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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

GENERAL MOTORS (CENTRAL FOUNDRY DIVISION)
MASSENA, ST. LAWRENCE COUNTY, NEW YORK


APPENDIX A: FIGURES


The GM Foundry Study Area
Figure 1. The GM Foundry Study Area

General Site Plan
Figure 2. General Site Plan

The St. Regis Mohawk Reserve at Akwesasne
Figure 3. The St. Regis Mohawk Reserve at Akwesasne

Sediment Samples Analyzed for PCB's; Vicinity of St. Regis Mohawk Reserve
Figure 4. Sediment Samples Analyzed for PCB's; Vicinity of St. Regis Mohawk Reserve

Sediment Samples With PCB Concentrations > 0.0 ppm
Figure 5. Sediment Samples With PCB Concentrations > 0.0 ppm

Figure for Table 6
Figure 6. Figure for Table 6


APPENDIX B: TABLES

Table 1. Maximum Concentrations (milligrams/kilograms, dry weight) of Chemicals in Soil On-Site (RT 1986) and Public Health Assessment Comparison Values.


       

Comparison Value***

Chemical

On-Site Soils

Typical Background Range** Cancer Basis**** Noncancer Basis****

*PCBs Surface
Subsurface
30,000
41,500
<0.01-0.04a
<0.01-0.04a
0.7a
0.7a
EPA CPF
EPA CPF
59a
59a
ATSDR MRL
ATSDR MRL
Phenolic Compounds
Phenol
2-Methylphenol
4-Methylphenol
2,4-Dimethylphenol
11,200
3.25
168
4.69
ND
ND
ND
ND
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
<1,000,000
150,000
15,000
59,000
EPA RfD
EPA RfD
EPA HEAST
EPA RfD
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
Acenaphthene
Anthracene
Fluoranthene
Phenanthrene
2-Methylnaphthalene
Benzo(a)anthracene
*Benzo(a)pyrene
ND
10.2
ND
2.92
1.78
28.1
49.2
+
+
+
+
+
+
<1-1.3
--
--
--
--
--
--
0.2
--
--
--
--
--
--
NYS CPF
180,000
890,000
120,000
--
--
--
89,000
EPA RfD
EPA RfD
EPA RfD
--
--
--
EPA HEAST
Phthalates
bis(2-Ethylhexyl)
Butylbenzyl
Dimethyl
Di-n-butyl
Di-n-octyl
7.89
4.54
1.04
3.94
17.8
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
205
--
--
--
--
EPA CPF
--
--
--
--
59,000
590,000
<1,000,000
300,000
59,000
EPA RfD
EPA RfD
EPA HEAST
EPA RfD
EPA HEAST
Trace Elements
*Arsenic
Cadmium
Chromium
Copper
26
3.8
65
607
10-20
<0.5-1
10-40
<1-25
3.5
--
--
--
EPA CPF
--
--
--
890
2,100
15,000
120,000
EPA RfD
EPA RfD
EPA RfD
EPA HEAST
 
*Lead
Mercury
Zinc
546
0.36
326
10-300
0.01-3.4
50-100
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
890
890,000
--
EPA HEAST
EPA RfD

Footnotes for Table 1.

aTotal PCBs
ND - not detected

*Contaminant selected for further evaluation

**References: Clarke et al. (1985); Connor et al. (1985); Dragun (1988); Frank et al. (1976); McGovern (1988); Shacklette and Boerngen (1984)

***Comparison values for cancer and noncancer risk are determined for a 70 kg adult worker who ingests 50 mg soil per day and is exposed 5 days per week for 8 months per year. For evaluating carcinogenic effects, the lifetime average daily dose is calculated by assuming that exposure occurs for 40 working years out of a 70 year lifetime.
EPA CPF - EPA Cancer Potency Factor

****NYS CPF - NYS DOH Cancer Potency Factor
ATSDR MRL - ATSDR Minimal Risk Level
EPA RfD - EPA Risk Reference Dose
EPA HEAST - EPA Health Effects Assessment Summary Table

+Based on reported background levels for total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons of 1 to 13 milligrams per kilogram in soil (ATSDR, 1995a; Edwards, 1983).


