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PRELIMINARY PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

SPECTRON INCORPORATED
(a/k/a GALAXY INCORPORATED)
ELKTON, CECIL COUNTY, MARYLAND

CONCLUSIONS

  1. Past exposure to airborne contaminants is considered a completed exposure pathway. Available information indicates that, at certain times during the 1960s and early 1970s, levels ofairborne contaminants from the Spectron/Galaxy site represented an urgent public health hazardfor some exposed area residents. Recent air monitoring data (collected in August, 1995) did notdetect any elevated levels of airborne contaminants near the site, indicating that there is currentlyno public health hazard from site contaminants in the air near Spectron/Galaxy.

  2. Potential past and present exposures include direct contact with contaminants in sediments andsurface waters of Little Elk Creek. Surface water monitoring results from 1995 indicate thatvolatile organic compounds from the site continue to be released into Little Elk Creek. The 1995data on creek contaminant levels downstream from the site indicate that occasional recreationalcontact would not pose a significant human health risk.

  3. Site-related VOC contaminants were tentatively identified in some residential wells in 1992. Residents were supplied with bottled water, which was discontinued in 1993 when repeat testingof these wells did not reveal any contamination. Residential well monitoring in 1995 identifiedlow levels of VOCs in one well. The affected residence has been supplied with a water treatmentsystem. No VOCs were detected in any of the other sampled wells, including the wells sampledin 1992.

  4. A cancer mortality study of Providence Valley residents covering the period January 1967 -June 1976 reported a greater-than-expected number of total cancer deaths during the period, aswell as a greater than expected number of cancer deaths from cancers involving the lymphaticsystem. Task force members recommended that cancer deaths be monitored in ProvidenceValley residents, in particular cancers of the lymphatic and hematopoietic (blood forming)tissues. Two other cases of residents who developed lymphatic cancers have been recentlyreported to MDE staff.

  5. People living near the site have expressed concern about the potential for long-term healtheffects, such as cancer, resulting from past exposures to off-site contaminants; there is alsoconcern regarding the potential relationship between high level exposures in the past and otheradverse health effects, including miscarriage and heart disease. Past exposures to high levels ofairborne contaminants may have increased the lifetime risk of developing cancer (e.g., certaintypes of lymphoma and leukemia) in some residents. Residents who were exposed to high levelsof airborne contaminants also have been at greater risk for experiencing other health effects.


RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. Maintain a periodic sampling program of local residential wells that are or may be potentiallyaffected. If private wells are contaminated at levels of health concern, an alternate water supplyor treatment system should be installed.

  2. Determine the extent of site-related contamination in Little Elk Creek surface water andsediments downstream from the site.

  3. Provide health education to the exposed and potentially exposed populations.

  4. If necessary records are available, update the cancer mortality study of the population ofProvidence Valley residents that was previously conducted for the years 1967 - 1976, withparticular emphasis on deaths from cancers of the lymphatic and hematopoietic tissues (e.g.,lymphoma, leukemia).

The data and information developed in the Spectron/Galaxy Public Health Assessment have beenevaluated for appropriate follow-up health actions. The ATSDR Health ActivitiesRecommendation Panel (HARP) agreed with MDE's conclusions and recommendations that pastexposures to site contaminants released into the air were a health concern and that evaluation ofpossible current exposures require further environmental sampling data (additional air samplinghas already been conducted). HARP also concluded that community health education and healthprofessions education are indicated in order for the community and health care providers to betterunderstand the public health implications of past exposures. A health statistics review, whichshould include, but not be limited to, cancer mortality and birth defects databases, is alsoindicated. Including the exposed population on ATSDR's benzene subregistry was consideredand subsequently rejected. ATSDR and MDE will reevaluate this site for additional follow-uppublic health actions when new data become available.


PUBLIC HEALTH ACTIONS

The public health action plan (PHAP) for the Spectron/Galaxy site contains a description ofactions to be taken by ATSDR and/or other governmental agencies at and in the vicinity of thesite. The purpose of the PHAP is to ensure that this public health assessment not only identifiespublic health hazards, but provides a plan of action designed to mitigate and prevent adversehuman health effects resulting from exposure to hazardous substances in the environment. Included is a commitment on the part of MDE and ATSDR to follow up on this plan to ensurethat it is implemented.

