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HEALTH CONSULTATION

COWPENS BROWNFIELD PILOT SITE
STREAM SAMPLING DATA
COWPENS, SPARTANBURG COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA


BACKGROUND AND STATEMENT OF ISSUES

The Bureau of Land and Waste Management with the South Carolina Department of Health andEnvironmental Control (SCDHEC) asked the Division of Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) toevaluate the potential health risks associated with swimming and wading in the two unnamedtributaries near the site. The Division of Health Hazard Evaluation prepared this health consultation under cooperative agreement with ATSDR.

The Cowpens Brownfield Pilot Site is the former Health-Tex facility, in Cowpens, SpartanburgCounty, South Carolina. It is a large industrial facility, with parking lots, a driveway, and fourabove ground storage tanks. The site was first developed in 1964 as a knitting mill. Textileoperations continued at the facility until it was closed in 1990.

The facility is in an area with a mix of residential, industrial, and former industrial properties. Thereare homes across Foster Road from the facility. There are two unnamed tributaries to the PacoletRiver, north and south of the property (Figure 1). It is these two tributaries that HHE has beenasked to evaluate.

Four surface water and sediment samples were collected from the tributaries (SW-1 and 2, south ofthe site and SW-3 and 4, north of the site) (Figure 1). Surface water collected in the stream south ofthe site contained low levels of tetrachloroethene (PERC), trichloroethene (TCE), and 1,2-cis-dichloroethene (Table 1). The concentration of tetrachloroethene was considerably higher in one ofthe two samples. Only very low levels of trichloroethene and tetrachloroethene were detected in oneof the samples collected from the north tributary.

TABLE 1.

SURFACE WATER DATA
Concentrations in micrograms/liter (µg/L)
Surface Water SW-1
(South Tributary)
SW-2
(South Tributary)
SW-3
(North Tributary)
SW-4
(North Tributary)
Comparison Value (µg/L)
cis-1,2-dichloroethene 6 6J ND ND 70
Trichloroethene 2 3J ND 0.4J 5
Tetrachloroethene 8 82 ND 3 5

J=Estimated Concentration
ND=Not Detected

Sediment samples from both streams contained polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Only4-hydroxy-4-met-2-pentanone was detected at elevated levels compared to the other sedimentsamples. There are no risk-based screening levels for this compound. Possible exposure to the contaminated was not evaluated at this time.


DISCUSSION

The Bureau of Land and Waste Management with the South Carolina Department of Health andEnvironmental Control (SCDHEC) asked the Division of Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) toevaluate the potential health risks associated with swimming and wading in the two unnamedstreams near the Cowpens Brownfields Pilot Site (Health-Tex).

It is possible that children swimming or wading in these streams could be exposed to VOCs throughaccidental ingestion and through absorption through the skin. Dermal exposure may not always bethe most important route of exposure, but it may contribute significantly to total exposure (Mattie etal., 1994). Some studies have shown that absorption through the skin can account for as much as91% of the total dose (Brown et al., 1984).

Surface water samples from the stream north of the site contained very low or estimatedconcentrations of three VOCs. The levels are very low and will not pose a risk to children swimmingor wading in this stream. The concentration of tetrachloroethene (PERC) was elevated in one of thetwo samples collected from the stream south of the site. The evaluation of risk from swimming andwading in this tributary entails some level of uncertainty in the assessment. First we must assumethat children are swimming and wading in the area with the highest PERC concentrations on aconsistent basis (several times a week). Second, although there is no dermal reference dose to use forcomparison, we do have evidence from occupational studies that the VOCs found in the streams can,to a degree, absorb through the skin (ATSDR, Toxicological Profiles for TCE and PERC). Thatexposure would be in addition to any ingestion.

There are also uncertainties associated with the toxicological information. The level of concern(U.S. EPA reference dose) is based on studies using laboratory animals. In this assessment, wecompared an estimated dose a child might get from swimming in this creek to the U.S.EPA referencedose for oral exposure. The estimated dose HHE calculated for a child swimming in the creek isabout the same as the U.S.EPA reference dose for tetrachloroethene. The oral Reference Dose(RfD) is based on the assumption that thresholds exist for certain toxic effects. It is expressed inunits of milligrams/kilogram per day (mg/kg-day). In general, the RfD is an estimate (withuncertainty spanning perhaps an order of magnitude) of a daily exposure to the human population(including sensitive subgroups) that is likely to be without an appreciable risk of deleterious effectsduring a lifetime (U.S. EPA-IRIS Data Base, 2001). The other two VOCs detected in the southerntributary are below screening levels and do not pose a risk to swimmers or waders. Although PAHswere detected in sediment from the tributaries, additional data are needed to evaluate this exposurepathway.

