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PETITIONED PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

SITES IN
BLUEFIELD, WEST VIRGINIA; BLUEFIELD, VIRGINIA; AND VICINITY


SUMMARY

Numerous sites in Bluefield Virginia, Bluefield West Virginia, and vicinity have been evaluated for public health issues at the request of community residents. Several chemicals associated with mine equipment motors, electrical transformers, or vegetation control were said to have been improperly used or disposed of at the sites. Residents contend that inadequate handling or disposal of chemicals has resulted in exposure in the workplace and in residential settings. The contaminants of concern are polychlorinated biphenyls, polychlorinated dibenzodioxins, polychlorinated dibenzofurans, trichloroethylene, 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, and 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid. Environmental sampling shows one or more of the chemicals are present at some locations. However, for several of the identified sites, data are too limited (or are absent) to conclude whether improper use or disposal of the contaminants of concern has occurred. Additional information is needed to fully evaluate releases, migration, and resulting contaminant levels at points of potential human exposure, as well as to more fully evaluate associated potential health concerns. Because data are limited, ATSDR considers the Bluefield area to be an indeterminate public health hazard.

Ongoing human exposure to PCBs in the Bluefield area may be occurring for children and adults at the Sam Neal Property. Children and adults may have been exposed to dioxin at the Sam Neal Property. Exposures to PCBs were likely in the past for workers at Acken Sign, APCO Service Center, Joy Manufacturing, and Linn Electric.

Exposures to PCBs and dioxin at the Sam Neal Property do not appear to be great enough to result in noncarcinogenic health effects. Exposure to PCBs at the Sam Neal Property does represent a small increased risk for cancer for those working or living there for many years. However, it appears unlikely that anyone has worked or lived at that location long enough to be at risk.

Evaluation of mortality data for total cancers and diabetes of Tazewell County, Virginia and Mercer County, West Virginia revealed less deaths than expected. Evaluation of mortality data for stomach cancer in Tazewell County indicated that there were more deaths than expected due to that disease based on the rate for Virginia but less deaths than expected based on the rate in the United States. For lung cancer in Tazwell County, the mortality rate was greater than expected based on state and national levels. However, rates for the counties may not reflect the occurrence of these health outcomes in the Bluefield area. Data to evaluate this specific area were not available.


INTRODUCTION

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is authorized to perform Public Health Assessments for releases or for facilities where persons or licensed physicians provide information that people may have been exposed to a hazardous substance. ATSDR received petition letters from a citizen and from a citizens' committee concerning certain chemical and health issues in the Bluefield Virginia (VA) and Bluefield West Virginia (WV) area (1,2). This public health assessment is a response to the petitions and to additional issues that were reported, or became evident, to ATSDR while evaluations were in progress. Petitioners and some of the other residents in the area reported that they have been exposed to several hazardous substances in the workplace and elsewhere in their respective communities.


BACKGROUND

A. HISTORY AND SITE DESCRIPTION

Residents of the Bluefield, VA, and Bluefield, WV, area, through petition letters and subsequent discussions with ATSDR personnel, reported that several hazardous chemicals were improperly used or disposed of at numerous locations within Mercer County, WV, and Tazewell County, VA. Residents identified specific locations in or near Bluefield, VA, Bluefield, WV, and Glen Lyn, VA where use and disposal may have taken place. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified an additional location in Bluefield, WV. The locations include the following:

Acken Sign Service (current owner)--aka (also known as) Baker Mine Service, aka West Virginia Armature Service;
Appalachian Power Company Service Center;
Appalachian Power Company Glen Lyn Power Plant;
Bernard Neal property (current owner unknown)--aka Mintwood Road site;
Blacor Steel (current owner)--aka Platnick Salvage Yard;
Bluefield Armature;
Bluefield area streets and alleys, City Park, and Bluefield, WV, high school track;
Bull Tail Hollow;
Joy Manufacturing property (plus the adjacent Galliat property)--aka Elwin Aliff (current owner), aka Hart Electric, aka Lin-Elco;
Lin-Electric Company (current owner)--aka National Electric, aka McGraw Edison, aka National Coil, aka Cooper Industries;
Mercer County Landfill;
Old Bluefield, VA, landfill on High Street;
Sam Neal property (identified by EPA); and

Two closed landfills on Glenwood Drive and on Cumberland Drive in Bluefield, WV, were also specified, but the party who identified them was uncertain whether any wastes associated with mine equipment repair were ever disposed of there. Thus, those landfills are not considered further in this assessment.