Table 1A. Maximum Concentrations (milligrams/kilograms, dry weight) of Chemicals in Lagoon Sludges On-Site (RI 1986).
(Refer to Table 1 for Public Health Assessment Comparison Values)


 

Lagoon Sludge

 
Chemical 5.7
million
liter
lagoon
1.3
million
liter
lagoon
1.9
million
liter
lagoon
Typical
Background
Range**

*PCBs Surface 750 700 383 <0.01-0.04a
Phenolic Compounds
Phenol
2-Methylphenol
4-Methylphenol
2,4-Dimethylphenol
110
ND
47.4
8.88
26,200
6.1
4,150
277
2,000
ND
150
31
ND
ND
ND
ND
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
Acenaphthene
Anthracene
Fluoranthene
Phenanthrene
2-Methylnaphthalene
Benzo(a)anthracene
Benzo(a)pyrene
ND
3.04
ND
5.56
2.3
ND
ND
2.03
1.8
2.75
10.2
15.6
ND
ND
5.1
7.69
9.33
29.7
ND
ND
ND
+
+
+
+
+
+
<1-1.3
Phthalates
bis(2-Ethylhexyl)
Butylbenzyl
Dimethyl
Di-n-butyl
Di-n-octyl
4.78
ND
5.87
6.73
ND
ND
2.92
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
37.6
5.84
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
Trace Elements

(Range for all lagoons)

   
Arsenic
Cadmium
Chromium
Copper
*Lead
Mercury
Zinc

<10-22
<2-5.5
29.7-52
83.2-403
191-1,820
<0.1-14.2
362-1,180

  10-20
<0.5-1
10-40
<1-25
10-300
0.01-3.4
50-100

aTotal PCBs
ND - not detected

*Contaminant selected for further evaluation

**References: Clarke et al. (1985); Connor et al. (1985); Dragun (1988); Frank et al. (1976); McGovern (1988); Shacklette and Boerngen (1984)

+Based on reported background levels for total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons of <1 to 13 milligrams per kilogram in soil from relatively rural areas of the eastern United States (ATSDR, 1990c; Edwards, 1983).


Table 2. Maximum Concentrations (micrograms per liter) of Chemicals in On-Site Groundwater (RT 1986) and Public Health Assessment Comparison Values for Contaminants Found in Sources of Drinking Water.
[All values in micrograms per liter (mcg/L)]


   

Comparison Values**

   

Standards/Guidelines

       
   

NYS DOH

U.S. EPA

       
Chemical Concentration Groundwater Surface Water Drinking Water Drinking Water Cancer Basis*** Noncancer Basis***

*PCBs 1,200 0.1a 0.01a 0.5a 0.5 0.005 EPA CPF 0.14a ATSDR MRL
Phenolic Compounds                  
*Phenol
*4-Methylphenol
*2,4-Dimethylphenol
2,770
1,010
67.6
1
1
1
1
1
1
50
50
50
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
4,000
35
140
EPA LTHA
EPA HEAST
EPA RfD
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)                
*Benzo(b)fluoranthene
*Benzo(g,h,i)perylene
186
141
0.002g
--
0.002g
--
50
50
--
--
0.002aa
--
NYS DOH CPF
--
210bb
210
EPA RfD
EPA RfD
Trace Elements                  
*Arsenic
*Chromium
*Lead
Mercury
Zinc
69
270
50
ND
ND
25
50
25
2
300
50
50
50
2
300
50
100
15****
2
5,000
50++
100
15****
2
5,000s
0.023
--
--
--
--
EPA CPF
--
--
--
--
1.1
100
--
2
2,000
EPA RfD
EPA LTHA
--
EPA LTHA
EPA LTHA

ND = Not Detected
a = total PCBs
g = guidance value
s = secondary maximum contaminant level (MCL)
aaUsed oral CPF for benzo(a)pyrene
ddUsed oral Reference Dose for pyrene
*Contaminant selected for further evaluation
**Comparison values for cancer and noncancer risk are determined for a 70 kg adult who drinks 2 liters of water per day.
***ATSDR MRL = ATSDR Minimal Risk Level
EPA HEAST = EPA Health Effects Assessment Summary Tables
EPA LTHA = EPA Drinking Water Lifetime Health Advisory
NYS DOH CPF = NYS DOH Cancer Potency Factor
EPA CPF = EPA Cancer Potency Factor
EPA RfD = EPA Reference Dose
****There is a maximum contaminant level goal (MCLG) of zero for lead and an action level of 15 micrograms per liter at the tap.
++Under review


Table 3. Range of PCB Concentrations in Environmental Media Off-Site and Public Health Assessment Comparison Values for PCBs Found in these Media.


