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HEALTH CONSULTATION

HU-MAR CHEMICAL CORPORATION
PALACIOS, MATAGORDA COUNTY, TEXAS

ATSDR's CHILD HEALTH INITIATIVE

The TDH has prepared this consult under a Cooperative Agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). TDH has included the following information in accordance with ATSDR's Child Health Initiative.

ATSDR's Child Health Initiative recognizes that the unique vulnerabilities of infants and children demand special emphasis in communities faced with contamination of their water, soil, air, or food. Children are at greater risk than adults from certain kinds of exposures to hazardous substances emitted from waste sites and emergency events. They are more likely to be exposed because they play outdoors and they often bring food into contaminated areas. They are shorter than adults, which means they breathe dust, soil, and heavy vapors close to the ground. Children are also smaller, resulting in higher doses of chemical exposure per body weight. The developing body systems of children can sustain permanent damage if toxic exposures occur during critical growth stages. Most importantly, children depend completely on adults for risk identification and management decisions, housing decisions, and access to medical care.

TDH and ATSDR have evaluated the information provided with respect to the risks to children. TDH did identify contaminants to which children may have been exposed; some of these exposures may be ongoing.

CONCLUSIONS

  1. Drinking the water from this private well poses a public health hazard. Chronic ingestion of water from the residential drinking water well could result in lead exposures that could result in blood lead levels that exceed the levels recommended by the CDC.

  2. Chronic ingestion of water from this well could result in manganese exposures that would exceed the guidance levels established by ATSDR. These guidance levels are based on the estimated safe and adequate dietary intake levels established by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council. Additionally, the EPA recommends that the concentration of manganese in drinking water not exceed 50 g/L in order to maintain aesthetic qualities of taste and odor and to avoid staining of clothing and fixtures. The concentration of manganese in this water is over 60 times greater than this level.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. The family should be notified of the test results; the risks associated with drinking water contaminated with lead should be explained.

  2. Until the situation is remedied, the family should use bottled water for drinking and cooking.

  3. Family members should have their blood tested for lead.

  4. The source of the lead should be determined.

PUBLIC HEALTH ACTION PLAN

Actions Taken

  1. The TNRCC and the TDH have contacted the family and have informed them of the test results and the family has agreed to switch to bottled water.

  2. TDH has informed the family that Wagner General Hospital (in Palacios) is available to draw their blood for the blood lead testing. Blood samples will be sent to the TDH laboratory for analysis. TDH will notify the family of the results when they are available.

  3. EPA has arranged to retest the well and the TNRCC has reviewed the site files for references to lead contamination. TNRCC and the TDH also will review current site sample results as they are available.

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