Approximate locations of the sites addressed in this assessment are shown in Figure 1--except for the reported extensive network of affected streets, alleys and playgrounds, which would be too numerous to place in the figure.

Residents expressed concern to ATSDR about several types of chemicals. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), trichloroethylene (TCE), dioxin--including polychlorinated dibenzodioxins (PCDDs) and 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) are contaminants of concern at all locations. At Bull Tail Hollow, a resident was also concerned about 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T).

For many years, service companies and entrepreneurs in the Bluefield area repaired and rebuilt mine equipment motors that were cooled with fluids that contained PCBs. Motors were degreased and baked in ovens. Degreasing was by both steam and solvents, which sometimes included TCE. Often, copper wire was reclaimed by burning coolant-soaked insulation, sometimes in pits or on the ground surface. Waste fluids and other wastes generated by baking and burning were disposed of both at the work locations and at locations off site. Degreasing, baking, burning, waste disposal and other such activities released PCBs and solvents, including TCE, into work areas and into environmental media on and off properties. Some PCDDs and PCDFs could also have been released, either as contaminants contained in PCB fluids or, under certain conditions, as a result of PCB combustion.

Electrical transformers that contain PCB-laden dielectric fluids have been in service and maintained by power companies, including Appalachian Power Company (APCO), for many years. In response to relatively recent EPA regulations, power companies have been removing and replacing many transformers that contain PCBs at concentrations greater than 50 parts per million (ppm). Those transformers--including others that fail in service--are transported to maintenance centers owned by power companies or by service companies. There, dielectric fluids are retrieved and disposed of. PCB storage, disposal, decontamination, and spill


Figure 1

cleanup are regulated by EPA under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). However, transformer maintenance activities provide an opportunity for releases of PCBs--as well as some PCDDs and PCDFs if the dielectric fluids also contain these compounds.

A former resident of Bull Tail Hollow reported to ATSDR that the power company and sheriff's department sprayed defoliants in that community to remove vegetation. The principal active chemicals include 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T.

ATSDR also reviewed EPA's Toxic Chemical Release Inventory database for possible industrial sources of the indicated contaminants and found none reported for the region.

A brief description of each of the specific sites of interest is provided in the remainder of this section.

Acken Sign Service

The facility is in Bluefield, WV, and consists of a large building, paved parking areas, and an adjacent small gravel-surfaced area. Access to the paved and graveled areas is not restricted. The current owner manufactures signs and reported to ATSDR that he does not service equipment or use materials that contain PCBs or other contaminants of concern.

A former owner reported to ATSDR that the facility was used prior to 1982 for repairing mining equipment and transformers that contained PCBs in coolant and dielectric fluids. Investigations conducted in 1986 and 1988 lead to remediation in 1990 (3). The investigations identified five areas that required remediation. Remediation was conducted in accordance with 40 CFR 761. Remediation included such activities as concrete floor removal to a depth of 6 inches, concrete floor scarification, high-efficiency particulate air vacuuming, wood floor replacement, surface wiping, and sump cleanout. Concrete floor removal was conducted within a negative-pressure enclosure, and a dustless, vacuum- and filter-equipped system was used to scarify concrete floors. The materials removed were disposed of at a permitted hazardous waste management facility.

Appalachian Power Company Service Center

The APCO Service Center, in Bluefield, WV, is APCO's electrical service center for the surrounding region. The property is immediately west of the Joy Manufacturing site and, together with Joy, is bounded on the north by land reported to ATSDR to be the Galliat property. The facility consists of a large building and a large, partially paved, outdoor storage area. The entire facility is enclosed by a fence that has a gate that can be locked when the work day is finished.

