PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT
[a/k/a PETER COOPER CORPORATION (MARKHAMS)]
DAYTON, CATTARAUGUS COUNTY, NEW YORK
The Peter Cooper-Markhams site is in the Town of Dayton, near the Hamlet of Markhams, Cattaraugus County,New York, about six miles southwest of the Village of Gowanda. The Peter Cooper Corporation (PCC) acquiredthe Markhams site in 1955. The site is about 100 acres in size and the surrounding area is rural and sparselypopulated.
From 1903 to 1985, the PCC made glue and adhesives from animal hides at their facility in Gowanda. From1955 to 1972, the PCC disposed of about 9,600 tons of residual solids from their manufacturing process at theMarkhams site. In 1972, the PCC moved about 38,600 tons of waste from their Gowanda facility to theMarkhams site. Except for investigation and remedial work, the site has been undisturbed since 1972.
In 1989, a disposal area was identified which contained drums. Subsequently, the drums and visibly contaminatedsoils were removed from this area. The nearly 300 drums contained oils and off-specification glues. The drumsand contaminated soils were properly disposed off-site and the excavation was backfilled with clean soil, gradedand seeded. The Peter Cooper-Markhams site was placed on the National Priorities List in January, 2000.
No public meetings have been held regarding this site. However, the public was invited to review a draft of thispublic health assessment during the public comment period, which ran from September 26 to December 15, 2001. The main health concern expressed was whether their drinking water was contaminated from the site.
The Cattaraugus County Health Department collected samples from four private drinking water wells in 1986 andno site-related contaminants were detected. The US EPA sampled one residential well in 2000 and also did notfind contamination. Although site-related contaminants are unlikely to be migrating to off-site wells, the NYSDOH, Cattaraugus County Health Department and the US EPA will review groundwater quality and flowdirection data from future investigations at the site to determine whether any further sampling of water fromprivate wells is needed.
At the request of the Chairman of the Cattaraugus County Solid Waste Committee, the NYS DOH is reviewingcancer incidence data for the Village of Gowanda, the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation and the Towns ofPerrysburg, Persia, Dayton, New Albion, and Otto.
Based on the information reviewed, the Peter Cooper Markhams site poses an indeterminate public health hazard. Although there are no known exposures, environmental data from the site are limited. Specifically, a betterunderstanding of groundwater conditions and possibly further sampling of private wells is needed. The limiteddata that are currently available indicate that long-term exposure to the highest level of arsenic detected in surfacewater could pose a low increased cancer risk to unauthorized visitors to the site. Also, total chromium in surfacesoil at the highest levels detected could cause allergic skin reactions in unauthorized visitors. However, because ofthe remote location and current knowledge of site conditions, the potential for frequent and long-term exposure islimited and such adverse health effects are unlikely.
The NYS DOH and/or the ATSDR will work with the US EPA in determining what additional environmentaldata need to be collected. The NYS DOH and ATSDR will re-assess the public health hazard category for this site when these additional data are available.
The purpose of this public health assessment is to evaluate past, current and potential future exposures to site-related contaminants. It fulfills the congressional mandate for a public health assessment for each site beingproposed to the National Priorities List (NPL). Under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for ToxicSubstances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) will evaluatethe public health significance of the Peter Cooper-Markhams site. More specifically, ATSDR and NYS DOH willdetermine whether health effects are possible and will recommend actions to reduce or prevent possible healtheffects. ATSDR is a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is authorizedby the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act Superfund Amendments andReauthorization Act (SARA) of 1986, to conduct public health assessments at hazardous waste sites proposed forthe NPL. The Peter Cooper-Markhams site was proposed for the NPL April 1999 and placed on the NPL January 2000.
The Peter Cooper-Markhams site (the Markhams site) is in the Town of Dayton, near the hamlet of Markhams,Cattaraugus County, about six miles southwest of the Village of Gowanda (Figure 1, Appendix A). The PeterCooper Corporation (PCC) acquired the Markhams site in 1955 (O'Brien & Gere Engineers, Inc., 1991). Theproperty is about 100 acres in size and the surrounding area is rural and sparsely populated. Most of thesurrounding land is used for farming. Except for investigation and remedial work, the site has been undisturbedsince 1972.
