PRELIMINARY PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT
LI TUNGSTEN CORPORATION
GLEN COVE, NASSAU COUNTY, NEW YORK
A summary of the environmental contamination data collected for the Li Tungsten site is presented in Appendix B, Tables 1-9. 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 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:
- Concentrations of contaminants on and off the site.
- Field data quality, laboratory data quality, and sample design.
- Comparison of on-site and off-site concentrations with background concentrations.
- 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.
- Community health concerns.
Soil is contaminated with semi-volatile organic compounds, PCBs, and inorganics. All soil data in Table 1 are the maximum level found for each contaminant. Eleven soil samples were taken from a 0-3 inch depth and were analyzed as part of a site investigation by the NUS Corporation for the US EPA. The soil samples contained PCB compounds such as Aroclor-1248 up to 4.7 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) and Aroclor 1254 up to 2.9 mg/kg. During a site investigation done by RTP Environmental Associates, Inc. for Campon Realty (a potential buyer of Li Tungsten property), several transformers were found on-site that were suspected to contain PCB oils. A soil sample was taken near a transformer with a slight oil leakage to the soil. That soil sample contained 21.9 mg/kg of PCBs. This information was obtained from a draft site investigation report, the report was never finalized, and specific information regarding sampling and analysis may not be accurate.
Piles of radioactive slag remain on-site, but surface soil samples taken around the perimeter of the site property and analyzed for radionuclides showed average or background levels of radioactivity (see Table 2). Radionuclides in surface soils around the perimeter are not a concern; therefore, radionuclides in soils will not be mentioned further.
Groundwater - Monitoring Wells
Groundwater is contaminated with several volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and metals at levels exceeding New York State groundwater and drinking water standards (see Table 3). All groundwater data in Table 3 are the maximum level found for each contaminant. Previous investigations at the site identified four underground contaminant plumes within the upper Glacial Aquifer. One plume occurs at a depth of about 20 feet along the eastern boundary of the site and contains several solvents related to tetrachloroethene and is believed to originate from a dry cleaning facility that formerly occupied the property adjacent to the site. Another plume along the western boundary of the site may be coming from an adjacent property occupied by a petrochemical company. The third plume occurs near a 500,000 gallon tank north of Garvies Point Road. The last plume is around the on-site Mud Pond/Mud Holes, which contain waste processing water and heavy metals. Specific data about sampling activities for these investigations are not available.
Several thousand drums (55 gallon and 30 gallon) are on-site, many are empty and some contain solid, sludge and liquid materials. The majority of the drums contain low level radioactive ore and are stacked within or around the Dice Building. Under US EPA's Emergency Removal Action Plan, drums and containers containing hazardous materials were removed from the site. The US EPA determined that low level radioactive ore and slag material do not qualify for further action under the removal action plan; therefore, all drums containing radioactive slag/ore remain on the site.
Of the 223 tanks at the site, 87 contain liquids, 26 contain some small volume of solid and 110 tanks are empty. Of the tanks that contain liquids, 21 may contain "hazardous waste" based upon analyses of corrositivity, pH or extraction procedure toxicity/total metals.
Piles of low level radioactive ore/slag material are on-site. One pile of higher level radioactive slag was relocated to an on-site building. Although the material in these slag piles was molten at one time, it has hardened and become immobile and may not erode or runoff. These piles are ores and residues from tungsten processing which can contain lead, chromium, barium, copper, zinc, arsenic, copper, nickel, zinc, barium and cyanide.
According to a site inspection investigation report prepared for the US EPA, sludge samples collected from a sump and a drainage area on-site show high concentrations of lead (11,600 mg/kg), zinc (1,010 mg/kg), nickel (4,000 mg/kg), and copper (1,800 mg/kg). The NYS DOH does not have the analytical data to confirm these results.
Data for on-site surface water samples are in Table 4. The on-site surface water samples were taken from Mud Pond, Mud Hole, a spring located on parcel B and water on the floor of the Warehouse Building.
Surface water collected from on-site waste contained PCB's (Aroclor-1248 and Aroclor-1254) and elevated levels of metals. One surface water sample was taken from the floor of an on-site building. This sample contained elevated metals only.
Sediment samples were taken at the Li Tungsten site by NUS Corporation. The samples were taken from the following locations: Mud Pond, Mud Hole, and an on-site spring. The sediment samples contained PCB contamination, Aroclor 1248 at 50 mg/kg and Aroclor 1254 at 1.6 mg/kg, and elevated levels of metals.