APCO personnel reported that transformers and capacitors containing PCB fluids have been stored or serviced at the facility. In the past, some of the transformer fluids contained about 60 to 70% (600,000 to 700,000 ppm) PCBs. Tetrachlorobenzene and trichlorobenzene comprised the remainder. Capacitor fluids contained essentially 100% PCBs. Now, in response to EPA regulations, units handled at the facility contain much lower levels of PCBs. Transformers and capacitors are now tested for PCB content before being removed from their place of installation. Units that contain PCBs in excess of 500 ppm are sent directly to a commercial facility that processes them and properly disposes of the dielectric fluids. Capacitors with fluids containing less than 500 ppm PCBs are sent to the Service Center where they are stored in leak-free containers in a special area, drained, and retrofilled with clean mineral oil. Transformers containing PCB fluids [as defined at 40 CFR 761.3(a)(2)] cannot be serviced and are stored at the site for very limited time and under strict control measures. Fluids containing less than 50 ppm PCBs are subsequently transported to APCO's Glen Lyn Power Plant where they are burned in a coal-fired boiler. Fluids containing PCBs between 50 and 500 ppm are also disposed of off the property in ways that meet EPA requirements.

Appalachian Power Company Glen Lyn Power Plant

The APCO Glen Lyn plant, in Glen Lyn, VA, about 18 miles east of Bluefield, uses some waste fluids that contain PCBs (at concentrations less than 50 ppm) as supplemental fuel for a coal-fired boiler. A commenter reports that this practice is authorized by 40 CFR 761.3, and the required EPA notification has been properly made. APCO personnel reported to ATSDR that operating procedures require the fluids to be injected while the units are at normal operating temperatures. Injection during startup or shutdown is prohibited. During normal operations, boiler flame temperature is about 3,000 degrees F; average boiler temperature is about 2,400 degrees F.

Bernard Neal Property

This site, a 150- by 50-foot vacant lot of uncertain ownership, is on Mintwood Road, immediately beyond the eastern limit of Bluefield, WV. A citizen reported that PCBs and solid wastes from the Joy Manufacturing facility were disposed of on the property in the early 1970s. Access to the property is not controlled.

Blacor Steel

Blacor Steel spans several acres in Bluefield, VA. Scrap metal has been processed and stored on the property for many years by the current and former owners. The present owner has operated the facility since 1974. A resident reported that some electrical transformers have been scrapped at the yard and expressed concern that PCB liquids might have been released. The current owner reported to ATSDR that the property does not accept transformers, and that no transformers have knowingly been brought onto the property over the years they have operated the business. Access to the scrap area is controlled by a fence.

Bluefield Armature

This facility has a large building, paved parking areas, and a large, undeveloped, vegetated area behind the building that is enclosed by a high fence. The company repairs electric motors. The owner reported to ATSDR that the company does not service motors containing PCBs and has not repaired more than two or three oil-cooled motors since the business opened in 1969. A petitioner reported being told by a former employee that oils from motor repair had been dumped on the ground behind the building.

Bluefield Area Streets and Alleys, City Park, Playgrounds, and High School Track

Residents report that city street departments at one time applied waste oils from many sources--including mine motor service centers and an electrical substation--as a dust palliative on unpaved alleys and streets, on unpaved recreation and parking areas at the Bluefield City Park, on playgrounds, and on the Bluefield, WV, high school track. In a deposition, a city worker for Bluefield, WV, reports he last drove the oil truck in the 1970's (4). Specific information is not available about spraying frequency and concentrations of contaminants of concern in the fluids sprayed. Likewise, records are not available to fully identify the streets, alleys, and playgrounds that were sprayed. The high school track and the parking areas at City Park are now paved, as are many of the alleys and streets.

Bull Tail Hollow

Bull Tail Hollow is a community of a few dozen homes and a recently developed trailer park near Mercer Mall, just beyond Bluefield's northeast corporate boundary. Residences face a road that is over a mile in length and largely unpaved. A former resident reported to ATSDR that waste liquids from mine motor repair have been sprayed periodically on unpaved portions of the road. The resident also reported that the power company periodically sprayed Agent Orange (a defoliant composed of 50% 2,4-D and 50% 2,4,5-T) from a helicopter along power distribution lines in the area. The resident reported that defoliants have been sprayed onto some homes and other portions of residential properties, including a few springs once used for domestic water supply. During a discussion with EPA personnel, ATSDR was advised that Agent Orange was never licensed for use in the United States--but many other herbicide formulations containing 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T have been used in the country. Power company personnel say that 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T were present at low concentrations in their defoliants. Extensive defoliant spraying was also said to have been conducted by the sheriff's department within Bull Tail Hollow as part of a law enforcement activity. The type of chemicals used by the sheriff's department were not reported. ATSDR has not received specific evidence of improper herbicide application.

