Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to site content

PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

GEIGER (C & M OIL) SITE
RANTOWLES, CHARLESTON COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA

ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION AND OTHER HAZARDS

Data in this section are from the August, 1986 Final Remedial Investigation Report andFeasibility Study and other Post-ROD studies at the Geiger site. This represents the latestinformation for this site. The available data to date has not been through the standard reviewprocess.

The tables in this section list the contaminants of concern. However, their listing does not implythat they are a public health threat. We evaluate these contaminants in the subsequent sectionsof the Public Health Assessment and determine whether exposure to them has public healthsignificance. This Public Health Assessment selects and discusses these contaminants basedupon the following factors:

  1. Concentrations of contaminants on and off the site.
  2. Field data quality, laboratory data quality, and sample design.
  3. Comparison of on-site and off-site concentrations with public health assessment comparison values for (1) noncarinogenic endpoints and (2) carcinogenic endpoints.
  4. Community health concerns.

In the data tables that follow under the On-site Contamination subsection and the Off-siteContamination subsection, the listed contaminant does not mean that it will cause adverse healtheffects from exposures. Instead, the list indicates which contaminants will be evaluated furtherin the Public Health Assessment. When selected as a contaminant of concern in one medium,that contaminant will be reported in all media.

The data tables include the following acronyms:

  • CREG
  • = Cancer Risk Evaluation Guide
  • EMEG
  • = Environmental Media Evaluation Guide
  • RMEG
  • = Reference Dose Evaluation Guide
  • MCLG
  • = EPA Maximum Contaminant Level Goal
  • MCL
  • = EPA Maximum Contaminant Level
  • PMCLG
  • = EPA Proposed MCLG
  • PMCL
  • = EPA Proposed MCL
  • RfD
  • = EPA Reference Dose
  • LTHA
  • = EPA Lifetime Health Advisory

    Comparison values for public health assessments are contaminant concentrations in specificmedia that are used to select contaminants for further evaluation. These values include EMEGs,CREGs, and other relevant guidelines. CREGs are estimated contaminant concentrations basedon a one excess cancer in a million persons exposed over a lifetime. CREGs are calculated fromEPA's cancer slope factors. EPA's MCLG is a drinking water health goal. EPA believes that theMCLG represents a level that no known or anticipated adverse effect on the health of personsshould occur which allows an adequate margin of safety. PMCLGs are MCLGs that are beingproposed. MCLs represent contaminant concentration that EPA deems protective of publichealth (considering the availability and economics of water treatment technology) over a lifetime(70 years) at an exposure rate of 2 liters water per day. While MCLs are regulatoryconcentrations, PMCLGs and MCLGs are not. EPA's RfD is an estimate of the daily exposureto a contaminant that is unlikely to cause adverse health effects.

    Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (TRI)

    TRI is developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from the chemicalrelease information provided by certain industries. The chemical release information is based oncontaminants released to the air, surface water, groundwater, or soil. We conducted a search ofTRI for the years 1988, 1989, and 1990. The search included a 1-mile radius from the site. Asthe site has not been active in years, TRI does not provide a listing for this site. TRI did notlocate any other facilities within one mile of this site.

    A. On-Site Contamination

    Groundwater - Monitoring Wells

    Investigations conducted by the contractors for the Geiger site have determined that soil in theoil-stained area may serve as a source that introduces contaminants into groundwater.

    During the RI, eighteen permanent monitoring wells were installed and sampled at the Geigersite (Figure 6). Six of these wells were installed on-site. Wells were installed to provide site-specific geological and hydraulic information, to evaluate contaminant migration via groundwater in the water table aquifer, and to determine levels of contamination. The wells wereinstalled as clusters of three at six locations. The three wells at each cluster were installed atthree different depths (shallow, medium, and deep). The highest concentrations of groundwatercontamination were detected in the oil-stained area of the site. Contaminant distributiondisplayed a depth-dependent pattern. More contaminants and higher concentrations weredetected in the shallow wells. The number and concentrations of the contaminants decreasedwith depth. Decreasing number and concentrations of contaminants were also observed as thedistance from the oil-stained area increased.

    After the RI, additional groundwater monitoring wells were installed at the Geiger site. In June1992, groundwater samples were collected by EPA at all monitoring well locations exceptMW1 wells which have been abandoned. Contaminants of concern detected in on-sitemonitoring wells during this investigation include: cadmium, lead, vanadium, and aluminum. Table 2 presents contaminants of concern detected for on-site monitoring wells.

    Table 2.