   

Estimated
Volume
Cubic Yards

Comparison Value**

Location/Media

          PCBs

Cancer

Source

Noncancer

Source


St. Lawrence River surface water ND - 2.2 mcg/L*   0.01 mcg/La EPA CPF 0.73 mcg/La ATSDR MRL
St. Lawrence River/Sediments ND - 5,693 mg/kg*

56,000

2.5 mg/kgb EPA CPF 12 mg/kgb ATSDR MRL
Raquette River Fill Area/Soilsaa ND - 400 mg/kg*

6,000

2.5 mg/kgb EPA CPF 12 mg/kgb ATSDR MRL
Unnamed Tributary/Sediments Up to 3101 mg/kg*

15,000

2.5 mg/kgb EPA CPF 12 mg/kgb ATSDR MRL
St. Regis Reservation/Soils Up to 3.3 mg/kg*   0.3 mg/kgc EPA CPF 2.4 mg/kgc ATSDR MRL
St. Regis Reservation/ ND to 2.75 mcg/L*bb   0.005 mcg/Ld EPA CPF 0.14 mcg/Ld ATSDR MRL
    Residential Wells Latest DOH Round - ND   0.005 mcg/Ld EPA CPF 0.14 mcg/Ld ATSDR MRL
St. Regis Reservation/Air ND to 50 ng/m3*   0.5 ng/m3e EPA CPF 70 ng/m3e ATSDR MRL

aaOn GM Property - Not within fenced area - Accessible to public

bbExcept as noted (see discussion in text)

All data from GM Phase I and Phase II RI/FS except residential well data from NYS DOH GM Massena site files.

ND = Not detected at detection limits
mcg/L - micrograms per liter
mg/kg - milligrams per kilogram
ng/m3 - nanograms per cubic meter (a nanogram is one thousand times smaller than a microgram)

ATSDR MRL = ATSDR Minimal Risk Level
EPA CPF = EPA Cancer Potency Factor

*Contaminant selected for further evaluation
**Comparison value

aCancer comparison value for PCBs found in surface water is determined for a 70 kg adult whose arms, hands, legs, feet and trunk are exposed to surface water for 1 hour per day, 2 days per week for 3 months per year and who swallows 0.05 liters of surface water per day, 2 days a week for 3 months per year; noncancer comparison value for PCBs is determined for a 21 kg child whose arms, hands, legs, feet and trunk are exposed to surface water for 1 hour per day, 2 days per week for 3 months per year and who swallows 0.05 liters of surface water per day, 2 days a week for 3 months per year.

bCancer comparison value for PCBs found in soils and sediment is determined for a 70 kg adult who ingests 50 mg soil per day, 2 days per week for 3 months per year; comparison value for noncancer risk is determined for a 21 kg child who ingests 100 mg soil per day, 5 days per week for 6 months per year.

cCancer and noncancer comparison values for PCBs found in St. Regis Reservation soils are based on ingestion of soil and homegrown vegetables. Comparison value for noncancer risk is determined for a 13.2 kg child who ingests 80 mg soil/day x 5/7 days x 6/12 months + 40 mg/day of indoor dust with an outdoor soil source and 12.6 grams/day of homegrown vegetables and fruits. Comparison values for cancer risk is determined for a 70 kg adult who ingests 82 mg soil/day x 2/7 days x 5/12 months and 21.2 grams/day of homegrown vegetables and fruits.

dComparison values for cancer and noncancer risk from exposure to PCBs are determined for a 70 kg adult who drinks 2 liters of water per day.

eComparison values for cancer and noncancer risk from exposure to PCBs are determined for a 70 kg adult who breathes 20 cubic meters of air per day.


Table 4. St. Regis Mohawk Indian Reservation Public Water Supply Sample Results
NYS DOH Department of Health Site File Results.


