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

PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

ANITEC IMAGE CORPORATION
BINGHAMTON, BROOME COUNTY, NEW YORK


SUMMARY

Anitec Image, a Division of International Paper Company ("Anitec"), operated an imaging products manufacturing facility on the site (Appendix A, Figure 2). The facility made photographic films, papers, and chemicals. The plant operated from the early 1900's through 1998 under a series of owners, beginning in 1902 with Ansco. General Aniline Film (GAF) operated the facility from 1942 to 1981. Anitec operated the plant from 1981 to 1987. International Paper purchased the facility in 1987 and operated it until 1998. Kodak Polychrome Graphics LLC acquired the Anitec operations from International Paper during February 1998 and subsequently closed the operations at the Binghamton facility. International Paper, who had retained ownership of the property, transferred title of the property to Sound Properties, LLC during December 1999. During February 2000, Brandenburg Industrial Services Co. of Chicago, Illinois began the process of demolishing all above and below ground structures.

Volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) and metals were used in manufacturing at this site. Those used in the largest volumes included methylene chloride, methanol, acetone, silver, cadmium, and barium. Some of these chemicals contaminated soils, sediments, surface water, groundwater, and air at or near the site.

In 1991, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) received a request for a health assessment from residents living near the Anitec Image manufacturing facility. In 1996, after reviewing documents, reports and environmental data, the ATSDR and New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) determined the main exposure pathways of public health and community concern to be addressed in this public health assessment. These are evaluated by answering the following questions:

1). Do the sampling data support a concern for off-site soil contamination with metals?
2). Do sediment data from the Chenango River indicate a concern with respect to human exposure to the sediments or for ingestion of fish from the river?
3). Is there a way to assess the potential long-term health effects of emissions of methylene chloride to air in the area?

These issues have been evaluated in this public health assessment. The public was invited to review this document during the period July 24 to August 31, 2000. A summary of the comments received and NYS DOH responses are included in Appendix E.

NYS DOH and ATSDR have concluded that the data and information available do not indicate a public health concern for off-site contamination with metals from the facility (for both off-site soils and for sediments and fish from the Chenango River). Limited sampling data indicate that, in the past, methylene chloride levels in off-site indoor and outdoor air did not exceed short-term health comparison values. However, with long-term exposures these past levels could increase the risk of adverse health effects, including cancer. Current air exposures to residents have been addressed through additional remedial measures and manufacturing process changes that virtually eliminated the use of methylene chloride. Because of these measures, the Anitec site currently poses no apparent public health hazard; whereas, past exposures to VOCs (primarily methylene chloride) pose an indeterminate public health hazard.

A survey of residents living near Anitec, conducted by NYS DOH, found no evidence of unusual chronic disease. The NYS DOH is conducting a comprehensive cancer incidence study for the Anitec exposure area to help address the continuing concern that past exposure to methylene chloride in air may have increased the risk and incidence of cancer. When the NYS DOH completes its comprehensive cancer incidence study for the Anitec exposure area, an educational outreach program will be provided to the residents and their health care community, along with the final report. This would help the residents and their attending health care professionals identify diagnosed cancer, if any, that is considered to be potentially related with exposures to chemicals that were associated with the Anitec site.


BACKGROUND AND STATEMENT OF ISSUE

In 1991, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) received a request for a health assessment from residents living near the Anitec Image manufacturing facility in Binghamton, New York. The residents were concerned that releases of hazardous chemicals from the Anitec Plant may have resulted in chemical exposure for people in the First Ward. At the same time, environmental and public health concerns associated with past and current chemical releases from the facility were under investigation by the New York State Departments of Health (NYS DOH), Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC), and Law (NYS DOL). The NYS DOH has a cooperative agreement with the ATSDR to prepare public health assessments in response to citizen requests. In 1996, after reviewing documents, reports and environmental data, the ATSDR and NYS DOH determined the main exposure pathways of public health and community concern to be addressed in this public health assessment. These are evaluated by answering the following questions:

  1. Do the sampling data support a concern for off-site soil contamination with metals?


  2. Do sediment data from the Chenango River indicate a concern with respect to human exposure to the sediments or for ingestion of fish from the river?


