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

PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

ELECTROSONICS/SPOFFORD PLACE (FORMER)
CHESTERFIELD, CHESHIRE COUNTY, NEW HAMPSHIRE


SUMMARY

The former Electro-Sonics facility is located on Main Street (NH Route 9A) in Spofford Village(Chesterfield), New Hampshire. The facility manufactured electronic circuit boards from December1966 until February, 1984, when it moved to Vermont. The facility is currently inactive, althoughthree small businesses still use Building No. 2, on the northern parcel of the facility.

On December 19, 1999, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) releaseda report summarizing environmental conditions at the former Electro-Sonics site. On April 30,2001, DES released a supplemental site investigation at the site. Due to high levels of contaminationin both soil and groundwater, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services(DHHS) completed this Public Health Assessment under its cooperative agreement with ATSDR.

What kind of contamination has been found at the site?

At the former Electro-Sonics facility, circuit boards were machined and etched; Buildings No. 1, No.2 and No. 3 were used to complete this process as well as store raw materials and waste. Wastewater from electroplating, etching and rinsing of circuit boards was dumped into an earthenbasement in Building No. 2 until 1968. At this point, the New Hampshire Water Supply andPollution Control Commission (WSPCC), the antecedent to the Department of EnvironmentalServices, required Electro-Sonics to discharge waste into a subsurface leach field between BuildingNos. 1 and 4, on the northern parcel of the site. This leach field disposal system ultimately provedinadequate for the volume of wastewater, which resulted in subsurface breakout and overflow ofeffluent into Partridge Brook. Between approximately 1968 and 1974, numerous complaints weremade to the WSPCC about discoloration and other visual impacts to the brook (Sanborn 2001). During this same period, the New Hampshire Department of Fish and Game ceased stocking thebrook since high mortality of stocked fish was observed (DES Personal Communication 2002). Discharge into Partridge Brook is alleged to have occurred into the 1980s, at which point it wasregulated as a generator of hazardous waste by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and theNew Hampshire DES.

The main contaminants at the site are chromium, copper, lead, chlorinated volatile organiccompounds (VOCs) and petroleum-related compounds. Chromium, copper and lead were used toplate and etch circuit boards while chlorinated VOCs were used in the cleaning and degreasingprocess. Petroleum products found on the site are related to reoccurring spills of fuel oil fromabove-ground storage tanks and fuel line breakage.

Due to the chemical properties of many chlorinated VOCs, large amounts of several types of thesechemicals have been found in local groundwater, including the site supply well, on-site test wellsand off-site residential supply wells. All nearby wells were tested in 1998 through the present. Residential wells found to be contaminated were supplied with point-of-entry filtration systems.

In addition to waste generated by industrial processes, three documented oil releases occurred in1984, 1988 and in 1989. These spills released 25, 400 and 600 gallons of fuel oil, respectively. Allof these releases reportedly were released into Partridge Brook and into soils on the northern parcel.

How might I be exposed to chemical contamination on the site?

Wading or playing in Partridge Brook is the only way that people can currently be exposed tochemicals related to the site.

There are three ways that people could have been exposed to chemicals in the past:

  • While Electro-Sonics was in operation, workers may have been exposed to volatile gases in the basement of Building No. 2.
  • While Electro-Sonics was in operation, workers may have been exposed to metals and VOCs in the soil of the earthen basement of Building No. 2.
  • Residents who used water from two private wells near the site may have been exposed toelevated levels of VOCs (i.e., levels were high enough to conclude adverse health effects are possible using the weight-of-evidence approach) in their drinking water.

There are four ways that people could potentially be exposed to chemicals, although one or more of the elements of exposure are not certain:

  • Walking or playing in the leach field, the alleyway between Building Nos. 1 and 2 areas containing VOCs.
  • A flood event could carry contaminated soil/sediment into previously uncontaminated areas.
  • Workers currently using Building No. 2 could be exposed to VOCs while using water forhand washing, restroom use or work-related duties.
  • Future residents could drill new wells in areas with water contaminated with VOCs.

What health effects might result from exposure to chemical contamination at the site?

None of the current exposures at the site are expected to cause adverse health effects.Therefore, DHHS has categorized current conditions at the site as No Apparent PublicHealth Hazard according to ATSDR's hazard classification system. However, siteremediation is needed because, in the future, changes in the land use could increaseexposures to levels that could potentially cause adverse health effects.

In the past, there were exposures to multiple VOCs in several private wells near the site. Contamination in all but two wells were low enough that adverse health effects are not expected tohave occurred. The most serious exposures occurred in Residential Well Nos. 1 and 2 whereexposure to trichloroethylene, 1,1-dichloroethylene and vinyl chloride could potentially cause a lowto moderate theoretical risk of cancer. For the other wells, the known exposures were unlikely toresult in adverse health effects. It is not known whether any residents lived there long enough, orif the contamination began early enough for such long-term exposures to occur.

Could current or past exposures to chemical contamination at the site have caused an increasedrate of cancer in the community?

Due to the small population of the area around the site, health outcome data were not analyzed. However, two of the residential wells near the site had extremely high levels of contaminants(several wells had contaminants above the detection limits, although most of these contaminantswere below levels in which health effects are possible). Theoretically, exposure to thesecontaminants could have created an increased risk of cancer from exposures over several years.

Is the site being cleaned up?

From December 1999 to April 2001, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services(DES) performed an environmental characterization of the site and affected areas off-site. Residential wells with contamination had point-of-entry water filtration systems installed. InSeptember 2000, DES covered the area between Building Nos. 1 and 2 with a layer of gravel,due to concerns about odors of VOCs (these odors were noted during digging of test pits). Drinking water was provided in the buildings where businesses currently reside. Currentworkers have been warned about the contaminants in the on-site supply well.

EPA is currently working with DES on a cleanup strategy for the rest of the contamination at thesite.

Where can I get more information?

The text and appendices of the Public Health Assessment contain more information about the health issues discussed in this summary. To ask questions about this Public Health Assessment or to obtain extra copies of this document, please contact Dennis Pinski in the DHHS Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Health at (603) 271-4664 or (800) 852-3345 ext. 4664 (toll-free in N.H.). You can also send an e-mail to the Bureau at healthrisk@dhhs.state.nh.us to request a copy of the document. Additional copies of this Public Health Assessment will be available at the Chesterfield Town Library at 524 Route 63, Chesterfield, NH, 03443-3607 (603) 363-4621.

If you would like more information on the site cleanup efforts, please contact John F. Liptak, site project manager, of the New Hampshire DES at (603) 271-1169.


I. PURPOSE

Between December 1999 and April 2001, the New Hampshire Department of EnvironmentalServices (DES) performed an environmental characterization of the site and affected areas off-site. Due to apparent contamination of various media (including drinking water), DHHS performed thisPublic Health Assessment. A Public Health Assessment is a triage tool used to determine if anyactions are needed to protect the community surrounding a hazardous waste site, and to determineif follow-up health activities (e.g., health studies, medical surveillance) should be done. To achievethis goal, this assessment contains three types of evaluations: (1) the identification of pathways ofexposure to site contaminants and an evaluation of their public health implications; (2) a summaryof relevant and available health outcome data (i.e., cancer registry data); and (3) an evaluation ofspecific community health concerns about the site.

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) completed this PublicHealth Assessment under its cooperative agreement with ATSDR.


I. BACKGROUND

(A) Site Description and History

The former Electro-Sonics facility is located on Main Street (NH Route 9A) in Spofford Village(actually located in the town of Chesterfield), New Hampshire, in an area of mostly residentialdevelopment. The site consists of two separate one-acre plots. The northern parcel, on the northside of Main Street, contains Building Nos. 1, 2 and 4, while the southern parcel, on the south sideof Main Street, contains Building Nos. 3 and 5. While there are records of storage of hazardousmaterials on the southern parcel, there is no indication of chemical use on this section of the site. The facility produced electronic circuit boards from 1966 through 1984.

Machining, etching and cleaning of circuit boards resulted in the production of waste-wastercontaining metals such as chromium and copper, as well as chlorinated VOCs. These contaminantswere sometimes stored, but often they were dumped into an earthen basement in Building No. 2. In 1968, the practice of dumping into the basement ceased and Electro-Sonics began draining allwaste material into a subsurface leach field between Building Nos. 1, 2 and 4. This leach fieldfrequently overflowed, and by the 1980s, waste was being discharged into Partridge Brook on aregular basis.

Partridge Brook wraps around the north and west edges of the northern parcel and along the southedge of the south parcel. Building No. 2 is within a few feet of the brook.

There are no barriers to access (e.g., fences) on any part of the property.

There are two businesses that occupy space in Building No. 2. Although waste was dumped in theearthen basement of this building, the basement is not accessible to the employees of the currentbusinesses; the employees of the businesses also do not need to be in the area of the leach field oralleyway to access their work.

Following the environmental characterization of the site, DES assessed the affected areas off-site. 25 residential wells were tested for contamination. Residential wells with contamination hadfiltration systems installed. These filters were installed at the "point-of-entry", i.e., all waterentering the house is filtered. In September 2000, DES covered an area between Building Nos. 1and 2 with a layer of gravel, due to concerns about observed odors after the digging of test pits. Workers in Building No. 2 were advised not to drink water from the site supply well. Currentworkers have been warned about the contaminants in the on-site supply well.

EPA is working with DES on a cleanup strategy for the site.

(B) DHHS Involvement

DHHS began work on a Public Health Assessment in May 2002. DHHS staff have performed sitevisits and conducted outreach activities with the community. Highlights of DHHS involvement to date are provided below.