Elemental mercury was spilled in an on-site building and was remediated as much as was possible. The remaining elemental mercury is confined to an area beneath a large piece of equipment. Mercury vapor concentrations in the air inside the room of the spill are within established National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) guidelines. The room was boarded up and labeled to restrict access. Mercury vapor concentrations outside the room were not detectable. The NYS DOH does not have any specific information on where the spill was, the quantity of mercury that was spilled or the analytical data from the air sampling done in the room of the spill.
Air samples were taken prior to interim remedial actions and were analyzed for organic compounds and metals. All air samples were taken from on-site locations, inside and outside buildings. Sampling results are summarized in Table 6 and of the four VOCs detected, methylene chloride was found at the highest concentration; however this compound was also in the quality control blank at a unknown level. These samples were taken prior to any removal action and sources responsible for air contamination may have been removed from the site.
Air samples were taken by a private consultant for the US EPA after some asbestos was removed from the site and asbestos was in air at levels below the New York State Clearance Level for acceptable post-abatement air quality. However, visual inspection of the site indicates that asbestos containing materials remain and are located throughout the site and appear friable. Sampling was most likely collected during static conditions, at a time when the wind and workers could not raise asbestos fibers from the surface into the air.
Li Tungsten has operated as a tungsten refining and processing facility. Tungsten contains naturally-occurring, thorium and uranium series radionuclides. These radionuclides are concentrated by a tungsten refining process and are in waste products such as processed ore and slag. These radionuclides have long half-lives. The half-life of uranium or thorium is 4.5 billion years. The half-life of radium is 1,530 years. The half-life is the length of time required for one-half the number of atoms that make up the radioactive material to decay. "Source material" is a general term referring to thorium or uranium as metal, ore or bulk material. Normal gamma background levels for this area are generally slightly less than 0.005 milliRoentgen per hour (mR/hr).
In 1989-1990 most radioactive source material and wastes with gamma readings of about 1 mR/hr were removed during the emergency removal action undertaken by the US EPA. Thorium nitrate and thorium oxide source materials were found inside a lead vault and had gamma radiation levels as high as 0.5 mR/hr. The gamma radiation level inside one 30 gallon drum containing slag was 50 mR/hr with levels outside the drum returning to background. The thorium sources in the lead vault and the 30 gallon drum with elevated radioactive slag were removed from the site.
Several large pieces of slag near the fence on the main parcel near Herbhill Road and Garvies Point Road were relocated to inside the West Dice Building. These slag pieces have gamma radiation levels as high as 1.4 mR/hr with thorium and radium levels of 175 p Ci/g and 60 p Ci/g, respectively. These slag pieces remain in the west Dice Building.
About 2,000 cubic yards of unprocessed and semi-processed ore are stored in drums and containers around the main factory on the southern parcel. The gamma radiation level near the drummed slag was about 0.01 to 0.03 mR/hr. The radiation level 1 centimeter from the slag was 0.05 to 0.5 mR/hr.
About 12,000 cubic yards of ores and slags are on-site in uncovered piles on the two parcels on the east and west sides of Dickson Lane. The gamma radiation levels from these piles have been up to 1 mR/hr.
The US EPA conducted a radiological survey of the site prior to an emergency removal action. Most of the area had gamma radiation levels of about 0.01 to 0.02 mR/hr. The perimeter of the site was surveyed for radiation in April 1989, by the Nassau County Department of Health. The majority of the readings were 0.003 to 0.004 mR/hr. The highest reading was 0.016 mR/hr.
There has not been any off-site groundwater investigation at this site. Groundwater flows south towards Glen Cove Creek.
Glen Cove Creek is adjacent to the southern boundary of the site. Run-off from the site and from storm drains on Herb Hill Road go directly into Glen Cove Creek through sewer outfalls. The facility had a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to discharge cooling water and process waste water to Glen Cove Creek. Surface water samples from Glen Cove Creek were analyzed (see Table 8) and contained volatile organic compounds and metals.
Sediment samples taken from Glen Cove Creek were analyzed for radionuclides and chemicals. The samples analyzed for radionuclides were opposite from the site and across from the tidal marsh. These were found to contain normal background concentrations of radionuclides. Sediment samples taken from Glen Cove Creek near the site contained elevated nickel and zinc (see Table 9).
