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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

NAVAL COMPUTER AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS AREA MASTER STATION, PACIFIC (NCTAMS PAC)
WAHIAWA, HONOLULU COUNTY, HAWAII
AND
NAVAL RADIO TRANSMITTER FACILITY LUALUALEI
(NRTF LUALUALEI)
LUALUALEI, OAHU COUNTY, HAWAII


EVALUATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION AND POTENTIAL
PATHWAYS OF EXPOSURE

Introduction

In this section, ATSDR evaluates whether people were or continue to be exposed to contaminants originating from NCTAMS PAC at levels that might pose a health hazard. A health hazard can only exist if all elements of an exposure pathway exist. These elements include a source of contamination, an environmental medium in which contaminants may be present, a point of human exposure, a route of human exposure (such as ingestion, inhalation, or skin contact), and a receptor population. Figure 4 explains the exposure evaluation process in more detail, Appendix A contains a glossary of environmental and health terms used in this document.

For each environmental medium under consideration (i.e., groundwater, soil, surface water, sediment), ATSDR examines the types and concentrations of contaminants in the medium. ATSDR uses comparison values to screen contaminant concentrations in environmental media and to select contaminants for further evaluation. The comparison values include environmental media evaluation guides, reference dose media evaluation guides, cancer risk evaluation guides, and EPA's maximum contaminant levels. A description of the comparison values used in this PHA is provided in Appendix B.

Table 1 in this document lists contaminants in each medium that are present at levels greater than or equal to the most conservative health-based comparison value for each contaminant. Contaminants at or below the comparison values are reasonably regarded as harmless. Because comparison values are designed to be many times lower than levels at which adverse health effects were observed in experimental animal or human health studies, contaminants that exceed the comparison values would not necessarily be expected to produce adverse health effects.

This section evaluates potential exposure pathways at NCTAMS PAC in more detail, considering data gathered and remedial activities conducted, to determine whether they represent, under site-related conditions, a threat to human health. Table 2 summarizes the potential exposure pathways discussed in this section.

As part of the PHA process, ATSDR visited NCTAMS PAC in January 1995 (ATSDR, 1995). During the visit, ATSDR did not identify any completed human exposure pathways. During the PHA process, however, ATSDR gathered and reviewed all RI data for NCTAMS PAC to ensure that all potential pathways of exposure were identified and evaluated. During this review, ATSDR identified three potential human exposure pathways, two involving the possibility for soil contaminants at NCTAMS PAC Wahiawa to accumulate in fish and the other involving exposure to PCB-contaminated soil.

The first potential exposure pathway involves the possibility that contaminated soil from disposal areas in gulches can migrate downgradient via intermittent streams and affect fish in the Poamoho Stream. The second potential exposure pathway involves the possibility that contamination from transformer sites can migrate downgradient to the North Fork of the Kaukonahua Stream and the Wahiawa Reservoir and affect fish in the public fishing area. If surface water runoff is affecting fish downgradient of the site, the possibility of a public health hazard may exist for individuals who eat the contaminated fish. The third potential exposure pathway concerns past exposure to contaminants in soil at transformer sites in residential areas.

Concern: Contamination in Gulches at NCTAMS PAC Wahiawa and Ingestion of Fish

    Could soil contaminants in gulches at NCTAMS PAC Wahiawa be transported downgradient via surface water runoff, accumulate in fish, and result in adverse health effects for people who eat the fish?

Conclusions

After detailed review of the available data, ATSDR has drawn several conclusions regarding this concern:

  • Gulches at NCTAMS PAC Wahiawa are contaminated with PCBs, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), pesticides, and metals, especially in localized areas.
  • Due to the levels of contaminants detected and the distance to the nearest perennial stream, contaminants in the gulches are not likely to migrate to the stream via intermittent surface water runoff.
  • The aquatic ecosystem and the fish in the nearest perennial stream are unlikely to be impacted by contamination in the gulches at NCTAMS PAC Wahiawa. Therefore, no completed exposure pathway exists and no public health hazards exist.

Discussion

Soil contamination exists in gulches at the Building 6 Disposal Area (Site 5), the Old Incinerator Site (formerly Site 2, currently part of Site 5), West Gulch (Site 4), and the Service Station Gulch (Site 6) (Figure 5). During the site visit in 1995, ATSDR expressed concern that contaminants in the surface soil in these gulches could migrate downgradient via surface water runoff and intermittent streams in the gulches and accumulate in fish. If contaminants were migrating downgradient and accumulating in fish, ingestion of those fish could pose a potential health hazard (ATSDR, 1995).