  • February 1999 - DHHS toxicologists attended a public informational meeting with DES toanswer questions about well water contamination.
  • May 28, 2002 - DHHS conducted a site visit of the former Electro-Sonics facility. Theobjective of the site visit was to allow the health assessor observe firsthand the currentconditions of the site.
  • July 5, 2002, 2002 - DHHS distributed an education needs assessment survey to theresidents in the neighborhood within the vicinity of the site. The objective of the survey was to gather community health concerns and questions regarding the site so that these could be addressed in the public health assessment.
  • July 10, 2002 - DHHS conducted a public meeting at the Chesterfield Town Hall to educateresidents on the parts of a Public Health Assessment and to answer any questions they mayhave relative to the document. A DES site coordinator attended the meeting.
  • July 17, 2002 - DHHS held a public availability session at the Chesterfield Town Hall. Residents of the community were provided the opportunity to meet with DHHS staff in aconfidential setting, to discuss their health concerns and questions regarding the formerElectro-Sonics site.
  • September 25 through October 24, 2002 - DHHS holds a public comment period for the first draft of the Public Health Assessment. Copies of the draft were distributed to residents, the press and other participating parties.

(C) Other involvement

DES and DHHS, as well as their predecessor agencies, WSPCC and the Division of PublicHealth Services (DPHS) have been active in enforcing regulations, characterizing siteconditions and providing information to Spofford Village residents. DES and EPA arecurrently working on a cleanup strategy for the site. Highlights of involvement are provided below.

  • November 1981 - WSPCC issues a cease and desist order to Electro-Sonics after wastewater discharges to Partridge Brook were discovered.
  • March 1984 - WSPCC notified of an oil spill of an unknown quantity to Partridge Brook. Spill cleanup completed by June 1984.
  • April 1984 - DPHS investigated allegations of dumping of hazardous materials andimproper storage. Hazardous waste compliance inspection completed.
  • July 1984 - DPHS notified Town of Chesterfield that all hazardous wastes were removed and soils analyzed. DES classified Electro-Sonics as a generator of hazardous wastes.
  • November 1988 - WSPCC responded to fuel oil spill of 400 gallons on the site. The spill occurred on the soil of the site and into Partridge Brook.
  • November 1989 - WSPCC received notice of another oil spill of 200 gallons from the site to Partridge Brook.
  • September 1992 - DES report indicates that soils and shallow groundwater in basement ofBuilding No. 2 were contaminated with VOCs.
  • December 1998 - DES report indicates that VOCs were detected in the Electro-Sonics on-site drinking water well above state standards: VOCs were also detected in Partridge Brook.
  • January 1999 - DES sampled 5 residential wells to determine if any private drinking waterwells were at risk.
  • February 1999 - DES began monitoring up to 26 additional off-site wells. Results indicatedhigh levels of contamination in two residential wells. DES installed treatment systems oncontaminated wells and periodically resamples water.
  • February 1999 - DES attended public informational meeting in Chesterfield.

(D) Demographics

Spofford Village is located within the town of Chesterfield, New Hampshire. According to the2000 Census, 316 people live within an approximate half-mile radius of the site. The townof Chesterfield has a population of 3,542. Children less than 5 years old and adults over 65years old accounted for 16% of the population. The age distribution for the population ofthe town of Chesterfield is summarized in Table 1.

More than half of Chesterfield residents have lived in their current homes for less than 10 years(Table 2). However, the DHHS Needs Assessment survey indicated that for the residentsliving near the site who responded to the survey, three respondents have lived at theircurrent address for less than 5 years (Appendix D).

(E) Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC)

In preparing this document, DHHS relied on the information provided in the referenceddocuments. Only data collected using appropriate sampling and laboratory methods wereconsidered in this analysis. Data with demonstrated QA/QC problems were excluded fromsummary tables or exposure analysis unless they provided unique and relevant information. DHHS has confidence in the data for the site because the tests were performed by certifiedlaboratories. Measurements of exposure point concentrations were taken directly fromlaboratory data sheets to avoid transcription errors.

The health outcome data used in this evaluation were also checked for quality controlpurposes and measures were taken to ensure that these data were appropriate.


III. ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION

An integral element of every public health assessment is a review of environmentalcontamination on the site. In the following section, the results from environmental testingat the former Electro-Sonics Site are summarized for each media (e.g., waste, groundwater,soils, etc.).

Concentrations of chemicals in each of the media have been compared to media-specifichealth-based comparison values to decide whether any of the compounds need furtherevaluation. Health-based comparison values are derived using information on the toxicityof the chemical and assuming frequent opportunities for exposure to the contaminated media(e.g., a residential setting). For non-cancer toxicity, DHHS typically uses ATSDR MinimalRisk Levels or EPA Reference Doses, which are estimates of daily human exposure to acontaminant that is unlikely to cause adverse non-cancer health effects over a lifetime. Cancer risk comparison values are based on EPA chemical-specific cancer potency factorsand an estimated excess lifetime cancer risk of one in one million.

If the concentration of a chemical is less than its comparison value, it is unlikely thatexposure would result in adverse health effects, and further evaluation of exposures to thatchemical is not warranted. If the concentration of a chemical exceeds a comparison value,adverse health effects from exposure are not necessarily expected, but potential exposuresto that chemical at the site should be evaluated. As a result, the following summary ofenvironmental data highlights the chemicals that have been found on the site atconcentrations above health-based comparison values. Please see Appendix E for moreinformation on health comparison values.

In the Discussion section later in this document, there will be an evaluation of the publichealth implications of exposure to contaminants with concentrations greater than healthcomparison values.

(A) Site Conceptual Model - An Overview of the Former Electro-Sonics Site

A site conceptual model is a general description of the processes and the conditions that havebeen observed at a particular site. It is meant to provide the reader with an overview of thesite so that the detailed information provided in the following sections can be taken incontext.

At the site, a printed circuit board manufacturing business was in operation from 1966through 1984. Wastewater used in the etching and cleaning of the circuit boards containedVOCs and metals. For much of the facility's operation, this waste was discharged eitherdirectly or indirectly into Partridge Brook and a subsurface leach field. Manufacturing wastewas also dumped on the dirt floor of the basement in Building No. 2.

The main chemicals of interest at the site are metals such as chromium, lead and copper, andchlorinated VOCs. Metals are used in the etching and plating of the circuit boards. VOCswere used as cleaning/degreasing agents. Chlorinated VOCs are chemicals that havechlorine atoms attached to the molecule.

Electro-Sonics documents indicate that several of these compounds were used. In this PublicHealth Assessment, several VOCs are mentioned; this is due to the parent compounds (inthe waste produced by Electro-Sonics) breaking down into various daughter compounds. Chlorinated VOCs are generally not very soluble in water. They are frequently found in soiland groundwater at contaminated waste sites. Once released into soil, they assume'dissolved phase' and can quickly reach the groundwater. Once in the groundwater, theyform a dense layer at the bottom of the aquifer that can be extremely difficult to remove.

(B) Soil

(1) Northern Parcel - Former Subsurface Leach field and Alleyway

Contaminated soil has been found in the area surrounded by Building Nos. 1, 2 and 4, wherewastewater drained (the subsurface leach field). The results of 11 soil gas samples and 3 testpits are presented in Tables 3 and 4. The chemicals of interest are VOCs and hydrocarbonsrelated to previous oil spills.

The chemical concentrations in soil gas cannot be compared to health comparison values fortwo reasons: First, soil gas measurements examine compound levels that exist in the airspaces between soil particles. These values do not represent what would be inhaled in theair. Second, test pit measurements were taken at depths well below the level of soil that aperson would be exposed to (i.e., subsurface soil). Therefore, DHHS evaluated thesecompounds of interest in a qualitative fashion.

Tables 3 and 4 show high levels of several types of chlorinated compounds and severalpetroleum-related VOCs. A wide variety of chemicals are listed, especially for chlorinatedcompounds, which could be the result of degradation of one or more compounds.

(2) Southern Parcel

Although there has been limited soil testing onsite, there have been scores of test pits andborings to identify the areas of waste disposal. Very limited contamination was encounteredin the 2 borings taken in the southern parcel (Sanborn 2001). All contaminants in the soilborings were below their respective comparison values. Moreover, wastes were not handledor disposed of on the southern parcel. Therefore, no health effects from soil contamination are expected on the southern parcel.

(C) Partridge Brook Surface Water

In August 1999, surface water samples were collected from four locations in PartridgeBrook. Sampling locations were selected to assess water quality conditions both upstreamand downstream from the site. Surface water samples were analyzed for total metals, VOCs,cyanide and natural attenuation parameters (pH, conductivity, etc.).

All chemicals from all samples were below the detection limits. This indicates that whilespills and discharge may have occurred in the past, there are no chemicals that are stillaffecting the water.

(D) Partridge Brook Sediment

In 1999, two sediment samples were collected from Partridge Brook, adjacent to the northernparcel, where most spills are believed to have occurred. Sediment samples were analyzedfor metals (arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel and zinc), VOCs andtotal cyanide (Table 5).

For cadmium, the concentrations (2.9 and 3.0 ppm) were higher than the establishedbackground level (1.9 ppm). The concentrations are below the comparison value forcadmium (10 ppm). Therefore, the average cadmium concentrations in the brook appear tobe below levels of health concern.

Levels of copper (1,200 and 1,300 ppm) were also well above established background levels(22 ppm). However, due to the relative high toxicity threshold of copper, these levels werebelow the comparison value (3,100 ppm). Therefore, the average copper concentrations inthe brook appear to be below levels of health concern.

Levels of lead (150 and 230 ppm) were also above its established background level (54ppm). These levels were below the comparison value of 400 ppm. Therefore, the averagelead concentrations in the brook appear to be below levels of concern.