A power company representative told ATSDR that the company's distribution system in the Bull Tail Hollow area was sprayed with herbicides twice--the complete system was sprayed in 1969 and individual portions in 1974 and 1975. The company reported that spraying was directed by personnel who knew the area well and was done with precision--with no spray applied to residential areas, streams, lakes, springs, crop areas, or orchards. A commenter says the power company observes no-spray buffer zones around residences, known springs, streams, crops, etc. Also, herbicides are applied under the direct supervision of certified pesticide applicators and in accordance with laws and regulations, label directions, and company guidelines.

A reservoir covering about 28 acres is midway along the community road. An official of the Green Valley-Glenwood Public Service District (GVGPSD) reported to ATSDR that they use the reservoir as one of their sources of public water supply and operate a water-treatment and filtration plant along the shore. He also reported that the reservoir is not fenced and is used for fishing and possibly swimming.

Joy Manufacturing (and Galliat Property)

The Joy Manufacturing property, in Bluefield, WV, is immediately east of the APCO Service Center. The Joy and APCO sites are bounded on the north by the Galliat property, which is undeveloped.

A citizen reported to ATSDR that several owners have used the site between the 1930s and mid-1980s for mine equipment motor repair. The currently inactive facility consists of several connected buildings surrounded by paved and unpaved areas. The property is enclosed by a high fence that has a locked gate. The motors contained coolant fluids, which typically were 100% (1,000,000 ppm) PCBs. A commenter reports that Aroclor 1254 was not known to have been used. A commenter reports that motors were steamcleaned, parts were disassembled and degreased with solvents (including limited use of TCE), components were baked in ovens and wires were stripped, and motors were reassembled and refilled with coolant. A resident reported that miscellaneous waste materials were sometimes burned on the ground outside the building, and some waste coolants were poured onto the ground and into building drains. A commenter reports that building drains were not discovered during facility cleanup. Repair activities ceased in the mid-1980s, and the facility has not been occupied since.

The Galliat property is north of the Joy and adjoining APCO Service Center sites. The area is principally a broad, heavily vegetated, drainage swale that extends from Washington Street to the high school--a distance of about 600 feet--where it terminates at an embankment. Parts of the swale may be under other ownership. Currently, access to the Galliat property is partially restricted by a fence on Washington Street and by fences at the north edge of the Joy and APCO Service Center properties.

Beginning in 1986, until 1988, under EPA oversight, the Joy Company conducted investigation and clean-up activities in its buildings and on the surrounding grounds (5,6). On-site cleanup included removing surficial contaminated soils, covering excavated areas with a layer of fill soil from an off-site source, paving over contaminated materials, pressure-washing and other cleaning of parts of the building, and removing some concrete and wood materials. Off-site cleanup included removing contaminated surface soils and replacing them with clean fill soils in two areas--between the east property line and Washington Street and in the swale on the Galliat property. Surficial soils were excavated and replaced with clean fill in the parts of the swale that are immediately north of Joy and north of the eastern part of APCO Service Center. A commenter reports that all areas known to be contaminated with PCBs were remediated, under EPA oversight, to achieve the required cleanup criteria.

A group of former employees brought legal action in which they alleged they were wrongfully exposed to, and absorbed, various chemicals. The district court granted the company's motion for summary judgement finding that the plaintiffs had not shown they had sustained any physical injury from their exposure to toxic chemicals. That decision was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals (7).

Lin-Electric Company

The site, in Bluefield, WV, consists of a large building and paved outdoor areas. A fence restricts access to most of the outdoor areas. Previous facility owners serviced mine equipment motors, including many that contained PCB liquids. Lin-Electric, the current owner, re-manufactures motors and generators, but an executive reported to ATSDR that the company has never handled any materials that contain PCBs or the other contaminants of concern. Before Lin-Electric purchased the property, sampling, evaluation, and remediation were conducted to identify hazardous materials and to certify that waste management units were closed according to state hazardous waste management regulations (8). Cleanup was conducted in several areas of the building, and a TCE storage tank was removed from the grounds.