    Contaminants of Concern -- Concentration in Groundwater On-site*
    ContaminantConcentration
    Range - ppb
    Location
    of
    Maximum
    Value
    Comparison
    Value
    ppbSource
    CadmiumND - 27MW52EMEG-Child
    LeadND - 80MW515EPA ActionLevel
    VanadiumND - 21MW520LTHA
    Aluminum58 - 14,000MW5
    No Value
    * = Data Reference: Betchel Environmental, Inc. September 1992.
    ND = Not Detected
    ppb = parts per billion

    Soil

    During the RI, soil at the Geiger site was found to be contaminated with heavy metals andorganic compounds, as well as low levels of PCBs. The contaminated soils were estimated toextend to a depth of five feet in the area of the former oil lagoons and to a depth of one foot inother areas of the site. By ATSDR definition, surface soil refers to soil from 0 - 3 inches. Thesamples collected are from 0 - 3 feet in depth and are not indicative of ATSDR's definition of surface soil.

    In May 1988, Ebasco Services Incorporated collected additional soil samples on the Geiger site(Figure 7). Sampling conducted determined that the soil on the site is contaminated withchromium, lead, PCBs, and benz(a)anthracene. This information is presented in Table 3.

    Surface soil (0" - 3") sampling is needed to better ascertain the extent of soil contamination andto better evaluate the human health effects associated with exposures to contaminantconcentrations found in surface soil on-site and off-site. Table 3 presents the contaminants ofconcern found in on-site soil.

    Table 3.

    Contaminants of Concern -- Concentration in Soil On-site*
    ContaminantConcentration
    Range - ppm
    Location
    of
    Maximum
    Value
    Comparison
    Value
    ppmSource
    Chromium 3.5 - 1,70011300RMEG-Child
    Lead ND - 1508
    No Value
    Benz(a)anthracene ND - 2.68
    No Value
    PCB - 1254 ND - 1.6 80.3CREG-Child
    * = Data Reference: Ebasco Services Incorporated. November 1991.
    ND = Not Detected
    ppm = parts per million

    Surface Water/Sediment

    Surface water/sediment samples were collected from seven on-site locations (Figure 7). The twoon-site ponds and the oily pit at the east end of the oil stained area were sampled.

    Current surface water and sediment samples are needed on-site to determine the extent ofcontamination and the potential for human exposures and adverse health effects. Additionalsampling is needed in surface water bodies on-site. One of the on-site ponds is reportedly beingused for fishing and current data are needed for this area in particular.

    Table 4 presents the contaminants of concern identified for on-site surface water. Table 5presents contaminants of concern identified for on-site sediments.

    Table 4.

    Contaminants of Concern -- Concentration in Surface Water On-site*
    ContaminantConcentration
    Range - ppb
    Location
    of
    Maximum
    Value
    Comparison
    Value
    ppbSource
    Lead3.5 - 240 SW7415EPA ActionLevel
    * = Data Reference: C.C. Johnson & Associates, P.C. Environmental Engineers. July 1, 1986.
    ppb = parts per billion

    Table 5.

    Contaminants of Concern -- Concentration in Sediment On-site*
    ContaminantConcentration
    Range - ppm
    Location
    of
    Maximum
    Value
    Comparison
    Value
    ppmSource
    CopperND - 17SD29
    No Value
    LeadND - 280JSD29
    No Value
    AntimonyND - 21SD2620RMEG-Child
    Vanadium2.6 - 7.3SD3120LTHA
    * = Data Reference: C.C. Johnson & Associates, P.C. Environmental Engineers. July 1, 1986.
    J = Estimated Value
    ND = Not Detected
    ppm = parts per million

    Air

    Air monitoring was conducted on the site during soil sampling in the oil stained area and duringall drilling operations on-site. The results of the air monitoring indicated readings belowbackground levels. On the basis of the air monitoring conducted during the RI, it is not likelythat air contamination is a problem at this site (RI). However, if the area becomes furtherdeveloped, additional air monitoring should be conducted and evaluated.

    B. Off-Site Contamination

    Groundwater - Monitoring Wells

    Eighteen permanent monitoring wells were installed and sampled at the Geiger site (Figure 6). Twelve of these wells were installed off-site. The wells were installed to provide site-specificgeological and hydraulic information, to evaluate contaminant migration via ground water in thewater table aquifer, and to determine levels of contamination. The wells were installed asclusters of three at six locations (three of these clusters were located off-site). The three wells ateach cluster were installed at three different depths (shallow, medium, and deep). In June 1992, EPA collected additional groundwater samples at all monitoring well locationsexcept MW1 wells which were abandoned. Contaminants of concern detected in on-sitemonitoring wells during this investigation include: chromium, cadmium, lead, and vanadium. Table 6 presents contaminants of concern detected for off-site monitoring wells.

    Table 6.

    Human Health Effects at Various Hydrogen Sulfide Concentrations in Air
    ContaminantConcentration
    Range - ppb
    Location
    of
    Maximum
    Value
    Comparison
    Value
    ppbSource
    Chromium2.8 - 320TW250RMEG-Child
    CadmiumND - 6.82S2EMEG-Child
    LeadND - 1006S15EPA ActionLevel
    VanadiumND - 120TW220LTHA
    * = Data Reference: Betchel Environmental, Inc. September 1992.
    ND = Not Detected
    ppb = parts per billion

    Groundwater - Private Wells

    Four private wells in the vicinity of Geiger were sampled during the RI. Sampling wasconducted to determine whether contaminants had migrated into these wells. Three of thesewells were located north and east of the oil stained area. The fourth was located southwest ofthis area (Figure 9).

