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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

CIRCUITRON CORPORATION
FARMINGDALE, NASSAU COUNTY, NEW YORK


ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION AND OTHER HAZARDS

The most recent environmental data for the Circuitron Corporation site were collected as part of the RI/FS by EBASCO Services under contract to US EPA. A summary of the environmental contamination data collected for the the RI/FS is presented in Appendix B, Tables 1-2. The listing of a contaminant does not necessarily mean that its presence is a public health concern. Contaminants selected for further evaluation are identified and evaluated in subsequent sections of the public health assessment to determine whether exposure to them has public health significance. When selected for further evaluation in one medium, that contaminant will be reported in all media where it is detected. These contaminants are selected and discussed based upon the following factors:

  1. Concentrations of contaminants on and off the site.
  2. Field data quality, laboratory data quality, and sample design.
  3. Comparison of on-site and off-site concentrations with background concentrations.
  4. Comparison of on-site and off-site concentrations with public health assessment comparison values for (1) noncarcinogenic endpoints, and (2) carcinogenic endpoints. These values include Environmental Media Evaluation Guides (EMEGs), Cancer Risk Evaluation Guides (CREGs), drinking water standards and other relevant guidelines.
  5. Community health concerns.

A. On-Site Contamination

Air and Soil/Gas

On-site soil gas sampling has not been performed at the Circuitron site. Air sampling was performed inside the building at the Circuitron Corporation Site on May 4, 1989, after clean-up of the underground tanks and removal of drums and debris from the building floors were completed. The purpose of the air sampling was to investigate and verify the clean-up of the interior of the building and to determine the presence of any emission sources still existing inside the building.

Air samples were collected from the drilling room, plating room, scrubber room, and the office area. The exact locations of the air sampling are shown on Figure 4. Analytical results are presented in Table 1-D.

Up to eight VOCs were quantified in the air samples. Carbon tetrachloride and 1,1-dichloroethane were present at the greatest concentration relative to the other VOCs detected (1.6, 6.79 and 4.11 micrograms per cubic meter (mcg/m3) in the plating, scrubber room and office area, respectively). Table 1-E compares the observed ranges of the detected VOCs to the median concentrations for both indoor and outdoor air.

Up to five inorganic compounds were quantified in the air samples although no more than three were present in any given sample. Aluminum and magnesium were present in the scrubber room at the greatest concentration (1.69 mcg/m3 and 1.06 mcg/m3, respectively) relative to the other inorganic compounds detected.

Sediment

Results for samples taken of the sediments and residual aqueous material in the leaching pools, sanitary cesspools, and on-site storm drains, indicated the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatiles, inorganics, and hexavalent chromium (see Table 1A). 1,1,1-Trichloroethane was detected in the sediment of most of the underground structures at concentrations up to 19 milligrams/kilogram (mg/kg). Semivolatile compounds detected at elevated levels include bis (2-ethylhexyl)phthalate and butyl benzyl phthalate. Metals in sediment, particularly lead, were detected at concentrations exceeding normal background levels for native Long Island soils.

Soil

The highest subsurface soil contamination was found beneath the facility to a depth of about 10-12 feet and primarily consisted of 1,1,1-trichloroethane and copper (see Table 1B).

Groundwater

The groundwater sampling results indicate the presence of several contaminants in the interconnected shallow and deep aquifers (see Table 1C). These contaminants include 1,1-dichloroethane, 1,1-dichloroethene, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, di-n-butylphthalate, trichloroethene, tetrachloroethene, chromium, copper, lead, and nickel. 1,1,1-Trichloroethane was the groundwater contaminant detected with the highest concentration at 4,600 micrograms/liter (mcg/L). Elevated levels of chromium and lead were detected at concentrations up to 870 mcg/L and 61.4 mcg/L, respectively.

The area of highest soil/sediment and groundwater contamination is at the southwest corner of the site near an existing storm drain.

B. Off-Site Contamination

Air and Soil Gas

Air and soil gas sampling has not been performed at off-site locations.

Groundwater

Groundwater contaminants have been detected in an off-site upgradient shallow monitoring well; the contaminant source(s) has not been determined. This contamination consists of several VOCs, chromium and lead, and is estimated to be moving in a southeasterly direction toward the site.