In addition, there were only two samples collected in each stream, which adds some uncertainty tothe assessment. Since there were only two samples collected, we do not know how extensive thecontamination is. Additional stream samples will be collected in spring 2002.

It is unlikely that adverse health effects would result from swimming in the southern tributary. We do not know the extent of contamination and there are uncertainties associated with estimating exposure from swimming and wading and comparing the dose to an oral dose. There is also built in conservatism and uncertainty associated with the determination of the reference dose. However, because PERC was detected at relatively high levels in one of the samples, additional stream samples would help determine the extent of contamination in these tributaries.

Child Health Issues

SCDHEC's evaluation contained within this document considered children as a susceptiblesubpopulation. Children are more likely to wade in the streams; therefore, they are more likely tocome in contact with contaminated stream water. Children can have a greater exposure than adultsbecause they typically play outside for longer periods and are attracted to playing in water, resultingin a greater duration of exposure than adults. Children also have a two-to-three times greater ratioof body surface area by weight than adults (U.S.EPA, 1997), so a similar exposure can have a greater effect on a child.


CONCLUSIONS

ATSDR classifies sites as to their public health hazard category. Under ATSDR's classificationsystem, swimming in the two tributaries near the Health-Tex site would be classified as anindeterminant public health hazard. This means, although we do not think that swimming in thesecreeks poses a long-term health risk, because there were only two samples collected in each of thestreams, additional data are needed for the site. Additional stream samples will be collected in thespring 2002, which will provide additional information to better characterize the streams and to fullyevaluate the surface water pathway.

It is unlikely that adverse health effects would result from swimming in the southern tributary basedon the two samples collected. We do not know the extent of contamination and there areuncertainties associated with estimating exposure from swimming and wading and comparing thedose to an oral dose. There is also built in conservatism and uncertainty associated with thedetermination of the U.S.EPA reference dose. VOC concentrations in the northern tributary arebelow any comparison values and pose no risk to swimmers or waders. Although PAHs weredetected in sediment from the tributaries, additional data are needed to evaluate this exposurepathway. Because PERC was detected at relatively high levels in one of the samples from thesouthern tributary, additional stream samples would help determine the extent of contamination inthese tributaries.


RECOMMENDATIONS and PUBLIC HEALTH ACTION PLAN

1. HHE recommends that additional water and sediment samples be collected. The consultant forSCDHEC will collect additional surface water and sediment samples in spring of 2002. HHE willevaluate the stream samples collected in spring 2002.


REFERENCES

ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for Tetrachloroethylene. Atlanta, Georgia. September 1997.

ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for Trichloroethylene. Atlanta, Georgia. September 1997.

Brown, Szejnwald H.; Bishop, Donnal R.; Rowan, Carol A. 1984. The Role of Skin Absorption asa Route of Exposure for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in Drinking Water. American Journal of Public Health, Vol 74, No. 5.

Harding ESE. Draft Site Assessment Report. Cowpens Brownfield Pilot Project, Former Health-Tex Plant. Cowpens, South Carolina, 2001.

Mattie, David R., Grabau, John H., McDougal, James N. 1994. Significance of the Dermal Route ofExposure to Risk Assessment. Risk Analysis, Vol. 14, No. 3.

United States Environmental Protection Agency, IRIS Data Base, 2001.

United States Environmental Protection Agency. 1997. Exposure Factors Handbood. EPA/600/P-95/002Fa. Office of Research and Development. Washington DC: U.S.EPA.


PREPARERS OF REPORT

Tracy Shelley, M.S.
Program Manager
Division of Health Hazard Evaluation
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control


ATSDR Regional Representative
Bob Safay
Regional Operations
Region IV

ATSDR Technical Project Officer
Debra Gable
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation


CERTIFICATION

This Cowpens Brownfield Pilot Project (Health-Tex) Health Consultation was prepared by theSouth Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control's Division of Health HazardEvaluation under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and DiseaseRegistry (ATSDR). It is in accordance with approved methodology and procedures existing at the time the health consultation was begun.

Gail D. Godfrey
for Debra Gable
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 healthconsultation, and concurs with its findings.

Roberta Erlwein
Chief, SSAB, DHAC, ATSDR


Vicinity Site Map and Stream/Sediment Sample Locations
Figure 1. Vicinity Site Map and Stream/Sediment Sample Locations



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