    Sampling data was analyzed for the priority pollutant organics, metals, and cyanide. No organiccontamination or cyanide were found in any of the wells. Only metals were detected. All metalconcentrations were below drinking water standards. The contaminants detected do not exceedATSDR comparison values and have not been included in the discussion of this public healthassessment. In addition, municipal water is available and utilized in this area.

    Current sampling data are needed to better ascertain the extent of contaminant migration and theconcentrations of the contaminants in these private wells.

    Soil

    The 1986 RI sampling data shows off-site soil contamination. Contaminants identified as beingof concern include chromium, beryllium, lead, benz(a)anthracene, benzo(b/k)fluoranthene,benzo(a)pyrene, PCB-1254 and PCB-1260. Soil samples were collected and analyzed todetermine whether migration of contaminants was occurring and to locate other suspected areasof contamination. Sample locations are presented in Figure 10.

    No surface soil samples were collected during the RI. By ATSDR definition, surface soil refersto soil from 0 - 3 inches. The samples collected are from 0 - 3 feet in depth and are notindicative of ATSDR's definition of surface soil.

    Surface soil (0" - 3") sampling is needed to better ascertain the extent of soil contamination andto better evaluate the human health effects associated with exposures to contaminantconcentrations found in off-site surface soil. Table 7 presents the contaminants of concern found in off-site soil.

    Table 7.

    Contaminants of Concern -- Concentration in Soil Off-site*
    ContaminantConcentration
    Range - ppm
    Location
    of
    Maximum
    Value
    Comparison
    Value
    ppmSource
    Chromium1.9J - 490J SL14300RMEG (Child)
    Beryllium0.25 - 0.53SL670.2CREG
    Lead2.9 - 590JSL14
    No Value
    Benz(a)anthracene0.037J - 0.32SL24
    No Value
    Benzo(b/k)
    Fluoranthene
    ND - 0.18JSL51
    No Value
    Benzo(a)pyrene0.11J - 0.24JSL240.1CREG
    PCB - 1254ND - 4SL460.3CREG
    PCB - 1260ND - 0.57 JNSL530.3CREG
    * = Data Reference: C.C. Johnson & Associates, P.C. Environmental Engineers. July 1, 1986.
    ND = Not Detected
    J = Estimated Value
    N = Presumptive evidence of presence of material
    ppm = parts per million

    Surface Water/Sediment

    Surface water and sediment samples were collected from the drainage stream and surroundingswamp off-site. Samples were collected from five locations (Figure 8).

    Current surface water and sediment samples are needed from off-site locations to determine theextent of contaminant migration and the potential for human exposures and adverse healtheffects. Additional data are also needed to determine the source of contamination.

    Table 8 presents the contaminants of concern identified for off-site surface water. Table 9 presents contaminants of concern identified for off-site sediments.

    Table 8.

    Contaminants of Concern -- Concentration in Surface Water Off-site*
    ContaminantConcentration
    Range - ppb
    Location
    of
    Maximum
    Value
    Comparison
    Value
    ppbSource
    AntimonyND - 29 SW334RMEG-Child
    * = Data Reference: C.C. Johnson & Associates, P.C. Environmental Engineers. July 1, 1986.
    ND = Not Detected
    ppb = parts per billion

    Table 9.

    Contaminants of Concern -- Concentration in Sediment Off-site*
    ContaminantConcentration
    Range - ppm
    Location
    of
    Maximum
    Value
    Comparison
    Value
    ppmSource
    BerylliumND - 0.53SD730.2CREG
    CopperND - 18SD74
    No Value
    Lead12 - 300SD70
    No Value
    * = Data Reference: C.C. Johnson & Associates, P.C. Environmental Engineers. July 1, 1986.
    ND = Not Detected
    ppm = parts per million

    Air

    Air monitoring was conducted on the site during soil sampling in the oil stained area and duringall drilling operations off-site. The results of the air monitoring indicated readings belowbackground levels. On the basis of air monitoring during the RI, it is not likely that aircontamination is a problem at this site (RI). However, should the area be further developed, theair should be monitored again to confirm these conclusions.

    C. Quality Assurance and Quality Control

    The object of the quality assurance at this site was to maintain an established level of precision,completeness, accuracy, and conformance with EPA standards. The RI was conducted under theQuality Assurance Plan for Performance (QAPP) approved in April 1985.

    Quality Control and Quality Assurance conclusions drawn for this public health assessment aredetermined by the validity of the analysis and conclusions made and the availability andreliability of the referenced information. The data available to date has not been through thestandard review process. SCDHEC assumes that adequate quality assurance and quality controlmeasures were followed in accordance with the QAPP, the chain-of-custody, laboratoryprocedures, and data reporting.

