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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

INDUSTRI-PLEX
WOBURN, MIDDLESEX COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS


CONCLUSIONS

  1. The site is judged a public health hazard because of the risk to human health resulting from probable exposure to hazardous substances at the site in the past. Ingestion of arsenic contaminated soil 0-12" may have resulted in abdominal pain, diarrhea, and sore throats. Dermal exposure to chromium in this media could have enhanced already existing dermatitis. Ingestion of lead contaminated soil may have caused mild hematological effects by disrupting enzyme activity. All these effects are reversible and would have been effectively halted with the termination of exposure, which is no longer believed to be ongoing.

  2. Currently, the site poses a no apparent public health hazard for several reasons: (1) the presence of a fence and 24 hour security prevents access to the site by unauthorized personnel; (2) on going remediation has reduced the migration of contaminants off-site and the release of contaminants into the ambient air; and (3) the use of Hall's Brook Holding area for recreational purposes is highly unlikely due to it's location in an industrialized area.

  3. Concerns about the impact of the Woburn environment on human health focused on the serious elevation is both total and male childhood leukemia incidence, as well as elevations in kidney cancer mortality. A panel of experts was convened by the MDPH to determine if a link exists between environmental contamination originating from this site and health problems in the vicinity of the site. Along with Woburn Environment and Birth Study (WEBS), which was designed to address the concerns of the panel, the MDPH conducted an expanded case control study of childhood leukemia.

  4. An analysis of health outcome data (WEBS study) did not indicate an elevated incidence of adverse reproductive outcomes in Woburn when compared to twelve surrounding communities. Analyses of health outcome data within Woburn itself did not indicate that environmental contaminants in the public water supply had an adverse effect on the reproductive health of exposed subgroups of Woburn residents.

  5. Site related contaminants have reached the Aberjona River and the groundwater of the Aberjona River aquifer. Since the Aberjona River aquifer is not used as a potable water supply it is unlikely that exposure will occur via this pathway. Contaminants are present in the Aberjona River at low concentrations which are not expected to result in adverse health effects to people who use the river for recreational purposes.

  6. Elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide in soil gas (or bore hole air) occurred in the past; however, hydrogen sulfide has not been detected in ambient air at the site. Currently, the risk of exposure to hydrogen sulfide in soil gas has been effectively reduced by stabilization of the hide piles and thermal oxidation of the soil gas. Past elevations of hydrogen sulfide in soil gas were such that anyone exposed without proper personal protective equipment were at risk of severe health effects.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. Prohibit the use of contaminated portions of the Aberjona River Aquifer for potable purposes.

  2. Determine the extent of site contamination in sediments downstream in the Aberjona River.

  3. Provide personal protective gear to workers on site during remediation in order to minimize their exposure and the subsequent risk of adverse health effects.

  4. The MDPH should provide community education related to various site issues.

  5. Monitor incidence of childhood leukemia and kidney cancer in Woburn through the Massachusetts Cancer Registry.

  6. Should additional information become available that alters the findings of this public health assessment or addresses the data needs described herein, this public health assessment will be modified by a health consultation when appropriate.

  7. Determine whether people are fishing in the Hall's Brook Holding Area.

HEALTH ACTIVITIES RECOMMENDATION PANEL (HARP) RECOMMENDATION

The data and information developed in the public health assessment for the Industri-plex Site, Woburn, Massachusetts, have been evaluated by ATSDR's Health Activities Recommendation Panel for appropriate follow-up with respect to health activities. Because of probable past exposure and community health concerns regarding adverse health effects, the HARP determined that follow-up health actions are indicated. Community education is the primary activity indicated by HARP in order to assist the community in understanding its potential for exposures and assessing any adverse health occurrences. The results of the Woburn Environment and Birth Study and Woburn Childhood Leukemia Follow-up Study should also be addressed within this education program. HARP concluded that no other health studies or actions are needed at this time because of WEBS and the Childhood Leukemia Follow-Up Study.

PUBLIC HEALTH ACTION PLAN

The Public Health Action Plan (PHAP) for the Industri-Plex NPL Site contains a description of actions to be taken by ATSDR and/or the MDPH at and in the vicinity of the site subsequent to the completion of this Public Health Assessment. For those actions taken at the site, please see the Background section of this document. The purpose of the PHAP is to ensure that this 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 ensure that it is implemented. The public health actions to be implemented are as follows:

  1. The MDPH will continue to monitor cancer incidence rates for the town of Woburn through the Massachusetts Cancer Registry at the MDPH.

  2. The MDPH will provide education to the Woburn community to assist in their understanding of potential exposures and assessing any adverse health occurrences. The results of the Woburn Environment and Birth Study and Woburn Childhood Leukemia Follow-Up Study will also be addressed within this education program.


CERTIFICATION

The public health assessment for the Industri-plex 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 V. 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

Julie Watts
Environmental Analyst
Bureau of Environmental Health Assessment
Massachusetts Department of Health

Gail Garron Whyte
Environmental Analyst
Bureau of Environmental Health Assessment
Massachusetts Department of Health

Jeffery D. Purvis
Chief of Community Assessment
Bureau of Environmental Health Assessment
Massachusetts Department of Health

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

ATSDR TECHNICAL PROJECT OFFICER

Gregory V. Ulrisch
Remedial Programs Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

ATSDR Regional Representative

Louise House
Regional Services
Office of the Assistant Administrator, ATSDR


REFERENCES

  1. Agency for Toxicological Substances and Disease Registry, U.S. Public Health Service. Health Assessment for Wells G and H Site. Cerclis No. MAD001002252. Woburn, Massachusetts. February 21, 1989.