Actions Implemented
EPA, at the request of MDE and ATSDR, requested that air monitoring be performed at andaround the site to determine if nearby residents are currently exposed to contaminants in the air atlevels of concern. This sampling was performed by a contractor for the PRP group in November,1993; however, some of the data are invalid because of problems with the samplingmethodology.

At the request of MDE and ATSDR, additional air monitoring was conducted by a contractor toEPA on residential property near the site during the week of August 7, 1995.

MDE is performing a cancer mortality data review and is evaluating the feasibility of a review ofbirth defects data to evaluate the public health implications of past exposures.

At the request of EPA and MDE, a contractor to the PRP group sampled 21 residents' wells fromthe site vicinity in September and October, 1995. The same contractor also collected four surfacewater samples from Little Elk Creek in September 1995. Both residential well and surface watersampling will be repeated on a biannual basis.

Actions Planned
The HARP determination that community health and health professions education is indicatedhas been provided to ATSDR's Division of Health Education (DHE).

Starting in September 1995, water samples at seventy-one residential wells and 4 South Weststations in Little Elk Creek will be monitored for site contaminants on a semi-annual basis (twice a year).


PREPARERS OF THE REPORT
Principal Authors:Peter Ashley, Dr.P.H.
Environmental toxicologist
Environmental Risk Assessment Program
Maryland Department of the Environment

Shannon Cameron, M.H.S.
Environmental toxicologist
Environmental Risk Assessment Program
(formerly the Office of Environmental Health Coordination)
Maryland Department of the Environment

Contributing Author:Chad Roy, M.S.P.H.
Environmental toxicologist
Environmental Risk Assessment Program
Maryland Department of the Environment

Data and TechnicalReviewers:Rick Grills, M.S.
Geologist/Remedial Project Manager
Federal and NPL Superfund Division
Waste Management Administration
Maryland Department of the Environment

Sesh Lal
Public Health Engineer
Federal and NPL Superfund Division
Waste Management Administration
Maryland Department of the Environment

Deirdre Murphy, Ph.D.
Chief, Toxics Assessment Division
Environmental Risk Assessment Program
Maryland Department of the Environment


ATSDR REPRESENTATIVES

Regional Representative:Technical Project Officer:
Charles Walters
Senior Regional Representative
Office of Regional Operations
Gail Godfrey
State Programs Section
Division of Health Assessment and
Consultation



CERTIFICATION

This Public Health Assessment was prepared by the Maryland Department of theEnvironment under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances andDisease Registry (ATSDR). It is in accordance with approved methodology and proceduresexisting at the time the public health assessment was begun.

Gail D. Godfrey
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 publichealth assessment and concurs with its findings.

Richard E. Gillig
Chief, SPS, SSAB, DHAC, ATSDR


REFERENCES

  1. Halliburton NUS Environmental Corporation. ARCS III Program Hazard Ranking System. February 1992.

  2. Ecology and Environment, Inc. A Preliminary Assessment and Site Inspection of MarylandSand and Gravelstone Company. TDD No. F3-8201-25. EPA No. MD-33. Task Report to theEnvironmental Protection Agency. May 7, 1982.

  3. Maryland State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Final Report on StudiesConducted in Little Elk Creek Valley During 1974-1976. November 1977.

  4. Cancer Death Rates Found High in Maryland Valley. The Washington Post. August 12, 1974.

  5. Capurro, P.U. 1970. Effects of Chronic Exposure to Solvents Caused by Air Pollution.Clinical Toxicology 3(2): 233-248.

  6. Capurro, P.U. 1973. Effects of Exposure to Solvents Caused by Air Pollution with SpecialReference to Carbon Tetrachloride and its distribution in Air. Clinical Toxicology 6 (1): 109-124.

  7. Capurro, P.U. 1979. Cancer in a community subject to air pollution by solvent vapors. Clin.Tox. 14(3): 285-294.

  8. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Region III. Federal On-Scene Coordinator'sReport. CERCLA Removal Action/RP Takeover. May 24, 1989 through August 25, 1989.

  9. U.S. EPA 1993. Fact Sheet.

  10. Maryland Department of the Environment, Waste Management Administration. Phase IIRCRA Facility Assessment, Spectron Inc. 1987.

  11. PRC Environmental Management, Inc. Residential Well Sampling Site Visit Trip ReportNovember 12, 1992. April 6, 1993.

  12. Cecil Whig, 1989. May 27, 1989.

  13. PRC Environmental Management, Inc. Split Sampling Report for the Second RoundSampling Event. November 24, 1992.

  14. Thiokol Chemical Corporation. 1970. A preliminary survey of the scope and magnitude of airpollution in the Providence Valley, Cecil County, Maryland. August.