    D. Physical and Other Hazards

    The site presents no physical hazards. It is privately owned and access to the site with vehiclesis limited through a gate. The site was previously completely fenced and parts of the fence areno longer standing. This enables animals and trespassers to come on site. However, this is asmall remotely located site with limited population and the possibility of trespassers entering thesite is minimal. The site is also surrounded by woods on three sides.

    PATHWAYS ANALYSIS

    To determine whether nearby residents are exposed to contaminants migrating from the site,ATSDR and SCDHEC evaluate the environmental and human components that lead to humanexposure. This pathways analysis consists of five elements: A source of contamination,transport through an environmental medium, a point of exposure, a route of human exposure,and an exposed population.

    ATSDR and SCDHEC categorize an exposure as completed, potential, or eliminated. Completed pathways have all five elements. Potential pathways indicate that exposure to acontaminant may have occurred in the past, may be occurring now, or may occur in the future. A potential pathway exists when one of the above listed five elements is missing, but could exist. An eliminated pathway occurs when at least one of the five elements is missing and will neverbe present.

    A. Completed Exposure Pathway

    Because we could not define a receptor population, we do not believe that exposure is occurring. Therefore, no completed exposure pathways exist at this time at the Geiger site.

    B. Potential Exposures Pathways

    Table 10.

    POTENTIAL EXPOSURE PATHWAYS
    Environmental
    Medium
    SourcePoint of
    Exposure
    Route of
    Exposure
    Receptor
    Population
    Time
    SoilGeigerOn-siteIngestion
    Dermal
    Contact
    On-site
    workers,
    residents
    Past
    Present
    Future
    Groundwater/
    Monitoring Wells
    Private Wells
    ShallowGroundwaterOn-site or near
    possible wells
    established
    Ingestion
    Dermal
    Contact
    On-site
    workers,
    residents
    Future
    Surface Water/
    Sediment
    GeigerOff-site streams
    or on-site ponds
    Ingestion
    Dermal
    Contact
    On-site
    workers,
    residents
    Future
    Food ChainGeigerOn-site and
    off-site
    IngestionOn-site
    workers,
    residents
    Future
    AirGeigerOn-site and
    off-site
    InhalationOn-site
    workers,
    residents
    Future

    Groundwater Pathway

    The groundwater samples collected during the RI and Post-RI studies have indicatedcontaminants of concern. Monitoring wells were sampled on-site and off-site to provide site-specific geological and hydraulic information, to evaluate contaminant migration via ground waterin the water table aquifer, and to determine levels of contamination. Private wells were sampledto determine whether contaminants had migrated from the site into these wells.

    Site topography indicates that the site is relatively flat with a gentle slope. The degree of theslope is such that extensive migration of contaminants off-site is not very likely. Hydrogeologicdata indicates that the Geiger site lies in the Atlantic Coastal Plain physiographic providence. Theuppermost aquifer at the site is a surficial, unconfined aquifer, approximately 40 to 50 feet thick. This aquifer was used as a source of drinking water for approximately 10 residents near the site. Most water supply wells in the area utilize the shallow aquifer.

    Private wells from adjacent residences located upgradient of the site have been tested and nocontamination has been found. Since these wells draw from an aquifer that is much deeper thanthe shallow contaminated groundwater on-site it is unlikely that contaminants from the site havereached these wells. Additionally, municipal water is available to local residents and there are noknown exposures to contaminants. Therefore, there are no known exposures to groundwater atthis time.

    There are no known private wells located within a 1-mile radius downgradient of the site, and thehydrogeologic conditions are such that contaminants will not readily move off the site orpenetrate the deeper aquifers.

    However, if the area becomes further developed, there is a potential for exposures tocontaminants via ingestion of or dermal contact with groundwater if the new residents decide toutilize private wells and if contaminant migration has extended to the area.

    Soil Pathway

    In the past, exposures to contaminants at the Geiger site could have occurred. This past exposurecould have happened to anyone who wandered onto, worked on, or to children who played on thesite. The routes of exposure could have occurred through dermal contact, ingestion of soil, orinhalation of soil particles. However, lack of past data does not enable us to evaluate this pastexposure pathway in this public health assessment.

    Soil sampling conducted during the RI and Post-RI studies indicated contaminants of concern. Samples were collected from on-site and off-site locations to determine the extent of on-sitecontamination and contaminant migration from the site. The possibility of migration ofcontaminants from the site is considered insignificant due to the site topography.

    The population most likely to be exposed to contaminated soil are the on-site workers. Exposurecould occur if workers inadvertedly ingest the soil. In addition, if the area is developed in thefuture, trespassers could be exposed to contaminants as the site is not completely restricted andarea residents could wander onto the property.

    No surface soil data exist for this site. Surface soil is defined to be from 0 - 3" in depth byATSDR. Samples collected during the RI ranged from 0 - 3 feet. Surface soil sampling is neededto better ascertain the extent of contamination a person could be exposed to and to evaluatehuman health effects associated with exposures to contaminants at the levels detected.