From 1903 to 1985, the PCC made glue and adhesives from animal hides at their facility in Gowanda. From1955 to 1972, the PCC disposed of about 9600 tons of residual solids from their manufacturing process at theMarkhams site. In 1972, as a result of a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) order, the PCC moved about 38,600 tons of waste from their Gowanda facility to the Markhams site(O'Brien & Gere Engineers, Inc., 1989). The wastes were primarily piled onto the ground surface into 20-foothigh mounds that were arranged in a semi-circle in the disposal area. The PCC used about seven acres of theproperty for waste disposal.
Prior investigations included magnetometer surveys in 1984 and a remedial investigation/feasibility study (underNYS DEC order) conducted by the PCC in 1986. In 1989, as a result of these investigations and a review ofdisposal records, another disposal area was identified. Subsequently, drums and visibly contaminated soils wereremoved from this area by a consultant for the NYS DEC. The nearly 300 drums contained oils and off-specification glues. The drums and contaminated soils were properly disposed off-site and the excavation wasbackfilled with clean soil, graded and seeded.
Disposal of hazardous waste, as defined by NYS (in 6NYCRR Part 371), was not found at either Peter CooperCorporation sites. Therefore, both the Markhams site (this site) and the Gowanda site, were removed from theNYS Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Sites in 1992. The Peter Cooper-Gowanda Site was placedon the US EPA NPL in 1998 and subsequently re-listed on the NYS registry. A Public Health Assessment for thePeter Cooper-Gowanda site was released on August 31, 2000 (ATSDR 2000). Since the majority of the wastes atthe Peter Cooper- Markhams site originated from the Gowanda site, this site was likewise placed on the NPL andre-listed on the NYS registry in 2000.
The US EPA is conducting a remedial investigation/feasibility study. The goal of a remedial investigation is toidentify the nature and extent of contamination at the site. The feasibility study is a detailed evaluation of possibleremedial alternatives that could be used to address contamination at the site.
On May 3, 2000, Ms. Dawn Hettrick of the NYS DOH and Mr. Gary Beck of the Cattaraugus County HealthDepartment visited the Peter Cooper-Markhams site. The site is located within a wooded parcel with dirt roadaccess. Although a gate is present near the entrance of the dirt road, it was open the day of the site visit. A shortwalk into the parcel is a structure that appears to be natural gas well. There is evidence of human activity inseveral locations on the property, such as footprints, beverage cans and disposal of furniture. Small and largefootprints were found, indicating that both children and adults walk on the property. The waste piles are locatedwell within the property, away from the paved roadway. However, the dirt roads go up to and around the wastepiles and provide relatively easy access to the site. The waste piles appear to be well covered, but holes were dug,presumably by animals, into the piles at several locations. No obvious odors, particularly any that could be associated with the waste, were evident.
The NYS DOH estimated from the 1990 Census (US Bureau of the Census 1991) that 71 people live within one mile of the site. This population is 98.6% white and 1.4% American Indian. Based on the 1990 census 7% of the population is under six years of age, 22.5% is 6-19 years of age, 52.1% is 20-64 years of age, and 18.3% is 65 years or older. In 1990, there were 13 females of reproductive age (ages 15-44) in the area. The median household income for census county/tract/block group number 009/9605.00/2 was $25,486 in 1989, with 8.8% of the population living below the poverty level (US Bureau of the Census 1992). The following chart compares these demographics with statewide averages. There are no schools or nursing homes in the area.
|Age Distribution||New York State||Area within 1 mile of site|
|1989 Median Income||$32,965||$25,486|
|% Below Poverty Level||13.0%||8.8|
Samples of soil, waste, groundwater, surface water and sediments were collected on-site and analyzed duringseveral investigations and a removal action. Most of the samples were only analyzed for a few contaminantsthat are suspected to be the primary contaminants at this site.