One of the samples showed a level of zinc (120 ppm) above its established background level(98 ppm). This level was also below the comparison value (1,000 ppm). Therefore, theaverage zinc concentrations in the brook appear to be below levels of health concern.

No polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs, a group of potentially cancer-causingsubstances) were detected in the sediment samples. Low levels of 1,1,1-trichloroethane(0.16 ppm) were found in both samples. These levels are far below the comparison value(22,000 ppm). Trichloroethylene was also detected in one sample (0.08 ppm). This levelwas well below its comparison value (2 ppm). Therefore, the average concentrations forthese VOCs appear to be below levels of health concern.

The levels of chromium (340 and 3,900 ppm) were higher than the established backgroundlevel. It is likely that releases of wastewater from Electro-Sonics resulted in high levels ofchromium in the stream sediments. Even though no laboratory tests were conducted todetermine the type of chromium in Partridge Brook, it is expected to be mostly in thehexavalent form since this type of chromium is most associated with plating/etchingoperations (ATSDR 2000). If left over time, hexavalent chromium is reduced to trivalentchromium, which is less toxic (ATSDR Personal Communication 2002). As a conservativemeasure, comparison values for hexavalent chromium were used. Both sediment sampleshad chromium levels above the comparison value (230 ppm). The maximum detected valuewas nearly twenty times higher than the comparison value.

In 2000, DES analyzed 5 additional sediment samples from partridge brook, along thenorthern parcel of the facility (Table 6). One sample contained 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene (0.26ppm) and 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene (0.19 ppm) and p-isopropyltoluene (0.14 ppm). All ofthese compounds were below their comparison values (3,900 ppm, 3,900 ppm and 73,000ppm, respectively).

(F) On-Site Supply Well

Beneath the site, the water table occurs at approximate depths of between 3-6 feet. Underthe northern parcel of the site, groundwater flow is in a north to northwest direction, towardPartridge Brook. Under the southern parcel, groundwater flows south, again towardPartridge Brook.

Several VOCs were detected above their comparison values in groundwater samples fromthe former Electro-Sonics site supply well (Tables 7a & 7b). The VOCs included werechloroethane (130 ppb), 1,1-dichloroethane (5,200 ppb), 1,2-dichloroethane (7 ppb), 1,1-dichloroethylene (570 ppb), cis-1,2-dichloroethylene (660 ppb), dichloropropane (1.5 ppb),methylene chloride (12 ppb), tetrachloroethylene (200 ppb), 1,1,1-trichloroethane ( 3,300ppb), 1,1,2-trichloroethane (6 ppb), trichloroethylene (1,100 ppb) and vinyl chloride (300ppb). Several other VOCs were detected at concentrations below their respectivecomparison values in groundwater samples.

The majority of chemicals detected in wells are more dense than water. Once released intothe ground, these chemicals are not stopped by layers of groundwater, and continuemigrating downward until they are stopped by the aquitard (a layer of rock which confinesthe flow of groundwater).

(G) Off-Site Residential Supply Wells

All residences in Spofford Village obtain their water from private wells. Water supply wellswere tested based on the probable hydrogeology of the site (i.e., a house whose well isupgradient from the site was not tested, while a very deep well downgradient was tested). A total of twenty-eight wells were sampled, including the Electro-Sonics site supply well,twenty-six residences, and a day care center. Wells were sampled from two to five timesover a two-year period. Samples from these wells were tested for VOCs and petroleum-related compounds. DES installed point-of-entry charcoal filtration systems oncontaminated residential wells. Twenty wells showed no signs of contamination, includingthe day care center. The site supply well, as well as Residential Wells Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 12, 15,and 27 (well locations are represented by numbers to ensure confidentiality) had detectablelevels of VOCs.

Several wells showed similar types of chlorinated VOCs. Most commonly seen inresidential wells were 1,1-dichloroethylene, trichloroethylene, and vinyl chloride. Thesecompounds are similar (but not the same, due to degradation of compounds) to thecompounds used in the cleaning and degreasing of circuit boards, making it likely that thecontamination emanated from the former Electro-Sonics facility.

(1) Residential Well No. 1

Multiple VOCs were detected above their comparison values in groundwater samples fromResidential Well No. 1 (Table 8). The VOCs included were 1,1-dichloroethane (1,600 ppb),1,1-dichloroethylene (51 ppb), cis-1,2-dichloroethylene (180 ppb), trichloroethylene (53ppb) and vinyl chloride (53 ppb). Several other VOCs were detected at concentrations belowrespective comparison values in groundwater samples.

(2) Residential Well No. 2

Several VOCs were detected above their comparison values in groundwater samples fromResidential Well No. 2 (Table 9). The VOCs included were 1,1-dichloroethylene (9.1 ppb),trichloroethylene (51 ppb) and vinyl chloride (35 ppb). Several other VOCs were detectedat concentrations below respective comparison values in groundwater samples.

(3) Residential Well No. 3

Three VOCs were detected above their comparison values in groundwater samples fromResidential Well No. 3 (Table 10). The VOCs included were 1,1-dichloroethylene (0.55ppb), trichloroethylene (0.66 ppb) and vinyl chloride (0.62 ppb). Two other VOCs weredetected at concentrations below respective comparison values in groundwater samples.

(4) Residential Well No. 4

In Residential Well No. 4, only benzene (0.71 ppb) was detected above its comparison value(Table 11). Chloroform was also present, although it was below its comparison value. It isnot certain whether these two compounds are related to the site since they have not beendetected in other wells.

(5) Residential Well Nos. 12 and 15

In Residential Well Nos. 12 and 15, chloroform was detected (at 3 ppb and 4 ppb,respectively). These levels were below the comparison value of 6 ppb. Chloroform may bepresent in these wells due to prior well disinfection with chlorine.

(6) Residential Well No. 27

In Residential Well No. 27, chloroform and toluene were detected (at 4.3 ppb and 0.75 ppb,respectively). These levels were below the respective comparison values of 6 ppb and 2,000ppb. Again, chloroform may be present due to prior disinfection with chlorine. Toluene ismost likely a site related chemical; it is present at levels 2000-fold less than the comparisonvalue.

(H) Building No. 2 Basement

Prior to the installation of the subsurface leach field, waste was commonly dumped in theearthen basement of Building No. 2. Chemicals were also stored in this area. Threebusinesses still occupy the floor above the basement.

Two samples of the ambient air in the basement showed elevated levels of VOCs. Themaximum level of 1,1-dichloroethylene (0.77 g/m3) was above its comparison value of0.036 g/m3 (Table 12). This level was also above the Cancer Risk Evaluation Guide(CREG), an estimated contaminant concentration that would be expected to cause no morethan one additional excess cancer in a million persons exposed over a lifetime.

Two samples from the surface soil in the basement indicate elevated levels of lead, arsenicand benzo[a]pyrene (Tables 13a & 13b). The maximum values were above the respectivecomparison values of 400, 0.05 and 0.1 parts per million, respectively. The maximum levelof lead was 75 times higher than its comparison value.

(I) Off-Site Contamination

Soil contamination was most likely limited to the alleyway and subsurface leach fieldbetween Building Nos. 1, 2 and 4. The topography of the site is such that any runoff wouldgo into Partridge Brook.

Downstream from Electro-Sonics, Partridge Brook runs north into the town ofWestmoreland, where it continues in a northwest direction, ultimately draining into theConnecticut River. While the sections of the brook adjacent to the two parcels of the sitehave been tested, there has been no sampling of the surface water or sediment in itsdownstream section.

It is unlikely that the chemicals found adjacent to the site would be found in higherconcentrations downstream. Additionally, the chemicals that were found above backgroundlevels or above comparison values are metals with relatively small potential forbioaccumulation in fish (e.g., trout and bass) (ATSDR 2000; ATSDR 1999a; ATSDR 1999b;ATSDR 1994; ATSDR 1990a).

(J) Physical and Other Hazards

No physical hazards were apparent at the site. The buildings are secured from trespassers,especially the basement of Building No. 2. While some refuse is visible in the site, noremaining equipment or other potential physical hazards were observed during the site visit.


IV. PATHWAYS OF HUMAN EXPOSURE

To determine whether nearby residents are exposed to contaminants from the site, ATSDRand DHHS evaluated the environmental and human components that lead to humanexposure. This pathways analysis consists of five elements: (1)a source of contamination;(2) transport of contaminants through an environmental medium;(3) a point of humanexposure; (4) a route of human exposure; and, (5) a receptor population. ATSDRclassifies exposure pathways into three groups: (1) completed pathways; i.e., those inwhich exposure is reasonably likely to have occurred, to occur, or to occur in the future; (2)potential pathways; i.e., those in which exposure might have occurred, may be occurring,or may yet occur; and, (3) eliminated pathways; i.e., those that can be eliminated fromfurther analysis because one of the five elements is missing and will never be present, or inwhich no contaminants of concern can be identified.

After the pathways are designated as completed, potential, or eliminated, ATSDR usuallyfollows a two-step methodology to comment on public health issues related to exposurepathways at hazardous waste sites. First, ATSDR obtains representative environmentalmonitoring data for the site of concern and compiles a list of site-related contaminants. ATSDRcompares this list of contaminants to health-based comparison values (HCVs) to identify thosecontaminants that do not have a realistic possibility of causing adverse health effects. Thesecomparison values are conservative, because they include ample safety factors that account forthe most sensitive populations. ATSDR typically uses HCVs as follows: if a contaminant isnever found at levels greater than its comparison value, ATSDR concludes the levels ofcorresponding contamination are not at levels of public health concern. If, however, acontaminant is found at levels greater than its HCV, ATSDR designates the pollutant as acontaminant of concern and examines it further in the assessment. Because HCVs are based onconservative assumptions, the presence of concentrations greater than a HCV does notnecessarily suggest that adverse health effects will occur among the exposed population. Moreinformation on the comparison values can be found in Appendix G.