Raw/Treated Units Date Parameters Results

Treated 10-5-79 PCBs/pest. <0.05 mcg/L
Raw
Treated
3-7-88
3-7-88
PCB congeners
PCB congeners
96.3
.291
ng/L
ng/L
Raw
Treated
7-25-88
7-25-88
PCB congeners
PCB congeners
<.001
<.001
mcg/L
ng/L
Raw
Treated
Treated
12-6-88
12-6-88
12-6-88
PCB congeners
PCB congeners
PCBs/pest.
12.5
<.001
<0.05
ng/L
ng/L
mcg/L
Raw
Treated
1-11-91
1-11-91
PCB congeners
PCB congeners
9.9
8.6
ng/L
ng/L
Raw
Treated
Treated
3-19-91
3-19-91
3-19-91
PCB congeners
PCB congeners
VOC's chloroform
          bromodichloromethane
15.5
0.2
61.0
11.0
ng/L
ng/L
mcg/L
mcg/L

mcg/L = micrograms per liter
ng/L = nanograms per liter (a nanogram is one thousand times smaller than a microgram)
All results from NYS DOH site files for GM Massena.


Table 5. Summary of PCB Concentrations in Residential Water Supplies.


 

Total PCB (Aroclor 1248) (micrograms per liter)

Well No.
(IRR-)

                         December 1985

                         January 1986

RMT NUS RMT DOH

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38

NDa
ND
ND
ND
1.5
6.0
ND
0.57
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
1.87
ND
0.75
1.23
2.75
ND
0.63
ND
ND
ND
0.99
ND
ND
ND
0.56
ND
-
-
-
-
-
-
NDb
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
-
-
-
-
-
-
NDa
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
0.5
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
NDc
ND
ND
-e
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
ND
-
-
-
-
ND
ND
-
ND
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
ND
-
ND
0.12d
-
-
ND
-
-
-
ND
-
-
-
ND
-
-
-
-
-
-
-

* - Micrograms per liter
ND - not detected

a<0.5 ug/l for RMT and <0.05 ug/l for DOH
bDetection limit not specified
cSampled in March 1986
dReported as Aroclor 1254
eWell no longer in service

These data are indicators of contamination and may or may not be sufficiently high to be a significant health concern.


Table 6. PCB Concentrations in Standard Fillets of Fish Collected From the St. Lawrence River and Tributaries in the Vicinity of General Motors Central Foundry.
[All values in parts per million (ppm)]


Location
(Advisory Status)
(see Figure 6)
Species No.
Fish
Average
Total
PCB (ppm)
PCB
Range
(ppm)

I

Mouth of unnamed tributary at GM (1988)


(Eat none)
American Eel
Brown Bullhead
Northern Pike
Pumpkinseed
Rock Bass
White Sucker
Yellow Perch
1
4
5
4
5
4
7
0.66
20.55
2.73
<0.15
1.04
6.39
3.41
<0.15-81.49
0.48-5.12

<0.15-4.02
0.29-11.0
0.20-12.26
II

St. Lawrence River and tributaries up to first impassable barrier (1988)

(Advisory varies with species - see attached)
American Eel
Brown Bullhead
Channel Catfish
Northern Pike
Walleye
Muskellunge
Grass Pickerel
Yellow Perch
Pumpkinseed
Bluegill
Rock Bass
Carp
Golden Redhorse
White Sucker
White Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Largemouth Bass
Lake Sturgeon
Rainbow Trout
Brook Trout
6
62
17
36
23
5
1
61
45
2
28
20
9
17
2
65
3
2
2
1
11.83
1.82
7.28
0.42
1.13
0.64
0.12
0.61
0.70
0.21
0.18
11.30
0.72
0.17
2.06
0.74
<0.15
2.62
0.90
2.98
2.18-46.5
<0.15-10.73
1.33-46.8
<0.15-3.52
<0.15-9.14
<0.15-1.92

<0.15-2.99
<0.15-8.08
0.14-0.28
<0.15-0.86
0.30-60.9
<0.15-2.82
<0.15-0.63
1.76-2.36
<0.15-7.72

1.04-4.20
0.86-0.94
III

St. Regis River above Hogansburg Dam (1988)

(Eat no more than 1 meal (1/2 lb.) per week)
Brown Bullhead
Carp
Fallfish
Pumpkinseed
Rock Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Walleye
Yellow Perch
1
1
2
2
3
6
4
5
<0.15
2.90
<0.15
<0.15
<0.15
0.15
<0.15
0.21
<0.15-0.18

<0.15-0.26

<0.15-0.44


Table 7. NYS DOH Summary of DEC Wildlife Pathology Unit Data (Compounds Most Frequently Detected)*.