Fish and Clams
Fish and clam samples taken from Glen Cove Creek were analyzed for radionuclides, but did not have elevated levels. As a result of this sampling, radionculides are not a concern in fish and clams from Glen Cove Creek and will not be mentioned further in this report.
Fish and clam samples were not analyzed for chemical contaminants.
Off-site soils were not sampled for chemical analysis.
Seven soil (0-4 inches deep) samples were taken from the perimeter of the Li Tungsten site (Table 2) and analyzed for radionuclides. These samples did not have radionuclides greater than background in soils at the perimeter of Li Tungsten property; therefore, it is unlikely that on-site radionuclides are migrating off-site.
The United States Department of Energy conducted a radiological survey around the streets near the Li Tungsten site, at the ballfields at the City Stadium (located south of Glen Cove Creek) and at the Landing School (located northwest of the site). Readings taken from Landing School and the City Stadium varied from 0.003 to 0.004 milli Roentgens per hour (mR/hr).
A former municipal landfill that operated on what is now the Captain's Cove Condominium site on the south side of Garvies Point Road is believed to have accepted waste ore and other waste materials from the Li Tungsten facility. Analyses of soil samples from this area showed radiation levels above background.
On April 19, 1989, the Nassau County Department of Health installed an air sampler adjacent to the Li Tungsten site to determine if on-site radionuclides were traveling off-site in air. The air sampler was operated for 48 hours. This is a limited sampling period and sampling may not be representative of the true site conditions. The analysis of the sample did not find elevated radionuclide levels.
In preparing this Preliminary Public Health Assessment, the NYS DOH relied on the information provided in the reference documents and assumed that adequate quality control measures were followed with regard to chain-of-custody, laboratory procedures and data reporting. The validity of the analysis and the conclusions drawn for this assessment is determined by the availability and reliability of the referenced material.
Some of the data in this report are from reports or material that have not been finalized and there may be some questions as to the validity and accuracy of the data. Certain data that may be questionable are indicated in the text.
The site has numerous physical hazards and site trespassing continues. There are nine buildings and all are in disrepair. The site also contains large amounts of empty, rusting drums, old machinery and equipment. The Dice Building contains thousands of overstacked 55-gallon drums containing low level radioactive ore and residues from the tungsten processing. Piles of uncovered, low-level radioactive slag are at several locations. Asbestos was found in some buildings and showed signs of deterioration.
There are two unlined settling ponds referred to as the "Mud Holes", a lined settling pond known as "Mud Pond", and three concrete oil recovery sumps. These are large depressions that may contain water or other liquids. Access into these areas is possible by trespassers.
Access to the site is possible through breaks in site fences. Current site owners are providing 24 hour security through January, 1994; however, security at the site to date has been ineffective. Trespassers continue to enter the site by cutting locks and breaking fences.
To identify facilities that could contribute to groundwater, soil, or air contamination in the area around the Li Tungsten site and/or create health risks unrelated to the site, the NYS DOH searched the Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (TRI) data for 1989. TRI is developed by the US EPA from the chemical release (air, water, soil) information provided by certain industries.
A search of the 1989 Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (TRI)
identified four industrial facilities located within a 2.5 mile
radius of the Li Tungsten site (Figure 3). A summary of reported
TRI air emissions for the four facilities is presented in Table 10.
None of the facilities reports any discharges to water or soil.
Based on TRI data and air emissions modeling, emissions from two
facilities (Photocircuits Corp. - 1,1,1-trichloroethane; and Limco
Manufacturing Corp. - methyl ethyl ketone) could affect ambient air
near the Li Tungsten site at levels exceeding 1 mcg/m3. These
organic chemicals are contaminants of concern at the Li Tungsten
site and are further evaluated in the Public Health Implications
section of this Preliminary Public Health Assessment.
To determine whether nearby residents are exposed to contaminants migrating from the site, the environmental and human components that lead to human exposure must be evaluated. This 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 occurs when the five elements of an exposure pathway link the contaminant source to a receptor population. Should a completed exposure pathway exist in the past, present, or future, the population is considered exposed. A potential exposure pathway exists when one or more of the five elements are missing, or if modeling is performed to replace real sampling data. 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 discussion that follows incorporates only those pathways that are important or relevant to the site. We also discuss some of those exposure pathways that have been eliminated.
