Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to site content

PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

LONE STAR ARMY AMMUNITION PLANT
TEXARKANA, BOWIE COUNTY, TEXAS


COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS/HEALTH OUTCOME DATA/CHILD HEALTH INITIATIVE

Community Health Concerns

In an initial effort to obtain community health concerns, we contacted the EPA Region VI office, the TexasNatural Resource Conservation Commission, the TDH Region 4 office, the Texarkana-Bowie CountyFamily Health Center, the ATSDR Region VI office, and the TDH Epidemiology Investigation Index File. The Epidemiology Index File is maintained by the TDH Bureau of Epidemiology and coversinvestigations conducted from the 1960s to the present time. In addition, we contacted local health careproviders and area residents. We received concerns from a local health care provider and area residentsregarding a perceived increase in cancer rates over the last ten (10) years. Specifically, there was aconcern that the rates for brain, leukemia, and respiratory cancers were increasing.

Health Outcome Data

Although Lone Star was not specifically implicated to the concern that rates of brain cancer, leukemia, andrespiratory cancers were increasing, we asked the TDH Cancer Registry Division (CRD) to reviewavailable cancer data for the selected types of cancer for Bowie County and Texarkana, Texas for a ten(10) year period. The CRD evaluated the cancer mortality data for cancers of the nose, larynx, lung,pleura, trachea, brain, leukemia, and all sites combined for the period 1986 to 1995 [6].

They found among both male and female residents of Bowie County, during the period 1986-1995, thenumber of deaths due to cancer was either lower than or within the range that we would expect based onthe cancer mortality experience of the rest of the state (Table 4). Among male residents in Texarkana,Texas (Table 5), during this time period, they found the number of deaths from cancers of the nose, larynxpleura, trachea, brain, and leukemia to either be lower than or within the range expected; however, theyreported the number of deaths from cancer of the lung and all sites combined to be higher than expected(statistically significant at the 5% level of significance). Among the female residents of Texarkana, Texasduring the same time period, they found the number of cancer deaths to be either lower than or within therange that would be expected.

The category "all sites" is non-specific and includes all types of cancer. The public health implications ofthe significant excess cancer deaths for all sites combined reported for males in Texarkana is difficult toevaluate and could partially be the result of the significant excess deaths due to cancer of the lung. Whilewe can not say with absolute certainty, it is unlikely that the significant excess of deaths from cancer of thelung observed among males is due to some specific environmental exposure. Usually, when anenvironmental agent is involved, we would expect the increase to be consistent between genders; bothmales and females would be exposed to a contaminant in the general environment. While the number ofmale deaths from cancer of the lung is greater than expected, the number of female deaths from lungcancer is not. Thus, other factors may be responsible for the observed excess lung cancer deaths amongTexarkana males. The most prominent risk factor that has been associated with lung cancer is smoking. In the United States, the rate of lung cancer deaths among males has started to decrease; however, the rate for women is increasing.

Child Health Initiative

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

ATSDR evaluated the likelihood for children living in the vicinity of the Old Demolition Area on the LoneStar Army Ammunition Plant site to be exposed to site contaminants at levels of health concern. ATSDRdid not identify situations in the past in which children were likely to have been exposed to sitecontaminants. Because site access is restricted, children are not likely to be exposed to contaminatedsurface water, soil, or sediments from the site. Children currently are not likely to be exposed to sitecontaminants in groundwater unless the extent of the contamination spreads to water wells which are being used by families with children.

Table 4.

Number of Observed and Expected Cancer Deaths and Race-Adjusted Standardized Mortality Ratios, Selected Sites, Bowie County, 1986-1995
Males
Site Observed Expected SMR 95% CI
Nose,Sinus 1 1.2 0.8 0.0-4.6
Larynx 8 11.5 0.7 0.3-1.4
Lung 410 361.2 1.1 1.0-1.3
Pleura 1 1.5 0.7 0.0-3.7
Trachea 2 0.9 2.2 0.3-8.0
Brain 31 22.9 1.4 0.9-1.9
Leukemia 45 38.6 1.2 0.9-1.6
All Sites 1,026 1,019.4 1.0 0.9-1.1
Females
Site Observed Expected SMR 95% CI
Nose,Sinus 1 1.0 1.0 0.0-5.6
Larynx 2 3.0 0.7 0.1-2.4
Lung 187 197.8 0.9 0.8-1.1
Pleura 1 0.5 2.0 0.1-11.1
Trachea 1 0.6 1.7 0.0-9.3
Brain 24 20.5 1.2 0.8-1.7
Leukemia 33 32.1 1.0 0.7-1.4
All Sites 851 871.4 1.0 0.9-1.0

Note: The SMR (standardized mortality ratio) is defined as the number of observed deaths divided by the number ofexpected deaths. The latter is based on race-, sex-, and age-adjusted cancer mortality rates for Texas during the period 1986-1995 (the SMR has been rounded to the first decimal place).

Prepared by:Cancer Registry Division, Texas Department of Health, 7/1/97


Table 5.