For the remaining contaminants, ATSDR evaluates site-specific conditions to determine whatexposure scenario is realistic for a given exposure pathway. Given this exposure scenario, ATSDRdetermines a dose and compares this dose to scientific studies to determine whether the extent ofexposure indicates a public health hazard.

(A) Completed Exposure Pathways

Environmental contamination cannot affect a person's health unless he or she comes into contactwith it. Likewise, human contact with environmental contamination is only possible when acompleted exposure pathway exists. A completed exposure pathway exists when all five of thefollowing elements are present: (1) a source of contamination; (2) transport through anenvironmental medium; (3) a point of exposure; (4) a route of human exposure; and (5) an exposedpopulation. For the former Electro-Sonics site, the completed exposure pathways are listed in the following table.

Completed Exposure Pathways
Name Source Environmental Transport and Media Exposure Point Exposure Route Exposed Population Time Frame
Partridge Brook Sediment Pathway Etching WasteStream SedimentPartridgeBrook Ingestion
Dermal
Waders Past
Present
Future
Basement Ambient Air Pathway Solvent Waste Ambient Air Odors Basement, Building No. 2Inhalation Former WorkersPast
Basement Soil Pathway Etching WasteBasement Soil Basement, Building No. 2 Dermal
Ingestion
Former WorkersPast
Residential Supply Wells PathwaySolventWastePrivate WellsTap Water Ingestion
Dermal
Inhalation
Residents in this communityPast

In the following sections, each of these completed exposure pathways of exposure will be outlined in more detail. The public health implications of the exposures will be evaluated in the Discussion section.

(1) Partridge Brook and Sediments Pathway

During the facility operations, wastewater was discharged into Partridge Brook. As a result, elevated concentrations of chromium have been detected in the brook sediments. Therefore, children or adults periodically wading in the brook near the site could have been exposed to contaminants that accumulated in the sediments. The route of exposure would have been ingestion of small amounts of sediment that stuck to a person's hands, ingestion of small amounts of water, and, to a lesser extent, absorption of chemicals through bare skin.

(2) Ambient Air Pathway, Building No. 2 Basement (Past Exposure Only)

Exposure to airborne chemicals represents past exposures only. During past facility operations, wastewater was also discharged into the earthen basement of Building No. 2. During this time, it is presumed that workers were present for some duration in the basement. Therefore, workers in the basement could have been exposed to the VOCs detected in the ambient air.

(3) Metals Exposure, Building No. 2 Basement (Past Exposures Only)

Exposure to metals in the soil represent past exposures only. Metals in the dumped wastewater accumulated in the earthen floor of the basement of Building No. 2. During this time, it is presumed that workers were present in the basement. Therefore, workers in the basement could have been exposed to metals. The route of exposure would have been ingestion and dermal contact.

(4) Residential Supply Wells (Past Exposure Only)

Contaminated water from twenty-seven private wells located near the site represents pastexposures only. Since most of the wastes were discharged directly into the onsite soil and thestream, it is highly likely that the contamination of the private wells, and the overburden aquifer,is related to the site. Filtration systems were installed in wells that showed contamination. There are no known water supply wells that have been contaminated that have not had point-of-entry filtration systems installed.

Based on the available sampling data of surrounding private wells, DHHS estimates thatapproximately three households, prior to April 1999, were exposed to VOCs at levels above theircomparison values. Exposure to VOCs occurs by ingestion, through consumption of water, and bydermal contact, through showering or running water. Since those contaminants evaporate into theair from water during showers or baths, people are also exposed through the route of inhalation. Since there are no other known sources of contamination in the area, it is possible to estimate theduration of exposure during the past.

The businesses in Building No. 2 were notified of the contaminants in the site supply well and wereadvised against drinking water from the tap.

(B) Potential Exposure Pathways

Potential exposure pathways are routes along which exposure could be possible except that one ormore of the five critical elements is missing. In some cases, this means that the exposure is notpossible now but may be possible if conditions change in the future. In other cases, an exposuremay be possible but cannot be confirmed because data are not available. The potential exposurepathways that exist at the former Electro-Sonics site are summarized in the following table.

Potential Exposure Pathways
Name Source Environmental Transport and Media Exposure Point Exposure Route Exposed Population Time Frame
Onsite Trespasser Pathway Leach field Waste Contaminated SoilOnsite, incontaminatedsoil Ingestion
Dermal
Inhalation
Trespassers on the site Past
Present
Future
Future FloodPathway Solvent, Metals, Petroleum WastePartridge Brook Onsite, in contaminated soil Ingestion
Dermal
Residents downstream during a floodFuture
Onsite Worker PathwaySolventWaste Contaminated Well WaterOnsite,Building No.2 Dermal,
Inhalation
Workers atbusinesses onthe site Past
Present
Future
FutureResidentialUse Pathway Solvent WastePrivate WellsTap Water Ingestion
Dermal
Inhalation
New ResidentsFuture

(1) Future Residential Use Pathway

Areas around the site are zoned for residential use. The site is abutted by residential properties. If new housing were built on nearby properties, the future residents could be exposed to chemicals in the groundwater.

(2) Onsite Worker Pathway

Two businesses currently occupy space in Building No. 2 on the site. Even though employees are supplied with an alternate source of drinking water, it is still possible that exposure could occur if employees use well water while working or when they wash their hands. Therefore, it is not known whether or not contamination is currently affecting people in the building.

(3) Onsite Trespasser Pathway, in Former Leach Field and Alleyway

In the alleyway and leach field, a lens of gravel was used to cover contaminated soil. During the site visit, erosion of the gravel was observed. Footprints were also seen in this area. This indicates that the gravel cover could erode to the point where contaminated soil is exposed. Trespassers could then be exposed to the chemicals in the soil.

(4) Future Flood Pathway

The soil contamination in the leach field and alleyway is less than 100 feet from Partridge Brook. A major flood could push these contaminants into the brook, which would contaminate the stream sediments. Soils in the downstream floodplain of the brook could also become contaminated as a result.

(C) Eliminated Exposure Pathways

DHHS considered four other pathways of concern as eliminated exposure pathways. Exposures through these pathways are not possible. Therefore, these pathways were eliminated from further evaluation.

(1) Private Well Pathway (Present and Future Exposures)

Contaminated water supply wells were fitted with aerated charcoal filtration systems. Wells were re-tested after installation. None of the wells with filtration systems showed any chemical contamination after installation.

Residents with shallow wells or wells upgradient from the site should not be exposed to contaminated groundwater. DES tested several wells in Spofford Village. These wells showed no sign of contamination.

(2) Basement of Building No. 2, Ambient Air and Soil Pathway

Metals and chemicals in the air are still present in the basement of Building No. 2. Access to the basement from inside and outside of the building has been blocked. Therefore, people cannot enter this area to be exposed to contamination.

Eliminated Exposure Pathways
Name Source Environmental Transport and Media Exposure Point Exposure Route Exposed Population Time Frame
Private Well Pathway, FutureSolventWastePrivate WellsTap Water Ingestion
Dermal
Inhalation
Residents in this community Present
Future
BasementSoil Pathway Etching WasteBasement Soil Basement, Building No. 2 Dermal
Ingestion
Present Workers, Trespassers Present
Future
Onsite Worker PathwaySolventWaste Contaminated Well WaterOnsite,Building No.2Ingestion Workers at businesses on the site Present
Future
Southern Parcel Pathway Soil Waste Contaminated Soil Onsite, in contaminated soil Ingestion
Dermal
Trespassers on the site Past
Present
Future

(3) Site Supply Well, Drinking Water Pathway Only

Workers from the businesses in Building No. 2 were provided with a supply of bottled drinkingwater. Therefore, workers should not be exposed to contaminated groundwater throughingestion.

(4) Southern Parcel, All Areas

Although there has been limited soil testing onsite, no sludge or waste was encountered in thesoil borings from the southern parcel. Moreover, while it is known that some chemicals werestored in the buildings on the south parcel, there is no record that wastes were handled ordisposed on this area of the site. Therefore, no soil contamination is expected on the southern parcel.


V. DISCUSSION - ADULT AND CHILDREN'S HEALTH ISSUES

Based on the review of environmental data and conditions at the site, there are several completedand potential pathways by which people could be or could have been exposed to chemicals fromthe site. In the following sections, the public health implications of these exposures will bediscussed.

In Section A, the actual or potential exposures to these chemicals will be evaluated usingestimates of exposure and the toxicological and epidemiological data available for thesechemicals. As part of the ATSDR Child Health Initiative, the susceptibility of young children tothe chemical exposures will be a large component of the toxicological review.

Health questions from the community are answered in Section B.

These evaluations provide the weight of evidence to support the DHHS determinations regardingpublic health hazards associated with exposures.

(A) Public Health Implications of Exposure

In this subsection, we discuss the known adverse health effects that have been associated withthe types of exposures that are or were possible at this site. To understand how adverse healtheffects could be caused by a specific chemical, it is helpful to review factors related to how thebody processes such a chemical. Those factors include the exposure concentration (how much),the duration of exposure (how long), the route of exposure (breathing, eating, drinking, and/orskin contact), and the multiplicity of exposure (combinations of contaminants). Once exposureoccurs, a person's individual characteristics such as age, gender, diet, general health, lifestyle,and genetics, influence how the body absorbs, distributes, metabolizes, and excretes thechemical. Together these factors determine the potential health effects that can be caused by thechemical.