The contaminated groundwater beneath the Li Tungsten site flows towards Glen Cove Creek which borders the southern parcel of property. There are no active drinking water wells located on-site and public drinking water supply wells are located upgradient from the site; therefore, no one is drinking or using the contaminated groundwater. This exposure pathway is eliminated.
Fish/Clams Pathway (Radionuclides)
The fish and clam samples taken from Glen Cove Creek and analyzed for radionuclides did not contain any elevated levels of radionuclides; therefore, radionuclides in fish and sediment from Glen Cove Creek are not believed to be a concern and this exposure pathway is eliminated.
Exposure to soil contaminants may have occurred in the past and may be occurring presently. Trespassers are currently entering the site and have entered the site in the past. These exposures occur through dermal contact with on-site surface soils contaminated with PCBs and metals. Exposures may occur in the future if trespassing continues at the site.
Ambient Air Pathway
Trespassers on Li Tungsten property may have inhaled volatile organic compounds and airborne metals in the ambient air, which would result in a past completed exposure pathway for this medium; however, there are no documented exposures. The air sampling at the site is limited and was prior to any removal action. Exposures to air contaminants may be occurring presently in a few cases, as trespassers continue to enter the site. Exposures may occur in the future if trespassing continues at the site.
Drums currently stored on the site are either empty or are filled with low level radioactive slag/ore. These drums are stacked in and around the Dice Building. Drums of unknown content may be buried in the landfill area. If drums are buried, they may be contributing contamination to on-site soil and groundwater.
The predominant exposure to radioactive slag in drums on-site is from the external exposure to gamma radiation. Trespassers could be exposed to gamma radiation by standing next to drums containing radioactive slag, but exposures are not expected to be significant. Exposures may have occurred in the past and may be occurring presently. Exposures may occur in the future if trespassing continues at the site.
Radioactive Slag Pile Pathway
There are piles of uncovered radioactive slag piles on the Li Tungsten site. One pile of radioactive slag was relocated to an on-site building. The materials present in the slag piles could emit alpha, beta and gamma radiation. Trespassers could be exposed to gamma radiation by standing next to piles; however, exposure is not expected to be significant. The materials in the slag are coarse in composition and not easily soluble or dispersable to the atmosphere. This limits the inhalation pathway from these piles.
External exposure to gamma radiation from the waste piles has most likely occurred in the past, and may be occurring presently. Exposures may occur in the future if trespassing continues at the site.
On-Site Waste Water Pathway
Exposures to on-site waste water and sediment contaminated with PCBs and metals may have occurred in the past and may be occurring presently. Trespassers are currently entering the site and have entered the site in the past. Exposures occur through ingestion or dermal contact with contaminated waste water and sediment, but there are no documented exposures. Exposures may occur in the future if trespassing continues at the site.
Glen Cove Creek Surface Water Pathway
The surface water of Glen Cove Creek is contaminated with volatile organic compounds and metals. The Li Tungsten site may have contributed contamination to the creek through runoff from the site and through migration of contaminated groundwater. Although the surface water samples are contaminated, it is difficult to determine the cause of contamination. The tidal nature of the creek and the numerous potential sources of contamination in the area make it difficult to determine the potential affect the site has had on this creek. The exact source of surface water contamination is not known; therefore, this is a potential exposure pathway. Persons using the creek during recreational activities may be exposed to surface water contaminants through dermal exposure and incidental ingestion, although the number of people using Glen Cove Creek for recreational purposes near Li Tungsten is not expected to be great.
Creek Sediment Pathway
The sediment samples from Glen Cove Creek contain elevated levels of nickel and zinc. As was mentioned in the surface water pathway section, it is difficult to determine the cause of creek contamination due to the tidal nature of the creek and the numerous potential sources of contamination. Persons could be exposed to sediments if sediments are dredged and placed in an area where they may be available for human contact; therefore, a future potential exposure pathway exists for sediment from Glen Cove Creek.
Fish/Clams Pathway (Chemical Contaminants)
Fish and clam samples from Glen Cove Creek have not been analyzed
for chemical contaminants. The levels of volatile organic
compounds found in surface water and the level of metals found in
Glen Cove Creek sediment may not indicate a concern in fish and
clams taken from Glen Cove Creek for consumption; however, the
limited number of samples taken of Glen Cove Creek sediment and
surface water may not be representative of actual creek conditions.