  3. Is there a way to assess the potential long-term health effects of emissions of methylene chloride to air in the area?

A. Site Description and History

The Anitec Image site is at 40 Charles Street in the City of Binghamton, Broome County, New York. It occupies about 35 acres next to the Spring Forest Cemetery and a cogeneration power plant and is surrounded by residential, commercial, and industrial areas (Appendix A, Figure 1).

Anitec Image, a Division of International Paper Company ("Anitec"), operated an imaging products manufacturing facility on the site (Appendix A, Figure 2). The facility made photographic films, papers, and chemicals. The plant operated from the early 1900's through 1998 under a series of owners, beginning in 1902 with Ansco. General Aniline Film (GAF) operated the facility from 1942 to 1981. Anitec operated the plant from 1981 to 1987. International Paper purchased the facility in 1987 and operated it until 1998. Kodak Polychrome Graphics LLC acquired the Anitec operations from International Paper during February 1998 and subsequently closed the operations at the Binghamton facility. International Paper, who had retained ownership of the property, transferred title of the property to Sound Properties, LLC during December 1999. During February 2000, Brandenburg Industrial Services Co. of Chicago, Illinois began the process of demolishing all above and below ground structures.

Volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) and metals were used in manufacturing at this site. Those used in the largest volumes included methylene chloride, methanol, acetone, silver, cadmium, and barium. Some of these chemicals contaminated soils, sediments, surface water, groundwater, and air at or near the site.

A smelter on the site was used to recover silver from scrap film from 1958 to the mid 1970's. An electrostatic precipitator was added to control silver, cadmium, and barium air emissions in 1974.

Scrap film chips were discharged to surface water in a stream (Trout Brook), contained within an underground pipe, and were deposited in the sediment of the Chenango River, immediately downstream of the outfall of the pipe to the river.

In 1990 Anitec discovered and reported a leak of several chemicals from a waste line under a production building. The building was undermined and damaged structurally by the leak and was abandoned and torn down. The leaking chemicals included volatile organic compounds, which released vapors into the ground near some residences. These homes were sampled for indoor air impacts and the vapors were suctioned out of the ground using soil vapor extraction systems. The January 1991 residential indoor air sampling detected the presence of contaminants that were used by Anitec. These homes were often downwind of Anitec and it was difficult to determine conclusively if the low level indoor air impact seen was from the infiltration of contaminated ambient air or vapors infiltrating the home from the ground. Anitec removed the vapors from the ground with the soil vapor extraction systems and by August of 1991 Anitec virtually eliminated the use of methylene chloride in production.

In the spring of 1991, negotiations began between state agencies and Anitec about immediate exposure issues and ways to reduce and eliminate environmental contamination. These included: leak reduction measures, ambient air monitoring, repair or decommissioning of malfunctioning equipment, soil gas investigation, hazardous waste removal, indoor air sampling, and reduction or elimination of the use of volatile chemicals of concern, such as methylene chloride.

In October of 1992, Anitec signed two Orders On Consent with New York State. One of these required Anitec to bring the facility into full compliance with NYS DEC Law and to provide funds for further health study in the area. The other required Anitec to conduct a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS) of potential contamination. Technical reports and related documents are maintained at a repository at the Public Library at Foundry Plaza in the City of Binghamton.

The RI/FS approach agreed upon divided the facility into numbered operable units (OU 1-6). Each one of these units was distinct with regard to location, the contaminants involved, the media (soil, sediment, etc.) to be remediated, and the remedial technology to be used.

Operable Unit One involved the removal of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from the inside of a transformer room and from an associated leaching pit. This work was completed in 1996.

Operable Unit Two involved the removal of off-site surface soils contaminated by cadmium, silver, and barium by air emissions from the former silver recovery smelter. This remedial effort involved a small area within the Spring Forest Cemetery immediately adjacent to the smelter building. This work was completed in 1996.