A downgradient municipal drinking water supply well (E. Farmingdale-Gazza Blvd.), located about 1500 feet south of the site, was sampled and found to contain di-n-butylphthalate at 95 mcg/L and a trace (0.6 mcg/L) of trichloroethene. Copper was also detected at a concentration up to 88.4 mcg/L. A private industrial non-potable well located near this municipal well was also sampled (Figure 5). Data indicate the presence of VOCs, including 1,1,1-trichloroethane at 7 mcg/L and trichloroethene at 21 mcg/L. Copper was detected at a concentration up to 101 mcg/L.

Off-site data are presented in Table 2.

No private, potable wells are known to exist in the area surrounding the site.

C. Quality Assurance and Quality Control

In preparing this public health assessment, NYS DOH relied on the information provided in the referenced documents and assumed that adequate quality control measures were followed with regard to chain of custody, laboratory procedures, and data reporting. The analyses and conclusions in this public health assessment are valid only if the referenced information is complete.

A total of seven well clusters were sampled consecutively during September and October of 1989. Results for the first groundwater sample from monitoring well MW-4S revealed the presence of volatile contaminants totaling 4,753 mcg/L, of which 4,600 mcg/L was 1,1,1-trichloroethane. However, during the second round of groundwater sampling, the concentration of this compound in the same well was below detection limits. No explanation for this significant discrepancy has been provided.

The compound, di-n-butylphthalate, which was detected in the municipal well water sample, was also found in the associated blank used during this sampling round. Therefore, the presence of this semi-volatile compound in this sample may be attributable to laboratory contamination.

D. Physical and Other Hazards

The January 23, 1991 site visit revealed the presence of rusted drums stored inside the facility which were used for remedial activities. It is not known if the drums are sealed and/or contain any hazardous materials.

E. Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (TRI)

To identify possible facilities that could contribute to the groundwater or soil contamination near the Circuitron site and/or create health threats unrelated to the site, NYS DOH searched the 1989 Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (TRI). TRI is developed by the US EPA from the chemical release (air, water, and soil) information provided by certain industries. Six manufacturing facilities are located within 2.5 miles from the site and filed TRI data for 1989 (see Figure 4). These facilities are "Norden Systems", "ESD-Long Island", "Shorewood Packaging Corp.", "Laribee Wire Co.", "Halbro Control Industies, Inc." and "Atomergic Chemetals Corporation". These facilities did not report emissions to water or soil. Norden Systems reported annual air emissions (stack or point) of Freon 113 (1,1,2-trichloro-1,2,2-trifluoroethene) totaling 8,911 pounds. ESD-Long Island (formerly SEDCO Systems) reported annual air emissions (fugitive or non-point) of the same compound amounting to 28,380 pounds. The Shorewood Packaging facility reported annual air emissions of isopropanol totaling 9,850 pounds (fugitive or non-point) and 31,200 pounds (stack or point). Laribee Wire Company did not report data for air emissions. However, this facility did report discharging 81 pounds of copper to the publicly-owned sewage treatment facility. The Halbro Control Industries facility reported annual air emissions (fugitive or non-point) of glycols in the amount from 1 to 499 pounds. Atomergic Chemetals Corporation did not report data for air emissions. However, data were reported for on-site storage of several chemical (inorganic) compounds.

Based on TRI data and air emissions modeling, emissions from three facilities (ESD-Long Island, Shorewood Packing Corp. and Halbro Control Industries, Inc.) could provide low level exposure to Freon 113 (1,1,2-trichloro-1,2,2-tri-fluoroethane), isopropanol and glycols. Although these chemicals affect some of the same target organs as do the volatile organic chemical contaminants found in on-site groundwater (see sections below in On-Site Contamination and Toxicological Evaluation), the data indicate that the health risks in the community around the Circuitron site from exposure to these emissions are minimal.


PATHWAYS ANALYSES

As discussed in the Site Description and History subsection, many of the past manufacturing operations at the site resulted in soil and groundwater contamination via improper waste disposal and storage practices. To determine whether nearby residents and persons on-site are exposed to contaminants migrating from the site an evaluation was made of the environmental and human components that lead to human exposure. The pathways analysis consists of five elements: a source of contamination, transport through an environmental medium, a point of exposure, a route of human exposure, and an exposed population.

