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PETITIONED PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

NEWTOWN COMMUNITY
GAINESVILLE, HALL COUNTY, GEORGIA


CONCLUSIONS

  • Emissions prior to 1986 could not be evaluated because prior to 1986, industry was not required to report emissions and chemical usage to EPA. Therefore no record of historical data exists to reconstruct past exposures. Without this information, it is impossible to determine to what extent area emissions impacted residential health prior to 1986.

  • Air contaminant concentrations resulting from routine releases of chemicals from industries in the area of the Newtown community are not likely to cause adverse health effects currently or since 1986. Non- routine releases reported by residents were not likely to cause long-term health problems.

  • Based on 1990 and 1996 emissions, mobile sources including cars and trucks are creating the greatest health threat for Newtown residents.

  • ATSDR could not fully evaluate the potential health effects of specific Gainesville urban/industrial chemical mixtures. No studies of similar exposure conditions and contaminant levels could be located. However, an increase of respiratory and pulmonary illnesses have been associated with urban and industrial air, and poor air quality in general.

  • Data generated for the Gainesville community, based on ATSDR and EPA models, does not demonstrate an increase in estimated cancer or noncancer risk that is significantly higher thanother similar cities in the state of Georgia.

  • Sources of indoor air pollution, which may be significant, were not part of this project but are an important consideration when considering total exposure to air pollution.

  • The air monitor is not in an optimal location for measuring exposures in the Newtown Community.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • The Georgia Department of Natural Resources should continue to monitor for hazardous air pollutants.

  • If monitors are to be used to measure community exposure in Newtown they should be located to the south and southwest of the community (see Figure on Page 19).

  • The Georgia Department of Natural Resources should periodically review (at least annually) the available sampling and analytical methods for collecting and analyzing acrolein and formaldehyde. Once the methods meet applicable quality control/quality assurance criteria, the GaDNR should implement sampling analysis for these compounds in Gainesville.

PUBLIC HEALTH ACTION PLAN

This section reflects actions taken in Newtown since ATSDR's involvement began in 1995. Since ATSDR was petitioned by residents of the Newtown Community, it has produced two public health assessments. The final version of the first was released on March 31, 2001. This document (the second) is a follow-up to the actions suggested in the March 2001 document. The activities mentioned below were taken to assist residents with their questions and concerns, as well as to assist in the writing and completion of both public health assessments.

ATSDR Actions Taken

  • ATSDR Action: Contacted the City of Gainesville regarding lead in tap water.

  • Result: The city tested the tap water of seven homes chosen by the petitioner. All homes had safe drinking water, with acceptable lead levels.
  • ATSDR Action: Contacted the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and asked the department to inspect the Gainesville Scrap Iron and Metal Company.

  • Result: The company was found to be in violation of several mandated environmental requirements for similar facilities. Followup enforcement and regulatory action were undertaken to bring the company into compliance for cited violations.
  • ATSDR Action: Conducted a cancer incidence review in the ten street area that is the Newtown Community. Reviewed Emory University lupus study in Newtown.

  • Result: No elevated cancers incidences were identified. An elevated lupus incidence was reported. Per an ATSDR recommendation, an additional health study is being conducted by UAB and FAMU to verify disease incidence.
  • ATSDR Action: Contacted the University of Georgia Agricultural Department in response to the concerns of Newtown residents about the rodent problem.

  • Result: A professor and a rodent expert at the University agreed to have a clinic with the community to educate members about how to control the rodent population in their homes.
  • ATSDR Action: Reviewed Morehouse hair study of Newtown residents. Identified children with elevated lead in hair. Contacted the National Center for Environmental Health and the Hall County Health Department to discuss the issue of child blood lead testing. Learned that Newtown children on Medicaid under 18 can have free blood lead tests done at the Hall County Health Department; other children can have the tests done for $10 each.

  • Result: Residents have been advised of the testing, and some have reportedly used the service for their children.
  • ATSDR Action: Conducted an exposure investigation for soils in January 2000 and retrieved the last air canister for analysis in May 2000. Elevated levels of some solvents were found near two local facilities, and benzene levels were elevated at a third location. The levels detected served as justification for further analysis via air modeling of current and historical emissions in the area.

  • Result: A thorough air model was generated to assess the air quality of the community. This document was written to explain ATSDR's findings.

  • Evaluated all existing ambient air and facility emissions data gathered in and around the Newtown Community as a basis for this public health assessment.

  • ATSDR, Division of Health Education and Promotion and the Newtown Florist Club held a health fair on September 14, 2002. The purpose of the health fair was to disseminate information to community members regarding health conditions and diseases they have reported as a concern. Members of a number of health organizations were invited to attend and present information, including the Lupus Foundation of America and the American Cancer Society.

PREPARERS OF THIS REPORT

Authors
Michelle A. Colledge
Environmental Health Scientist
Petitions Section
Exposure Investigations and Consultations Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

Brian M. Kaplan
Environmental Health Scientist
Consultations Section
Exposure Investigations and Consultations Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation


Technical Assistance
Jerri Anderson
Data Management Assistant
Spatial Analysis and Information Dissemination Section
Program Evaluation, Records & Information Services Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

Steve Martin
Computer Information System Support Contractor
Information Resources Management Branch
Office of Program Operations & Management

Todd Raziano
Environmental Health Scientist
Petitions Section
Exposure Investigations and Consultations Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation


Reviewers
John E. Abraham
Branch Chief
Exposure Investigations and Consultations Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

David Fowler
Toxicologist
Petitions Response Section
Exposure Investigations and Consultations Branch
Division of Health Assessments and Consultations

Kathryn Harmsen
Editor
Office of Policy and External Affairs

Donald Joe
Chief, Petitions Response Section
Exposure Investigations and Consultations Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

Susan Moore
Chief, Consultations Section
Exposure Investigations and Consultations Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation


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