Operable Unit Three involved the in-place stabilization (or entrapment) of cadmium and silver contamination in subsurface soils near Anitec Buildings 95 and 96. This was done by breaking up or stirring the subsurface soil with an auger and then injecting a cement, under high pressure, into the soil which encapsulates or traps the contaminants and prevents them from being flushed into the groundwater. This work was completed in 1996.

Operable Unit Four involved groundwater contaminated with VOCs, including methylene chloride, acetone, phenol, and 4-methylphenol near Building 32 and an adjacent paved parking lot. In the Record of Decision (ROD), which formally sets forth the remedial actions to be undertaken, the remedy selected for OU 4 was to address the groundwater contamination at this operable unit by implementing the remediation plans for Operable Unit Five.

Operable Unit Five involved overall site groundwater contamination remediation by continuing to pump the high volume Anitec production wells (about 3 million gallons per day) and monitoring groundwater quality by the sampling of strategically located monitoring wells and NYS DEC permitted discharges of the extracted groundwater. This work was completed in 1998.

Operable Unit Six involved the removal of silver and cadmium, primarily in film chips lodged in sediment in the Chenango River, in a small area immediately below the point where Trout Brook discharges to the river. This was done using hand excavation tools to break up and feed contaminated sediment into a large vacuum suction hose operated by truck mounted equipment. A temporary dam was used to enclose the area and exclude river water during the work. This work was completed in 1997.

B. Site Visit and Physical Hazards

Since the start of investigations in 1990, NYS DOH staff made numerous visits to the Anitec Site in cooperation with the NYS DEC and the Broome County Health Department. The most recent visit was on March 15, 1999. Because the site is near residential neighborhoods, considerable effort was made to identify potential exposure pathways. The Anitec industrial facility is fenced and secured. There are no physical hazards accessible by the public.

C. Demographics

The NYS DOH estimated from the 1990 Census that 20,088 people live within one mile of the Anitec Site (U.S. Bureau of the Census 1991). This population is 92.4 percent white, 3.9 percent black, 2.6 percent Asian and 1.1 percent of other races. The percent of persons with Hispanic origin is estimated to be 2.0 percent. Within one mile of the site 7.6 percent of the population is under 6 years of age, 12.9 percent is 6-19 years of age, 61.4 percent is 20-64 years of age and 18.2 percent is 65 years or older. In 1990 there were 5,320 females of reproductive age (ages 15-44) within one mile of the site. There are about 370 nursing home residents and several schools of different grade levels within 1 mile of the site. The Anitec Site is in census tract 2.00. The median household income in this tract was $17,202 in 1989, with 16.9 percent of the population living below the poverty level (U.S. Bureau of the Census 1992).

D. Environmental Contamination and Exposure Pathways

Soil:

The potential for surface soil contamination with metals on the plant site and in adjacent residential neighborhoods was addressed by the remedial investigation and supplemental investigations. To assess the potential for human exposures in the community, investigators examined the ways these metals were used and handled by Anitec. Silver, cadmium, and barium were in solutions applied to the film in the coating process and these metals were recovered from waste film chips by smelting. Releases occurred to surface and subsurface soils in several locations at Anitec and at Spring Forest Cemetery in surface soils in a small section of the cemetery-these areas were remote from residences and have been remediated.

The metals recovery smelter, which no longer exists, was along the east/northeast boundary of the site and was next to Spring Forest Cemetery. A portion of the metals was not recovered and was lost to the ambient air through the smoke stack on the smelter. These airborne particles were deposited on surface soils in the cemetery very close to the smelter. The contaminated area in the cemetery was a small section of the cemetery (Appendix A, Figure 1) used primarily by cemetery staff as a refuse disposal area. Exposures to soil and dust contaminated with these metals could have taken place while cemetery workers or others dumped refuse in this section of the cemetery or if neighborhood children accessed this area of the cemetery. Total cadmium was detected at levels ranging from 1.4 to 359 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg), barium at 82.7 to 12,200 mg/kg, and silver at 4.3 to 5,130 mg/kg. These levels of contamination for total cadmium, barium, and silver do not exceed health assessment comparison values for these exposures (Appendix B, Table 1). Contaminated surface soils were removed from the cemetery. This work was completed in November of 1996.