The metals antimony, arsenic, chromium, copper, silver and zinc occur naturally, but these metals were foundat concentrations in excess of what would be considered naturally occurring (background concentrations) insoil and sediments. Hexavalent chromium, which can be associated with industrial waste and its presence isdue to man-made materials, was also found at this site. In addition to metal contamination, several organiccontaminants were found, including volatile organic compounds and semi-volatile organic compounds. However, analyses for organic compounds were performed on a small percentage of the samples that werecollected.
Arsenic was found at levels up to 25 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) in surface soil samples, which slightlyexceeds the expected background range of 2 to 20 mg/kg. Total chromium was found in concentrations up to69,000 mg/kg which greatly exceeds the expected background levels of 10 to 60 mg/kg. Copper, silver andzinc were found at concentrations up to 120 mg/kg, 13 mg/kg and 990 mg/kg, respectively. The expectedbackground concentrations for these are 2 to 40 mg/kg, 0.1 to 0.4 mg/kg and 20 to 200 mg/kg, respectively.
In subsurface soil, arsenic, chromium and hexavalent chromium were found at levels up to 28 mg/kg, 20,200mg/kg and 169 mg/kg, respectively. Antimony was found at concentrations up to 9 mg/kg, which exceedsexpected background levels of less than 1 mg/kg to 2 mg/kg.
In sediment, arsenic was found up to 30 mg/kg, chromium was found up to 130 mg/kg, copper was found upto 85 mg/kg, silver was found up to 7 mg/kg and zinc was found up to 870 mg/kg. Hexavalent chromiumwas not found in sediment samples.
Since there are no known routes by which people are being exposed to contaminants from the Markhams site,this section identifies potential exposure pathways associated with past, present and future use of the site. Anexposure pathway is a process by which an individual may be exposed to contaminants originating from thesite. An exposure pathway has five elements: (1) a contaminant source; (2) environmental media andtransport mechanisms; (3) a point of exposure; (4) a route of exposure; and (5) a receptor population.
The source of contamination is the source of contaminant release into the environment, which at theMarkhams site are the waste disposal areas. Environmental media and transport mechanisms carrycontaminants from the source area to points where people may be exposed, such as surface soil, surface water,sediment or groundwater. The exposure point is the location where people may come in contact with site-related contaminants, such as on-site or drinking water from a private well. The route of exposure is how thecontaminant may enter the body, such as ingestion, inhalation or dermal contact. The receptor population arepeople who may be exposed to contaminants at the point of exposure, such as unauthorized visitors (e.g.,trespassers) to the site.
A completed pathway only exists when all five of these elements exist. A potential pathway exists when anyone of the five criteria for an exposure pathway is missing. At the Markhams site, only potential exposurepathways have been identified. Based on the site visit there is evidence that people have been on-site, but it isunlikely they are being exposed to contaminants on-site since the wastes appear to be adequately covered. Anexposure pathway is considered to not be completed when one of the five criteria has not existed in the past,does not currently exist, and will not exist in the future.
Potential ingestion of contaminated groundwater
The area around the Markhams site uses private wells to obtain drinking water. The Cattaraugus CountyHealth Department collected samples from four private drinking water wells in 1986 and no site-relatedcontaminants were detected. The samples were analyzed for some metals and volatile organic compounds. The US EPA sampled one residential well in December, 2000 and also did not find contamination. This watersample was analyzed for volatile organic chemicals, semivolatile organic chemicals, pesticides, PCBs andmetals. Although site-related contaminants are unlikely to be migrating to off-site wells, more information isneeded to determine the direction of groundwater flow from the site
On-site groundwater is contaminated with arsenic, chromium and zinc at levels above water qualitystandards/guidelines and health comparison values (see Table 1). These groundwater samples were notanalyzed for volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds. Also, there are limited off-site groundwater dataand the extent of the groundwater contamination has not been defined. Therefore, this pathway cannot be evaluated further at this time.
