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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

POWNAL TANNERY
POWNAL, BENNINGTON COUNTY, VERMONT


CONCLUSIONS

  1. The Pownal Tannery National Priorities List site was considered a public health hazard in previous versions of the public health assessment, because of the physical hazard presented by the dam area adjacent to the Hoosic River. EPA has rectified the physical hazards by erecting guardrails and handrails along the river after demolition of the main tannery building was completed during summer 2000. ATSDR has changed the site category to an indeterminate public health hazard, because available data do not indicate that humans are being or have been exposed to levels of contamination that would be expected to cause adverse health effects, but data is not available for all environmental media, specifically fish near the site.
  2. In the past, some of the chemicals found in the building basement surface soil had the potential to cause adverse health effects in humans following dermal contact. However, due to limited exposure to basement surface soil adverse health effects are unlikely.

  3. ATSDR has identified two completed exposure pathways. Persons who trespassed upon the site and entered the basements of on-site buildings may have been exposed to contaminants in surface soil in the past. Persons who fish in the Hoosic River in the vicinity of the site may be exposed to contaminants in the river's sediments and surface waters. Fish sampling information and test results are needed in order to make a more definitive determination.
  4. ATSDR has provided a toxicological evaluation of contaminants reported to be present at the site. Based upon that evaluation, ATSDR believes that adverse non-cancer health effects are possible though unlikely. Arsenic, cadmium, dioxin, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and 4-nitroaniline have the potential to cause adverse health effects via dermal contact. However, the likelihood of such exposures are minimal, if any, and the dermal effects are not expected to have occurred.

    For those contaminants with known carcinogenic endpoints, ATSDR believes that there would be no significant increased risk of developing cancer from the intermittent exposures evaluated.

  5. Three potential pathways have been identified. These are on-site groundwater, surface water from the run-off area of the landfill, and possible exposure of workers during the remediation process.

  6. The population surrounding the site is relatively small. Adverse health effects are not expected to have occurred due to the limited exposures (if any) to on-site contaminants. In addition, no one has expressed concerns regarding dermatitis or other adverse health effects to ATSDR personnel. Therefore, health outcome data were not evaluated.

  7. ATSDR has reviewed and provided a response to community concerns expressed during ATSDR's visits to the site and the surrounding area.

  8. The data needs include the following:

    1. Sampling of off-site media and the residential area surface soils; surface water, sediment, and biota in the Hoosic River, near the site and downstream of the site in areas used for recreational purposes; and ambient air in the residential area during remedial activities to determine if inhalation exposure to site contamination is occurring during the remedial efforts. Also, continue to monitor drinking water at the tap to insure that on-site groundwater contamination has not migrated off-site into the drinking water supply.

    2. Sampling of on-site surface soils in the vicinity of the buildings, landfill, and lagoons in areas most likely to have been frequented by trespassers.

    3. Additional toxicological and/or epidemiological data are needed for dibenzofuran, 2-methylnaphthalene, 4-nitroaniline, and endrin ketone in order to determine appropriate adverse health outcomes, if any.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Cease/Reduce Exposure Recommendation

Permanent measures need to be taken to restrict access to the site, particularly the dammed area along the Hoosic River.

Site/Area Characterization Recommendations

Additional sampling data are required in order to have a more accurate idea of what compounds are present both on and off the site and to estimate possible pathways of exposure. Sampling of off-site media: including the residential area surface soils; drinking water at the tap to insure that on-site groundwater contamination has not migrated off-site into the drinking water supply; surface water, sediment, and biota in the Hoosic River downstream of the site in areas used for recreational purposes; and ambient air in the residential area during remedial activities to determine if inhalation exposure to site contamination is occurring during the remedial efforts, is recommended. ATSDR recommends sampling of biota from the Hoosic River in the vicinity of the site to determine if fish being caught by children and possibly consumed could pose a public health hazard. In addition, sampling of on-site surface soils in the vicinity of the buildings, landfill, and lagoons in areas most likely to have been frequented by trespassers is recommended.