Waste film was broken up for reprocessing on-site in the north central area of the Anitec site (Appendix A, Figure 2). Silver was detected at levels of up to 113 mg/kg in surface soils in this area. Sampling around this location indicated that the extent of contamination was limited and remote from residences. The surface soils metals contamination in this area has been remediated.

Coating solution containing silver and cadmium spilled on-site near buildings 95 and 96. Surface and subsurface soil was contaminated. Cadmium was detected at levels up to 3760 mg/kg and silver up to 128 mg/kg. Soil contamination at buildings 95 and 96 were limited in area and confined to the site. Data developed during the remedial investigation and supplemental soil investigations indicate that surface soil contamination has not migrated from these locations. Both areas are remote from residences (Appendix A, Figure 2).

Surface soils in areas heavily used by children in a municipal park near the Anitec site were also sampled in August 1992. Background sampling of surface soils in other areas of the community that were not likely to have been contaminated was also done as part of this sampling to provide data for comparison. The sampling results for the park area near Anitec were comparable to the background sampling locations in the community and below levels of health concern.

Chenango River Sediments and Fish:

Some of the cadmium, silver, and barium used in film coating by Anitec reached Trout Brook as a liquid and as fragments of solid film waste. Trout Brook runs under the site and the downstream residential neighborhoods in a large diameter pipe and empties into the Chenango River. The sediment contamination in the Chenango River was found in a small area near the shore immediately down from the discharge of Trout Brook. Cadmium was detected in the sediment in the river in 18 out of 21 samples at levels up to 128 mg/kg and silver was detected in 16 out of 21 samples at levels up to 119 mg/kg.

The toxicity of these metals to bottom dwelling macroinvertebrates in the Chenango River sediments was evaluated in a study which concluded that the sediments were generally not toxic under prevailing stream conditions. The issues of dermal contact and exposure through fish ingestion were also evaluated. Cadmium exposure was considered to be of significantly more concern than exposure to silver due to toxicity and the potential for cadmium to bioaccumulate in fish. Given the limited area (about 85 feet long and 35 feet wide) of the river impacted, the spotty occurrence of the cadmium and silver contamination in that limited area, and an average level of cadmium of about 12 mg/kg, NYS DOH concluded that the potential for significant human exposure was limited. This section of the river is shallow and generally not used for water contact recreation, other than occasional wading and fishing. The affected area is too small to support a significant resident fish population. Based on available information on the potential for bioaccumulation of cadmium and silver in fish flesh, the detected sediment cadmium levels, and the limited size of the area impacted, NYS DOH does not expect fish flesh consumption to be a human exposure concern. The concrete flood wall adjacent to this section of the river has a steep grade and flooding transport and redeposition of the sediment contamination on the flood wall is not likely. No residences front directly on the river at this location. Levels of cadmium and silver contamination in the sediment diminish to background levels within 500 feet downstream of the point where Trout Brook enters the Chenango River. The sediments in the Chenango River with the highest levels of cadmium and silver were removed as part of the Operable Unit Six cleanup.

Off Site Air:

Volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) were used in film manufacturing and paper coating at Anitec. Those used in greatest volume include methylene chloride, methanol, and acetone. Of these, the compound of greatest public health concern is methylene chloride. Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) data indicate that Anitec released 2.2 million pounds of methylene chloride per year in 1989 and 1990. Methylene chloride was used as a solvent in film manufacturing and was captured by activated carbon from the process waste solutions and then recycled. Significant quantities were released from permitted air discharges, fugitive releases, and leaks. The odors of some of these fugitive solvents were easily sensed in residential neighborhoods immediately downwind of the site. The use of methylene chloride at Anitec was virtually eliminated by August of 1991, mostly by the substitution of manufacturing processes that used different chemicals.