Number of Observed and Expected Cancer Deaths and Race-Adjusted Standardized Mortality Ratios, Selected Sites, Texarkana, Texas, 1986-1995
Males
Site Observed Expected SMR 95% CI
Nose,Sinus 0 0.5 0.0 0.0-7.4
Larynx 4 4.8 0.8 0.2-2.1
Lung 186 149.5 1.2* 1.1-1.4
Pleura 0 0.6 0.0 0.0-6.1
Trachea 0 0.4 0.0 0.0-9.2
Brain 14 8.5 1.6 0.9-2.8
Leukemia 24 15.5 1.5 1.0-2.3
All Sites 486 421.5 1.2* 1.1-1.3
Females
Site Observed Expected SMR 95% CI
Nose,Sinus 1 0.5 2.0 0.1-11.1
Larynx 2 1.4 1.4 0.2-5.2
Lung 87 89.3 1.0 0.8-1.2
Pleura 1 0.2 5.0 0.1-27.9
Trachea 1 0.3 3.3 0.1-18.6
Brain 5 8.8 0.6 0.2-1.3
Leukemia 18 15.0 1.2 0.7-1.9
All Sites 438 403.7 1.1 1.0-1.2

Note: The SMR (standardized mortality ratio) is defined as the number of observed deaths divided by the number ofexpected deaths. The latter is based on race-, sex-, and age-adjusted cancer mortality rates for Texas during the period 1986-1995 (the SMR has been rounded to the first decimal place).

* Significantly higher (at the 5% level) than expected.

Prepared by: Cancer Registry Division, Texas Department of Health, 7/1/97


PUBLIC HEALTH ACTION PLAN

Conclusions

  1. Contamination in soil, sediment, surface water, and groundwater on the ODA does not represent past, present, or future public health hazards in that the potential for exposure by the public is not likely.

  2. Unexploded ordnance and ordnance debris could pose a future public health hazard only if the debris were allowed to remain on the site and only then if the future usage of the site changed such that the public would have easy access to the contaminated areas.

  3. In addition to the ODA, there are RCRA regulated facilities at Lone Star. The public health significance associated with contaminants at these facilities should be evaluated if access restrictions change.

Actions Planned

  1. The Army will remove exposed unexploded ordnance from the surface of the Old Demolition Area and put a soil covering over the area.

  2. The Army will continue to maintain institutional controls to restrict the possibility of access to contaminated areas on the site.

  3. The Army will continue to monitor surface water and sediment from the south drainage way to the East Fork Elliott Creek to ensure that contaminant concentrations are not increasing.

  4. The Army will continue to monitor groundwater contaminants as a part of RCRA processes at Lone Star.

  5. ATSDR and TDH will evaluate the public health significance of contaminants associated with the RCRA regulated sites as needed.

Actions Recommended

  1. If additional data become available or if potential exposure scenarios at the site change, ATSDR and TDH will be available to reevaluate the public health impact of the site.

PREPARERS OF THE REPORT

John F. Villanacci, Ph.D.
Director
Health Risk Assessment and Toxicology Program

Susan L. Prosperie, M.S., R.S.
Environmental Specialist
Health Risk Assessment & Toxicology Program

Elena G. Capsuto, M.S.
Epidemiologist
Health Risk Assessment and Toxicology Program

Nancy B. Ingram
Public Health Technician
Health Risk Assessment and Toxicology Program

Dixie Davis
Administrative Technician I
Health Risk Assessment and Toxicology Program


ATSDR Regional Representative

George Pettigrew, P.E.
Senior Regional Representative
ATSDR - Region 6


Jeff Kellam
Technical Project Officer


CERTIFICATION

This Health Assessment was prepared by the Texas Department of Health under a cooperative agreementwith the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). It is in accordance with approvedmethodology and procedures existing at the time the Health Assessment was initiated.

Anne Keller
Technical Project Officer, DSB, FFAB, DHAC

The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation, ATSDR, has reviewed this Public HealthAssessment and concurs with its findings.

Gary Campbell
Chief, DSB, FFAB, DHAC, ATSDR


REFERENCES

  1. U.S. Bureau of the Census, "Census of Population and Housing, 1990: Summary Tape File 1A (Texas)." 1991.

  2. Draft Remedial Investigation Report Volume 1. Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant. Old Demolition Area. Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study. Texarkana, Texas prepared for U.S. Center by AGEISS Environmental Inc. March 18, 1997.

  3. Dames & Moore. Remedial Investigation Report, Summary Document (Draft) Submitted to the U.S. Army Toxic and Hazardous Materials Agency. January 30, 1989.

  4. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Preliminary Health Assessment for Lone Star Ammunition Dump, August 17, 1988.

  5. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Aluminum. September 1997.

  6. Cancer Cluster Investigation Summary. Bowie County and Texarkana, Texas. Conducted by Barry Wilson of the Cancer Registry Division of the Texas Department of Health at the request of the Health Risk Assessment and Toxicology Program of the Texas Department of Health. July 2, 1997.

  7. Texas Water Commission. Letter from Paul S. Lewis of the Texas Water Commission to the U.S. Department of the Army Installation Restoration Program Coordinator regarding RCRA Facility Investigation (RFI) issues. January 26, 1993.

  8. Department of the Army. Letter from Roderick W. Sewell of the Department of the Army, Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant to the Texas Department of Health regarding a request for environmental sampling data for the Lone Star sites. November 12, 1998.

Next Section     Table of Contents

  
 
USA.gov: The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 4770 Buford Hwy NE, Atlanta, GA 30341
Contact CDC: 800-232-4636 / TTY: 888-232-6348

A-Z Index

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z
  27. #