    Surface Water/Sediment Pathways

    The surface water and sediment sampling performed during the RI indicated contaminants ofconcern. Samples were collected and analyzed to determine if contaminants from the oil stainedarea had migrated to the on-site ponds, the drainage stream, and surrounding swamp. Metal contaminants detected were generally the same as those found in the soils.

    There are currently no known exposure points at which populations could be exposed tocontaminants on the Geiger site. However, there is a potential for exposures via ingestion of ordermal contact with surface water or sediment if the site or the area surrounding the site arefurther developed. To fully characterize the extent of contamination and likelihood of humanexposures that could lead to adverse health effects in the future, additional sampling data areneeded.

    We evaluated the data received, the site hydrogeology, site topography, and the surface drainagepatterns at the site and found that the off-site surface water is unlikely to be affected by the site,either by surface runoff, surface water discharge, or groundwater recharge.

    Air Pathway

    Air monitoring equipment was used during the initial site visit and revealed no organic vaporsabove background levels. Prior to site entry during the RI, air monitoring was conducted anddetected no contaminants of concern. During the RI, air monitoring was conducted on-siteduring soil sampling activities in the oil stained area and during all drilling operations on and off-site. The results of the air monitoring indicated readings below background ambient air levels. On the basis of air monitoring conducted during the RI, the RI workers did not use specialrespiratory protection. The RI concluded that the contaminants in the soil are not considered aviable source of air contamination at this time and this pathway will not be discussed in this publichealth assessment.

    There is a future potential exposure pathway via inhalation if environmental concentrations in soilare determined to be sufficient to release organic vapors to the air.

    Food Chain Pathway

    There are currently no gardens or fruit trees in the area and this is not a pathway of concern. Inthe event that the area is further developed there could be a potential for residents to havevegetable gardens on contaminated soil. Exposure could then occur through uptake of contaminants by the plants and ingestion of the vegetables.

    There is no available information concerning fishing in the on-site ponds. We cannot determinewhether fish from this pond are used for consumption. Fish sampling data is needed to enable usto evaluate if the fish are contaminated and if the concentrations of contaminants found wouldhave any human adverse health effects.

    During the 1992 site visit, SCDHEC staff noted spent shotgun shells on-site. While hunting couldbe occurring on or near the site, substantial accumulation of contaminants to wildlife is not likely. Wild game do not feed exclusively on the site, if at all. Therefore, site-related contaminants areunlikely to be transported via this pathway.

    PUBLIC HEALTH IMPLICATIONS

    A. Toxicological Evaluation

    Introduction

    In this section we will discuss the health effects in persons exposed to specific contaminants. Toevaluate health effects, ATSDR has developed Minimal Risk Levels (MRL) for contaminantscommonly found at hazardous waste sites. The MRL is an estimate of daily human exposure to acontaminant below which non-cancer, adverse health effects are unlikely to occur. MRLs aredeveloped for each route of exposure and for the length of exposure.

    When an MRL is not available, ATSDR refers to EPA's Reference Dose (RfD). The RfD is anestimate of daily human exposure to a contaminant for a lifetime below which (non-cancer) healtheffects are unlikely to occur.

    The calculated doses are estimations of the amount of chemicals a person can be exposed to. Thecomputations are based on the assumptions that an adult weighs 70 kilograms (154 pounds) and achild weighs 10 kilograms (22 pounds). An adult ingests 2 liters of water per day, and a childdrinks half that amount. Adults typically ingest 50 to 100 milligrams of soil per day (mg/day) byinhalation of small soil particles carried in the air, and by placing soiled hands and other objects inthe mouth. We assume that small children ingest a greater amount of soil, typically 200 mg/day,because they generally tend to place objects in their mouths.

    These assumptions and the respective exposure scenarios are used to determine the estimateddoses for each chemical. The estimated doses will be compared to health guidelines and theavailable scientific literature to determine if health effects are likely to occur.

    Aluminum

    Aluminum is a silver-white, flexible metal and a natural element in the earth. It is always foundcombined with other elements such as ores in the earth. Aluminum metal is often used in cookingutensils, appliances, and building materials (Sittig 1985).

    Potential exposure pathways were identified for aluminum; however, no completed exposurepathways for aluminum have been identified at the Geiger site. Potential pathways may becomecompleted in the future if groundwater containing aluminum is ingested or come into contact withthe skin.

    Exposure to aluminum is usually not harmful. People have been eating aluminum in their food formany years without any adverse health effects occurring. Health effects have been documented inanimals at levels much higher than those found at the Geiger site; therefore, no adverse healtheffects are expected from exposure to aluminum.

    Antimony

    Antimony is a metal that occurs naturally in the earth's crust. It is used in electrical devices suchas semi-conductors and in alloys as in batteries, anti-friction metal, and cable sheathing. Antimony oxides, sulfides, and salts are used in flame-proofing compounds, paints, ceramicenamels, glass, and pottery. It is also used as a medicine to treat people for certain kinds ofparasitic infections (ATSDR 1990a).