The Building 6 Disposal Area and the Old Incinerator Site (the Burn Area) were investigated together as Site 5 during the RI in 1997. This site was also expanded to include a drum disposal area located in the gulch between the Building 6 Disposal Area and the Burn Area, as well as the Building 293 Disposal Area, located upgradient from the Building 6 gulch. This entire area is referred to as the Building 6 gulch (Figure 5).

Contaminants detected in the soil of the Building 6 gulch during the RI include PCBs, PAHs, pesticides, and metals. PCBs are the most prevalent organic (non-metal) contaminant detected in the soil of the gulch at Building 6. Concentrations of PCBs are highest at the head of the gulch and undetected in the two most downgradient sampling locations. The two uncontaminated samples, located approximately 1,000 feet from the head of the gulch, define the extent of organic contamination downgradient (Earth Tech, 1997b). Metal contamination is clearly evident in the Burn Area and at the head of the gulch where the disposal area was located (Earth Tech, 1997b). Metal detections on the gulch floor are substantially lower and generally decrease with distance from the head of the gulch and the Burn Area. Metal detections in the three most downgradient sampling locations (1,000 feet from the head of the gulch) are very low.

During the RI, two samples of water were taken in the Building 6 gulch from a man-made pit that had caught and retained water from a previous rain. Metals were detected in the pooled samples at levels considered harmful to aquatic organisms. However, no aquatic organisms, including fish, inhabit the gulch. Furthermore, it is expected that the concentrations detected in the samples from pooled water would be higher than if samples were taken from flowing surface water (Earth Tech, 1997b).

After a heavy rain, surface water will flow through the gulch at Building 6 to an unnamed intermittent stream located approximately 11,800 feet downgradient. This intermittent stream drains into the Poamoho Stream, the nearest perennial stream, approximately 2,000 feet further downgradient (Earth Tech, 1997b). There are no public fishing areas on the Poamoho Stream. Due to the levels of contaminants detected in the upper reaches of the gulch, the decrease in contaminant levels with distance from the head of the gulch, and the distance that contamination would have to travel, transport of contamination from the gulch of Building 6 to the Poamoho Stream and to the aquatic ecosystem is unlikely. There is no evidence of contamination extending to the aquatic ecosystem in the Poamoho Stream and to the fish in that ecosystem. ATSDR concludes that no public health hazards exist from the soil contamination in the gulch at Building 6.

The Wahiawa public fishing area is located approximately ½ mile southwest of the facility on the North Fork of the Kaukonahua Stream (EPA, 1994). Because the gulch at Building 6 does not drain to the North Fork of the Kaukonahua Stream or to the Wahiawa Reservoir (Ogden, 1995), contaminants in surface soil at this disposal area are not expected to affect fish in these water bodies.

Based on the results of the draft RI performed at the Building 6 gulch, metal-contaminated soil will be excavated from the Burn Area. Remediating soil in the Burn Area will remove contamination that could potentially migrate downgradient in the future. The Navy is also considering remediation of soil contaminated with PCBs and metals in other areas of the gulch. These remedial activities will continue to ensure that surface water runoff does not carry contaminants downgradient, thereby adversely affecting fish or other aquatic organisms downgradient.

The Service Station Gulch is located to the east of the Building 6 gulch, between the industrial section of NCTAMS PAC Wahiawa and open land (Figure 5). This site was used from 1967 to 1980 for the disposal of a small amount of inert wastes, auto parts, petroleum, oils, and lubricants (NEESA, 1986). The West Gulch disposal area is located in a remote area of western NCTAMS PAC Wahiawa (Figure 5). The site was used from 1975 to 1978 for the disposal of construction debris, wood, concrete, fiberglass tiles, and asbestos insulation panels (NEESA, 1986). No environmental data have been collected to date at these sites. The 1995 RI/FS work plan calls for abbreviated RIs to be performed at both sites (Ogden, 1995). These abbreviated RIs are currently scheduled for fiscal years 2004 and 2005, respectively. Because the Building 6 Disposal Area was used from the 1940s until 1976, and wastes included domestic trash, shop waste (lighting appliances, electrical gear), construction debris, vehicle maintenance waste (tires, batteries), and an estimated total of 6,000 gallons of waste oil and solvent, wastes disposed of at the Service Station Gulch and West Gulch from 1967 to 1980 would likely cause less contamination than the wastes at Building 6. Therefore, based on the extensive data collected at the Building 6 gulch, ATSDR believes that potential contaminants in surface water runoff from these other two sites is also unlikely to affect fish downstream. Based on the available data, ATSDR concludes that no public health hazards exist from soil contamination in the Service Station Gulch or West Gulch. However, ATSDR will review the RI documents when they become available and revise the conclusions of this PHA if indicated.