An exposure pathway is categorized as a completed or potential exposure pathway if the exposure pathway cannot be eliminated. A completed exposure pathway exists in the past, present, or future if all of the elements of an exposure pathway are present (linking the contaminant source to a receptor population). A potential exposure pathway, however, exists if at least one of the five elements is missing, but could exist. Potential pathways indicate that exposure to a contaminant could have occurred in the past, could be occurring now, or could occur in the future. An exposure pathway can be eliminated if at least one of the five elements is missing and will never be present. The environmental and human exposure pathways associated with the site are discussed in the following subsections.

A. Environmental Pathways (Fate and Transport)

Contaminants related to the previous disposal of untreated wastes at this site are present and are migrating through soils/sediment and into the groundwater beneath the site. Because of the highly permeable soil materials (sands and gravel) which exist beneath the site, many of the contaminants at the site will readily move through the soil. Subsurface soil contamination has subsequently caused groundwater contamination. The underground structures at the site are/were sources of contamination which likely leached contaminants into the groundwater beneath the site.

Groundwater is contained in two interconnected aquifers at the site. The shallow aquifer, which is referred to as the Upper Glacial Aquifer, extends from the surface to a depth of between 72 and 80 feet. The predominant flow direction in this aquifer is two dimensional and horizontal in the south-southeast direction. Data indicate limited vertical groundwater movement near the top of the water table near the site. Groundwater contamination in this aquifer extends off-site and has been identified in a downgradient monitoring well located several hundred feet from the site. In addition, volatile contamination has been detected in an inactive municipal supply well located about 1,500 feet from the site. Of the two aquifers, this aquifer has the highest concentration of inorganic and organic contaminants.

The deep aquifer, which is referred to as the Magothy Aquifer, extends from the bottom of the Upper Glacial Aquifer to about 720 feet, where the Raritan Clay Member is reached. Flow in this aquifer is also to the southeast. Recharge is through vertical inflow from the Upper Glacial Aquifer near a groundwater divide which exists in the middle of Long Island. The Magothy Aquifer is the main source of water for this section of Long Island, with 24 municipal supply wells located within 3 miles of the site.

B. Human Exposure Pathways

A human exposure pathway is the process by which an individual is exposed to contaminants originating from a site. The pathway consists of two components - a route of exposure and a receptor population. The three principal routes of exposure are ingestion, inhalation and dermal contact.

Completed Exposure Pathways

Groundwater Exposure Pathway

The most significant human exposure pathway at this site is the potential for ingestion of contaminated drinking water. A downgradient, private industrial well exists about 1,500 feet from the site; however, it is only used for non-contact, cooling water purposes. Two municipal drinking water supply wells located closest and downgradient of the site are screened in the Upper Glacial and Magothy aquifers at depths of 268 feet and 585 feet, respectively. The shallower of the two was taken out of service in 1977 due to the presence of trichloroethane (110 mcg/L) and trichloroethene (85 mcg/L) at levels exceeding NYS DOH drinking water standards for public drinking water supplies. This contaminated well served and potentially exposed an estimated population of 7,900 people for several years. The other municipal well is located in the general direction of groundwater migration. Data generated during the RI indicated the presence of di-n-butylphthalate in a groundwater sample from this well. Although the concentration of this compound exceeded the state drinking water standard, its presence may be caused by laboratory contamination since the same compound was also found in the associated sampling blank.

Potential Exposure Pathways

Groundwater Exposure Pathway

Table 1C lists compounds detected in on-site groundwater at levels exceeding or near the current NYS DOH standards for public drinking water supplies. At present time, there are no private residential drinking water supply wells on or near the site, nor are there any near term plans for new potable water wells in the area. However, future exposure to contaminated drinking water could occur if contaminants identified in the Upper Glacial aquifer migrate downward and infiltrate the deeper Magothy Aquifer. Exposures to contaminants in drinking water supplies occur via ingestion; dermal contact and absorption during showering, bathing, or other household uses; and inhalation of aerosols and vapors from water used in the household. The Magothy Aquifer is the source for groundwater serving an active downgradient municipal supply well. If site-related groundwater contaminants would migrate to this public water supply well, the routine monitoring that is mandated by New York State will detect contamination. If contamination is detected, controls will be implemented to prevent human exposures from occurring via this potential exposure pathway.