Area

Year

Species1

No. of Samp./Anal.

Other

x %L

x
PCB
(ppm)

x
Dieldrin
(ppm)

x
Heptachlor Epoxide
(ppm)

x
Oxychlordane
(ppm)

x
Total DDT (ppm)


See map - between W. boundary of GMCF Landfill and unnamed trib. on Akwesasne   Leopard frog 7/7 Wet weight 1.5 2.4 (0.38-7.8) 6/7 are ND
1 = 0.047
ND ND 0.040
(<0.015-0.11)
(Control frog) Akwesasne Res. (away from GMCFL)   Leopard frog (control) 1/1 Wet weight 2.0 ND ND ND ND ND
See map - between W. boundary of GMCFL and unnamed trib. on Akwesasne   Bullfrog 1/1 Wet weight 0.69 5.6 ND ND ND ND
Green frog 1/1 Wet weight 0.57 1.3 ND ND ND 0.011
Akwesasne Res. - SNYE   Muskrat 2/2 Wet weight 2.4 ND ND ND ND ND
White-tail deer (steak) 1/1 Wet weight - ND ND ND ND ND
Akwesasne Res. 1985 Mallard carcass 6/6 Wet weight 2.7
(0.10-5.9)*
2.0
(<0.005-1.8)
0.42 ND ND
(0.008-0.43)
0.097
  Mallard3
breast skin
7/7 Wet weight - 15
(<0.10-62)
2.4
(0.005-11)
ND in 6
1 = 0.13
ND in 5
x(2) = 0.030
(0.016-0.044)
0.28
(0.027-1.5)
  Black duck carcass 3/3 Wet weight 2.8 ND ND ND ND 0.011
(<0.015-0.014)
  Black duck breast skin 2/2 Wet weight - ND in 1
1 = 0.10
ND ND ND ND in 1
1 = 0.017
  Pintail carcass 1/1 Wet weight 3.9 <0.10 <0.005 ND ND 0.064
  Pintail breast skin 1/1 Wet weight - 0.16 0.18 0.023 0.014 2.0
  Gadwell carcass 1/1 Wet weight 2.3 <0.10 <0.005 ND ND 0.025
  Ruffed grouse carcass 1/1 Wet weight 0.65 ND ND ND ND ND
  Ruffed grouse breast skin 1/1 Wet weight - ND ND ND ND ND
Near St. Regis Village - 100' South of St. Lawrence 1985 Snapping Turtle 1/1 Eggs - wet basis - 1.1 0.010 ND ND 0.052
Akwesasne Res. - near GMCFL 1985 Snapping Turtle 1/1 Muscle - wet basis - 3.6 0.008 ND ND 0.035
    1/1 Fat - wet basis - 835 21 ND ND 49
    1/1 Liver - wet basis - 203 5.4 ND ND 4.1
Akwesasne Res. - SNYE Rd., Quebec 1986 Snapping Turtle 3/3 Muscle 0.30 0.19
(0.14-0.27)*
ND ND ND ND
  ND   Muscle - lipid basis   (4.6-95) 67 ND ND ND
    1/1 Fat - wet basis - 0.92 ND 0.011 0.023 0.013
    2/2 Fat4 - lipid basis   31
(27-35)
ND in 1
1 = 0.12
0.048
(0.008-0.088)
0.23
(0.19-0.26)
0.55
(0.50-0.60)
    4/4 Liver5 - wet basis 5.0 2.0
(<0.10-7.4)
0.011
(<0.005-0.022)
ND in 2
x(2) = 0.009
(.006-.012)
ND in 2
x(2) = 0.099
(.008-0.19)
0.025
(<0.015-0.059)
    4/4 Liver - lipid basis   26
(<6.1-79)
0.21
(<.31-0.26)
ND in 2
x(2) = 0.12
(0.11-0.13)
ND in 2
x(2) = 0.21
(0.17-0.25)
0.45
(<0.93-0.53)

*Mirex, Heptachlor, and chlordane and trans-nonachlor were not detected (<0.01 ppm, wet weight) unless otherwise indicated.
**Range
1All animal samples prepared as skinned carcasses (entrails removed), except frogs were not skinned and bird carcasses had entrails, feet, bills and skin removed.
2Heptachlor detected at 0.21 ppm wet basis, 2.0 ppm lipid basis.
3Mirex detected in 1 out of 7 mallard breast skins; concentration = 0.05 ppm (wet weight).
4Trans-nonachlor detected in 1 sample at 0.07 ppm.
5Mercury was analyzed for 2 samples; mean Hg = 0.72 ppm (0.34-1.1 ppm), wet basis.