Concern: Contaminated Soil at Various Transformer Sites at NCTAMS PAC Wahiawa and Ingestion of Fish

    Could soil contaminants at various transformer sites at NCTAMS PAC Wahiawa be transported downgradient via surface water runoff to the North Fork of the Kaukonahua Stream or the Wahiawa Reservoir, accumulate in fish, and result in adverse health effects for people who eat the fish?

Conclusions

After detailed review of the available data, ATSDR has drawn several conclusions regarding this concern:

  • Soil at transformer sites at NCTAMS PAC Wahiawa is contaminated with PCBs.
  • PCB contamination is generally confined to within and immediately outside the shelters that enclose the transformers.
  • Due to the distance from the transformers to the stream, PCB contamination from the transformers is not likely to migrate to the North Fork of the Kaukonahua Stream or to the Wahiawa Reservoir.
  • Fish and the aquatic ecosystem are unlikely to be impacted by the PCB contamination at transformer sites; therefore, no exposure pathway exists and no public health hazards exist.

Discussion

During the site visit in 1995, ATSDR identified a second potential human exposure pathway involving the possibility that contaminated soil at various transformer sites at NCTAMS PAC Wahiawa could migrate via surface water runoff to the North Fork of the Kaukonahua Stream and to the Wahiawa Reservoir and affect fish (ATSDR, 1995). The Wahiawa public fishing area is located approximately ½ mile southwest of the facility on the North Fork of the Kaukonahua Stream (EPA, 1994).

PCBs were detected in soil samples from multiple transformer sites at NCTAMS PAC. The PCB contamination is a result of quarterly testing of transformer fluid that occurred from approximately 1942 to 1977. Transformers at Buildings 118, 119, 120, and 230 are located on the southern portion of NCTAMS PAC Wahiawa (Figure 5), in an area that drains to the south toward the North Fork of the Kaukonahua Stream and, ultimately, the Wahiawa Reservoir (EPA, 1993).

In 1988, three surface soil samples were taken at multiple transformers at NCTAMS PAC (HLA, 1989). For transformers at Buildings 118, 119, and 120, the three soil samples were collected within a shelter that enclosed each transformer. At Building 230, the soil was sampled in the relatively flat open area near the transformer. Soil contamination at these transformer locations was further characterized in 1990 and 1991 (PRC, 1992).2

Surface soil samples from the four transformers at Buildings 118, 119, 120, and 230 clearly indicate that the highest PCB concentrations were detected in the three samples taken in 1988 within the enclosed shelters. PCB concentrations are substantially lower outside of the shelters and decline with distance from the gates of the shelters. Samples collected in 1990 show that most PCBs were detected at levels below 10 ppm outside the shelters but within 15 feet of the transformer buildings (Fukumoto, 1998). The grid sampling performed at these sites appears to indicate that PCB contamination is confined to within and immediately outside the shelter that encloses the transformers.

The Navy estimates Building 118 to be approximately 750 feet from the North Fork of the Kaukonahua Stream. Buildings 119, 120, and 230 are approximately 1,000, 1,200, and 1,350 feet from the stream, respectively (Fukumoto, 1998). Because contamination appears to be confined to the area immediately surrounding the transformers, it is unlikely that PCB-contaminated soil has migrated over 750 feet to the stream and accumulated in the fish or in the aquatic ecosystem.

PCB transformers at NCTAMS PAC have been either removed or replaced with non-PCB transformers. In 1990 and 1991, the Navy excavated PCB-contaminated soil at several transformer sites, including the four transformer locations at Buildings 118, 119, 120, and 230, to meet a cleanup goal of 10 ppm. Confirmatory soil samples were taken and soil was further excavated to meet the cleanup goal, if necessary (PRC, 1992). Because the laboratory that analyzed soil samples during the excavation was found to be employing fraudulent practices, the Navy plans to perform further confirmation sampling at these sites to ensure that PCB levels are below 10 ppm. This activity is currently scheduled for fiscal year 2001. The removal or replacement of PCB transformers and the excavation of PCB-contaminated soil at the transformer sites will continue to ensure that contaminants from NCTAMS PAC do not migrate downgradient in surface water runoff or accumulate in the aquatic ecosystem or fish.

