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PRELIMINARY PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

BLACKBURN AND UNION PRIVILEGES
WALPOLE, NORFOLK COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS

CONCLUSIONS

Based on the findings of the 1988 asbestos exposure survey and the currently incomplete contamination characterization of environmental media at the site, the site is being characterized as a public health hazard because of past exposure and an indeterminate hazard for the present exposures.

  1. Based on community-wide survey results, probable asbestos exposures occurred in the past to a small percentage of those individuals either living with asbestos workers or living within a one-half mile radius of the site.
  2. Kidney and lung cancer rates were elevated among females in Walpole. These elevations, however, did not achieve statistical significance. The kidney and lung cancer incidence rates among males residing in this area were near or below that expected based on the statewide experience for these diseases.
  3. The emergency removal action completed in 1993 mitigated asbestos exposure in capped areas and in those areas where post-removal asbestos monitoring showed no detectable asbestos. Soils need to be monitored in uncapped areas at depths of 0 to 3 inches BLS since ATSDR considers soils at these depths to be those most prone to human contact or dispersion when disturbed.
  4. Asbestos has been detected away from the site in surface water, groundwater, river sediment, and soil. The mechanism for this migration is uncertain. Use of site soils for off-site fill have been reported. The history of off-site asbestos dumping is not completely known.
  5. Soil asbestos monitoring was conducted in 1989 prior to the emergency asbestos removal action conducted in 1992. The analytical method used to determine percent asbestos in soil could have resulted in under- or overestimates in the percent values.
  6. Spills of oil that may have contained carcinogenic polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) have been reported on the site. The extent of the migration of these compounds cannot be assessed in the absence of surface water and sediment monitoring for these compounds.
  7. Hazardous lead levels in accessible but deep soils have been detected on site prior to capping in 1992.
  8. The usage and quality of waters from private wells situated in Walpole have not, as of yet, been determined.
  9. Trichloroethylene (TCE) was consistently detected in one municipal well upgradient to the site. It is highly unlikely that TCE migrated from the site to this well. A filtration system was installed at the well in 1990 significantly reducing any TCE exposure via ingestion of these waters.
  10. It is not known whether fish or game are caught on or near the site. It is also not known if consumption this wildlife, if it were to occur, would constitute a completed exposure pathway since food chain monitoring near the site has not yet been conducted.
  11. If adequate containment measures are not implemented, future monitoring conducted at the site, in the area that was capped in 1992, may result in the generation of airborne asbestos particles.

RECOMMENDATIONS
  1. Maintain security at all capped areas containing consolidated asbestos-contaminated soils.
  2. Sample soils at 0-3 inches BLS at those areas where asbestos was detected at less than 1% in soils (0-6 inches). BLS should be remonitored for asbestos at 0 - 3 inches BLS.
  3. Monitor surface soils (0 to 3 inches BLS) external to the capped area, surface waters, and sediment should be monitored for VOC, PAH and heavy metal contamination.
  4. Determine usage and quality of waters drawn from private wells near the site.
  5. Monitor bedrock ground water for asbestos, VOC and PAH levels.
  6. Monitor the integrity of the cap and culvert placed in 1992.
  7. The possibility that the disturbance of the cap placed in 1992 may result in the generation of airborne asbestos should be considered when developing further monitoring plans for the site.
  8. The MDPH should continue to monitor the rates of lung cancer and mesothelioma in Walpole through the Massachusetts Cancer Registry.

Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP) Recommendations

The data and information developed in the preliminary public health assessment for the Blackburn and Union Privileges site, Walpole, Massachusetts, have been evaluated by ATSDR's Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP) for appropriate follow-up with respect to health actions. Because of probable past exposure to asbestos and possibly other contaminants, and because of community health concerns regarding adverse health effects, the HARP has determined that follow-up actions are indicated. Specifically, the HARP determined that community health education performed by MDPH was appropriate and that health professions education is indicated. In addition, because of the cases of mesothelioma and lung cancer in the community, the panel determined that additional review of health statistics is needed. Additional follow-up actions will be considered by HARP after the results of the Health Statistics Review is completed.

PUBLIC HEALTH ACTIONS

The Public Health Action Plan (PHAP) for the Blackburn-Union Privileges site contains a description of actions to be taken by ATSDR and/or the MDPH subsequent to the completion of this preliminary public health assessment. The purpose of the PHAP is to ensure that this preliminary public health assessment not only identifies public health hazards, but provides a plan of action designed to mitigate and prevent adverse human health effects resulting from exposure to hazardous substances in the environment. Included is a commitment on the part of ATSDR/MDPH to follow up on this plan to ensure that it is implemented. The public health actions to be implemented by ATSDR/MDPH are as follows:

  1. The MDPH will conduct an additional review of health statistics, specifically, the incidence rates of lung cancer and mesothelioma specific to distance from the site will be evaluated. The results of this evaluation will be provided to ATSDR's HARP to determine the need for additional follow-up health actions.
  2. An environmental health education program is recommended to advise the public health professional and the local medical community of the nature and possible consequences of exposure to contaminants at the Blackburn and Union Privileges Site. The value of obtaining a complete and accurate exposure history will be stressed as part of this program. In addition, information that is provided on the contaminants of concern may include, but not be limited to, the physical nature of the contaminant, potential exposure pathways (i.e., soil, water, air, food) and exposure routes (i.e., inhalation, ingestion, dermal), potential health effects, symptoms of exposure and testing and treatment, if known.

    This activity will be conducted by the MDPH in conjunction with the ATSDR Division of Health Education and the local medical community. However, the exact nature and focus of this education program will depend on the results of the additional health statistics review and subsequent evaluation by MDPH and ATSDR's HARP.