Soil Exposure Pathway

Exposure to contaminated surface soils will not occur since most of the site is covered by the former Circuitron Corporation building and an asphalt parking lot. Furthermore, the site is located in an industrial area which is not frequented by children or others likely to contact the exposed soils. Anticipated remedial activities, which will include the excavation of soils, sediment and underground structures, has the potential to produce exposures to on-site workers and nearby residents. Soil vapor emissions and dusts from contaminated soil/sediment exposed during these operations could lead to inhalation, ingestion, and direct contact exposures.

Based on past and current on-site conditions and controls, the soil exposure pathway may be categorized as a potential human exposure pathway. The possibility of human exposure to site related soil contaminants now and in the past is remote. Elimination of this pathway from further discussion is warranted unless subsequent on-site excavation of soils and/or underground structures is conducted.

Air and Soil Gas Exposure Pathway

Migration of soil vapor from the site is possible due to the presence of volatile organics in the subsurface. At this time, the air and soil gas exposure pathway may be categorized as a potential human exposure pathway based on the lack of quantitative data. The release of contaminants to ambient air (breathing zone) will likely be diluted to levels below detection limits at unconfined on-site and off-site areas. However, the possibility exists for intrusion of soil gas into basements of nearby buildings. Persons living or working in these confined areas may potentially be exposed to elevated levels of soil gas contaminants.


PUBLIC HEALTH IMPLICATIONS

A. Toxicological Evaluation

  1. Past ingestion, dermal, and inhalation exposure to volatile organic contaminants in municipal drinking water.

    For a period of several years, about 7,900 residents in the Village of East Farmingdale were exposed to VOCs in drinking water. Levels of 1,1,1-trichloroethane (110 mcg/L), trichloroethene (85 mcg/L), and tetrachloroethene (15 mcg/L) were measured in one municipal well prior to its being taken out of service in 1977. Contaminant levels in drinking water prior to this sampling are not known. New York State drinking water standards for each of these VOCs is 5 mcg/L. Chronic exposure to chemicals in drinking water are possible by ingestion, dermal, and inhalation exposures from water uses such as showering, bathing, and cooking. Although exposures vary depending on individual life-styles, each of these exposure routes contributes to the overall body burden and thus increases the potential for chronic health effects.

    Trichloroethene (ATSDR, 1989c) and tetrachloroethene (ATSDR, 1990b) have caused cancer in laboratory animals exposed to high levels over their lifetimes. Chemicals that cause cancer in laboratory animals may also increase the risk of cancer in humans who are exposed to lower levels over long periods of time. Whether or not trichloroethene and tetrachloroethene cause cancer in humans is not known. Toxicological data are inadequate to assess the carcinogenic potential of 1,1,1-trichloroethane (ATSDR, 1990c ). Based on the results of animal studies and the limited sampling of the municipal well water, we estimate that persons exposed to contaminated public drinking water may have a moderate increased risk of developing cancer over a lifetime.

    1,1,1-Trichloroethane can damage the nervous system, liver and cardiovascular system at exposure concentrations several orders of magnitude greater than those measured in on-site and off-site groundwater (ATSDR, 1990c). Toxicological data upon which to assess the risks of past exposure to 1,1,1-trichloroethane in drinking water are limited. Trichloroethene (ATSDR, 1989c) and tetrachloroethene (ATSDR, 1990b) also produce a variety of noncarcinogenic toxicities (primarily nervous system, liver, and kidney effects) at exposures several orders of magnitude greater than exposure from on-site and off-site groundwater. Although the risks of noncarcinogenic health effects from these exposures aren't completely understood, the existing data suggest that they are minimal.

  2. Potential ingestion, dermal, and inhalation exposure to contaminants in municipal drinking water as a result of contaminant plume migration.

    As indicated in Tables 1 and 2, groundwater both on and off-site is contaminated with chemicals at levels which exceed current or proposed drinking water standards.

    Volatile Organic Contaminants

    The health risks of exposure to 1,1,1-trichloroethane, trichloroethene and tetrachloroethene have already been discussed (see #1 above). In addition, 1,1-dichloroethene (ATSDR, 1989b) has caused cancer in laboratory animals. Chronic exposure to levels of 1,1-dichloroethene and tetrachloroethene found in on-site groundwater could each pose a moderate increased cancer risk over a lifetime of exposure, whereas exposure to trichloroethene could pose a low increased cancer risk. These chemicals also cause a variety of noncarcinogenic effects (primarily on the nervous system, liver and kidney) at exposures several orders of magnitude greater than potential exposures from on-site groundwater. In addition, di-n-butylphthalate has caused damage to the male reproductive system in animals (ATSDR, 1990d). Although the risks of noncarcinogenic health effects from these potential exposures aren't completely understood, the existing data suggest that they could be high for 1,1,1-trichloroethane, low for 1,1-dichloroethene and tetrachloroethene and minimal for 1,1-dichloroethane, trichloroethene and di-n-butylphthalate.