No fish samples have been taken from the public fishing area or the Wahiawa Reservoir. Data gathered at the transformer locations, however, appear to demonstrate that fish in the North Fork of the Kaukonahua Stream are unlikely to be affected by contaminants from transformer sites at NCTAMS PAC. Based on the available data, ATSDR concludes that no public health hazards exist from ingestion of fish downgradient from PCB-contaminated soil at transformer sites at NCTAMS PAC Wahiawa.

Concern: Contaminated Soil at Transformer Sites in Residential Areas

    Could past exposure to soil contaminants at transformer sites located in residential areas of NCTAMS PAC Wahiawa result in adverse health effects?

Conclusions

After detailed review of the available data, ATSDR has drawn several conclusions regarding this concern:

  • Soil at three transformer sites located in residential areas is contaminated with PCBs.
  • The PCB-contaminated soil was heavily vegetated with grass and the areas of highest contamination were limited to several feet near the entrance gates; therefore, any actual exposures are not expected to result in adverse health effects.
  • PCB contamination migrated to a playground located adjacent to the Building 119 transformer.
  • Frequent past exposure to the highest detected PCB concentrations in soil at the playground at Building 119 is unlikely to be associated with adverse health effects.

Discussion

The transformers at Buildings 118, 119, and 120 are located in residential areas (Figure 5). PCB concentrations in surface soil at these sites exceeded the chronic environmental media evaluation guide and the reference media evaluation guide of 1 ppm for children and 10 ppm for adults (see Appendix B for an explanation of these comparison values). The highest concentrations of PCBs were detected in soil immediately surrounding the transformer buildings and near the gates that access the transformers (Fukumoto, 1998). Concentrations of PCBs decreased with distance from the buildings.

Though the transformer buildings are themselves industrial sites, they are located in residential areas. Occupants of these areas were not physically restricted from coming into contact with the contaminated soil in the buildings' immediate vicinity. Furthermore, at Building 120, the area in which high concentrations of PCBs were detected included part of the back yard of a single-family residence. Also, very high concentrations of PCBs were detected in the soil in the immediate proximity of the gate leading to the transformer at Building 119. This building is adjacent to and not physically isolated from a playground.

In 1990 and 1991, PCB-contaminated soil was remediated to a cleanup goal of 10 ppm and replaced with clean fill at Buildings 118, 119, and 120. Therefore, these areas do not pose a present or future public health hazard. ATSDR did, however, evaluate the possibility for adverse health effects to occur from past exposure by residential community members who may have accessed the sites.

While access to the contaminated soil surrounding transformers at Buildings 118, 119, and 120 was not physically restricted, it is not known how frequently the areas were used by either children or adults. As previously noted, Building 119 is located adjacent to a playground. The highest concentration of PCBs detected in soil near the transformer building (2,707 ppm) is approximately 15 to 20 feet from the closest playground structure (Fukumoto, 1998). The majority of the samples in the sampling grid detected PCBs below 10 ppm. The contaminated area at Building 120 was part of the back yard of a single-family residence. The most contaminated soil (476 ppm) was located near the gate to the transformer building. It is not known if this particular area was frequently used by the families that stayed in that house. The contaminated area was fenced off by the Navy after discovery of the contamination.

The areas surrounding Buildings 118, 119, and 120, and the playground adjacent to Building 119 were heavily vegetated with grass prior to soil remediation in 1990 and 1991. Exposure to contaminants in soil is reduced by vegetative cover because the layer of vegetation physically limits access to the soil and holds soil in place, prohibiting it from becoming airborne.

In order for past exposure to PCB-contaminated soil at these three transformer sites to have the potential to result in adverse health effects, several assumptions used by ATSDR in this analysis would all have to be true. These assumptions include that the individual accessed the site frequently (5 days a week for 50 weeks per year). The individual would have to be actively disturbing the soil under the grassy cover in the area with the highest contamination (i.e., close to the entrance gate). Finally, the individual would have to actually ingest the soil from the most contaminated area. Due to the conservative nature of ATSDR's exposure evaluation process, the overlying vegetative cover, and the unknown nature of access at these sites, ATSDR concludes that no apparent public health hazard exists from exposure to PCB-contaminated soil at transformer sites located in residential areas.

A review of the data indicates that PCBs migrated from Building 119 into the adjacent playground. As part of the removal action, the Navy excavated PCB-contaminated soil from the playground and replaced it with clean fill. This action ensures protection of public health at the playground currently and in the future. ATSDR performed a detailed evaluation of the potential for adverse health effects to occur from past exposure to the PCB-contaminated soil within the playground.

