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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT
NEW HAMPSHIRE PLATING COMPANY

MERRIMACK, HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, NEW HAMPSHIRE


CONCLUSIONS

  1. After reviewing available information, ATSDR has concluded that the New Hampshire Plating Company facility is a public health hazard. This conclusion is based on evidence of past exposure to substances at concentrations that could cause illness or injury. Children playing on site were exposed to cadmium by ingesting contaminated surface water, sludge or soil at levels of public health concern. In addition, workers at the New Hampshire Plating Company were exposed to cadmium, chromium and nickel by ingestion and inhalation of contaminated dust and other small particles inside the facility. It is possible that illness or injury resulted from exposure to these contaminants, although no adverse health effects have been documented.

    Dermal contact with and incidental ingestion of off-site surface water and sediment from the Merrimack River and Horseshoe Pond do not represent a public health hazard.

    Ingestion of largemouth bass from Horseshoe Pond represents a public health hazard due to elevated levels of mercury in these fish accumulated from sources unrelated to the site.

  2. Children who played on the site in the past probably ingested surface water, soil, and/or sludge contaminated with cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, nickel, tin, zinc, cyanide, carbon tetrachloride (CCl4), 1,2-dichloroethane (1,2-DCE), 1,1,1-trichloroethane (1,1,1-TCA), and trichloroethene (TCE). Based on the estimated exposures to these chemicals, only cadmium levels represented a public health hazard for children playing on-site. Ingestion of cadmium at the estimated doses could lead to illness or injury. Young children are particularly sensitive to cadmium. Cadmium exposure can cause mild kidney damage, including the presence of protein in the urine. The toxic effects of elevated cadmium exposure have been shown to persist following elimination of that exposure.

  3. Children at the Former Avanti Day Care Center were probably exposed to both cyanide and cadmium during removal activities at the site. However, the estimated exposure doses were not at levels that would be expected to cause illness or injury.

  4. NHPC workers were exposed to cadmium, chromium, zinc, nickel, and tin. The exposure period may have been as long as 20 years. Past exposures to zinc and tin are not expected to cause illness or injury. Workers, especially those who smoke, are likely to have experienced (and continue to experience) illness or injury from cadmium exposure, including protein in the urine and abnormal kidney function. People who smoke are at greatest risk of severe kidney damage. In addition, cadmium is classified as a probable carcinogen by the inhalation route. There is no evidence that cadmium is a carcinogen by the ingestion route.

    Although the estimated doses of chromium ingestion exceeded the health guideline used for comparison, the doses are not great enough to cause illness or injury, except in the chromium-sensitive population. In that population, dermatitis is expected. Although chromium inhalation can cause cancer, there are not enough data to determine whether chromium ingestion causes cancer. Levels of nickel detected in dust samples are not expected to cause non-carcinogenic health effects. However, inhalation of nickel dust by NHPC workers in the past may have posed an increased risk for lung cancer.

  5. Residents who use water from a private well were exposed to several VOCs by way of inhalation, ingestion, and dermal contact. Although no non-carcinogenic adverse health effects are anticipated, chronic exposure to these VOCs in drinking water at the detected levels does pose a slight increase in carcinogenic risk.

  6. Many residents and local officials have expressed concerns about the NHPC site. Those concerns are summarized and addressed in the Public Health Implications section of this public health assessment.

  7. The potential exposure of Litchfield residents to contaminated bedrock groundwater is indeterminate. The potential exists for contaminants originating at the site to migrate via bedrock groundwater to nearby wells across the Merrimack River. The RI/FS did not provide information to eliminate this pathway.

  8. Data inadequacies discovered during preparation of this public health assessment include the following:

    1. Insufficient data exist on the quality of drinking water from the private well on Daniel Webster Highway. The two-time sampling of that water was not sufficient to determine the public health significance of long-term use of the well as a source of drinking water. Additional sampling of the water from this private well is needed. This well is thought to be impacted by contaminants not related to the site.