Potential direct contact and incidental ingestion of surface soil, surface water, or sediments
Unauthorized visitors to the site, such as hunters, may come into direct contact with or accidentally ingestcontaminated surface soil, surface water or sediment while on-site. The on-site surface water and sedimentsare in small wetland areas from which contaminants are not expected to move. Silver levels in the sedimentsexceed background levels but do not exceed health comparison values. Therefore, exposure to contaminantsin sediments will not be discussed further. In on-site surface water, arsenic and chromium exceed waterquality standards and guidelines, and arsenic exceeds its public health assessment comparison values (seeTable 2). These contaminants in surface water are discussed below. Chromium in surface soil exceedsbackground levels, but not health comparison values; however, it is discussed below.
Potential exposures to waste and subsurface soil
Levels of chromium, copper and zinc in on-site wastes exceed soil background levels. Levels of antimony,arsenic, chromium, copper, silver and zinc exceed background levels in subsurface soil. However, the levelsfound in waste and sub-surface soil do not exceed health comparison values for non-residential exposure. Since exposed waste has not been observed during site visits, people are currently unlikely to be exposed towaste. Likewise, unless people dig at the site, exposure to contaminants in subsurface soil is unlikely. Therefore, exposures to subsurface soil or waste have not been evaluated.
Change in site use
The general area is a mixture of residential and agricultural properties and this site could be considered forthese uses in the future. If residential or agricultural uses are considered for the site, potential exposuresshould be re-evaluated.
An analysis of the toxicological and epidemiological implications of the potential human exposure pathwaysof concern is presented below. To evaluate the potential health risks from contaminants of concern associatedwith the Peter Cooper-Markhams site, the NYS DOH assessed the risks for cancer and noncancer healtheffects. The risks of health effects depend primarily on contaminant concentration, exposure route, exposurefrequency and duration. Additional information on the NYS DOH assessment for this site is presented inAppendix C. Although there are people visiting the site, the wastes appear to be covered and exposurepathways are limited. We evaluated potential exposures to contaminants in surface water and surface soilassuming no remediation takes place.
Potential ingestion and dermal exposure to contaminants in on-site surface water.
Exposure to contaminants in surface water could occur via incidental ingestion and dermal contact for peoplewho access the Peter Cooper-Markhams site. Arsenic was detected in on-site surface water at a level, up to104 micrograms per liter (mcg/L), that exceeds water quality standards and guidelines, and its public healthcomparison value based on carcinogenic effects (Table 2). Arsenic is a known human carcinogen. Studies ofpeople exposed to high levels of arsenic in drinking water in foreign countries provide evidence of anassociation between arsenic ingestion and skin cancer. Currently there is a debate within the scientificcommunity about the quantitative uncertainties in the US EPA's cancer potency factor and epidemiologystudies of Taiwanese populations exposed to arsenic in drinking water (ATSDR 1993a). The existing datasuggest that long-term exposure to the highest level of arsenic detected in on-site surface water (104 mcg/L)could pose a low increased cancer risk to unauthorized visitors to the site. The levels of chromium in on-sitesurface water also exceed water quality standards and guidelines, but did not exceed public health comparisonvalues (Table 2). This evaluation probably overestimates the actual risk since the location of the site andcurrent knowledge of site conditions make long-term human exposure to contaminants in on-site surface waterunlikely. The noncancer risk for exposure to arsenic in on-site surface water would be minimal.
Potential dermal exposure to contaminants in on-site surface soil.
None of the contaminants detected in on-site surface soil exceed public health assessment comparison valuesbased on incidental ingestion. Chromium was detected in on-site surface soil at levels well in excess of typicalbackground levels. Dermal exposures to high levels of chromium compounds (including hexavalentchromium) have resulted in allergic reactions, particularly in people who are very sensitive to chromium. These allergic reactions are characterized by redness and swelling of the skin (ATSDR 1993b). The existingdata suggest that dermal exposure to the highest levels of total chromium or hexavalent chromium detected inon-site surface soil (up to 69,000 mg/kg and 850 mg/kg, respectively) could cause such allergic reactions insome unauthorized visitors to the site.