Anitec discovered, in January 1991, a substantial leak of liquid waste from a pipe under a building that was near some residences. The waste included volatile organic solvents, The solvents entered the soil and the NYS DOH was concerned that the vapors from these solvents might travel through the air spaces in the soil to the residences. A paved area, between the building with the leak and the homes, could act as a cap and prevent the solvent vapors from escaping to the atmosphere and could direct the vapors toward the homes. If the vapors reached the homes, they could enter the basements through even the smallest of openings and contaminate the air in the home. The paving was also a factor in the removal of the vapors from the soil, as the pavement cap allowed the temporary soil vapor extraction (SVE) system that Anitec installed to more efficiently collect the vapors. The cap prevented ambient air from being drawn into the ground by the suction of the SVE system, thereby interfering with the extraction of the vapors in the soil. The SVE system functioned efficiently and the vapors were removed from the soils and were also drawn away from the homes by the suction, thereby protecting the homes. Subsequent soil gas monitoring confirmed the effectiveness of the soil vapor extraction.

Anitec sampled the air in one of these residences in January 1991, in response to the discovery of the leak of solvents, and found contamination which could be from Anitec. To further assess the indoor and outdoor (ambient) air quality at these homes, the NYS DOH and the Broome County Health Department sampled the air at these three homes in April 1991. Also, a control home, away from the site, with no impact from Anitec, was sampled. The data from the sampling was compared to national and state databases on air quality and the three study homes were also compared to the control home. Methylene chloride was found in the study homes at levels ranging from 97 to 900 micrograms per cubic meter (mcg/m3) of indoor air. There was only one outdoor air sample at the three study homes because the homes were so close together. Methylene chloride was found in this outdoor air sample at 1180 mcg/m3. These levels exceed comparison values for chronic exposure to methylene chloride in air (Appendix B, Table 2). The control residence had 3.2 to 3.5 mcg/m3 indoors and <1.7 mcg/m3 outdoors. Anitec addressed the exposure for these homes by completing its soil vapor extraction removal of the vapors and by virtually eliminating the use of methylene chloride by August 1991. The elimination of the methylene chloride also improved the outdoor air quality in the larger community beyond the three homes, and subsequent ambient air sampling in the community confirmed this.


DISCUSSION

Please refer to Appendix C for a description of NYS DOH's procedure for evaluating potential health risks for contaminants of concern.

The environmental data indicate that the major issue associated with the Anitec site is concern about the potential public health impacts of past exposures to methylene chloride in air. For an unknown period of time, residents in the neighborhood near the Anitec facility were exposed to elevated levels of methylene chloride in air. Limited sampling done in April 1991 at three homes near Anitec found levels of methylene chloride ranging from 97-900 mcg/m³ in indoor air and 1,180 mcg/m³ in the outdoor sample. However, this short-term sampling event was not designed to evaluate long-term chronic exposures.

High concentrations of methylene chloride in air affect the central nervous system when inhaled, causing effects much like those of alcohol (i.e., sluggishness, irritability, lightheadedness, lack of coordination, headaches and nausea). It also causes eye, nose and throat irritation. Most of these effects usually disappear fairly rapidly after exposure stops. Methylene chloride has caused cancer in laboratory animals exposed at high levels over their lifetime. Whether methylene chloride causes cancer in humans is not known. Based on the results of animal studies, the United States Department of Health and Human Services has determined that methylene chloride may reasonably be anticipated to be a carcinogen.

The relationship between exposure to methylene chloride in air and known health effects is summarized in Appendix A, Figure 3. The levels of methylene chloride found were below levels known to cause health effects after short-term exposure. The primary concern is health risks from the potential long-term exposure to this contaminant in the past. The NYS DOH recommends that the average ambient air level of methylene chloride in a residential community not exceed 60 mcg/m³.

Average long-term levels of methylene chloride in the air in the community around Anitec in past years are not known. The air tests provided data on levels only at the time of sampling and this does not provide enough information to predict the air levels in or outside the homes over a long period of time. However, based on the available data, there is concern that the health risks from past exposures to methylene chloride in air are not minimal, and that the exposure levels may have exceeded the NYS DOH ambient air guideline of 60 mcg/m³.