- = Not analyzed or information not available.
ND = not detected.
ppm = parts per million


Table 8. Summary of Annual Contaminant Air Emissions and Releases for the Year 1992 from the GM Foundry Site and from Facilities near the Site as Reported in the US EPA Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (TRI) Data Base, St. Lawrence County, New York.


   

Contaminant Emissions (lbs/yr)

Facility Chemical Stack/
Point Source
Fugitive/
Non-Point Source
Total

GM Foundry styrene
copper
chlorine
15,120
499
0
1,280
10
499
16,400
509
499
Reynolds Metal Co.* mananese
copper
hydrogen fluoride
chlorine
499
499
88,000
1,400
0
0
0
10
499
499
88,000
1,410
Alcoa Aluminum Co. of America** 1,1,1-trichloroethane
lead
manganese
nickel
chromium
copper
hydrogen fluoride
sulfuric acid
nitric acid
chlorine
3,200
4,300
1,400
200
1,000
11,400
9,400
920
110
1,200
24,300
480
160
20
120
1,300
82,00
10
499
130
27,500
4,780
1,560
220
1,120
12,700
91.400
930
609
1,330

*Distance from GM Foundry is approximately 1 mile.

**Distance from GM Foundry is approximately 7.5 miles.



APPENDIX C: HEALTH RISK ASSESSMENT EXECUTIVE SUMMARY, BREASTMILK STUDY EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Executive Summary

Akwesasne is home to approximately 10,000 members of the Mohawk Nation on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border near Massena, New York. The water, land and food (local fish and wildlife) of the Akwesasne Mohawks have been contaminated by industrial chemicals, especially polychlorinated biphenyis (PCBs). PCBs were discharged to surface waters near Akwesasne by the GM Foundry Site (next to Akwesasne) and the Aluminum Corporation of American (ALCOA) and Reynolds Metal Company (Reynolds) aluminum reduction plants (upstream of Akwesasne on the Grasse and St. Lawrence Rivers, respectively). Fish from the St. Lawrence River (which passes through Akwesasne) are also contaminated with other chemicals from industries in the Great Lakes Basin and from industries located near Cornwall on the Canadian side of the St. Lawrence River.

The New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) estimated Mohawk exposure to several chemical contaminants in fish, wildlife, and human breastmilk, and characterized the health risks from eating these foods. Exposure and risk were also estimated for recreational anglers eating fish from five major New York State (NYS) water bodies.

Contaminant exposures for Mohawk and comparison populations were calculated from their fish and wildlife consumption rates and the concentration of the contaminant in the foods. Mohawk fish and wildlife consumption rates were derived from a 1979-80 dietary survey by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine's Environmental Sciences Laboratory. Fish consumption rates for recreational anglers and contaminant levels in fish in NYS water bodies were based on New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) surveys. In 1985-88, fish and wildlife from the Akwesasne area were collected and analyzed. Contaminant levels in breastmilk of Mohawk women and women living in Warren and Schoharie counties of NYSwere determined from a 1986-90 study by the NYS DOH.

The average Mohawk ate more "sportfish than the average recreational angler and the average American. Mohawks also ate locally-caught duck, goose, pheasant, grouse or muskrat. About 90 percent of the Mohawk population ate fish, whereas less than 30 percent ate duck, goose, pheasant, grouse or muskrat. The greatest exposure to PCB for the Mohawks came from eating fish and wild ducks.

The health risks to Mohawks from the consumption of fish contaminated with PCBs were greater than those to anglers on major NYS water bodies. Mohawk risks were larger primarily because their consumption rates of locally-caught fish were higher and because average PCB levels in St. Lawrence fish were higher than those in fish from some of the other water bodies. Mohawk risk levels also were larger than those calculated for typical Americans who obtain their food from the marketplace.