At the request of the Chairman of the Cattaraugus County Solid Waste Committee the NYS DOH isreviewing cancer incidence data for the Village of Gowanda, the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation and theTowns of Perrysburg, Persia, Dayton, New Albion, and Otto. The results of health statistics reviews of such abroad area must be interpreted with caution, however, since there are less than 75 people living within a mileof the site and there is no evidence that the residents within the immediate area of the site were ever exposed toany contaminants from this site.
In addition, the NYS DOH maintains several health outcome databases, which could be used to generatesite-specific health outcome data if warranted. These databases include the cancer registry, the congenitalmalformations registry, the heavy metals registry, the occupational lung disease registry, vital records (birth and death certificates) and hospital discharge data information.
The ATSDR Child Health Initiative emphasizes examining child health issues in all of the agency activities,including evaluating child-focused concerns through its mandated public health assessment activities. TheATSDR and the NYS DOH considers children when evaluating exposure pathways and potential healtheffects from environmental contaminants. We recognize that children are of special concern because of theirgreater potential for exposure from play and other behavior patterns. Children sometimes differ from adults intheir 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 from a chemical and the relationshipmay change with developmental age.
The area around the Peter Cooper-Markhams site is rural and sparsely populated. Therefore, we would notexpect young children to be exposed at levels of health concern because of the remoteness of the site andbecause most contaminants are not located on the ground surface. However, the NYS DOH/ATSDR will re-evaluate children's health issues as more data on the site become available.
No public meetings have been held regarding this site. However, the public was invited to review a draft ofthis public health assessment during the public comment period, which ran from September 26 to December15, 2001.
Comment: Several residents expressed concern about the potential for their drinking water to becomecontaminated from the site. They also expressed a desire to have their drinking water sampled.
Response: The Cattaraugus County Health Department collected samples from four private drinking waterwells in 1986 and no site-related contaminants were detected. The US EPA sampled one residential well in2000 and also did not find contamination. Although site-related contaminants are unlikely to be migrating tooff-site wells, the NYS DOH, Cattaraugus County Health Department and the US EPA will reviewgroundwater quality and flow direction data from future investigations at the site to determine whether anyfurther sampling of water from private wells is needed.
Comment: Residents do not want more dumping on the site.
Response: The site is not a permitted facility for receiving solid or hazardous waste. In addition, we relayedthis concern to the US EPA for their consideration. The US EPA is overseeing the remedial investigation andeventually the implementation of a remedy.
Comment: A resident asked about whether the chemicals disintegrate with time and whether they can bealtered chemically.
Response: Most of the contaminants found at the site are metals, which do not disintegrate or degrade withtime. Metals can, however, bond with other elements to make them more or less stable in the environment. Sometimes, metals at hazardous waste sites are treated chemically to make them less available for humancontact. Data from the remedial investigation will be evaluated to determine the potential for human contactand off-site migration. Alternative methods for site cleanup (if needed) will be evaluated in a feasibility studybefore one is selected. The nature of the contaminants (i.e., reactivity, ability to leach) will be described andconsidered in this evaluation. Both the remedial investigation report and the feasibility study will be available to the public for review when they are drafted.
Based on the information reviewed, the Peter Cooper Markhams site poses an indeterminate public healthhazard. Although there are no known exposures, environmental data from the site are limited. Specifically, abetter understanding of groundwater conditions and possible further sampling of private wells is needed. Thelimited data that are currently available indicate that long-term exposure to the highest level of arsenicdetected in surface water could pose a low increased cancer risk to unauthorized visitors to the site. Also,chromium in surface soil at the highest levels detected could cause allergic skin reactions in someunauthorized visitors. However, because of the remote location and current knowledge of site conditions, thepotential for frequent and long-term exposure is limited and such adverse health effects are unlikely.