    2. Insufficient data and information are available on the hydrogeologic relationship between the bedrock aquifer and the Merrimack River; that is, data are needed to determine if the Merrimack River acts as a hydrologic divide for the bedrock aquifer. Furthermore, additional characterization of direction and extent of contaminant migration in the bedrock aquifer is needed. See the Pathways Analysis section for details of how these data needs relate to potential exposure pathways at the site.


RECOMMENDATIONS

Cease/Reduce Exposure

  1. Protect persons on and off site from exposure to dusts or vapors that may be released during remediation.

  2. Implement optimal dust control measures during remediation.

  3. Implement institutional controls to prevent use of the contaminated aquifer for drinking water. Institutional controls are needed until remediation has reduced contaminant concentrations below levels of health concern.

  4. NHDPHS has recommended not to use the water from the one off-site private well, located on Daniel Webster Highway, for drinking water purposes and to minimize showering.

Site Characterization

  1. Collect additional water samples from the private well (on Daniel Webster Highway) that contained low levels of contamination (not site-related). Several samples from this well (drawn during seasonal variations in groundwater levels) should be analyzed to determine actual exposure levels and to better characterize the public health significance of long-term use of this well for drinking water.

  2. Obtain data and information on the hydrogeologic relationship between the bedrock aquifer and the Merrimack River; that is, determine if the Merrimack River acts as a hydrologic divide for the bedrock aquifer. Furthermore, additional characterization of direction and extent of contaminant migration in the bedrock aquifer is needed.

Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP) Recommendations

The data and information in the public health assessment for the New Hampshire Plating Company site, Merrimack, New Hampshire, have been evaluated by ATSDR's Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP) for appropriate follow-up with respect to health activities. Although children who once played on site and the former NHPC workers were probably exposed at levels of public health concern; HARP determined that follow-up health studies are not indicated at this time because the exposed population cannot be identified and there are no documented current exposures. HARP has referred the New Hampshire Plating Company site to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for possible health follow-up of exposed former NHPC workers. In addition, HARP determined that additional community health education be considered after public comments on the assessment are evaluated. If additional data or information become available, ATSDR will re-evaluate this site for any indicated follow-up.

PUBLIC HEALTH ACTION PLAN

The purpose of the Public Health Action Plan (PHAP) is to ensure that this public health assessment not only identifies public health hazards but also provides a plan of action designed to mitigate and prevent adverse human health effects resulting from exposure to hazardous substances in the environment.

Actions taken by ATSDR:

  1. ATSDR referred the New Hampshire Plating Company site to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for possible health follow-up of exposed former NHPC workers.

Actions taken by EPA:

  1. Groundwater, surface water, and sediment sampling of the Merrimack River.

  2. Surface water, sediment and biota (fish) sampling of Horseshoe Pond.

  3. Maintenance of site security, including the NHPC building.

  4. Demolition and removal of the NHPC building and the removal of the underground storage tank located below the building.

Actions taken by NHDPHS:

  1. NHDPHS evaluated the health significance of surface water, sediment and fish sampling obtained from Horseshoe Pond in a Health Consultation prepared in cooperation with ATSDR (see Appendix D-5).

  2. NHDPHS has issued a Fish Ingestion Advisory for Largemouth Bass taken from Horseshoe Pond due to elevated levels of mercury.

  3. NHDPHS has recommended that the private well on Daniel Webster Highway not be used for drinking and that use of this water for showering be minimized.

  4. This health assessment was released to the public for comment. These comments were received by NHDPHS and have been addressed in this health assessment.

Actions planned by NHDPHS and ATSDR:

  1. NHDPHS/ATSDR will provide copies of the final public health assessment to those who are concerned about the site. No formal community health education activity is planned by NHDPHS/ATSDR at this time; however, any person who would like to discuss the health implications of this site should contact either Robert Duff, NHDPHAS, at (603) 271-4664 or Gregory Ulirsch, ATSDR, at (404) 639-0628.

  2. NHDPHS/ATSDR will evaluate the potential for contaminant migration in groundwater to private drinking water wells across the Merrimack River in Litchfield when the necessary data becomes available.

ATSDR will provide an annual follow-up to this PHAP, outlining the actions completed and those in progress. This report will be placed in repositories that contain copies of this health assessment, and will be provided to persons who request it.