    There is no known human exposure to this contaminant at this time; however, potential exposurepathways for antimony have been identified. An EPA chronic reference dose of 0.0004mg/kg/day has been established for antimony. Chronic effects are health effects that may occurfrom exposure to a contaminant for many years (typically 10 years or more).

    Ingestion of off-site surface water or on-site sediment by children and adults would not result inexposure to antimony above the chronic reference dose. The level of exposure would be severaltimes less than the levels that have been documented to cause adverse health effects in animals orin humans. At higher exposure levels, animals have experienced changes in blood chemistry andincreased blood cholesterol (ATSDR 1990a). However, there is no indication that the levels ofantimony in surface water or sediment at the Geiger site will result in these health effects. Levelsassociated with the Geiger site are also below levels that caused vomiting in humans who wereexposed to antimony for a short period of time (14 days or less).

    While human studies from skin contact with antimony were not available, rabbits that had smallamounts of antimony placed on their skin for less than one day had minimal skin irritations(ATSDR 1990a). However, there is no indication that skin contact with surface water orsediments containing antimony at the Geiger site will result in irritation to the skin.

    Beryllium

    Beryllium is a hard, grayish metal that occurs as a chemical component of certain rocks, soil, andvolcanic dust. Beryllium is also present in a variety of compounds. There are two types ofberyllium compounds, those that dissolve in water and those that do not. Beryllium, as a chemicalcomponent, is naturally found in some food. The concentration of beryllium in both raw carrotsand field corn grown in the United States is less than 25 micrograms per kilogram (g/kg)(ATSDR 1991b).

    No exposures to beryllium are known to have occurred or to be occurring at the Geiger site;however, potential pathways for beryllium have been identified. People may become exposed toberyllium if contaminated soil or sediment is ingested or comes into contact with skin.

    The chronic RfD for oral consumption of beryllium is 0.005 mg/kg/day. However, harmful healtheffects associated with beryllium most often occur from inhalational exposure. Animal studiesshow that a prolonged inhalational exposure to beryllium causes cancer. The EPA classifiesberyllium as a probable human carcinogen (B2). A probable human carcinogen is used tocategorize chemicals for which there is sufficient evidence that the chemicals cause cancer inanimals; however, there is inadequate evidence from epidemiologic studies to conclude that thechemicals cause cancer in humans (ATSDR 1991b). Inhalational exposure to beryllium has notbeen identified as part of an exposure pathway for the Geiger site; therefore, no adverse healtheffects from inhalational exposure to beryllium are anticipated to occur.

    Swallowing beryllium has not been reported to cause effects in humans because very littleberyllium can move from the stomach and intestines into the bloodstream. In animals, berylliumhas not been shown to cause severe health effects following ingestion. Young animals thatingested high levels (121 mg/kg/day) have weakened bones (ATSDR 1991b). However, thelevels of beryllium associated with the Geiger site are significantly below the levels that causedadverse health effects in animals and are not anticipated to result in adverse health effects inhumans.

    Beryllium contact with the skin that has been scraped or cut can cause rashes or ulcers. Peoplewith an allergy to beryllium and have skin contact with it may developed granulomas on the skin(appearing either as a rash or as nodules). However, most of these effects are associated withexposure to beryllium in occupational settings (ATSDR 1991b). The levels of beryllium at theGeiger site are far below the levels that resulted in health effects in animal and human studies.

    Cadmium

    Cadmium occurs naturally in the earth's crust and is most often encountered in combination withother elements such as oxygen, chlorine, or sulfur. It has a number of industrial applications, as inmetal plating, pigments, batteries, and plastics (ATSDR 1989c).

    A potential pathway for cadmium exposure has been identified; however, no known exposures tocadmium are known to have occurred or to be occurring. However, potential pathways maybecome completed if contaminated groundwater is ingested or comes into contact with skin.

    ATSDR has established a chronic MRL for cadmium at 0.0002 mg/kg/day. A child ingestingcontaminated groundwater would ingest levels of cadmium that slightly exceeds the MRL.

    The kidney is the organ most sensitive to chronic doses of cadmium. Ingestion of cadmium atlevels associated with the Geiger site for many years may affect the kidney; however, this is hardto access since as children grow, the dose they would receive is likely to fall below the MRL. High blood pressure has been observed in animals chronically exposed to cadmium. Thesignificance of this finding to humans is unknown (ATSDR 1989c).

    The levels associated with the Geiger site are not anticipated to adversely affect health shoulddermal contact occur.

    Chromium

    Chromium is a naturally occurring element which is found in three different states: chromium 0,chromium III (trivalent chromium), and chromium VI (hexavalent chromium). Chromium is usedto make steel and other alloys, bricks for metallurgical furnaces, for chrome plating, in themanufacture of pigments, for leather tanning, wood treatment, and water treatment for industrialapplications (ATSDR 1989d).

    Potential exposure pathways were identified for chromium at the Geiger site. These potentialpathways may become completed pathways if people ingest or have dermal contact withcontaminated groundwater or soil.

