the duration of exposure was not likely to cause adverse health effects.

The warehouse contains drums of unknown chemical compounds. These drums, in their present state, could present a health and safety issue to workers and others who come into contact with them.


RECOMMENDATIONS

Sample on-site surface soil to determine the current nature and extent of contamination.

Sample chemical contents of drums in the warehouse area to identify compounds known to be of health concern. Drums containing such compounds should be removed from the facility.


PREPARER OF REPORT

Yvonne Barnett, MPH
Epidemiologist I


REFERENCES

  1. Prestridge, Kenneth. Preliminary Assessment on B & B Manufacturing: Mobile County, Mobile, Alabama. Alabama Department of Environmental Management. May 23, 1997; 1-13.

  2. Personal Communication. Jeff Miller, Research Solvents and Chemicals, September 25, 1997.

  3. Personal Communication. Clete King, B & B Manufacturing, September 16, 1997.

  4. Toxicological Profile for Toluene, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, May 1994.

  5. Toxicological Profile for Trichloroethylene, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, September 1997.

CERTIFICATION

This Health Consultation was prepared by the 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 health consultation was begun.

David Hutchins
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 health consultation and concurs with its findings.

Richard Gillig
Chief, SPS, SSAB, DHAC, ATSDR


  
 
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