If metals are higher than the data indicates there may be a concern
if fish and clams are taken for human consumption. Since clams and
fish from Glen Cove Creek have not been analyzed for chemical
contaminants, this presents a data gap that prevents the evaluation
of the present and future pathways of exposure to contaminants
through the consumption of fish and clams found in Glen Cove Creek.
An analysis of the toxicological implications of the potential human exposure pathways for the Li Tungsten site is presented below. Since access to the Li Tungsten site is possible, the potential for intermittent exposure to on-site contaminants exists. Intermittent exposure for children (the most sensitive subpopulation) trespassing on the site is assumed to occur for one hour per day, two days per week for three months per year. Additionally, residential development of the site remains a possibility, and therefore the toxicological implications of chronic exposures to site contaminants are also addressed.
- Past ingestion, inhalation and dermal exposure of persons
coming into contact with contaminated on-site soil.
On-site soil is contaminated with PCBs (Aroclors) at levels of concern for human exposure pathways (Table 1). PCBs have been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals exposed to high levels over their lifetimes (ATSDR, 1991a). 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. Exposure to high levels of PCBs has also been shown to cause several noncarcinogenic toxicities in animals, including low birthweight, and damage to the liver and immune system. The available data indicate that intermittent exposure to the highest level of PCBs in on-site soil could pose a low increased cancer risk and a minimal risk of noncarcinogenic health effects. The risks could increase if the site were developed for residential purposes. Chronic exposure to PCBs at the highest level found in on-site soil could result in a moderate increased cancer risk over a lifetime, and a high risk of noncarcinogenic health effects.
On-site soil is also contaminated with lead, arsenic, antimony, manganese, mercury, nickel, cadmium, iron, and chromium and at levels of concern for human exposure pathways (Table 1). Exposure to lead at elevated levels is predominantly associated with neurological and hematological effects (ATSDR, 1990c). The developing fetus and young children are particularly sensitive to lead-induced neurological effects. Chronic ingestion exposure to high levels of arsenic has been shown to cause skin effects such as hyperpigmentation and keratosis (ATSDR, 1989a). Long term exposure of foreign populations to high concentrations of arsenic in drinking water has been associated with skin cancer, but this association has not been made in studies of U.S. populations consuming drinking water with comparable arsenic levels (ATSDR, 1989a). The primary toxicities associated with long-term exposure to high levels of antimony are changes in blood chemistry, including decreased serum glucose levels and increased serum cholesterol levels (ATSDR, 1990a). The ingestion of large amounts of manganese can have adverse effects on the nervous system (ATSDR, 1990d). The toxicity of mercury (ATSDR, 1989e) depends on its chemical form. There are three general forms of mercury: elemental, inorganic, and organic. In general, ingestion of organic forms of mercury are found to be more toxic than ingestion of inorganic forms or elemental mercury. The major target organs are the nervous system and the kidneys. Chronic exposure to high levels of nickel has been associated with reduced body weight (ATSDR, 1988). Long term exposure to cadmium can lead to kidney damage and may cause adverse effects on bone, the gastrointestinal tract, liver, blood, and reproduction (ATSDR, 1989b). Ingestion of large amounts of iron can lead to accumulation of this metal in the body and tissue damage. The primary toxicities associated with ingestion of large amounts of chromium are kidney and liver damage, birth defects and adverse effects on the reproductive system (ATSDR, 1989d). The available data indicate that intermittent exposure to lead and arsenic at the highest level found in on-site soil could pose a low risk of adverse health effects. Risks due to intermittent exposure to the other soil contaminants are estimated to be minimal. The risks could increase if the site were developed for residential purposes. Chronic exposure to lead, arsenic and antimony at the highest level found in on-site soil could result in a high risk of noncarcinogenic health effects, with the risks due to chronic exposure to the other metal contaminants in on-site soil ranging from minimal to moderate.
- Past ingestion, inhalation and dermal exposure of persons
coming into contact with contaminated on-site surface water.
On-site surface water is contaminated with PCBs (Aroclors) at levels exceeding surface water or drinking water standards (Table 4). The available data indicate that intermittent exposure to PCBs at the highest level found in on-site surface water could pose a moderate increased cancer risk and a low risk of noncarcinogenic health effects. The risks could increase if the site were developed for residential purposes. However, the available data are inadequate to quantitatively evaluate the health risks due to longer-term exposure to PCBs in on-site surface water.
