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HEALTH CONSULTATION

State of Tennessee DCERP Site #79-212

DOWNTOWN SCHOOL MEMPHIS CITY SCHOOLS - UPDATE #2
MEMPHIS, SHELBY COUNTY, TENNESSEE


Preface: The following document was prepared to update the environmental public health discussion presented in two health consultations for DCERP Site #79-212, Downtown School Memphis City Schools, dated January 2 and March 13, 2003, by the ATSDR.


BACKGROUND AND STATEMENT OF ISSUES

In December 2003, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), Drycleaner Environmental Response Program (DCERP), requested that the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH), Communicable and Environmental Disease Services (CEDS), Environmental Epidemiology (EEP), assist with a one-year health checkup of the Downtown School. The school is located at 10 North Fourth Street, Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, 38103. Downtown School was built over a site operated for decades as a laundry and drycleaner. Although no health risks were discovered in two prior health investigations, school officials appealed to DCERP for reassurance. DCERP and EEP decided that additional indoor air sampling was justified because elementary school children are a sensitive population.

This health consultation focuses on indoor air samples collected during the school's 2003 winter break. Drycleaner solvents including tetrachloroethylene (PCE) and its breakdown products, such as trichloroethylene (TCE) and dichloroethene (DCE), were the chemicals of concern. These chemicals have the potential to evaporate from soils or groundwater under the school and become trapped within the building. The route of exposure would be the inhalation of chemical vapors trapped within breathable indoor air.

Some engineering controls are currently being used to minimize any potential vapor intrusion. DCERP site #79-212 has a groundwater remediation system in operation. In addition, Downtown School has a properly functioning HVAC system.

On December 22, 2003, Pickering Environmental Consultants, Inc., under the authorization of the DCERP, performed vapor monitoring in Downtown School. Indoor air samples were collected using SUMMA canisters at four locations (PECI 2004).


DISCUSSION

Environmental Sampling

The December 22, 2003, indoor air sampling using four SUMMA canisters detected no chemicals of concern. The sampling was performed during the school's winter break to minimize air mixing caused by school activities and the use of doors or windows. Table 1 displays the results of the lab analysis of the four SUMMA canisters.

TABLE 1. Analytical results of indoor air vapor samples collected December 22, 2003, at Downtown School, Memphis City Schools, Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee. All four samples were collected with SUMMA canisters and analyzed in accordance with Method TO-15. All drycleaner solvent vapor and breakdown products vapor test results were below analytical detection limits (PECI 2004).

  Early Childhood Room 1085 hallway outside of Media Center groundfloor near stage Multi-purpose Room air intake unit nearest remediation system Health Comparison Value (ppb) Detection Limit for chemical analyzed (ppb)
1,1-Dichloroethane Not Detected Not Detected Not Detected Not Detected Does not exist 0.224
1,1-Dichloroethene Not Detected Not Detected Not Detected Not Detected 20 0.142
trans-1,2-Dichloroethene Not Detected Not Detected Not Detected Not Detected 200 0.163
Trichloroethene Not Detected Not Detected Not Detected Not Detected 100 0.175
1,2-Dichloroethane Not Detected Not Detected Not Detected Not Detected 600 0.185
cis-1,2-Dichloroethene Not Detected Not Detected Not Detected Not Detected Does not exist 0.221
Tetrachloroethene Not Detected Not Detected Not Detected Not Detected 40 0.163
Vinyl Chloride Not Detected Not Detected Not Detected Not Detected 30 0.207

Child Health Considerations

The many physical differences between children and adults demands special emphasis. Children could be at greater risk than adults from certain kinds of exposure to hazardous substances. Children six years old or younger may be more sensitive to the effects of pollutants than adults. Children generally have lower body weights, breathe air closer to the ground, and are more often in contact with the ground than adults. If toxic exposure levels are high enough during critical growth stages, the developing body systems of children can sustain permanent damage. In addition, children are dependent on adults for access to housing, for access to medical care, and for risk identification. Thus, parents and guardians need as much information as possible to make informed decisions regarding their children's health. TDH used the potential exposure of elementary school children to drycleaner solvent vapors inside the Downtown School to assess health risk in this environmental public health document.


CONCLUSIONS

At the request of school officials, the indoor air quality at Downtown School, Memphis City Schools, Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, was evaluated. The environmental sampling detected no drycleaner solvent vapors or breakdown product vapors. No public health hazard exists at Downtown School a/k/a DCERP Site #79-212.


RECOMMENDATIONS

None at this time.


PUBLIC HEALTH ACTION PLAN

TDH will provide copies of this health document to Memphis City Schools, Memphis-Shelby County Health Department, interested community members, and the appropriate government agencies. TDH will be available to the DCERP if future environmental health questions arise at Downtown School.


REFERENCES

ATSDR [Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry]. 2003. Health Consultation: Downtown School Memphis City Schools (a/k/a State of Tennessee DCERP site #79-212) Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services.

ATSDR [Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry]. 2003. Health Consultation: Downtown School Memphis City Schools - Update (a/k/a State of Tennessee DCERP site #79-212) Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services.

PECI. [Pickering Environmental Consultants, Inc.]. 2004. Report on vapor monitoring December 2003 sampling event of DCERP site #79-212, Memphis City School's Downtown School, 10 North Fourth Street, Memphis, Tennessee, Project #15117.04 Task 24. Memphis: Pickering Environmental Consultants, Inc.


PREPARERS OF REPORT

Mr. David Borowski, Environmental Specialist
Tennessee Department of Health (TDH)
Division of Communicable and Environmental Disease Services (CEDS)
Environmental Epidemiology (EEP)
4th Floor Cordell Hull Building
425 5th Avenue North
Nashville TN 37247-4911


REVIEWERS OF REPORT

Ms. Nancy Frazier, TDEC, Environmental Program Manager DCERP


ATSDR TECHNICAL PROJECT OFFICER

Mr. Alan Yarbrough
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Superfund Site Assessment Branch

CERTIFICATION

This Health Consultation: Downtown School Memphis City Schools - Update #2 (a/k/a State of Tennessee DCERP Site #79-212) was prepared by the Tennessee Department of Health under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). It was prepared in accordance with approved methodology and procedures that existed at the time the health consultation was begun.

Technical Project Officer, CAT, SSAB, DHAC, ATSDR


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

Richard Gillig
for Team Leader, Cooperative Agreement Team, SSAB, DHAC, ATSDR



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