  15. Interim report on sampling in Little Elk Valley with the mobile air monitoring laboratory. Maryland Dept. of the Environment, Air Management Administration. 1984.

  16. Maryland Department of the Environment, Air Management Administration. SpectronProject March 1987 to November 1989. December 1989.

  17. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Toxicological Profile for Toluene.Update. ATSDR/TP-93/14.

  18. Maryland Department of the Environment. Residential Well Sampling Data. August 1989.

  19. PRC Environmental Management, Inc. Residential Well Sampling Site Visit Trip ReportFebruary 15, 1993. March 3, 1993.

  20. Environmental Resources Management, Inc. (ERM).1995. Residential well and creek surfacewater sampling results, Galaxy/Spectron site. Report to S. Caspar, U.S. EPA November 28.

  21. Environmental Resources Management, Inc. Galaxy/Spectron Focused RemedialInvestigation. Step One Data Package and Preliminary Interpretations. July 9,1993.

  22. Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Processing of Spectron, Inc. application for aDisposal of Hazardous Substances (DHS) Facility Permit and renewal of NPDES Permit, LittleElk Creek, Cecil County. April 9, 1981.

  23. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Region III. Correspondence. Determinationof a Threat to Public Health or Welfare or the Environment at the Spectron Site. January 2,1990.

  24. Environmental Resources Management, Inc. March 1992 Progress Report for theGalaxy/Spectron Project. April 10, 1992.

  25. Hanig, J.P. and E.H. Herman. 1991. Chapter 14. Toxic responses of the heart and vascularsystems. In: Casarett and Doull's Toxicology. The Basic Science of Poisons., 4th ed. M.O.Amdur, J. Doull and C.D. Klaassen, eds. New York: Pergamon Press.

  26. Versar, Inc. Environmental Risk Assessment Resurvey: Spectron, Inc. July 7, 1987.

  27. Andrews, L.S. and R. Snyder. 1991. Chapter 20. Toxic Effects of Solvents and Vapors. In:Casarett and Doull's Toxicology. The Basic Science of Poisons., 4th ed. M.O. Amdur, J. Doulland C.D. Klaassen, eds. New York: Pergamon Press.

  28. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Toxicological Profile for Benzene.ATSDR/TP-88/03. May 1989.

  29. Plaa, G.L. 1991. Chapter 10. Toxic Responses of the Liver.In: Casarett and Doull'sToxicology. The Basic Science of Poisons. 4th ed. M.O. Amdur, J. Doull and C.D. Klaassen,eds. New York: Pergamon Press.

  30. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Toxicological Profile for CarbonTetrachloride. Update. TP-93/02. May 1994.

  31. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Toxicological Profile for1,2-Dichloroethane. ATSDR/TP-89/10. December 1989.

  32. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Toxicological Profile for1,1-Dichlorothene. Update. TP-93/07. May 1994.

  33. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Toxicological Profile for Methylenechloride. ATSDR/TP-88/18. April 1989.

  34. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Toxicological Profile for 2-Butanone.TP-91/08. July 1992.

  35. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Toxicological Profile forTetrachloroethylene. ATSDR/TP-88/22. October 1989.

  36. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Toxicological Profile for1,1,1-Trichloroethane. ATSDR/TP-90/27. December 1989.

  37. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Toxicological Profile forTrichloroethylene. ATSDR/TP-88/24. October 1989.

  38. Olsson, H. and L. Brandt. 1988. Risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma among menoccupationally exposed to organic solvents. Scand. J. Work Environ. Health. 14: 246-251.

  39. Weisenburger, D.D. 1994. Epidemiology of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma: recent findingsregarding an emerging epidemic. Annals of Oncology. 5 (Supplement 1): S19-S24.

  40. Thomas, J.A. 1991. Chapter 16. Toxic responses of the reproductive system. In: Casarett andDoull's Toxicology. The Basic Science of Poisons., 4th ed. M.O. Amdur, J. Doull and C.D.Klaassen, eds. New York: Pergamon Press.

  41. Roy Weston, Inc. 1995. Air Sampling at the Spectron/Galaxy Site, Elkton, MD Work Assignment #0-134- Trip Report to Sella Burchette, U.S. EPA. October 10.


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