Mercer County Landfill

Residents reported to ATSDR that liquid wastes from repairing mine motors were disposed of in the early 1970s at this active municipal landfill, which is approximately 5 miles east of Bluefield, WV, near the community of Green Valley, WV. The part of the landfill where disposal occurred had originally been a large, natural ravine. ATSDR's observations indicate that the landfill cover is being maintained. Some leachate is released from the landfill slope and drains into a run-off collection-pond system. In earlier years, pond liquids were pumped to the top of the landfill and sprayed on the ground. Vehicle access from the highway is controlled by a partial fence and a gate that can be locked. During service hours, an attendant is present at a scale building near the entrance.

Bluefield, VA, Closed Landfill

Bluefield, VA, once operated a landfill on High Street, about one-half mile northwest of town. A citizen reported that waste liquids from mine motor repair had been poured on the fill area. The landfill has since been closed and the property sold. ATSDR's observations show that the landfill was developed on steeply sloping ground and is about an acre in size. Refuse material is exposed on the landfill slope. The property is unfenced, but vehicular access is prevented by boulders, trees, and rough terrain.

Sam Neal Property

This site is residential and is on Rockwood Road immediately beyond the east corporate limit of Bluefield, WV. Two residences are present--at the west and east parts of the property. A previous owner burned motors and transformers and reclaimed copper wire. The units were burned in a small shed during warm weather and in the basement of the eastern residence during bad weather (9). The western residence is inhabited. The eastern residence is not currently inhabited; ATSDR does not know whether it was occupied during and after wire reclamation.

B. SITE VISIT

ATSDR representatives--Lynn Berlad, Don Gibeaut, and Charles Walters--visited the Bluefield area in March of 1990 to meet with the petitioners and other residents and to obtain information for assessing their concerns. ATSDR personnel examined the sites of concern--several in the company of an EPA representative--met with some facility owners and elected officials, and gathered information from residents and other sources. Earlier, in 1989, ATSDR personnel visited the Joy Manufacturing facility three times. Pertinent information obtained during site visits is presented in other sections of this assessment.

C. DEMOGRAPHICS, LAND USE, AND NATURAL RESOURCE USE

Bluefield and Surrounding Area

All sites except two--Mercer County Landfill and the APCO Glen Lyn Plant--are within, or immediately adjacent to, Bluefield, VA, and Bluefield, WV. These adjoining cities are approximately 100 miles south of Charleston, WV, and have a combined population of about 18,000 according to the 1990 census. The Bluefields are an important commercial and financial center for Mercer and Tazewell Counties and several other surrounding counties. Coal is an important economic base for the area, and the community is home to many businesses that serve this industry. Several neighborhood playgrounds are in the community. Bluefield City Park, an area of 380 acres, has ball fields, tennis courts, picnic grounds, and large open recreational and parking areas. Land outside Bluefield is principally forested; although, agriculture is important. The surrounding mountains and streams provide a variety of recreational opportunities.

Mercer County Landfill Vicinity

The Mercer County Landfill is in a relatively lightly populated area along U.S. Route 460, about 5 miles northeast of Bluefield, WV. The site is near two small communities, Green Valley and Maple Acres. About a dozen residences are adjacent to the landfill property and at least an additional 12 are within about 1,000 to 2,000 feet of the property. A juvenile detention center is approximately 1,000 feet from the site. Undeveloped areas include timberland and farmland.

APCO Glen Lyn Plant Vicinity

The APCO Glen Lyn Power Plant is on the New River in a lightly populated part of Giles County, VA. Glen Lyn is a community of several dozen homes many of which are within about 1,000 feet of the plant. Undeveloped areas include timberland and farmland.

Water Supply

Extensive public water distribution systems are in place for both Bluefields and are capable of providing water to all inhabitants. Some outlying areas and communities also have public water systems. However, some private wells could be in use within the areas being served. Springs were also reported to ATSDR as sources of potable water.

Bluefield, WV, officials reported to ATSDR that the city obtains its public water supply from three reservoirs east and northeast of the city limits. The private company that manages the system reported that all water is treated before distribution. Topographic maps show that none of the sites are within the watershed of any of the reservoirs that supply the system. A distribution map shows that one reservoir also receives water from several springs within a watershed that contains most of the sites. Examination of map information shows that the ground surface elevations at the springs are greater than surface elevations at the sites--except for the Beaver Pond Spring and two Bailey Springs.