To evaluate potential health effects, ATSDR has developed Minimal Risk Levels (MRLs) forcontaminants commonly found at hazardous waste sites. The MRL is an estimate of daily humanexposure to a contaminant that is likely to be without a measurable risk of adverse, non-cancerouseffects. MRLs are developed for oral and inhalation exposure routes, and for different durations ofexposure (acute: 14 days or fewer; intermediate: 15-364 days; chronic: 365 days or more). AcuteMRLs are typically higher than chronic MRLs because of the shorter duration of exposure.

ATSDR publishes MRLs in its series of chemical-specific documents called Toxicological Profiledocuments that describe health effects, environmental transport, human exposure, and regulatorystatus of a chemical. The preparers of this Public Health Assessment have reviewed the most recentprofiles for the contaminants of concern at the site.

DHHS may also use EPA's chemical specific Reference Doses (RfDs) to determine if non-cancer health effects are possible. RfDs, which are analogous to ATSDR's MRLs, are estimatesof daily human exposure to a contaminant that is unlikely to result in adverse non-cancer healtheffects over a lifetime. For chemicals that are considered to be known, probable, or possiblehuman carcinogens, DHHS uses EPA's chemical-specific cancer potency values to determine atheoretical estimate of excess lifetime cancer risk associated with exposure to the contaminant.

In the following subsections, the completed and potential pathways of exposure will beevaluated in detail.

(1) Completed Exposure Pathways

There are four completed pathways of exposure at the site. These are ways that people have beenor are being exposed to contaminants at the site.

  • Partridge Brook Sediment Pathway
  • Basement Ambient Air Pathway (past only)
  • Basement Soil Pathway (past only)
  • Residential Supply Wells Pathway (past only)

(i) Partridge Brook Sediment Pathway

According to the DHHS survey (Appendix D), none of the respondents reported having familymembers who play or wade in Partridge Brook.

People who wade or play in Partridge Brook could be exposed to site contaminants in sediments. Disturbing the sediment would contaminate the surface water, resulting in further exposure. Someone playing in the brook could be exposed to contaminants in sediment by ingesting smallamounts of contaminated sediment on their hands. To a lesser extent, some of the chemicalscould also be absorbed through the skin. Adolescents are the most likely population to play orwade in the brook. Therefore, DHHS used exposure parameters for adolescents from EPA andDES guidance documents to estimate their exposure (DES 1998; EPA 1991). These exposureswere assumed to occur over a 10-year period of adolescence.

The only chemical of potential concern for people who play or wade in the brook is chromium. For the other chemicals in the sediment, typical exposures would have been less than levelsthought to be without risk of adverse effects (e.g., Minimal Risk Levels from ATSDR orReference Doses from EPA). Table 5 lists a summary of estimated exposures to eachcontaminant compared to health comparison values.

(a) Chromium

The maximum concentration of chromium detected on the site (3,900 ppm) is buried in thesediments in the area of the brook adjacent to the northern parcel of the site. Exposure to thisconcentration of chromium would result in an exposure of 1.67x10-5 milligrams per kilogram perday (mg/kg/day), which is well below ATSDR's Minimal Risk Level of 3.0x10-3 mg/kg/day.

Moreover, much of this chromium has probably been reduced from its original hexavalent stateto the trivalent state. While the majority of electroplating/etching waste is the hexavalent form(ATSDR 2000), it degrades (a process known as 'reduction') into the less toxic trivalent form(ATSDR Personal Communication 2002). Trivalent chromium has a much higher referencedose and thus it takes a larger dose for a person to experience adverse health effects.

Additionally, hexavalent chromium is not carcinogenic when ingested or absorbed on the skin(ATSDR 2000). Thus, cancer effects as a result of exposure to chromium in Partridge Brooksediments are not expected.

Therefore, people who come in contact with chromium in the sludge while playing or wading inPartridge Brook are not likely to experience any adverse health effects.

(ii) Basement Ambient Air Pathway

(a) 1,1-dichloroethylene

People who worked in the basement of Building No. 2 may have been exposed to VOCs at levelsthat were similar to levels detected in 1999 (Table 12). People who worked frequently in thebasement could have been exposed to VOCs in the air (inhalation). Someone working in thebasement could breathe these gases, resulting in exposure. However, these air measurementswere taken in 1999, and are used in lieu of a lack of actual air data in the basement whileElectro-Sonics was in operation.

The maximum detected level of 1,1-dichloroethylene was above its comparison value (0.036g/m3). Inhalation MRLs are expressed in air concentrations (rather than dose). Theintermediate MRL for 1,1-dichloroethylene is approximately 79 g/m3. The maximum detectedconcentration is nearly 100 times lower than the MRL.

1,1-dichloroethylene is a colorless substance that evaporates at room temperature. It can enterthe air as a result of improper waste disposal. Available information indicates prolongedexposure can induce adverse neurological effects and it is possible associated with liver andkidney damage in humans (ATSDR 1996).

This level is above the Cancer Risk Evaluation Guide (0.02 g/m3). This compound is a Class C,or possible, human carcinogen. There is no direct evidence that 1,1-dichloroethylene causescancer in humans, although animal studies have shown that increased exposure leads toincreased rates of cancer. Mice who inhaled elevated levels of 1,1-dichloroethylene for one yeardeveloped kidney cancer.

If a worker spent every day working in the basement of Building No. 2 inhaling the maximumconcentration listed in Table 12, it would result in an exposure of 3.32x10-5 mg/kg/day. UsingEPA's cancer slope factor, the theoretical cancer risk from inhalation exposure to 1,1-DCE isvery small.

Additionally, this exposure scenario is extremely conservative and may not reflect a realisticexposure. It assumes that a worker spent his/her entire workday, continuously for several years,in the basement of Building No. 2, inhaling 1,1-dichloroethylene at the maximum concentrationshown in Table 12. Actual exposures may have been much lower.

Therefore, exposures to 1,1-dichloroethylene in the air of the basement of Building No. 2 wereunlikely to have resulted in any long-term, serious, adverse health effects in workers in the past. Since these conditions are likely to persist in the future, DHHS recommends that access to thebasement continue to be controlled.

(iii) Basement Soil Pathway

People who worked frequently in the basement could have been exposed to chemicals in the soilthrough ingestion of small amounts of contaminated soil. To a lesser extent, some of thechemicals could also have been absorbed through the skin.

(a) arsenic

Arsenic exceeded its cancer risk comparison value (0.05 ppm). However, the measuredconcentrations are essentially equal to background levels for these compounds. In NewHampshire, the background concentration of arsenic in soil is 12 ppm (DES 1998). The averagearsenic concentration in the surface soil of the basement of Building No. 2 was 10.2 ppm.

(b) benzo[a]pyrene

Benzo[a]pyrene is part of a family of chemicals known as the PAHs. These chemicals comprisea group of over 100 different chemicals that are formed during the incomplete burning of coal,oil, gas, garbage, and other organic substances as diverse as tobacco or charbroiled meat. Thebackground level for total PAHs (i.e., the sum of the individual PAH compounds) is 25 ppm forurban areas in New England (Bradley et al. 1994). The maximum concentration of total PAHs inthe basement was lower than this background level.

(c) lead

The maximum concentration of lead (30,000 ppm) was above the EPA's industrial screeninglevel (750 ppm). As well, the average concentration of lead in the basement soil (2,706 ppm)exceeded this screening level. Using EPA's Adult Lead Model, it is estimated that a typicaladult exposed at this level would have a greater than 18% probability of having blood lead levelsgreater than 10 micrograms per deciliter (g/dL) of blood. This model includes inhalation oflead-contaminated soil.

Lead is a compound that cannot be broken down and persists in the body. Shortly after leadenters the body, it travels in the blood to the "soft tissues" (such as the liver, kidneys, lungs,brain, spleen, muscles, and heart). After several weeks, most of the lead moves into the bonesand teeth. In adults, about 94% of the total amount of lead in the body is contained in the bonesand teeth. Some of the lead can be stored in bones for decades; however, some lead can leavethe bones and reenter the blood and organs under certain circumstances. For example, lead canre-enter the blood during pregnancy and periods of breast feeding, after a bone is broken, andduring advancing age.

The main target for lead toxicity is the nervous system, both in adults and in children. Long-term exposure of adults to lead at work has resulted in decreased performance in some tests thatmeasure functions of the nervous system. Lead exposure may also cause weakness in fingers,wrists, or ankles. Some studies in humans have suggested that lead exposure may increase bloodpressure, though the evidence is inconclusive. Lead exposure may also cause anemia, a lownumber of blood cells. The connection between the occurrence of some of these effects (e.g.,increased blood pressure, altered function of the nervous system) and low levels of exposure tolead is not certain. At high levels of exposure, lead can severely damage the brain and kidneysin adults or children. In pregnant women, high levels of exposure to lead may causemiscarriage. High-level exposure in men can damage the organs responsible for spermproduction.

There is little evidence that lead causes cancer in humans. Kidney tumors have developed in ratsand mice given large doses of lead. These results of these high-dose studies are not sufficient topredict whether lead may cause cancer in humans. ATSDR has determined that lead acetate andlead phosphate may reasonably be expected to be capable of causing cancer, based on sufficientevidence from animal studies, but there is also inadequate evidence from human studies. Neitherof these lead compounds (lead acetate and lead phosphate) were detected in soil samples takenfrom the basement of Building No. 2.

Again, this model for worker lead exposure is very conservative since it assumes that a workerspends his/her entire workday, continuously for several years, in the basement of Building No. 2. Actual exposures may have been much lower since it is likely that workers were not exclusivelyin the basement. Therefore, it is unlikely that spending small amounts of time in the basementwould have resulted in long-term, adverse health effects.