  2. Agency for Toxicological Substances and Disease Registry, U.S. Public Health Service. Toxicological Profiles for -
      Antimony, September 1992
      Arsenic, April 1993
      Cadmium, Update April 1993
      Chromium, Update April 1993
      Copper, December 1990
      1,2-DCA, Update May 1994
      Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, Update April 1993
      Lead, Update April 1993
      Manganese, July 1992
      2-Butanone (MEK), July 1992
      PCBs, Update April 1993
      PAHs, Draft - Update October 1993
      Thallium, July 1992
      1,1,1-TCA, Draft - Update October 1993
      Zinc, Update October 1992

  3. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Environmental Quality Engineering, "Special Analysis Woburn Waste Site Project." October 1979.

  4. "Evaluation of Hydrogen Sulfide Concentrations at Residential and Commercial Sites Surrounding a Woburn Construction Area." Bolt Beranek and Newman, Inc. August 1977.

  5. "Evaluation of the Hydrogeology and Groundwater Quality of East and North Woburn, Massachusetts." Ecology and Environment Inc. June 25, 1982.

  6. "Inventory and Analysis of Existing Well Data for East and North Woburn, Massachusetts." January 1981.

  7. Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Hazardous Wastes. "List of Confirmed Disposal Sites and Locations To Be Investigated." March 1990.

  8. Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Massachusetts Health Research Institute. "Scientific Protocol for the Woburn Environment and Birth Study." May 1990.

  9. Memorandum To: Dick Chelpin from Jim Miller, June 10, 1981 Re: Analysis of Industriplex-128 Hi-Vol Filters by Inductively Coupled Argon Plasma.

  10. Miller, Jim. "Interim Report of Particulate Monitoring at the Woburn Hazardous Waste Site." December 12, 1980.

  11. Personal Communication with Woburn Elderly Housing Office. July 1992.

  12. Personal Communication with Woburn Planning Office. July 1992.

  13. Personal Communication with Woburn School Department. July 1992.

  14. "PDI, Task A-1. Baseline Air Survey. Industriplex Site, Woburn, Massachusetts." Golder Associates Inc. September 1990.

  15. "PDI, Task GW-2. Hydrogeologic Characterization for the Extraction/Recharge System, Interim Final Report. Industriplex Site, Woburn, Massachusetts." Golder Associates Inc. December 1990.

  16. "PDI, Task S-1. Extent of Hazardous Substances in Soils, Interim Final Report. Industriplex Site, Woburn, Massachusetts." Golder Associates Inc. September 1990.

  17. "PDI, Task S-1. Extent of Hazardous Substances in Soils, Supplemental Report. Industriplex Site, Woburn, Massachusetts." Golder Associates Inc. January 1991.

  18. "PDI, Task SW-1. Extent of Hazardous Substances in Wetlands and Surface Water Sediments, Interim Report. Industriplex Site, Woburn, Massachusetts." Golder Associates Inc. August 1990.

  19. "Record of Decision - Remedial Alternative Selection." EPA Region I. September 1986.

  20. U.S. Department of Commerce. "1990 Census of Population: General Population Characteristics, Massachusetts." Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office.

  21. "Woburn Environmental Studies Phase I Report." Stauffer Chemical Company. April 1983.

  22. Woburn Environmental Studies Phase II Report." Stauffer Chemical Company. August 1984.

  23. Surface Water Quality Sampling Report for the Fourth Quarter at the Industriplex Site Remediation Project. October - December 1993. USEPA January 1994

  24. Groundwater/Surface Water Investigation Plan Phase I Remedial Investigation Plan Draft Report. Roux Associates. June 1991

  25. Groundwater/Surface Water Investigation Plan Phase II Remedial Investigation Plan Draft Report. Roux Associates. May 1992

  26. Digital Equipment Corporation - Results of an Indoor Air Monitoring Study. Courtesy of Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. December 17, 1993

  27. Digital Equipment Corporation - Results of VOC Personal Sampling. Courtesy of Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. March 8, 1993

  28. 100% Design Report Part I Industriplex Site, Woburn, Massachusetts Vol. 1. Golder Associates April 1992


  29. Preliminary Design Report - Interim Groundwater Remedy, Industriplex Site Woburn, Massachusetts. ISRT. October 1992

  30. PDI Task A-2 Gas Treatability Interim Final Report, Industriplex Site, Woburn, Massachusetts. October 1990

  31. MIT Superfund Basic Research Program. MIT Center for Environmental Health Sciences June 1994

  32. Arena, J. M. and Drew, R. H. (eds) Poisoning: Toxicology, Symptoms, and Treatments 5th Ed. Charles C. Thomas Springfield 1986

  33. Klassen, D. C.; Amdur M. O. and Doull, J. (eds) Casarett and Doull's Toxicology: The Basic Science of Poisons 3rd Ed. Macmillan Publishing Co. New York 1986

REFERENCES REVIEWED BUT NOT CITED

PDI Task SW-2 Surface Water Treatability Interim Final Report - Industriplex Site Vol 1. Golder Associates Inc. April 1991

PDI Task GW-3 Groundwater Treatability Interim Final Report - Industriplex Site Vol 1. Golder Associates Inc. April 1991

PDI Task A-1 Baseline Air Survey Industriplex Site, Woburn, Massachusetts Golder Associates Inc. May 1991

PDI Task S-2 Stability of Hide Piles Interim Final Report Industriplex Site Woburn, Massachusetts September 1990

PDI Task GW-1 Plume Delineation Interim Final Report Industriplex Site, Woburn, Massachusetts Vol 1 and 2. Golder Associates January 1991



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