ATSDR evaluated the potential for adverse health effects to occur to a child weighing 10 kilograms, incidentally ingesting 200 milligrams of the highest level of PCBs (25.1 ppm) detected at the playground 5 days a week, and 50 weeks a year over a 6-year period of time. The analysis showed that there was a very slight elevation in the potential for adverse non-cancer health effects in a child exposed to the highest PCB concentration detected every time that child visited the playground. The detection of PCBs at 25.1 ppm occurred outside the arrangement of playground structures. The majority of PCB concentrations within the playground were at or below 1 ppm. Because there was only one detection of PCBs at this concentration in the multiple samples taken, the exposure scenario that ATSDR based the analysis on is highly unlikely. Furthermore, the playground was covered with grass before the 1990 and 1991 removal action, further reducing the potential for exposure. Due to the conservative assumptions that ATSDR applied, ATSDR concludes that no apparent public health hazard exists from potential past exposure to PCBs in soil at the playground near Building 119.


COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS

Introduction

During the 1995 site visit, ATSDR met with community members to discuss their health concerns. During that visit, the community raised health concerns related to the possible association of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from the transmitters at NRTF Lualualei and childhood leukemia (ATSDR, 1995).

A Community Relations Plan (CRP) was written as part of the RI/FS work plan for NCTAMS PAC. In order to obtain public input for preparing the CRP, the Navy conducted an initial interview survey in June 1991, a series of interviews by mail from October 1994 to June 1995, and in-person interviews in May and June 1995. Several community health concerns were identified: potential EMF-related health impacts from the radio transmitting towers at NRTF Lualualei, groundwater contamination, surface water contamination, and toxic airborne particulates (Ogden, 1995). The last three environmental issues were evaluated throughout the RI process. ATSDR has gathered and reviewed all RI data for sites at NCTAMS PAC. Table 1 summarizes site history, investigation results, current status, and evaluation of ATSDR's public health hazards for all sites evaluated during the RI.

The following discussion evaluates the possible association of EMFs from the transmitters at NRTF Lualualei and childhood leukemia.

Concern: Electromagnetic Fields and Childhood Leukemia

    Could the EMFs from the radio transmitters at NRTF Lualualei be associated with an increase in childhood leukemia in the Waianae District?

Conclusions

After detailed review of the available data, ATSDR has drawn several conclusions regarding exposure to EMFs from the radio transmitters at NRTF Lualualei:

  • The radio transmitters at NRTF Lualualei emit low frequency EMFs.
  • There was an increase in the incidence of childhood leukemia in the Waianae District in the early 1980s. No increase in the incidence of childhood leukemia has been reported since 1985.
  • Research does not clearly indicate that EMFs are related to the incidence of childhood leukemia.
  • The increase in childhood leukemia in the Waianae District cannot be attributed with any certainty to the EMFs from the radio transmitters at NRTF Lualualei.
  • The levels of EMFs measured at NRTF Lualualei are within established guidelines.
  • No public health hazard exists from the radio transmission towers at NRTF.

Discussion

EMFs are waves produced from power lines, household wiring, electrical appliances, radio and television stations, as well as visible light. The radio transmissions from NRTF Lualualei are one type of EMF. EMFs include a range of waves that have differing lengths and frequencies. Waves with a higher frequency have shorter wavelengths and more energy. EMFs with lower frequency waves include transmitters such as those at NRTF Lualualei, power lines, household electricity, short wave radios, AM and FM radios, televisions, and microwaves.

Public concern was raised in the late 1970s over the possible health effects of EMFs. This public concern led to an increase in scientific and public health research. Studies have shown that thermal (heating) effects can occur from exposure to very intense EMFs in the low frequency ranges, such as radio frequency waves (EPA, 1992). Microwave ovens heat food in this manner. Other studies have focused on the long-term health effects of EMFs but have not shown any clear, convincing evidence that residential exposures to EMFs are a threat to human health (NAS, 1996).

Residential exposure to EMFs can occur from power lines, transmitters, and household electricity and appliances. Because of the difficulty and expense of measuring EMFs within a household over a long period of time, researchers have estimated the fields by using factors such as the size of wires going past the home and the distance between the home and power lines. These studies have shown no clear evidence to support an association between EMFs and adult cancers, pregnancy outcomes, neurobehavioral disorders, or childhood cancers other than leukemia (NAS, 1996).