    Sampling has not determined if chromium is present in the trivalent (chromium III) or hexavalent state (chromium VI) at the Geiger site.

    Chromium VI has an EPA chronic reference dose of 0.005 mg/kg/day and Chromium III has anEPA chronic reference dose of 1 mg/kg/day; however, the reference dose for chromium III wasnot exceeded for any media at the Geiger site. Chronic health effects have not been documentedin animals or humans at the levels detected at the Geiger site. Ingestion of chromium at levelshigher than those at the Geiger site have resulted in the enhancement of dermatitis in humans. Children who ingest contaminated groundwater or soil may be exposed to chromium at levelshigher than the chronic reference dose (ATSDR 1989d). However, as children grow the dosethey would receive would fall below the reference dose; therefore, no adverse health effects fromexposure to chromium at the Geiger site.

    Copper

    Copper occurs naturally in rock, soil, water, sediment, and air. The U.S. penny, electrical wiring, and some water pipes are made with copper (ATSDR 1990e).

    Potential exposure pathways were identified for copper from sediments on-site and off-site. Exposure to copper may occur in the future through the ingestion of or dermal contact withcontaminated sediments; however, no current exposures to copper are known to have occurred orto be occurring.

    Copper is necessary for good health; it is an essential element for all living organisms, includingman. Ingestion of too much copper can cause adverse health effects including vomiting, diarrhea,stomach cramps, and nausea (LOAEL 0.0056 mg/kg/day) (ATSDR 1990e). However, the levelsassociated with the Geiger site are below the levels necessary to cause these health effects.

    Studies have shown that some individuals may show signs of allergic contact dermatitis from skincontact with materials containing copper (ATSDR 1990e). However, neither the dose nor theduration of exposure necessary to produce this effect was available.

    Lead

    Lead is a naturally occurring element which may be found in most environmental media. It has awide range of uses including storage batteries (automobile batteries), solders, pipes, variouschemicals, and gasoline additives (ATSDR 1990g).

    Potential pathways have been identified for lead; however, no exposures to lead are known tohave occurred or to be occurring. Potential pathways may become completed should peopleingest or have skin contact with contaminated soil, groundwater, surface water, or sediments.

    Although lead may cause both acute and chronic effects, major concern has been focused on twochronic effects of lead toxicity: irreversible central and peripheral nervous system damage inchildren, manifesting as learning difficulty and hypertension in adult males, although studiesdisagree as to whether this effect is more pronounced in white or black males (ATSDR 1990g).

    ATSDR has not set an MRL for lead. EPA has not set a reference dose (RfD) for lead. Althoughexposure to lead salts has been associated with an increased rate of cancer in laboratory animals,EPA has not set an estimate of the carcinogenic potency of lead. The excess cancer risk fromexposure to lead at this site is unknown.

    Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)

    PCBs have been widely used as coolants and lubricants in transformers, capacitors, and otherelectrical equipment. They are actually a family of man-made chemicals that contain 209individual compounds of varying toxicities. Aroclor is a common trade name for various PCBmixtures. Since 1974, all uses of PCB's have been confined to closed systems. PCB's have notbeen manufactured in the United States since 1977. PCB's still persist in the environment andhuman exposure still occurs. This is usually as a result of spillage from older transformers andcapacitors that are still in use (ATSDR 1989i).

    In animal studies, some PCB mixtures have produced adverse health effects that include liverdamage, skin irritations, reproductive and developmental effects, and cancer. Human studiesshow that skin irritations, such as acne-like lesions and rashes, can occur in PCB-exposedworkers. Occupational studies involve workers who have been exposed to amounts of PCBs farin excess of the normal population (ATSDR 1989i).

    While no exposures to PBCs are known to have occurred or to be occurring, a potential exposurepathway was identified for PCBs. PCBs were found in soil, but not in any other media. Thispathway may become completed in the future should persons ingest contaminated soil or getcontaminated soil on their skin.

    ATSDR has derived a chronic oral MRL of 0.000005 mg/kg/day for chronic-duration oral PCBexposure. The MRL is based on a LOAEL for immunological effects in monkeys. If childreningest the amount of PCB found in soil, this consumption may exceed the MRL.

    In the study mentioned above, rhesus monkeys treated with low dietary doses (0.005 mg/kg/day)of PCBs for 11 months, led to the suppression of the immune system. This suppression of theimmune system caused the monkeys to be more susceptible to bacterial and parasitic infections. However, the 0.005 dose received by the monkeys is much higher than the dose at the Geiger site. In other animal studies, monkeys who received doses similar to the rhesus monkeys experiencedsome reduction in birth weights (ATSDR 1989i).