ATSDR will re-evaluate and expand the Public Health Action Plan when needed. New environmental, toxicological, or health outcome data, or the results of implementing the above proposed actions may determine the need for additional actions at this site.



CERTIFICATION

The Public Health Assessment for the New Hamphire Plating Corporation site was prepared by the New Hampshire Department of Public Health Services under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). It is in accordance with approved methodology and procedures existing at the time the public health assessment was initiated.

Technical Project Officer, SPS, SSAB, DHAC

The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation (DHAC), ATSDR, has reviewed this Public Health Assessment and concurs with its findings.

Division Director, DHAC, ATSDR



PREPARERS OF REPORT

Preparers of Report:

Robert Duff
Environmental Health Analyst
New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services
Adrienne Hollis, PhD
Toxicologist
Superfund Site Assessment Branch
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Mr. Gregory V. Ulirsch, MS
Environmental Health Engineer
Superfund Site Assessment Branch
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

ATSDR Regional Representative:

Mrs. Louise House, MS
Senior Regional Representative
EPA Region I

REFERENCES

  1. Environmental Protection Agency. Summary of Hydrogeological Investigations of the New Hampshire Plating Company Site Area, Merrimack, New Hampshire. Boston, MA: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region I, April 1990; EPA Contract No. 68-01-7367.


  2. Environmental Protection Agency. Hazardous Ranking System (HRS) Package for New Hampshire Plating Company, Merrimack, New Hampshire. Boston, MA: U.S. EPA Superfund Support Section, February 5, 1991; EPA Contract No. 68-01-7346.


  3. Environmental Protection Agency. Pollution Report #25 for New Hampshire Plating Company, Merrimack, New Hampshire. Lexington, MA: Site Evaluation and Response Section I, EPA Region I, December 2, 1991.

  4. Environmental Protection Agency. Pollution Report #20 for New Hampshire Plating Company, Merrimack, New Hampshire. Lexington, MA: Site Evaluation and Response Section I, EPA Region I, August 2, 1991.


  5. Environmental Protection Agency. Pollution Report #21 for New Hampshire Plating Company, Merrimack, New Hampshire. Lexington, MA: Site Evaluation and Response Section I, EPA Region I, September 4, 1991.


  6. Environmental Protection Agency. Pollution Report #22 for New Hampshire Plating Company, Merrimack, New Hampshire. Lexington, MA: Site Evaluation and Response Section I, EPA Region I, September 20, 1991.


  7. Environmental Protection Agency. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Site Summary, New Hampshire Plating Company Site, Merrimack, New Hampshire. Lexington, MA: U.S. EPA, Region I, April 1990; EPA Contract No. 68-01-7367.


  8. Personal Communication. Edward Bazenas, Region I Representative, ATSDR, and Janis Tsang, On-Scene Coordinator, EPA, Region I, January 3, 1992.


  9. Personal Communication. Nancy Bailey, Merrimack Health Officer, January 17, 1991.


  10. Personal Communication. Larry Gingrow, Superintendent, Southern New Hampshire Water Company, February 4, 1992.


  11. Environmental Protection Agency. Ecological Assessment, New Hampshire Plating Site, Merrimack, New Hampshire. Lexington, MA: U.S. EPA, Region I, January 1990; EPA Contract No. 68-03-3482.


  12. Environmental Protection Agency. Extent of Contamination and Preliminary Evaluation of Treatment Options for Source Remedies, New Hampshire Plating Company, Merrimack, New Hampshire. Lexington, MA: U.S. EPA Emergency Response Team, January 1990; EPA Contract No. 68-03-3482.


  13. Personal Communication. Edward Bazenas, Region I Representative, ATSDR, January 8, 1991.


  14. Environmental Protection Agency. Phase II Site Assessment for New Hampshire Plating Company Site, Merrimack, New Hampshire. Lexington, MA: U.S. EPA, Emergency Planning and Response Branch, November 1990; EPA Contract No. 68-01-7367.


  15. Weston Consultants Inc. Memo on N.H. Plating Building Contamination and Soil Action Level Guidelines. Edison, NJ: Weston Consultants REAC Support Organization, February 5, 1990.