On-site surface water and waste water is also contaminated with lead, arsenic, antimony, manganese, nickel, iron, and zinc and at levels exceeding surface water or drinking water standards (Table 4). The primary toxicity associated with chronic ingestion exposure to zinc is anemia (ATSDR, 1989g). The available data suggest that health risks due to intermittent exposure to metal contaminants at the highest levels found in on-site surface water would be low. If the site were developed for residential purposes, the risks could increase. However, the available data are inadequate to quantitatively evaluate the health risks due to longer term exposure to on-site surface water contaminants.
- Past ingestion, inhalation and dermal exposure of persons
coming into contact with contaminated on-site sediments.
On-site sediments are contaminated with PCBs (Aroclors) at levels of concern for potential human exposure pathways (Table 5 ). The available data indicate that intermittent exposure to the highest level of PCBs in on-site sediments could pose a moderate increased cancer risk and a low risk of noncarcinogenic health effects. The risks could increase if the site were developed for residential purposes. Chronic exposure to PCBs at the highest level found in on-site sediments could result in a high increased cancer risk over a lifetime, as well as a high risk of noncarcinogenic health effects.
On-site sediments are also contaminated with lead, arsenic, antimony, manganese, mercury, nickel, and iron at levels of concern for human exposure pathways (Table 5). The available data suggest that health risks due to intermittent exposure to metal contaminants at the highest levels found in on-site sediments could be low. If the site were developed for residential purposes, the risks would increase. The available data indicate that long-term exposure to the highest level of lead, antimony, arsenic and manganese in on-site sediments could pose a high risk of adverse health effects. Risks due to long term exposure to other metal contaminants at the highest on-site levels found in sediments range from low to moderate.
- Potential ingestion, dermal, and inhalation exposure to
contaminants in Glen Cove Creek surface water and sediments.
Glen Cove Creek surface water is contaminated with tetrachloroethene, iron, and manganese at levels exceeding surface water or drinking water standards (Table 8). Glen Cove Creek sediment is contaminated with nickel and zinc at levels of concern for potential exposure pathways (Table 9). Due to the multiple potential sources, it is uncertain whether Glen Cove Creek surface water and sediment originate exclusively from the Li Tungsten site. Tetrachloroethene is known to cause cancer in laboratory animals exposed to high levels over their lifetimes (ATSDR 1990f). 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. Tetrachloroethene can also cause adverse effects on the liver. The available data, while limited, indicate that intermittent exposure to contaminants at the highest levels found in Glen Cove Creek surface water could pose a low increased risk for cancer over a lifetime. The data also indicate that intermittent exposure to contaminants at the highest levels found in Glen Cove Creek surface water and sediment could pose a minimal risk of noncarcinogenic health effects. The risks for adverse health effects could increase if the sediments are dredged and transported to where they may be available for human contact via ingestion of contaminated soil or possibly through vegetables grown in contaminated soil. Data are inadequate to assess quantitatively the toxicological implications of dredging, transport and exposure to Glen Cove Creek sediments.
- Past inhalation exposure of persons breathing contaminated air
Air sampling taken at various locations on-site prior to the US EPA's removal actions indicated that methylene chloride, cadmium, nickel, silver, manganese, selenium, and thallium were present at levels exceeding typical background ranges (Table 6). Whether or not the sources for these contaminants are still present is unknown. The available data, while limited, suggest that the health risks resulting from past intermittent inhalation exposure to these contaminants is low.
- Potential exposure of persons to radiation on-site.
The Li Tungsten site has a large amount of ore and slag materials that contain elevated levels of naturally occurring radioactive materials. The predominant radiation exposure from these materials is from external gamma radiation. Due to the limited information it is difficult to assess exposures quantitatively. For the most part, external radiation levels on-site are similar to those found off-site and typically in the range of 0.004 to 0.008 mR/hr, with the exception of external radiation levels within 10 to 20 meters from radioactive slag piles and drums containing radioactive slag. Near the piles and drums, the radiation levels may range from 0.05 to 0.5 mR/hr.
External gamma radiation exposure would only be a concern to someone spending many hours per week right next to radioactive slag piles or drums containing radioactive slag. If a person spent 8 hours per week near one of the piles or drums in an average radiation field which was ten times typical background levels or about 0.05 mR/hr, they would add about 20 millirem per year (mrem/yr) to their normal background exposure of about 360 mrem/yr. This would be about a 5% increase in their background exposure.