- Additional sampling in each media are needed to evaluate this site and related exposure pathways. These sampling needs can be fulfilled during the US EPA remedial investigation.
- A more comprehensive list of analytes, particularly for volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds, is needed to assist in evaluating all potential contaminants of concern in all media, especially groundwater.
- The sampling should be more extensive and locations well documented.
- The results from the remedial investigation should be evaluated for public health implications.
- After collecting better information about groundwater quality and flow direction, further sampling of private drinking water wells should be considered.
- If site use changes, additional exposure pathways may need to be evaluated.
- Results of the NYS DOH health statistics review for the Village of Gowanda, the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation and the Towns of Perrysburg, Persia, Dayton, New Albion, and Otto should be distributed to people living near the site.
- The NYS DOH, ATSDR, the Cattaraugus County Department of Health and the US EPA will review groundwater quality and flow direction data from future investigations at the site to determine whether any further sampling of water from private wells is needed.
- The NYS DOH and ATSDR will work with the US EPA to assure that other environmental data which are needed to address potential health concerns at the site are collected during the remedial investigation.
- The NYS DOH and ATSDR will evaluate the public health implications of new data from the remedial investigation.
- The NYS DOH will mail a report on the results of the health statistics review of the Village of Gowanda, the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation and the Towns of Perrysburg, Persia, Dayton, New Albion, and Otto to people living near the site.
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1993a. Toxicological Profile for Arsenic. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service.
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1993b. Toxicological Profile for Chromium. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service.
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 2000. Public Health Assessment for the PeterCooper Corporation, Village of Gowanda, Cattaraugus County.
O'Brien and Gere. 1989. Site Operations Plans, Markhams Site, Peter Cooper Corporations.
O'Brien and Gere. 1991. Feasibility Study, Peter Cooper Corporations, Markhams, New York.
US Bureau of the Census. 1991. 1990 Census of population and housing summary tape file 1B. USDepartment of Commerce.
US Bureau of the Census. 1992. 1990 Census of population and housing summary tape file 3A. CD-ROM. US Department of Commerce. September.
This Public Health Assessment was prepared by the New York State Department of Health under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). It is in accordance with approved methodology and procedures existing at the time the public health assessment was initiated.
Gregory V. Ulirsch
Technical Project Officer, SPS, SSAB, DHAC
The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation (DHAC), ATSDR, has reviewed this public health assessment, and concurs with its findings.
Chief, SPS, SSAB, DHAC, ATSDR
New York State Department of Health Authors
Dawn E. Hettrick
Assistant Sanitary Engineer
Bureau of Environmental Exposure Investigation
Donald W. R. Miles
Bureau of Environmental Exposure Investigation
Assistant Research Scientist
Bureau of Toxic Substances Assessment
Thomas B. Johnson
Bureau of Toxic Substances Assessment
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Office of the Assistant Administrator
Technical Project Officer
Technical Project Officer
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Superfund Site Assessment Branch
Table 1. Water Quality Standards/Guidelines and /or Public Health Assessment Comparison Values Exceeded by Contaminants Found in Groundwater at the Peter Cooper-Markhams Site
[All values in micrograms per liter (mcg/L)]
|Contaminant||Range of Detection||Water Quality Standards/Guidelines||Comparison Values*|
|New York State||US EPA|
|Ground Water||Surface Water||Drinking Water||Drinking Water|
|arsenic||5 - 490||25||50||50||50+||0.023||EPA||1||EPA|
|chromium***||6 - 250||50||50||100||100||10||EPA|
|chromium (VI)||8 - 18||50||50||100||100||10||EPA|
|zinc||10 - 80,000||300||300||5,000||5,000++||1,050||EPA|
* Cancer comparison values for metals are determined for a 70 kilogram adult who drinks 2 liters of water per day.