To assist in addressing concerns about the health risk of past chronic exposures, the NYS DOH surveyed residents living near the Anitec facility about health and exposure issues. No evidence of unusual chronic disease was found in this investigation (see Health Outcome Data section below for details). In addition, NYS DOH is conducting a comprehensive cancer incidence study for the Anitec exposure area to help address continuing concern that past long-term exposure to methylene chloride in air may have increased the rate of cancer.


HEALTH OUTCOME DATA

In 1991-92, the New York State Department of Health surveyed residents living near the Anitec facility about health and exposure issues. A report discussing the survey findings was released in June 1993. The response rate for the mailed survey was very low, and the report emphasized that no scientific conclusions could be drawn from the questionnaire responses. Residents within one-half mile of the facility (Area 1) were differentiated from the residents living further away, but within approximately one mile of the facility (Area II).

Area I respondents reported being bothered by odors near their residences more than Area II respondents. Those bothered by odors also reported more health symptoms than respondents not bothered by odors. Symptoms reported included dizziness, difficulty concentrating, headaches and irritability. Area I respondents did not report more chronic conditions than Area II respondents. Comparative health data before and after the shutdown of the methylene chloride processes in August 1991 showed a decline in reported health symptoms. No evidence of unusual chronic disease was found in this investigation. Case-by-case review of confirmed liver disease cases found none to be consistent with exposure to methylene chloride.

During 1994, planning began for an in-depth case-control interview study of pancreatic cancer in the area near Anitec because pancreatic cancer appeared elevated in an area near Kodak Park, Rochester, where methylene chloride exposures had occurred. Methylene chloride exposure modeling, population estimates, and registry data on the number of pancreatic cancer cases in the Binghamton area showed that there were not sufficient pancreatic cancer cases for conducting a meaningful case-control study.

Because of continuing concern that long-term exposure to methylene chloride may increase the risk of cancer, NYS DOH researchers decided to conduct a comprehensive cancer incidence study for the Anitec exposure area. The study, now nearing completion, looked at 18 individual cancer sites for men and 20 for women, using data from the New York State Cancer Registry for 1981-1990. All the cancers in the area near Anitec were located by street address so that they were identified as having occurred either in the potential exposure areas or in areas not considered to be exposed to methylene chloride. The rates of these cancers in the population living in the exposure areas were compared with the rates for these cancers in three comparison areas with similar demographic characteristics. The study's findings are currently being reviewed, and the report is expected to be released in late 2000 or early 2001.


COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS AND CURRENT ISSUES

This public health assessment is intended to address concerns initially brought to ATSDR's attention by the correspondence requesting health assessment activities. Since then, environmental investigations, remedial actions, process changes and elimination of discharges to the air, water and soils from manufacturing processes have eliminated potential exposures in areas off the plant site.

Interest within the community and citizens' group, the Committee for a Safe Anitec, continues. Anitec Imaging was required by NYS DEC to establish a Citizen Awareness Program (CAP) through which they addressed residents' concerns via regular meetings and a newsletter. Anitec heldannual public meetingsinwhich the NYS DOH and NYS DEC participated. Remedial progress was discussed and an open forum was provided to address issues, questions and concerns. Rutgers University prepared a training manual and video describing community interaction on the Anitec project.

The public was invited to review this public health assessment during the period July 24 to August 31, 2000. A summary of the comments received and NYS DOH responses are included in Appendix E.


ATSDR CHILD HEALTH INITIATIVE

The ATSDR Child Health initiative emphasizes the ongoing examination of relevant child health issues in all of the agency's activities, including its mandated public health assessment activities. The ATSDR and NYS DOH consider children when we evaluate exposure pathways and potential health effects from environmental contaminants. We recognize that children are of special concern because of their greater potential for exposure from play and other behavior patterns. Children sometimes differ from adults in their susceptibility to hazardous chemicals, but whether there is a difference depends on the chemical. Children may be more or less susceptible than adults to health effects, and the relationship may change with developmental age.

The former Anitec Image site is near residential areas with children, neighborhood parks, and schools. However, remedial and security measures were completed which should minimize or eliminate the potential for exposures of children to site related contaminants.



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. #