    Heavy Metal Contaminants

    The on-site groundwater concentrations of chromium exceed New York State groundwater and drinking water standards by more than 8-fold. The toxicity of chromium depends on its chemical form. Chromium occurs naturally in two oxidation states; trivalent chromium (Cr III) and hexavalent chromium (Cr VI) are forms which are biologically significant. Cr VI compounds are generally more toxic by all routes of exposure. Although inhalation exposure is the primary route of concern for chromium toxicity, chronic ingestion of elevated chromium levels produces kidney and liver toxicity. In addition, chromium (primarily Cr VI compounds) is readily absorbed dermally, and may cause dermatitis. Ingestion may also contribute to chromium-induced dermatitis (ATSDR, 1989a). Chronic exposure to drinking water contaminated with chromium at the highest concentrations found in on-site groundwater could pose a moderate increased risk of adverse health effects.

    The on-site groundwater concentrations of lead exceed the New York State groundwater and drinking water standards. Chronic exposure to elevated lead levels is associated with neurological and hematological effects (ATSDR, 1990a). Neurological effects consists of peripheral neuropathy (degeneration of sensory and motor nerve function), neuropsychological (IQ) deficits, and encephalopathy. The developing fetus and young children are particularly sensitive to lead-induced neurological effects, with symptoms ranging from delayed mental development and behavioral effects at low blood lead levels to frank ataxia, stupor, coma and convulsions at high blood lead levels. Hematological symptoms include subtle effects on a variety of enzymes necessary for heme synthesis, reduced hemaglobin production and anemia. Lead exposure may increase blood pressure in middle-aged men. Chronic exposure to the highest concentration of lead found in on-site groundwater could pose a high increased risk of adverse health effects.

  3. Potential inhalation, dermal, and ingestion exposure of persons engaged in on-site clean-up activities and nearby residents to contaminated soil/sediment.

    Soil and sediments on-site are contaminated with organic chemicals and heavy metals at concentrations which are not an immediate health concern for short-term exposure. Persons engaged in clean-up (remediation activities) could be exposed to greater levels of contaminants, but use of proper procedures and protective gear should minimize the chances of any significant health effects. Use of appropriate dust suppression methods during clean-up would minimize any low level increased risk to nearby residents.

  4. Potential inhalation exposure to VOCs in indoor air due to migration of soil vapors into nearby structures.

    Adequate data are not available to assess the toxicological implications of this potential exposure pathway. Potential impacts on indoor air quality would not be expected to constitute immediate health concerns but could pose an increased risk of adverse effects, particularly from exposure to carbon tetrachloride which may be present in indoor air on-site. This chemical is known to cause cancer in laboratory animals exposed to high levels over their lifetimes (ATSDR, 1989d) and may also increase the risk of cancer in humans who are exposed to lower levels over long periods of time. Based on the results of animal studies and indoor air measurements, from the unoccupied Circuitron building, chronic exposure to carbon tetrachloride could pose a low increased risk of cancer.

B. Health Outcome Data Evaluation

NYS DOH has not evaluated health outcome data for the Circuitron site nor for East Farmingdale. Before the contaminated well was taken out of service in 1977, residents of the Village of Farmingdale were exposed to 1,1,1-trichloroethane and tetrachloroethene in their drinking water. The only health outcome data bases which cover this time period are vital records (birth and death certificates) and the cancer registry. Because the health risks from these exposures are low for both cancer and non-cancer endpoints, the possibility of detecting any effect is very small. Therefore, these data bases will not be searched at this time. However, the site and the people exposed to contaminated drinking water will be added to the NYS DOH registry being developed for VOC exposures from drinking water. Periodically, this registry will be matched with the cancer registry to evaluate possible adverse health outcomes.

C. Community Health Concerns Evaluation

As stated in the Community Health Concerns Section, no community health concerns have been identified.



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