Noncancer comparison values for metals are determined for a 70 kilogram adult who drinks 2 liters of water per day. A 10% relative source contribution is assumed for inorganic chemicals.
** EPA CPF Environmental Protection Agency cancer potency factor.
EPA RfD Environmental Protection Agency reference dose.
*** Total chromium.
+ Under review.
++ Secondary maximum contaminant level based on aesthetic consideration.
Table 2. Water Quality Standards/Guidelines and /or Public Health Assessment Comparison Values Exceeded by Contaminants Found in Surface Water at the Peter Cooper-Markhams Site
[All values in micrograms per liter (mcg/L)]
|Contaminant||Range of Detection||Water Quality Standards/Guidelines||Comparison Values*|
|New York State||US EPA|
|Ground Water||Surface Water||Drinking Water||Drinking Water|
|arsenic||5 - 104||25||50||50||50||30||EPA||1,800||EPA RfD|
|chromium***||20 - 2840||50||50||100||100||18,000||EPA RfD|
* Cancer comparison values for metals are determined for a 70 kilogram adult who ingests 0.05 liters of leachate or surface water per day, 2 days a week, 3 months per year for 30 years.
Noncancer comparison values for metals are determined for a 21 kilogram child who ingests 0.05 liters of leachate or surface water per day, 2 days a week for 3 months per year.
** EPA CPF Environmental Protection Agency cancer potency factor.
EPA RfD Environmental Protection Agency reference dose.
*** Contaminant levels are for total chromium.
To evaluate the potential health risks from contaminants of concern associated with the Peter-Cooper-Markhams Site, the New York State Department of Health assessed the risks for cancer and noncancerhealth 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 per million||very low|
|greater than one per million to less than one per ten thousand||low|
|one per ten thousand to less than one per thousand||moderate|
|one per thousand to less than one per ten||high|
|equal to or greater than one per 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 acancer-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 someincreased risk. As the dose of a carcinogen decreases, the chance of developing cancer decreases, but eachexposure is accompanied by some increased risk.
There is general consensus among the scientific and regulatory communities on what level of estimatedexcess cancer risk is acceptable. An increased lifetime cancer risk of one in one million or less is generallynot considered a significant public health concern.
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 risk reference dose||minimal|
|greater than one to five times the risk reference dose||low|
|greater than five to ten times the risk reference dose||moderate|
|greater than ten times the risk reference dose||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 isexpressed as a ratio of estimated contaminant intake to the risk reference dose. A ratio equal to or lessthan one is generally not considered a significant public health concern. If exposure to the contaminantexceeds the risk reference dose, there may be concern for potential noncancer health effects because themargin of protection is less than that afforded by the reference dose. As a rule, the greater the ratio of theestimated contaminant intake to the risk reference dose, the greater the level of concern. This level ofconcern depends upon an evaluation of a number of factors such as the actual potential for exposure, background exposure, and the strength of the toxicologic data.
INTERIM PUBLIC HEALTH HAZARD CATEGORIES
|CATEGORY / DEFINITION||DATA SUFFICIENCY||CRITERIA|
|A. Urgent Public Health Hazard|
This category is used for sites where short-termexposures (< 1 yr) to hazardous substances orconditions could result in adverse health effectsthat require rapid intervention.
|This determination represents a professional judgement based oncritical data which ATSDR has judged sufficient to support adecision. This does not necessarily imply that the available dataare complete; in some cases additional data may be required toconfirm or further support the decision made.||Evaluation of available relevant information* indicates that site-specificconditions or likely exposures have had, are having, or are likely to have inthe future, an adverse impact on human health that requires immediateaction or intervention. Such site-specific conditions or exposures mayinclude the presence of serious physical or safety hazards.|
|B. Public Health Hazard|
This category is used for sites that pose a publichealth hazard due to the existence of long-termexposures (> 1 yr) to hazardous substance orconditions that could result in adverse healtheffects.