  3. If necessary, the MDPH will conduct an additional community health education program in relation to the Blackburn and Union Privileges site. However, the exact nature and focus of this education program will depend on the results of the additional health statistics review and subsequent evaluation by MDPH and ATSDR's HARP.
  4. ATSDR and MDPH will coordinate with the appropriate federal, state, and local environmental and health agencies to develop plans to implement the recommendations contained in this preliminary public health assessment.
  5. ATSDR will provide an annual follow-up to the PHAP, outlining the actions completed and those in progress. This report will be placed in repositories that contain copies of this preliminary public health assessment, and will be provided to persons who request it.

ATSDR will reevaluate and expand the Public Health Action Plan before public comment and 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 Blackburn and Union Privileges (South St.) site was prepared by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health 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 begun.

Gregory Ulirsch
Technical Project Officer, SPS, SSAB, DHAC

The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation, ATSDR, has reviewed this public health assessment, and concurs with its findings.

Richard Gillig,
for Director, DHAC, ATSDR

PREPARERS OF REPORT

William C. Strohsnitter,
Environmental Analyst,
Bureau of Environmental Health Assessment
Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Jeffrey D. Purvis,
Health Assessment Coordinator,
Bureau of Environmental Health Assessment
Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Elizabeth Case,
Research Analyst,
Bureau of Environmental Health Assessment
Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Suzanne K. Condon,
Director,
Bureau of Environmental Health Assessment
Massachusetts Department of Public Health

ATSDR Region I Representative

Louise House
Office of Regional Operations
Office of the Assistant Administrator

ATSDR Technical Project Officer

Gregory V. Ulirsch
State Programs Section
Remedial Programs Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

REFERENCES

ATSDR. 1991. Draft Update Toxicological Profile for Arsenic. Prepared by Life Systems Inc. for the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, USPHS, Atlanta, GA.

ATSDR. 1991. Draft Update Toxicological Profile for Benzene. Prepared by Clement International Corporation for the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, USPHS, Atlanta, GA.

ATSDR. 1990. Toxicological Profile for Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons. Prepared by Clement International Corporation for the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, USPHS, Atlanta, GA.

ATSDR. 1993. Draft Update Toxicological Profile for Asbestos. Prepared by Life Systems Inc. for the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, USPHS, Atlanta, GA.

ATSDR. 1989. Toxicological Profile for Lead. Prepared by Syracuse Research Corporation, for the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, USPHS, Atlanta, GA.

Beard, M. 1995. Personal communication (telephone conversation with M. Steele, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, regarding analysis of asbestos in soil). March 21, 1995. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC.

Canonie. 1992. Removal Action Plan, South Street Site. Canonie Environmental Services Corporation, Porter, IN.

Canonie. 1993. Draft Completion of Work Report: Removal Action, South Street Site, Walpole, Massachusetts. Prepared for Potentially Responsible Parties. Canonie Environmental Services Corporation, Porter, IN.

Clifford, S. 1995. Personal communication (telephone conversation with M. Steele, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, regarding analysis of asbestos in soil). March 15, 1995. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Lexington, MA.

CHI. 1987. Phase I Site History/Phase II Proposal Asbestos and Hazardous Materials, Shaffer Realty, South Street, Walpole, Massachusetts. CHI Environmental Engineering Corporation, Braintree, MA.

Cooke, P. 1995. Personal communication [telephone conversation with M. Steele, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, March 15, 1995]. McKone Research Institute, Chicago, IL.

Dames and Moore. 1989. Site Assessment Report, South Street Site, Walpole, Massachusetts. Dames and Moore, Cranford, NJ.

DiSirio, M. 1986. Personal communication (memorandum to Don Berger, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region I, Boston, Massachusetts, regarding a health assessment on the South Street Asbestos Site). December 18, 1986. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Region I, Boston, MA.

DiSirio, M. 1987. Personal communication (memorandum to Don Berger, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region I, Boston, Massachusetts, regarding a health consultation on the South Street site, addendum to the 12/18/86 health assessment). August 25, 1987. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Region I, Boston, MA.

House, L. 1988. Personal communication (memorandum to Lauri Jacobson, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Quality Engineering, Woburn, Massachusetts, regarding a health consultation on asbestos in soil at the South Street site). August 22, 1988. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Region I, Boston, MA.

MDPH. 1992. 1982--1988 Kidney Cancer Incidence in Walpole, Massachusetts. Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Bureau of Environmental Health Assessment, Community Assessment Unit, Boston, MA.

MDPH. 1988. Final Report, Walpole Asbestos Exposure Assessment. Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Community Assessment Unit (Boston, MA), and the Walpole Board of Health (Walpole, MA).

MDPH. 1992. Cancer Incidence in Massachusetts, 1982--1989. Massachusetts Cancer Registry, Bureau of Health Statistics, Research and Evaluation, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Boston, MA.

Sprince, N.L., L.C. Oliver, T.C. McLoud, et al. 1991. Asbestos Exposure and Asbestos-Related Pleural and Parenchymal Disease-Associations with Immune Imbalance American Review of Respiratory Disease 143:822-828.

U.S. EPA. 1994. The Protocol for Screening Soil and Sediment Samples for Asbestos Content Used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region I Laboratory. May 24, 1994. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region I, ESD Biology Section, Lexington, MA.

Weston. 1990. Letter Report to USEPA Region I from Weston Inc. RE: TID No. 01-8910-16, South Street Site, Walpole MA, April 3, 1990.

Weston. 1990. Letter Report to USEPA Region I from Weston Inc. RE: TID No. 01-8910-17, South Street Site, Walpole MA, April 9, 1990.



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