  16. Chemserve. Monitoring Well Sampling and Analysis. Milford, NH: Chemserve, July 13, 1990.


  17. Environmental Protection Agency. Memos, reports, and letters on Air Monitoring from Paul Groulx and Janis Tsang, EPA, On-Scene Coordinators, June 26, 1990; June 27, 1990; July 9, 1990; and September 18, 1990.


  18. New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. Letter from John Regan, NHDES, to Daniel Ayer, Merrimack Town Manager, on Horseshoe Pond Water Quality Sampling, September 25, 1990.


  19. Chemserve. Data sheets concerning Merrimack River Sediment Sampling Results, March 15, 1991.


  20. Personal Communication. Arlen Jarry, Superintendent, Merrimack Village Water District, January 18, 1991.


  21. Personal Communication. Nancy Bailey, Merrimack Health Officer, January 30, 1992.


  22. Environmental Protection Agency. Exposure Factors Handbook. Washington, DC: Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Health and Environmental Assessment, July 1989; EPA Document No. 600/8-89/043.


  23. Klassen, CD, Amdur MO, and Doull J, eds. Casarett and Doull's Toxicology, The Basic Science of Poisons. 3rd ed. New York, New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1986.


  24. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Draft for Public Comment Toxicological Profile for Cyanide. Atlanta, Georgia: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, October 1991; Contract No. 205-88-0608.


  25. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Draft for Public Comment Toxicological Profile for Lead. Atlanta, Georgia: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, October 1991; Contract No. 205-88-0608.


  26. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Mercury. Atlanta, Georgia: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, December 1991; Contract No. 205-88-0608.


  27. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Draft for Public Comment Toxicological Profile for Cadmium. Atlanta, Georgia: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, October 1991; Contract No. 205-88-0608.


  28. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Draft for Public Comment Toxicological Profile for Chromium. Atlanta, Georgia: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, October 1991; Contract No. 205-88-0608.


  29. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Copper. Atlanta, Georgia: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, December 1990; Sub-Contract No. ATSDR-88-0608-02.


  30. American Academy of Pediatrics, 1987. Statement on childhood lead poisoning. Committee on Environmental Hazards/Committee on Accident and Poison Prevention. Pediatrics 79:457-462.


  31. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Draft for Public Comment Toxicological Profile for Nickel. Atlanta, Georgia: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, October 1991; Contract No. 205-88-0608.


  32. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Tin. Atlanta, Georgia: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, October 1990; Contract No. 205-88-0608.


  33. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Zinc. Atlanta, Georgia: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, December 1989; Contract No. 205-88-0608.


  34. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Case Studies in Environmental Medicine, "Cyanide Toxicity". Atlanta, Georgia: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, November 1991; Contract No. 205-88-0636.


  35. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Carbon Tetrachloride. Atlanta, Georgia: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, December 1989; Contract No. 205-88-0608.


  36. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for 1,2-Dichloroethane. Atlanta, Georgia: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, December 1989; Contract No. 205-88-0608.


  37. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for 1,1,1-Trichloroethane. Atlanta, Georgia: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, December 1990; Contract No. 205-88-0608.


  38. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Draft for Public Comment Toxicological Profile for Trichloroethylene. Atlanta, Georgia: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, October 1991; Contract No. 205-88-0608.


  39. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for 1,1-Dichloroethene. Atlanta, Georgia: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, December 1989; Contract No. 205-88-0608.


  40. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Draft for Public Comment Toxicological Profile for Tetrachloroethylene. Atlanta, Georgia: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, October 1991; Contract No. 205-88-0608.


  41. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for 1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane. Atlanta, Georgia: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, December 1989; Contract No. 205-88-0608.


  42. Environmental Protection Agency. Draft Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Report, New Hampshire Plating Company, Merrimack, New Hampshire. U.S. EPA, September, 1994; Contract No. 68-W8-0117


  43. New Hampshire Department of Public Health Services. Correspondence to Steve Whalen from Amy Juchatz. October, 5 1993.


  44. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Integrated Exposure Uptake Biokinetic Model (IEUBK) for Lead in Children. (Version 0.99d). March 8, 1994.


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