Bluefield, VA, officials reported to ATSDR that their water supply is withdrawn from the Bluestone River at a location within the city limits and is treated prior to distribution. Topographic maps show that essentially all the sites in the Bluefield area appear to be within the large watershed that feeds the Bluestone River.

The small community of Hales Bottom to the north of the closed Bluefield, VA, landfill is not connected to the Bluefield public water system according to Bluefield officials. Those residents are likely to use private wells for their potable water.

For Bull Tail Hollow, a GVGPSD representative told ATSDR that all residences in the vicinity, except one, are serviced with treated water obtained from their water supply reservoir in the Hollow. One residence some distance from the reservoir uses a private well for water supply. A former resident reported to ATSDR that some residents have used springs as drinking water sources.

At the Mercer County Landfill, GVGPSD personnel advised ATSDR that a few of the residences along U.S. Route 460 are not connected to the water distribution system. Those residents and some along a road at the east edge of the landfill property apparently rely on private wells for their potable water.

A town official at Glen Lyn, where the APCO Glen Lyn Power Plant is located, reported to ATSDR that residents obtain potable water supplies from private wells and from a public system that is fed by wells and by a spring on high ground about a mile from the plant. Glen Lyn has received a grant to develop water-supply and sewage treatment systems. All residences and businesses will be required to connect to those systems. The public water sources will include an existing deep well near the power plant and another well across the New River.

Area Surface Water Uses

Surface waters of suitable size in the area support fishing and some swimming and boating. Rivers and streams of principal interest in Bluefield, VA, and Bluefield, WV, include these:

Bluestone River--The river originates in Tazewell County, is a narrow stream within Bluefield, VA, and becomes a major water course before it discharges to the New River about 28 miles downstream of Glen Lyn. State officials told ATSDR that the river supports a trout fishery upstream from Bluefield and for a distance downstream, where it then becomes a warm-water fishery.

East River--The river originates in the eastern section of Bluefield, WV, flows eastward, and discharges to the New River at Glen Lyn, about 18 miles from Bluefield. State officials reported to ATSDR that the river supports a trout fishery, possibly within the city limits.

Other surface waters of potential interest in the area include:

Brush Creek--The creek is near the Mercer County Landfill, flows northward through Princeton, WV, and discharges to the Bluestone River at a point about 10 miles north of the landfill.

New River--The river is the major water body in the region, flows through Glen Lyn, and receives discharge from the Bluestone River.

GVGPSD Reservoir--The reservoir at Bull Tail Hollow appears to be fed largely by runoff from the surrounding area. ATSDR's review of topographic maps suggests that any reservoir outflow would likely discharge to the East River.

D. Health Outcome Data

ATSDR selects health outcomes for further evaluation from health outcome databases that have information on the area near the site. Virginia and West Virginia maintain birth and death certificate-based databases. Virginia has a tumor registry, but no birth defects registry. West Virginia has had a tumor registry since 1991 and a birth defect registry since 1990.

Cancer mortality data were accessed to help address community health concerns and are evaluated in the Health Outcome Data Evaluation part of the Public Health Implications section.


COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS

The following community health concerns were identified through contact with the petitioner, area residents, local and state officials and agencies, and EPA.

  1. A petitioner contends that the Joy Manufacturing site represents a health hazard because remediation (under EPA oversight) was insufficient.
  2. The petitioner Committee wonders whether PCB contamination from the Joy and APCO Service Center sites spreads via an underground cave and impacts the municipal water supply.
  3. Residents reported concern about Agent Orange, dioxin, PCDFs, and TCE and their possible association with excess cancer and diabetes. A petitioner also believes that the rate of cancer and diabetes for the Bluefield area is excessive and links reported excesses to local agencies' reported spraying of area roads and playgrounds with PCB waste oil.
  4. During the site visit, workers described personal health problems, which they attributed to workplace exposure to toxic chemicals. They also reported a lack of worker protection and inappropriate disposal practices. Workers contend that those practices could have also compromised the health of the entire community.
  5. It has been reported that spraying of PCB wastes and Agent Orange in the Bull Tail Hollow area has resulted in over 25 deaths from cancer, mostly lung and stomach. The spraying reportedly began in 1969-70 and may have also contaminated the water and fish at the Jim Bailey Dam.
  6. Several suicides have been reported in the area. One resident associated them with environmental contamination.


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