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HEALTH CONSULTATION

MOUNTAIN VIEW SEWER GAS INVESTIGATION
SCOTTSDALE, MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA

January 28, 2004

Prepared by:

Arizona Department of Health Services
Under a Cooperative Agreement with the
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry


TABLE OF CONTENTS

GLOSSARY

OBJECTIVE

BACKGROUND

COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS

HEALTH EFFECTS OF SEWER GAS

METHODS AND RESULTS

LIMITATIONS

DISCUSSION

CHILD HEALTH CONSIDERATIONS

CONCLUSIONS

RECOMMENDATIONS

PUBLIC HEALTH ACTION PLAN

REFERENCES

APPENDIX A: MAP OF THE MOUNTAIN VIEW NEIGHBORHOOD

APPENDIX B: HEALTH EFFECTS OF LOW-DOSE INHALATION OF HYDROGEN SULFIDE

APPENDIX C: MOUNTAIN VIEW SAMPLING SCHEDULE—JUNE 27, 2003 THROUGH JULY 15, 2003

Table 1. Human Health Effects at Various Hydrogen Sulfide Concentrations in Air.

Table 2. Standards and Guidelines Applicable to Hydrogen Sulfide in Air


GLOSSARY

Acute exposure:
Exposure to a chemical for a short duration of time. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines this duration as less than or equal to 24 hours; the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) defines the duration as 1-14 days.


Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR):
A federal governmental agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services whose mission is to take responsive public health actions and provide health information to prevent harmful exposures and disease related to toxic substances.


Ambient:
Surrounding environment. "Ambient air" and "outside air" are used interchangeably.


American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH):
A voluntary member-based organization of professional industrial hygiene personnel in governmental or educational institutions whose purpose is to advance worker health and safety.


Arizona Ambient Air Quality Guidelines (AAAQG):
Draft residential screening values for contaminants in ambient air developed by the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS). Contaminant concentrations that exceed the Arizona Ambient Air Quality Guidelines should be evaluated further to determine if they present a true health risk.


Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS):
The Arizona state agency whose mission is to protect and ensure the health of the state's population.


Ceiling limit:
The maximum allowable exposure limit for an airborne chemical, which is not to be exceeded even momentarily.


Chronic exposure:
Repeated exposure or contact with a toxic substance over a long period. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines this period as a significant fraction of the animal's or human's lifetime. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry defines chronic exposure as greater than 364 days.


Comparison value (CV):
Media-specific screening chemical concentrations developed by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry that are used by health assessors to select environmental contaminants for further evaluation.


Criteria air pollutants:
Six widespread and common air pollutants regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by standards to protect public health or the environment. The six criteria pollutants are carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide.


Exposure:
Contact made between a chemical, physical, or biological agent and the outer boundary of an organism. Exposure is quantified as the amount of an agent available at the exchange boundaries of the organism (e.g., skin, lungs, gut).


Hazardous air pollutants (HAPs):
One of the chemicals listed in section 112(b) of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. Hazardous air pollutants are pollutants known or suspected to cause cancer or other serious health effects or adverse environmental effects. Hazardous air pollutants are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency using technology-based standards.


Intermediate exposure:
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry defines intermediate exposure as spanning 15-364 days.


Lower explosive limit:
The lowest concentration of a substance in air that will produce a fire or flash when an ignition source (flame, spark, etc.) is present. It is expressed in percent of vapor or gas in the air by volume.


Lowest-observed-adverse-effect level (LOAEL):
From the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-the lowest dose of chemical that produces statistically or biologically significant increases in frequency or severity of adverse effects between the exposed population and its appropriate control group.


Milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3):
A way of expressing the concentration of dusts, gases, aerosols, or mists in the air. A milligram (mg) is a unit of weight in the metric system–1,000 milligrams equals 1 gram. A cubic meter (m3) is a volume measurement in the metric system–1 m3 is about 35.3 cubic feet or 1.3 cubic yards.


