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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

WELLS G AND H
WOBURN, MIDDLESEX COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS

CONCLUSIONS

  1. Three residences and a day care center were sampled to determine the extent of indoor air contamination due to volatilization of contaminants from the groundwater plume into the basements of the residences and the day care center. Review of this information did indicate the presence of contaminants in indoor air; however, they are not considered site-related. Residents, workers, and school children at the site are at risk of exposure via inhalation. The levels of contaminants detected do not represent an apparent public health hazard because they are below those levels at which health effects are likely and generally at concentrations typically found in indoor ambient air. One residence had methylene chloride concentrations in the basement above typical concentrations; the affected basement had several potential sources of methylene chloride in the basement (e.g., paint thinners, paints).
  2. The 1989 health assessment concluded that the Wells G and H site represents a public health hazard because of the risk to human health resulting from current and past exposure to hazardous substances, in the soil and the municipal water respectively, at concentrations that may result in adverse health effects. The findings of this public health assessment addendum, which examined new indoor air sampling results from off-site locations, do not alter the conclusions of the original health assessment.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Should additional information become available that alters the findings of this addendum, this addendum will be modified by amendment where appropriate.

HEALTH ACTIVITIES RECOMMENDATION PANEL (HARP) RECOMMENDATION

The Public Health Assessment Addendum for the Wells G & H site, Woburn, Massachusetts, has been evaluated by ATSDR's Health Activities Recommendations Panel for appropriate follow-up with respect to health activities. Due to the high level of community concern about possible adverse health effects associated with exposure to site contaminants, HARP has determined that follow-up health actions are indicated. Specifically, HARP determined that site specific information in the form of community and physician health education is warranted. In addition the local health agency needs to be notified regarding the residence in which an elevated level of an indoor air pollutant was found.

PUBLIC HEALTH ACTION PLAN

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

  1. The MDPH plans to disseminate site specific information to the community in the form of community health education and physician education.
  2. The MDPH will notify the appropriate agency regarding the non-site related exposure to a high level of methylene chloride in the indoor air of one of the residences tested.
  3. The Woburn Environment and Birth Study (WEBS) was released for a public comment period which closed the end of October, 1994. The final report in response to these comments is currently being prepared. The Woburn Childhood Leukemia Follow-Up Study has been submitted for peer review.

PREPARERS OF THE REPORT

Gail Garron Whyte
Environmental Analyst

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

ATSDR Region Representatives

Louise House and Susanne Simon
Office of Regional Operations
Office of the Assistant Administrator, ATSDR

ATSDR Technical Project Officer

Gregory Ulirsch
Environmental Health Engineer
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Superfund Site Assessment Branch

CERTIFICATION

The public health assessment addendum for the Wells G and H 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 addendum 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 addendum, and concurs with its findings.

Richard Gillig
for Director, DHAC, ATSDR

REFERENCES

Agency for Toxic 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.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, U.S. Public Health Service, Toxicological Profile for Benzene, 1993a.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, U.S. Public Health Service, Toxicological Profile for Carbon Tetrachloride, 1994a.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, U.S. Public Health Service, Toxicological Profile for Chloroform, 1994b.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, U.S. Public Health Service, Toxicological Profile for 1,1-Dichloroethane, 1994c.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, U.S. Public Health Service, Toxicological Profile for 1,2-Dichloroethane, 1994d.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, U.S. Public Health Service, Toxicological Profile for Methylene chloride, 1994e.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, U.S. Public Health Service, Toxicological Profile for tetrachloroethylene, 1993b.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, U.S. Public Health Service, Toxicological Profile for trichloroethylene, 1993c.

ENSR. Woburn Indoor Air Monitoring Program. July 21, 1989.

Environmental Protection Agency. Residential Indoor Air Sampling Results, Wells G and H Superfund Site, Woburn, Massachusetts. June 1989.

Environmental Protection Agency. Indoor Air Screening Survey Results, Puddle Duck Day Care Center, Wells G and H Superfund Site, Woburn, Massachusetts. April 1991a.

Environmental Protection Agency. Indoor Air Survey II- Results, Puddle Duck Day Care Center, Wells G and H Superfund Site, Woburn, Massachusetts. November 1991b.

Fax transmittal from Mary Garren, EPA to Louise House, ATSDR. Re: Public Health Assessment, Wells G and H, Woburn, August 4, 1994.

Letter from Jay Naparstek, DEP to Louise House, ATSDR. Re: The Department's Comments on the Public Health Assessment Addendum, Wells G and H site, Woburn, Massachusetts, August 26, 1994.

Personal communication with Anna Mayor, Wells G and H Project Manager for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, April 18, 1995.


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