The results of the NYS DOH breastmilk study and this health risk study confirm the value of the health advisories for fish consumption issued by Mohawk and state authorities. Educational and outreach efforts should continue to advise and inform Mohawks and others about the risks associated with eating contaminated fish and wildlife until contaminant levels, particularly PCBS, decrease.


APPENDIX D: NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH PROCEDURE FOR EVALUATING POTENTIAL HEALTH RISK FOR CONTAMINANTS OF CONCERN

To evaluate the potential health risks from contaminants of concern associated with the General Motors/Central Foundry Division site, the NYS DOH assessed the risks for cancer and noncancer health effects.

Increased cancer risks were estimated by using site-specific information on exposure levels for the contaminant of concern and interpreting them using cancer potency estimates derived for that contaminant by the US EPA or, in some cases, by the NYS DOH. The following qualitative ranking of cancer risk estimates, developed by the NYS DOH, was then used to rank the risk from very low to very high. For example, if the qualitative descriptor was "low", then the excess lifetime cancer risk from that exposure is in the range of greater than one per million to less than one per ten thousand. Other qualitative descriptors are listed below:

Excess Lifetime Cancer Risk

Risk Ratio

Qualitative Descriptor

equal to or less than one in a million very low
greater than one in a million to less than one in ten thousand low
one in ten thousand to less than one in a thousand moderate
one in a thousand to less than one in ten high
equal to or greater than one in ten very high

An estimated increased excess lifetime cancer risk is not a specific estimate of expected cancers. Rather, it is a plausible upper bound estimate of the probability that a person may develop cancer sometime in his or her lifetime following exposure to that contaminant.

There is insufficient knowledge of cancer mechanisms to decide if there exists a level of exposure to a cancer-causing agent below which there is no risk of getting cancer, namely, a threshold level. Therefore, every exposure, no matter how low, to a cancer-causing compound is assumed to be associated with some increased risk. As the dose of a carcinogen decreases, the chance of developing cancer decreases, but each exposure is accompanied by some increased risk.

There is general consensus among the scientific and regulatory communities on what level of estimated excess cancer risk is acceptable. An increased lifetime cancer risk of one in one million or less is generally considered an insignificant increase in cancer risk.

For noncarcinogenic health risks, the contaminant intake was estimated using exposure assumptions for the site conditions. This dose was then compared to a risk reference dose (estimated daily intake of a chemical that is likely to be without an appreciable risk of health effects) developed by the US EPA, ATSDR and/or NYS DOH. The resulting ratio was then compared to the following qualitative scale of health risk:

Qualitative Descriptions for
Noncarcinogenic Health Risks

Ratio of Estimated Contaminant
Intake to Risk Reference Dose

Qualitative
Descriptor

equal to or less than the reference dose or minimal risk level minimal
greater than one to five times the reference dose or minimal risk level low
greater than five to ten times the reference dose or minimal risk level moderate
greater than ten times the reference dose or minimal risk level high

Noncarcinogenic effects unlike carcinogenic effects are believed to have a threshold, that is, a dose below which adverse effects will not occur. As a result, the current practice is to identify, usually from animal toxicology experiments, a no-observed-effect-level (NOEL). This is the experimental exposure level in animals at which no adverse toxic effect is observed. The NOEL is then divided by an uncertainty factor to yield the risk reference dose. The uncertainty factor is a number which reflects the degree of uncertainty that exists when experimental animal data are extrapolated to the general human population. The magnitude of the uncertainty factor takes into consideration various factors such as sensitive subpopulations (for example, children or the elderly), extrapolation from animals to humans, and the incompleteness of available data. Thus, the risk reference dose is not expected to cause health effects because it is selected to be much lower than dosages that do not cause adverse health effects in laboratory animals.

The measure used to describe the potential for noncancer health effects to occur in an individual is expressed as a ratio of estimated contaminant intake to the risk reference dose. If exposure to the contaminant exceeds the risk reference dose, there may be concern for potential noncancer health effects because the margin of protection is less than that afforded by the reference dose. As a rule, the greater the ratio of the estimated contaminant intake to the risk reference dose, the greater the level of concern. A ratio equal to or less than one is generally considered an insignificant (minimal) increase in risk.



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