Minimal risk level (MRL):
An estimate of the daily human exposure to a hazardous substance that is likely to be without appreciable risk of adverse noncancer health effects over a specified duration of exposure. Minimal risk levels are developed by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.


National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH):
A federal governmental agency which tests and certifies respiratory devices, recommends occupational exposure limits, and assists the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) by conducting research and investigations. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


No-observed-adverse-effect level (NOAEL):
From the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency- the dose of chemical at which there are no statistically or biologically significant increases in frequency or severity of adverse effects between the exposed population and its appropriate control group; some effects may be produced at this dose, but they are not considered to be adverse, nor precursors to adverse effects.


Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA):
A federal government agency within the U.S. Department of Labor that develops and enforces occupational safety and health standards for most industry and businesses in the United States.


Odor threshold:
The lowest concentration of a substance's vapor, in air, that a person can detect by smell. Odor thresholds are highly variable, depending on the individual and the nature of the substance.


pH:
A measure of how acidic or basic (caustic) a substance is on a scale of 1 (very acidic) to 14 (very basic); pH 7 indicates that the substance is neutral.


Parts per million (ppm):
A measurement used to express very small concentrations of a given substance present in a mixture; often used as a unit to measure the parts (by volume) of a gas or vapor in a million parts of air.


Peak:
Maximum one-time exposure, usually 10 minutes. No other exposure is allowed. (Occupational Safety and Health Administration standard)


Permissible exposure limit (PEL):
An exposure limit that is published and enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration as a legal standard. A permissible exposure limit may be either a time-weighted-average (TWA) exposure limit (8 hour), a 15-minute short-term exposure limit (STEL), or a ceiling limit (CL).


Recommended exposure level (REL):
An 8- or 10-hour time-weighted-average or ceiling limit exposure concentration recommended by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health that is based on an evaluation on health effects data.


Reference concentration (RfC):
An estimate (with uncertainty spanning perhaps an order of magnitude) of a continuous inhalation exposure to the human population that is likely to be without risk of deleterious effects during a lifetime. It can be derived from a no-observed- adverse-effect-level (NOAEL), lowest-observed-adverse-effect-level (LOAEL), or benchmark concentration, with uncertainty factors generally applied to reflect limitations of the data used. Reference concentrations are generally used in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's noncancer health assessments and expressed in milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3).


Short-term exposure limit (STEL):
The maximum concentration to which workers can be exposed for up to 15 minutes continually. There may be no more than four exposure periods per day, and there must be at least 1 hour between exposure periods. The daily time-weighted-average may not be exceeded, however.


Threshold limit value (TLV):
Recommended guidelines for occupational exposure to airborne contaminants published by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists. Threshold limit values represent the average concentrations in milligrams per cubic meter for an 8-hour workday and a 40-hour workweek to which nearly all workers may be repeatedly exposed, day after day, without adverse effect.


Total reduced sulfur (TRS):
All reduced sulfur compounds including but not limited to hydrogen sulfide, methyl mercaptan, dimethyl sulfide, and dimethyl disulfide.


Time-weighted average (TWA):
An allowable exposure concentration averaged over a normal 8-hour workday or 40-hour workweek.


Uncertainty factor (UF):
One of several, generally 10-fold factors, used in deriving the reference concentration from experimental data. Uncertainty factors are intended to account for: 1) the variation in sensitivity among the members of the human population; 2) the uncertainty in extrapolating animal data to humans; 3) the uncertainty of extrapolating from data obtained in a study that is less than lifetime exposure to lifetime exposure, i.e., extrapolating from subchronic to chronic exposure; 4) the uncertainty in extrapolating from an lowest-observed-adverse-effect-level (LOAEL) rather than from a no-observed-adverse-effect-level (NOAEL); and 5) the uncertainty of extrapolating from animal data when the database is incomplete.


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
The federal agency whose mission is to protect human health and safeguard the natural environment–air, land, and water.

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