PUBLIC HEALTH ACTION PLAN

The purpose of the public health action plan (PHAP) is to ensure that this public health assessment goes beyond presenting ATSDR's conclusions and recommendations about public health issues at the Pownal Tannery National Priorities List site. The PHAP describes the actions that are designed to stop or prevent harmful effects resulting from exposure to hazardous substances at the site.

A. Actions Undertaken

  1. ATSDR has visited the Pownal Tannery site in order to verify site conditions and to gather pertinent information and data for the site (December 1998 and May 1999).

  2. ATSDR has met with local citizens to determine their health-related concerns regarding the Pownal Tannery site (May 1999).

  3. ATSDR released the Pownal Tannery Public Health Assessment on September 5th, 2000 for public comment. A letter was sent to local citizens announcing the availability of the document, the comment period, and repositories where the document could be reviewed in early October. The official comment period ended October 16th, 2000, but ATSDR allowed an additional 30 days for comment.

B. Actions Planned

  1. ATSDR will continue to collaborate with the appropriate federal, state, and local agencies to pursue the implementation of the recommendations outlined in this public health assessment.

  2. ATSDR will continue to review any new environmental and health outcome data associated with the Pownal Tannery National Priorities List site and include the results in future releases of this public health assessment.

AUTHORS OF REPORT

Déborah A. Boling, M.P.H., Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Robert B. Knowles, M.S., REHS, Division of Health Assessment and Consultation


ATSDR Team Members
for the Pownal Tannery Public Health Assessment

Stephen R. Blackwell, M.P.H., Division of Health Education and Promotion
William D. Henriques, Ph.D., Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Susanne Simon, M.P.H., ATSDR Regional Representative, EPA Region I
Maria Teran-Maciver, M.S., Division of Health Assessment and Consultation


REFERENCES

  1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Statement of Work for Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study, Pownal Tannery Superfund Site, Bennington County, Vermont. December 1998.

  2. Tetra Tech NUS, Inc. 1989. Final Screening Inspection Report. Pownal Tannery; Pownal, Vermont. TDD No. F1-8904-07.

  3. Tetra Tech NUS, Inc.. 1998. Final Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis, Volume 1. Pownal Tannery Site, North Pownal, Vermont. EPA Contract No. 68-W6-0045.

  4. SP Engineering Technology. 1988. Weekly Status Reports. Sludge Removal and Disposal from Pownal Tannery, Route 346, North Pownal, Vermont. July through September 1988.

  5. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Record of Activity. Pownal Tannery, North Pownal, Vermont. September 28, 1993.

  6. Environmental Protection Agency. Chemical Releases and Their Chemical Risks. A Citizen's Guide to Risk Screening. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 1989.

  7. Environmental Protection Agency. Toxic Chemical Release Inventory. Washington, D.C.; National Library of Medicine.

  8. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region I, Boston, Massachusetts. Hazard ranking system documentation record, Pownal Tannery, 1998.

  9. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Public health assessment guidance manual. Atlanta: ATSDR, March 1992; DHHS, (PHS).

  10. Kondakis XG, N Makris, M Leotsinidis, et al. 1989. Possible health effects of high manganese concentration in drinking water. In: Toxicological profile for manganese. Atlanta: ATSDR, September 1997, DHHS, (PHS).

  11. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for arsenic. (update) Atlanta: ATSDR, August 1998.

  12. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for cadmium. (update) Atlanta: ATSDR, July 1999.

  13. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for chlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins. (update) Atlanta: ATSDR, December 1998.

  14. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for 4,4'-DDT, 4,4'-DDE, 4,4'-DDD. (update) Atlanta: ATSDR, May 1994.

  15. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate. (update) Atlanta: ATSDR, April 1993.

  16. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for pentachlorophenol. (update) Atlanta: ATSDR, May 1994.

  17. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for lead. (update) Atlanta: ATSDR, July 1999.

  18. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). (update) Atlanta: ATSDR, August 1995.

  19. Micromedex, Inc. Tomes Integrated Index. CD-ROM, Vol 30. New York: Micromedex, 1996.

  20. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for naphthalene. (update) Atlanta: ATSDR, August 1995.

  21. Micromedex, Inc. Tomes CPS. CD-ROM, Vol 42. New York: Micromedex, 1999.

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