(iv) Residential Supply Wells

Currently, plumes of groundwater contamination in the vicinity of the site are not impacting anyprivate residential drinking water wells. Since 2000, all susceptible wells in the area have beenroutinely tested by DES, and contaminated wells have been fitted with filtration systems.

It is not known when exposure to chlorinated VOCs in Residential Well Nos. 1, 2 and 3 (thewells with chemicals above the comparison values) began. No well sampling data wereavailable before initial tests in 1998. Upon discovery of the contamination in residential wells,DES provided the residents of affected wells with aerated charcoal filtration systems. Thisaction stopped exposure to chlorinated VOCs at concentrations of as high as 1,600 ppb.

Since there are no data on VOC contamination in the residential wells before 1998, exposures toVOCs earlier than this date are unknown. To account for this uncertainty, DHHS used veryconservative assumptions about VOC concentrations and duration in its evaluation of pastexposures to TCE in the residential water supplies:

  • Residents drinking from contaminated well water were assumed to have been exposed tothe maximum concentration of each chemical observed over time, even though theaverage concentration may have been lower.
  • Exposure was assumed to have begun in 1966, when Electro-Sonics began manufacturingcircuit boards and producing waste water.
  • DHHS used two exposure durations for exposure: one for residents who used their wellssince Electro-Sonics began using VOCs in 1966 (a 36-year period), and another for thoseresidents who moved into the area after 1966 or moved away before 1999 (when VOCswere found in wells). For the latter, a duration of 9 years is used (the median time in one residence for U.S. citizens from EPA, 1997).

While there are uncertainties about exposures before 1998, DHHS chose to be protective ofpublic health by making conservative assumptions about the ways people may have beenexposed in the past. These conservative assumptions likely overestimated actual exposures toVOCs. DHHS compared the estimated exposure levels with available health guidelines,comparison values and information from the scientific literature regarding the health effectsfrom exposure to VOCs to assess the likelihood of adverse health effects.

DHHS methodology is consistent with the approach used by other public health agencies in itsestimation of exposures to hazardous substances. To be more concise for the general public, adetailed explanation of the assumptions and calculations used to estimate exposures anddetermine the likelihood of adverse health effects is not presented in this document, but is available upon request.

(a) Duration and Levels of Exposure - Residential Wells

Four wells had levels of VOCs above the initial comparison values. To determine the extent ofexposure, DHHS developed a model that accounts for all pathways of exposure (oral, skin andinhalation). Again, DHHS assumes very conservative assumptions about the factors (e.g.,duration) that account for the amount of exposure. When calculating a dose for a particular well,the maximum documented level of contamination was used. DHHS assumed that these levels ofcontamination were present since 1966, when use of VOCs on the site began.

Not all residents were exposed to contaminated well water for the presumed maximum durationof exposure (assumed to be 35 years, from 1966 through 2001). To account for exposures forthose residents who may have moved to or away from Spofford Village during this 35 yearperiod, DHHS used 9 years as the alternative duration of exposure (the median time in oneresidence; EPA 1997). Additionally, DHHS listed two separate exposures for both the 9-yearand 35-year scenarios: One is to reflect exposure in adults and the other is to reflect exposure inchildren. In the 35-year scenario for children, the model was adjusted to take into account thatexposure as a child could only take place for the first 17 years of exposure. The estimatedexposures for these residential wells can be found in Tables 14a and 14b.

Additionally, if a compound is a carcinogen, DHHS evaluated the possibility of increased cancer risk.

(b) 1,1-dichloroethane - Residential Well Pathway

Although there are no studies in humans, there is limited data available in most animalsindicating that it is less toxic than other chlorinated VOCs (ATSDR 1990b). The available datain animals suggest that inhaled 1,1-dichloroethane (1,1-DCA) may be toxic to the kidneys. However, this finding is limited to one species (cats) and was not observed in three other speciestested under the same conditions. Additionally, these toxic effects on the kidneys were onlyobserved after lethal doses were given (Plaa and Larson 1965). Another effect observed inanimals but not humans following inhalation exposure to 1,1-DCA is fetotoxicity, or adverseeffects on developing fetuses (ATSDR 1990b).

ATSDR has not developed any comparison values for 1,1-dichloroethane. However, EPA hasderived an RfD of 0.1 mg/kg/day. This was based on a 13-week inhalation study in rats(Hofman et al. 1971). A 1,000-fold safety factor has been applied to account for extrapolationfrom animal to human exposures. The "no effect" level is 115 mg/kg/day (RAIS 1994), over1,000-fold higher than the reference dose and 10,000-fold higher than the highest dose seen inResidential Well No. 1 (0.0138 mg/kg/day). Therefore, it is unlikely that these exposures to 1,1-dichloroethane will result in adverse health effects.

There is inconclusive evidence that 1,1-DCA is carcinogenic in humans. Results of a drinkingwater study in mice indicated that 1,1-DCA is not carcinogenic (Klaunig et al. 1986). Anotherexperiment using human cells also yielded negative results in terms of cancer (Herren-Freundand Pereira 1986). Therefore, there is no theoretical cancer risk from exposures to 1,1-DCA in Residential Well Nos. 1, 2 or 3.

(c) 1,1-dichloroethylene - Residential Well Pathway

Limited information is available on the human health effect following exposure to 1,1-dichloroethylene (1,1-DCE). In humans, chronic exposure to 1,1-DCE is associated with liverand kidney toxicity (ATSDR 1994b).

Groups of people who should be specifically cautioned against exposure to 1,1-dichloroethyleneinclude the very young, the elderly, pregnant women, those who ingest alcohol, people usingphenobarbital (or possibly other hepatic enzyme-inducing drugs), people who are fasting, andthose with organ (heart, liver, kidney and central nervous system) dysfunctions (ATSDR 1994b).

An MRL of 0.009 mg/kg/day has been derived for chronic-duration oral exposure to 1,1-DCE. This MRL is based on changes in the livers of rats exposed to 9 mg/kg/day (Quast et al. 1983). Since the highest estimated exposure (0.000441 mg/kg/day) is 20-fold lower than the MRLcalculated with a 1,000-fold uncertainty factor, it is unlikely that anyone would experienceadverse non-cancer health effects from the levels of 1,1-DCE in Residential Well Nos. 1, 2 and 3.

The evidence for 1,1-DCE carcinogenicity is inadequate in humans and is limited in animals. EPA'scancer slope factor for this chemical was derived from a study in which rats were exposed to 1,1-DCE in drinking water. A 10-fold uncertainty factor was used, meaning that a high-dose exposureis more likely to produce carcinogenic effects than a low-dose exposure. Regardless, using EPA'scancer slope factor derived from the high-dose study, the theoretical cancer risk from exposure to1,1-DCE is a low for Residential Wells Nos. 1 and 2. The theoretical risk from exposure to 1,1-DCE for Residential Well No. 3 appears to be near background levels.

(d) cis-1,2-dichloroethylene - Residential Well Pathway

The most significant effects of cis-1,2-DCE exposure are on the blood and the liver. ATSDR hasderived an MRL for cis-1,2-DCE for intermediate exposures, 0.2 mg/kg/day. This was based ona laboratory study that observed changes in the proportions of cell types in the blood of rats andliver effects in mice at doses as low as 97 mg/kg/day. No effects were observed in the animals at17 mg/kg/day. Other organs and endpoints were an order of magnitude less sensitive (ATSDR1996). The estimated exposure to 1,2-DCE from Residential Well No. 1 was 100 times less thanthe level at which no effect was observed in the animal studies.

EPA has derived an RfD for cis-1,2-DCE of 0.01 mg/kg/day. This is based on the same studythat ATSDR used for the intermediate MRL and differs only in that an additional 20-fold safetyfactor has been applied to account for extrapolation from intermediate to chronic exposures. Theestimated exposures were also less than this RfD but still were more than 100 times less than the"no effect" level from the study on which it is based. Therefore, it is unlikely that theseexposures will result in adverse health effects.

Tests on the ability of cis-1,2-DCE to damage genetic material, which could initiate cancerousgrowths, have been predominantly negative. Federal and international agencies have given 1,2-dichloroethylene a non-cancer rating or a "not classifiable" rating in terms of carcinogenicity(ATSDR 1996).

(e) trichloroethylene - Residential Well Pathway

Most of the information regarding the effects of TCE in humans comes from case studies andexperiments describing the effects of TCE after inhalation exposure. These studies indicate that theprimary target of TCE in humans is the central nervous system (ATSDR 1997a). Speechimpairment, hearing impairment, and stroke have been observed to be more prevalent among peopleenrolled in ATSDR's National Exposure Sub-registry for TCE (ATSDR 1999b; Burg and Gist1999).

ATSDR has not derived an MRL for chronic exposures to TCE because suitable studies are notavailable. However, 0.2 mg/kg/day have been established as the MRL for acute exposures (fewerthan 14 days). This MRL is based on a study where mouse pups were exposed to TCE and exhibitedbehavioral changes later in life. The lowest exposure at which this effect was observed was 50mg/kg/day (ATSDR 1997a). Estimated exposures to TCE in the drinking water wells fell in therange of 0.00000571-0.00145 mg/kg/day, which are a 1000- to 100,000-fold lower than the levelat which non-cancer effects were observed in the animal studies.

Animal studies indicate that effects of the liver are also possible following TCE exposure. In theliver, TCE is broken down to different metabolites, including trichloracetic acid, which can damagethe liver tissues (Lash et al. 2000). A recent reassessment of non-cancer toxicity of TCE suggeststhat an exposure level that would be without effects on the liver would be in the range of 0.06-0.12mg/kg/day (Barton and Clewell 2000). The estimated exposures from the drinking water wells arebelow this range.