    Several PCB mixtures have been found to be carcinogenic in feeding studies in animals but it isnot clear from these studies which of the components of the mixture are actually carcinogenic. The liver is the primary target of PCB carcinogenicity. Because of its ability to cause cancer inanimals, the EPA has classified PCBs as probable human carcinogens (B2). Probable humancarcinogens are chemicals for which there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity but inadequateor no data from human epidemiological studies (ATSDR 1989i). The EPA cancer potencyestimate for Aroclor 1260 is assumed to be representative of all PCB mixtures. Using this cancerpotency estimate, people who may ingest PCBs from soil at the Geiger site would develop "noapparent increased risk" of developing cancer over a lifetime.

    Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Compounds (PAH)

    Benz(a)anthracene, Benzo(b/k)fluoranthene, and benzo(a)pyrene are polycyclic aromatichydrocarbon (PAH) compounds. Because they are formed when gasoline, garbage, or any animalor plant material burns, they are usually found in smoke and soot. These chemicals combine withdust particles in the air and are carried into water and soil and onto crops. They are found in thecoal tar pitch that industry uses to join electrical parts together. They are also found in creosote,a chemical used to preserve wood (ATSDR 1990j).

    Potential exposure pathways were identified for PAHs. Exposure to PAHs could occur in thefuture through ingestion, inhalation, or dermal contact with contaminated soil. The off-site datacollected shows only estimated values for these compounds which could mean the actualconcentration is more or less than actually reported. This sampling shows that human exposure tobenzo(b/k)fluoranthene could occur on-site near the entrance of the site by on-site workers butnot the general population. Evidence also shows that contaminants off-site are not in areas wherepeople live, therefore, there is no human exposure to these contaminants off-site at this time. However, if the area adjacent the site is further developed, there would be a need to re-sampleand make recommendations on those findings.

    In evaluating the potential human carcinogenicity of chemicals, EPA uses the approach given in"Guidelines for Carcinogenic Risk Assessment" (51 FR 33992, September 24, 1986). The EPAhas classified PAHs as probable human carcinogens (B2). Probable human carcinogenscategorize chemicals for which there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in animals, butinadequate evidence or no data from human epidemiologic studies.

    Laboratory animals that ingest PAHs have developed tumors. These animals also developedtumors after PAHs were applied to their skin or after they had inhaled them over a long period oftime. Reports in humans show that individuals exposed by breathing orskin contact for a long period of time to mixtures of other compounds and PAHs can also develop cancer (ATSDR 1990j).

    Mice fed high levels of benzo(a)pyrene during pregnancy had difficulty reproducing and so didtheir offspring. Birth defects were also more likely to occur. While similar effects may be seen inhumans, no evidence is available to support this assumption (ATSDR 1990j).

    An estimate of the carcinogenic potency of PAHs is under review; this public health assessment will be updated when this information becomes available.

    Vanadium

    Vanadium is a white to gray metal and is a natural element in the earth. Vanadium is also foundnaturally in fuel oils and coal. These compounds are used in the making of steel, rubber, plastics,ceramics, and certain other chemicals. Most people are exposed daily to low levels of vanadiumin food, drinking water, and air. The vanadium in these sources is at least partially due to thenaturally occurring vanadium in rocks and soil. It is found in rocks and soil at approximately 150ppm (ATSDR 1992k).

    Potential pathways for exposure to vanadium were identified for the Geiger site; however, nocompleted pathways for vanadium have been identified. Potential pathways may becomecompleted in the future should people ingest or have dermal contact with groundwater orsediment contaminated by vanadium.

    Vanadium does not have an established MRL or reference dose. You may eat small amounts ofvanadium in food. Most of what you ingest does not enter the bloodstream, but leaves the bodyin the feces. However, small amounts may enter the bloodstream and most of it leaves quickly inthe urine. If you get vanadium on the skin, it is unlikely that it will enter the body by passingthrough the skin (ATSDR 1992k). Animals given doses of vanadium at levels much higher thanthose detected at the Geiger site have experienced health effects; however, no adverse healtheffects are anticipated from dermal contact with or ingestion of vanadium at the Geiger site.

    B. Health Outcome Data Evaluation

    As no health outcome data exists for the Geiger site, no evaluation can occur at this time.

    C. Community Health Concerns Evaluation

    EPA investigated allegations of buried drums on-site and its investigation revealed no burieddrums on or adjacent to the site. Although drums may have been buried in the past, they arethought to have been removed during excavation since that time.

    The community was also concerned about whether their drinking water was free ofcontamination. The results of these investigations indicate that contamination from the Geigersite is not migrating off-site into nearby residential wells upgradient or downgradient of the site. Municipal water is also now available to local residents as the future migration of the contaminants from the site is not known.



    Next Section          Table of Contents

      
     
    USA.gov: The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
    Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 4770 Buford Hwy NE, Atlanta, GA 30341
    Contact CDC: 800-232-4636 / TTY: 888-232-6348

    A-Z Index

    1. A
    2. B
    3. C
    4. D
    5. E
    6. F
    7. G
    8. H
    9. I
    10. J
    11. K
    12. L
    13. M
    14. N
    15. O
    16. P
    17. Q
    18. R
    19. S
    20. T
    21. U
    22. V
    23. W
    24. X
    25. Y
    26. Z
    27. #