Research has shown a weak but statistically significant (not likely due to chance) correlation between the incidence of childhood leukemia and wire configurations outside the home (NAS, 1996). However, further research indicates that outside wiring is a poor measurement of the true EMF strength in the home, and follow-up studies have not been able to link the incidence of childhood leukemia with the EMF levels actually measured in the homes. The incidence of childhood leukemia in homes with certain wire configurations may be related to other factors, such as high traffic density, local air quality, and construction features of older homes (NAS, 1996). These results, therefore, are inconsistent and do not clearly indicate that EMFs are related to the incidence of childhood leukemia.

Studies on the effects of EMFs on human cells have shown no evidence that EMFs at the level of exposure common in residential settings are capable of altering the functions of human cells. Furthermore, no study has shown that even tremendously high exposure to EMFs alters the DNA structure or function of a cell, which is believed to be essential for the initiation of cancer. Finally, no animal experiments have shown that EMFs, even at high doses, can act as a direct carcinogen (NAS, 1996).

In 1994, the Hawaii Department of Health studied 12 cases of acute leukemia diagnosed in children between 1979 and 1990 in the Waianae District near NRTF Lualualei (Maskarinec et al., 1994). This study found a significant increase in the incidence of childhood leukemia, particularly for the period from 1982 to 1984. While the number of study participants was too small to identify risk factors with any certainty, a non-statistically significant (possibly due to chance) association was found between residential proximity to the low-frequency radio towers and the incidence of childhood leukemia. This association may be confounded by other factors, such as socioeconomic status and exposure to other contaminants (Maskarinec et al., 1994). The incidence of childhood leukemia in the Waianae District has not been elevated since 1985.

In response to the Hawaii Department of Health study and community concern, EPA surveyed the perimeter of the NRTF Lualualei facility and numerous locations in the Waianae community for EMFs generated from the transmitters in order to determine the maximum fields generated in the residential community (EPA, 1992). EPA also measured EMFs from power lines. The levels of radio transmissions from NRTF Lualualei cannot be compared to other communities because of the lack of data. There are only three other U.S. communities with similar Navy transmitters. No data had been collected on these communities at the time of EPA's study at NRTF Lualualei. The EMF measurements from the power lines were similar to those found in other U.S. cities (EPA, 1992).

In 1986, EPA proposed EMF exposure guidelines. The highest values of radio transmissions measured in the Waianae District were lower than the most protective guidelines proposed by EPA. They were also well below guidelines for radio frequency fields established by the American National Standards Institute in 1982, as well as those established by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers in 1991 (EPA, 1992).

Research does not provide clear evidence that childhood leukemia is associated with EMFs. While there was an increase in childhood leukemia near NRTF Lualualei in the 1980s, particularly from 1982 to 1984, this increase cannot be attributed with any certainty to EMFs from the radio transmission towers at NCTAMS PAC. In 1992, measured levels of EMFs from the radio transmission towers did not exceed guidelines. There has been no significant increase in the incidence of childhood leukemia since 1984. Based on the available data, ATSDR concludes that no public health hazards exist from EMFs from the radio transmission towers at NCTAMS PAC.


ATSDR'S CHILD HEALTH INITIATIVE

ATSDR recognizes that infants and children may be more sensitive to environmental exposure than adults in communities faced with contamination of their water, soil, air, or food. This sensitivity is a result of the following factors: (1) children are more likely to be exposed to certain media (e.g., soil or surface water) because they play outdoors; (2) children are shorter than adults, which means that they can breathe dust, soil, and vapors close to the ground; and (3) children are smaller, therefore, childhood exposure results in higher doses of chemical exposure per body weight. Children can sustain permanent damage if these factors lead to toxic exposure during critical growth stages. ATSDR is committed to evaluating their special interests at sites such as NCTAMS PAC, as part of the ATSDR Child Health Initiative.

ATSDR evaluated the likelihood that children living at NCTAMS PAC may have been or may be exposed to contaminants at levels of health concern. ATSDR did not identify any situations in which children were likely to be or have been exposed to contaminants at levels that would be associated with adverse health effects. ATSDR based this conclusion on several factors after reviewing the available data, including:

  • No exposure pathways exist through which soil contaminants in the gulches or at the transformer sites at NCTAMS PAC Wahiawa can accumulate in fish or the aquatic ecosystem.
  • No adverse health effects are expected from potential past exposure to detected levels of contaminants at the playground adjacent to the Building 119 transformer site.
  • There is no evidence that suggests that exposure to EMFs near NRTF Lualualei could result in any adverse health effects, even for children.


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