NTP recently classified TCE as being reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen (NTP 2000).Moreover, a recent analysis of TCE carcinogenicity suggests a stronger association betweenoccupational exposures to TCE and liver and kidney cancer than previous analyses (Wartenberg etal. 2000). The review also suggests associations between TCE and both Hodgkins disease and non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Laboratory studies with animals have observed similar cancer primary sitesas in humans (e.g., kidney and liver).

EPA's cancer slope factor for this chemical was derived from animal studies. However, using thelatest available cancer slope factor for TCE, it appears that there would be a low theoretical risk ofdeveloping cancer from this drinking water exposure in Residential Well Nos. 1 and 2. Thetheoretical risk for Residential Well No. 3 appears to be much lower than the risk associated withwells No. 1 and No. 2.

(f) Vinyl Chloride - Residential Well Pathway

Vinyl chloride was detected in December 1999 in several drinking water wells near the site. Residential Well Nos. 1, 2 and 3 contained levels of vinyl chloride (53.0, 35.0 and 0.62 ppb) abovethe cancer and non-cancer comparison values (30 and 0.05 ppb, respectively). The date that thisvinyl chloride contamination began is uncertain. The concentrations in these three wells showedno pattern of increasing or decreasing over the period that they were monitored by DES.

Workers who have been exposed to vinyl chloride at high concentrations developed signs andsymptoms of intoxication such as dizziness, drowsiness, and/or headache. These high levelexposures may also produce lung and kidney irritation and inhibition of blood clotting. Long-termexposure of humans in occupational settings has been associated with the development of a numberof other toxic effects. The most sensitive effects are changes in the tissues of the liver (ATSDR1997c).

ATSDR has derived a chronic MRL for vinyl chloride of 0.00002 mg/kg/day. This is based on astudy that observed changes in the liver cells of rats at an exposure dose of 0.018 mg/kg/day(ATSDR 1997c). All estimated exposures from Residential Well Nos. 1 and 2 are higher than theMRL and they approach the level at which effects were observed in animals. Given that effects onthe liver have been demonstrated in humans and animals, there is little evidence for large differencesbetween the species in terms of toxicity (ATSDR 1997c). Therefore, these exposures, if they lastedas long as possible (35 years), could cause effects on the liver for some people who drank and usedwater from Residential Well Nos. 1 and 2. Exposures to the levels observed in Residential Well No.3 were much lower and no adverse effects are expected.

A large number of occupational studies have reported a greater than expected incidence of a raretype of cancer, angiosarcoma of the liver, among workers exposed to vinyl chloride. Other typesof cancer that have shown a statistically significant increase in incidence among vinyl chlorideworkers, at least in some studies, include cancer of the brain and central nervous system, the lungand respiratory tract, and the lymphatic/hematopoietic system. Angiosarcoma has also beenobserved in laboratory studies with animals. Therefore, vinyl chloride is considered a known humancarcinogen, with angiosarcoma of the liver as the primary site of concern (ATSDR 1997c). For aperson exposed to Residential Well Nos. 1 and 2, for 35 years (the longest assumed duration ofexposure for a resident), there would be an increased theoretical risk of developing cancer (anincreased risk of 1:1,000). Cancer risk for the 9-year exposure model is somewhat lower (1:10,000),but still represents a moderate risk. For Residential Well No. 3, levels of vinyl chloride aresignificantly lower (0.62 ppb) than Nos. 1 and 2, and the risk increased theoretical risk drops downto levels where it is barely above background levels. (1:1,000,000)

Data suggest that the following subsets of the human population may be more susceptible to thetoxic effects of vinyl chloride: fetuses; infants; young children; people with liver disease, irregularheart rhythms, impaired peripheral circulation, or systemic sclerosis. Other factors that mayexacerbate the effects of vinyl chloride are exposure to organochlorine pesticides, consumption ofalcoholic beverages, and the use of barbiturates (ATSDR 1997c).

The exposure calculations, as well as the estimation for the lifetime elevated risk of cancer, take intoconsideration all possible pathways of exposure to the contaminated well water (including drinking,inhaling and skin contact) and assumes upper bound estimates for exposure factors (e.g., amount of waterconsumed daily, duration of showers). This calculation is not an indication of a real-life increase incancer to those who were exposed to vinyl chloride, it is evidence of a potential added risk, suggestinga difference between the cancer incidence under the exposure conditions and the backgroundincidence in the absence of exposure (EPA 1993). The actual risk for any one person getting canceris probably lower than the calculated risk.

(g) Combined Effects of Chemicals with Similar Toxicological Properties -Residential Well Pathway

The five chemicals for which there was exposure from contaminated wells can be grouped into twosubsets with similar toxicological properties.

TCE and 1,2-DCE are metabolized by the body in much the same way. For low-level exposures,they break down to trichloroacetic acid and dichloroacetic acid, which are thought to induce effectson the liver. TCE is detoxified by the glutathione transferase pathway at higher exposures. Metabolites from this pathway (e.g., S-[1,2-dichlorovinyl]-L-cysteine or DCVC) have beenassociated with kidney tumors.

One well contained both TCE and 1,2-DCE above comparison values. The combined exposure foran adult for 35 years, from both chemicals, was 0.00638 mg/kg/day. The lowest RfD or MRL forboth compounds is the RfD for 1,2-DCE of 0.01 mg/kg/day. This combined exposure to TCE and1,2-DCE was not greater than the RfD for 1,2-DCE. These comparison values are commonlyderived from animal studies. Humans are less likely to experience these effects than laboratoryanimals due to a different metabolism. Therefore, the combined exposures to TCE and 1,2-DCE arenot likely to result in adverse health effects in humans.

Regarding cancerous effects, TCE appears to be carcinogenic based on animal studies. 1,2-DCEis not considered carcinogenic. Therefore, the theoretical excess risks of developing cancer shouldnot increase when these chemicals are mixed.

Vinyl chloride has unique toxicological properties but can also be influenced by the toxic effects ofother chemicals. For example, since it is the metabolites of vinyl chloride that are toxic, the effectsof vinyl chloride can be increased by speeding up its metabolism. The metabolic pathwayresponsible for breaking down vinyl chloride is inducible by exposures to organochlorine pesticidesand Arochlor 1254 (PCBs) (ATSDR 1997c). Therefore, someone who is exposed to vinyl chlorideand pesticides may experience greater effects than someone who is exposed to vinyl chloride alone.It is possible that exposures to other solvents that are metabolized by this pathway (e.g.,tetrachloroethylene, TCE, 1,2-DCE) could have a similar effect. However, 1,2-DCE metaboliteshave been shown to inhibit metabolic activity (ATSDR 1996). Therefore, the combined effects ofother solvents with vinyl chloride are equivocal.

(h) Children's Susceptibility - Residential Well Pathway

Children differ from adults in their physiology (e.g., respiratory rates relative to body weight),pharmacokinetics (i.e., distribution, absorption, metabolism, and excretion of a chemical), andpharmacodynamics (i.e., susceptibility of an organ to the exposure) (Pastino et al. 2000). Therefore,when evaluating chemical exposures, it is important to consider whether children would be moreor less susceptible to the effects of the exposure than adults.

For TCE and 1,2-DCE, there is evidence that children are more susceptible to exposures than adults. The most sensitive stage of childhood appears to be in utero (i.e., during pregnancy) and during thefirst year of life. During this time, the primary enzyme that breaks TCE as well as 80 otherchemicals down to its toxic metabolites (the CYP2E1 isoform of cytochrome P-450) may be active,but other systems of detoxification and excretion are still developing (Pastino et al. 2000). Thiscould result in higher internal doses of the toxic intermediates at the target organs for children thanadults.

In addition to the toxicological evidence, recent epidemiological studies suggest that exposures toTCE or 1,2-DCE during pregnancy could result in adverse health effects for the developing fetus.One study in New Jersey found that maternal residence during pregnancy in areas withperchlorethylene (PCE), TCE, or DCE-contaminated drinking water was associated with anincreased risk of birth defects of the CNS, the neural tube, and the oral cleft (Bove et al. 1995). AnATSDR study of the U.S. Marine Corps Base at Camp LeJeune in North Carolina reportedsignificantly decreased mean birth weight for babies born following maternal exposures to VOCsduring pregnancy (ATSDR 1997b). A study of childhood leukemia conducted in Woburn,Massachusetts, concluded that the incidence of childhood leukemia was associated with the mother'spotential for exposure to water from specific wells contaminated with PCE and TCE, particularlyexposure during pregnancy (MDPH 1997). Another study in New Jersey found a statisticallyelevated rate of childhood leukemia in towns served by community water supplies contaminatedwith TCE and tetrachloroethylene in the years 1979 to 1987, compared to towns without a historyof such contamination (Cohn et al. 1994). Finally, a study in Arizona observed an increase in theproportion of live births with congenital heart defects following maternal exposure to TCE indrinking water (Goldberg et al. 1990). Overall, the associations drawn from these limitedepidemiological studies of humans are suggestive, yet inconclusive, that exposure to these VOCs(TCE and DCE) through drinking water may cause birth defects or childhood leukemia in childrenexposed while a fetus.

Vinyl chloride has the potential to affect fetuses and young children more seriously than adults for thesame reasons that TCE and 1,2-DCE are of concern for very young children. Vinyl chloride can crossthe placental barrier and enter the blood of the fetus (ATSDR 1997c). Animal studies have shown thatsubjects exposed before adolescence or during pregnancy may have a greater death rate and increasedlikelihood of developing cancer than adult animals exposed for similar periods. However, this maysimply reflect that younger animals have a longer time for the effects of the exposure to be manifested,not increased sensitivity (ATSDR 1997c).