Anyone spending time at other areas on-site will normally be in a typical radiation environment and not be expected to add more than a minimal increment (<1 mrem per year) to their normal radiation exposure. Persons crossing portions of the site irregularly, or even entering the site to dispose of household debris would not be expected to receive more than a minimal increment in exposure.
Two industrial facilities were identified whose emissions of 1,1,1-trichloroethane (Photocircuits Corp.) and tetrachloroethene and methyl ethyl ketone (Limco Manufacturing Corp.) could affect ambient air quality in the community around the Li Tungsten site. As discussed earlier, tetrachloroethene is a chemical that causes cancer in laboratory animals and may also increase the risk of cancer in humans who are exposed to lower levels over long periods of time. Whether tetrachloroethene causes cancer in humans is unknown. Based on the results of animal studies and the TRI screening evaluation, we estimate that the modeled ambient air levels of tetrachloroethene could pose a moderate risk of cancer over a lifetime of exposure. Tetrachloroethene is known to have toxic effects on the liver at exposure levels at least two orders of magnitude greater than those estimated using the TRI screening model. Chemicals that cause effects in humans and/or animals after high levels of exposure may also pose a risk to humans who are exposed to lower levels over long periods of time. Although the risks of noncarcinogenic effects aren't completely understood, the existing data suggest that they are low for emissions of tetrachloroethene from Limco Manufacturing Corporation.
The NYS DOH conducted a study of cancer incidence in the Glen Cove area in response to a public inquiry about a perceived excess of cancer cases and the possible relationship to an industrialized area just north of Glen Cove Creek. The study area was zip code 11542, which corresponds closely to the boundaries of the City of Glen Cove. The study used data from the New York State Cancer Registry, from the years 1978-1987, and compared the observed number of cancers in the study area against the number that would be expected based on standard Upstate New York rates adjusted for age, sex and population density.
Both males and females in the study area had lower than expected incidence of all types of cancer combined, although the results were not significantly lower than expected. Within specific anatomical sites of cancer, a statistically significant excess of malignant melanoma skin cancer was found among males in the study area. In addition, the study found a significantly lower incidence of both colon cancer in males and breast cancer in females. No other type of cancer was found to be a significantly higher or lower in the Glen Cove population.
The report discussed the known risk factors for malignant melanoma, particularly exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet radiation. Other factors, such as light skin pigmentation, also appear to be important. The excess of malignant melanoma seen in the Glen Cove area in males but not females may have been related to sunlight exposure, but no specific information on sunlight exposure of cases was available.
The New York State University's at Stony Brook Division of Occupational Medicine conducted a preliminary medical surveillance program in response to public concerns that former employees might have increased risk of health effects due to exposures from on-site contaminants. They concluded that workers are not at an increased risk for health effects due to their work exposure at Li Tungsten.
We have addressed each of the community concerns about health as follows:
- Is there an excess rate of cancers in the City of Glen Cove
which might be related to industry north of Glen Cove Creek?
There do not appear to be any excess cancers in the Glen Cove area in both males and females. The study revealed a lower than expected incidence of all types of cancer combined. A statistically excess number of malignant melanoma skin cancers was found among males in the study area. This excess malignant melanoma in males may be related to sunlight exposure, but no specific information is available at this time.
- Is the site adequately secured to prevent trespassers from
entering onto Li Tungsten property?
The site is not adequately secured despite actions taken to deter trespassers from entering onto Li Tungsten property. A new security company was hired in February 1992 to replace the previous security company. The US EPA placed hazard warning signs onto site fences in July 1992. The City of Glen Cove has agreed to increase police patrols near the site. The NYS DOH has visited the site in January and May, 1993 and found broken fences indicating that the present security company is ineffective.
- Are former employees of Li Tungsten at an increased risk for
health effects due to their work exposures?
Preliminary studies have indicated that former employees are not at any increased health risk due to exposures from working at Li Tungsten.
- Is there a potential for the off-site migration of
contaminants from Li Tungsten?
The limited soil analysis of radionuclide and chemical analysis taken at site perimeter do not indicate any potential for off-site migration of contaminants. Air analysis at perimeter of the site for radionuclides do not indicate that airborne radionuclides are traveling off-site.