The susceptibility of children to toxic chemicals is a new field of research so precise estimates ofincreased risk for developmental effects are not available. If young children or pregnant womenresided in the homes with contaminated wells, there is a chance that exposures to TCE, and 1,2-DCEand vinyl chloride could have affected the health of the children or developing fetuses. The homeswith the highest contamination and, hence, the greatest risk were Well Nos. 1 and 2.

(2) Potential Exposure Pathways

DHHS has identified three potential pathways of exposure at the site. These are ways thatpeople might be or might have been exposed to contaminants; however, either conclusiveevidence of exposure is lacking or the exposure has not yet occurred.

  • Onsite Trespasser Pathway
  • Future Flood Pathway
  • Onsite Worker Pathway
  • Future Residential Use Pathway

(i) Onsite Trespasser Pathway

One-third of the community members who completed the DHHS survey indicated that they walkon the former Electro-Sonics site (Appendix E).

Someone walking (trespassing) on the site could be exposed to contaminants in soil by ingestingsmall amounts of contaminated soil or waste on their hands. To a lesser extent, some of thechemicals could also be absorbed through the skin. Adolescents are the most likely populationto trespass on the site.

While there is evidence of trespassing, there is no evidence of contamination in the surface of thesoil. Previous oil spills may have contaminated the soil around the site. The test pits (Table 4)and soil gas samples (Table 3) from the area of the subsurface leach field and alleyway indicatecontamination below the surface of the soil. As a protective measure, DES placed a layer ofgravel over this area. It is unlikely that this layer of gravel will serve as a permanent barrier toexposure. During the site visit, there were signs of gullying and erosion of the gravel.

Therefore, trespassing on the site could become a public health concern if the chemicals in thesoil became uncovered.

(ii) Future Flood Pathway

The contamination in the former subsurface leach field and adjacent alleyway is less than 50 feetfrom Partridge Brook. Previous oil spills may have contaminated the soil around the site. If aflood were to occur, the contaminated soil could be washed into the brook. This would lead toincreased exposures to contaminants in the sediments and water. Also, contamination would bedeposited in presently uncontaminated areas across the floodplain.

Therefore, a future flood event could create a public health concern in flood waters uncover orredistribute contamination.

(iii) Onsite worker pathway

Two known businesses, with at least 6 workers, occupy Building No. 2. The site supply wellcontained many chemicals above their respective drinking water comparison values. Althoughexposure through drinking water from the site supply well is not a completed exposure pathway,it is not clear if workers engage in other activities that may expose them to the chemicals fromthis well.

Using a hand-washing model developed by EPA, DHHS determined the dose from all 13chemicals that were above their respective drinking water comparison value. This modelestimates how much of a chemical is absorbed through the skin during a routine hand washing. These doses were then compared to the corresponding MRL. Although the MRL accounts forhealth effects from oral exposure (i.e., drinking), the MRL can still be used and is a moreconservative value (ATSDR Personal Communication 2002).

According to the hand washing model, doses from all chemicals of concern from the site supplywell were below the corresponding MRLs (Tables 7a & 7b). Although there is some exposure tothese chemicals, the dose is extremely low since exposure duration is brief and a relatively smallamount of skin is exposed to the chemicals.

Therefore, exposure to chemicals through the washing of hands is not expected to result inadverse health effects.

It is not known if workers in Building No. 2 use the site supply water for purposes other thanhand washing. DES has informed the site owner and workers in the building of contamination,so it is possible that employees avoid use of this water supply altogether.

Excessive use of water from the site supply well could result adverse health effects.

(3) ATSDR Child Health Initiative

Children are at a greater risk than adults from certain kinds of exposure to hazardous substancesreleased from waste sites. They are more likely to be exposed for several reasons (e.g., they playoutdoors more often than adults, thus increasing the likelihood that they will come into contactwith chemicals in the environment). Due to their smaller stature, children may breathe dust, soil,and heavy vapors close to the ground. Children are also smaller, resulting in higher doses ofchemical exposure per body weight. The developing body systems of children can sustainpermanent damage if certain toxic exposures occur during critical growth stages. Mostimportantly, children depend completely on adults for risk identification and managementdecisions, housing decisions, and access to medical care.

At the former Electro-Sonics site, children are more likely to be exposed to contaminantsbecause children, not adults, are more likely to trespass on the site. To account for this, DHHSused exposure factors for children/adolescents when estimating exposure for people who trespasson the site or who play in Partridge Brook near the site.

Child exposure was also considered when evaluating past exposure to VOCs in residential wells. Children are smaller, and their bodyweight is less than that of an adult. Also, since children aresmaller than adults, they tend to drink less water. These factors were taken into considerationwhen estimating exposures.

(B) Community Health Concerns

When performing any public health assessment, DHHS gathers health concerns from people livingin the vicinity of the site. The health concerns that people express are then used to direct the focusof the Public Health Assessment so that questions from the community are answered. At the former Electro-Sonics site, DHHS accomplished this task through four activities:

  • On July 5, 2002, DHHS mailed an educational needs assessment survey to the residents in the community near the former Electro-Sonics site.
  • On July 10, 2002, DHHS held a public meeting at the Chesterfield Town Hall to educateresidents on the steps of a public health assessment and to answer any questions they mayhave relative to the Public Health Assessment process.
  • On July 17, 2002, DHHS held a public availability session at the Chesterfield Town Hall.Residents of the community were provided an opportunity to meet with DHHS staff, in aconfidential setting, to discuss their health concerns and questions regarding the formerElectro-Sonics site.
  • September 25 through October 24, 2002 - DHHS holds a public comment period for the firstdraft of the Public Health Assessment. Copies of the draft were distributed to residents, the press and other participating parties.

Based on responses from the written survey and the availability session, the key findings ofthe community outreach program were:

  1. All of the residents who returned surveys are very interested in the former Electro-Sonics site.
  2. Almost all of the respondents do not play, wade, eat fish or use the stream for other purposesat the site.
  3. Most residents would prefer to receive site information through the mail and phone.
  4. Less than half of respondents feel activities or hazards at the site could cause them harm.
  5. Only one respondent indicated they smell odors coming from the site.
  6. Less than half of the respondents indicated that they walk on the site.
  7. Nearly half of the respondents are not sure how they feel about the site.
  8. Half of the respondents have lived in their homes over 10 years.
  9. Few families have young children under the age of six.
  10. None of the respondents indicated they would like their family physician to receiveinformation about the site and the health effects of the chemicals that exist there.
  11. Respondents were mainly concerned with:
    • The health effects of exposure to chemicals for themselves and their families.
    • The extent of the contamination.
    • Whether or not they have been exposed to site contaminants.
    • Saving the current historical building at the site.
    • Current activities regarding site clean up.
    • Continuous monitoring of their water supply.

A Public Health Assessment contains information on: (1) the site contaminants and possibleexposure routes; (2) the extent of contamination; and (3) the adverse health effects that have beenassociated with exposures to the types of chemicals present.

The following is a list of questions from the written survey and public availability session on othertopics not already addressed in the document. Since health concerns shared in either the survey oravailability session is considered confidential, all comments have been paraphrased to protect theidentity of the respondent.

(1) List of Other Health Concerns or Questions

1. Can exposure to the chemicals on the site cause depression, skin rashes or hives?

While these issues are important, in general they are considered symptoms of many other types ofconditions and not specific disease in themselves. The effects of exposure from site contaminantscannot be evaluated separately from the other causes of these general symptoms.

2. Can the oil spill that occurred 3 to 5 years ago cause people harm?

According to discussions with DES, it is unlikely that people were actually exposed to oil when itwas released to the brook from the site several years ago. The public health assessment evaluatesthe risk to human health associated with contaminants present at the site and in Partridge Brooksurface water and sediment. One of the Public Health Assessment's conclusions is that currentexposure to contaminants in Partridge Brook does not present a significant health risk.

3. In the future, will well water be contaminated?

DES' hydrogeological investigation at the former Electro-Sonics facility, which included samplingof some 26 residential bedrock drinking water wells, indicated that the contaminated groundwaterplume appears to be stationary and is not moving. In addition, it appears that the levels ofcontaminants present in the groundwater are decreasing with time. The DES Site Manager canprovide additional information about this concern.

4. Will our water supply be continually monitored?

DHHS recommends occasional monitoring of the groundwater, especially affected private wellsor wells with the potential to become contaminated. We provide our recommendations toregulatory agencies and the responsible party, but have no authority to require that they beimplemented.

5. Will the site be cleaned up? When?

New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) and the U.S. EnvironmentalProtection Agency are currently planning a strategy to clean up the site. For information on thisprocess and on proposed plans for the site, we recommend that you contact John F. Liptak at 603-271-1169.

6. Will the buildings on the site be protected because of historical significance if the site is cleanedup?

When petitioned to do so by concerned individuals/groups, the EPA takes historical buildings intoconsideration.

There is widespread contamination underneath Building No. 2. Due to its age and state of disrepair,this building will likely be removed once a removal action takes place.

(C) Health Outcome Data

Health outcome data were not evaluated for this site because the population of concern is very small. Large study populations are usually necessary to provide significant health outcome statistics. Asa result, it would be very unlikely that any health effects associated with the site could be detectedthrough a health outcome data review.

The State of New Hampshire maintains a cancer registry for cancer incidences. Information fromthe New Hampshire State Cancer Registry is available for the years 1987 through 1999. The 1999Cancer in New Hampshire Report is available to the public and can be obtained by contacting DHHS (Appendix H).



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. #