|This determination represents a professional judgement based oncritical data which ATSDR has judged sufficient to support adecision. This does not necessarily imply that the available dataare complete; in some cases additional data may be required toconfirm or further support the decision made.||Evaluation of available relevant information* suggests that, under site-specific conditions of exposure, long-term exposures to site-specificcontaminants (including radionuclides) have had, are having, or are likelyto have in the future, an adverse impact on human health that requires oneor more public health interventions. Such site-specific exposures mayinclude the presence of serious physical or safety hazards.|
|C. Indeterminate Public Health Hazard |
This category is used for sites in which "critical"data are insufficient with regard to extent ofexposure and/or toxicologic properties atestimated exposure levels.
|This determination represents a professional judgement that criticaldata are missing and ATSDR has judged the data are insufficient tosupport a decision. This does not necessarily imply all data areincomplete; but that some additional data are required to support adecision.||The health assessor must determine, using professional judgement, the"criticality" of such data and the likelihood that the data can be obtainedand will be obtained in a timely manner. Where some data are available,even limited data, the health assessor is encouraged to the extent possibleto select other hazard categories and to support their decision with clearnarrative that explains the limits of the data and the rationale for thedecision.|
|D. No Apparent Public Health Hazard|
This category is used for sites where humanexposure to contaminated media may be occurring,may have occurred in the past, and/or may occur inthe future, but the exposure is not expected tocause any adverse health effects.
|This determination represents a professional judgement based oncritical data which ATSDR considers sufficient to support adecision. This does not necessarily imply that the available dataare complete; in some cases additional data may be required toconfirm or further support the decision made.||Evaluation of available relevant information* indicates that, under site-specific conditions of exposure, exposures to site-specific contaminants inthe past, present, or future are not likely to result in any adverse impact onhuman health.|
|E: No Public Health Hazard|
This category is used for sites that, because of theabsence of exposure, do NOT pose a public healthhazard.
|Sufficient evidence indicates that no human exposures tocontaminated media have occurred, none are now occurring, andnone are likely to occur in the future|
*Such as environmental and demographic data; health outcome data; exposure data; community health concerns information; toxicologic, medical, and epidemiologic data; monitoring and management plans.
- How a chemical enters a person's blood after the chemical has been swallowed, has come into contact with the skin, or has been breathed in.
- Acute Exposure:
- Contact with a chemical that happens once or only for a limited period of time. ATSDR defines acute exposures as those that might last up to 14 days.
- Additive Effect:
- A response to a chemical mixture, or combination of substances, that might be expected if the known effects of individual chemicals, seen at specific doses, were added together.
- Adverse Health Effect:
- A change in body function or the structures of cells that can lead to disease or health problems.
- Antagonistic Effect:
- A response to a mixture of chemicals or combination of substances that is less than might be expected if the known effects of individual chemicals, seen at specific doses, were added together.
- The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. ATSDR is a federal health agency in Atlanta, Georgia that deals with hazardous substance and waste site issues. ATSDR gives people information about harmful chemicals in their environment and tells people how to protect themselves from coming into contact with chemicals.
- Background Level:
- An average or expected amount of a chemical in a specific environment. Or, amounts of chemicals that occur naturally in a specific-environment.
- Used in public health, things that humans would eat - including animals, fish and plants.
- See Community Assistance Panel.
- A group of diseases which occur when cells in the body become abnormal and grow, or multiply, out of control
- Any substance shown to cause tumors or cancer in experimental studies.
- See Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act.
- Chronic Exposure:
- A contact with a substance or chemical that happens over a long period of time. ATSDR considers exposures of more than one year to be chronic.
- Completed Exposure Pathway:
- See Exposure Pathway.
- Community Assistance Panel (CAP):
- A group of people from the community and health and environmental agencies who work together on issues and problems at hazardous waste sites.
- Comparison Value (CVs):
- Concentrations or the amount of substances in air, water, food, and soil that are unlikely, upon exposure, to cause adverse health effects. Comparison values are used by health assessors to select which substances and environmental media (air, water, food and soil) need additional evaluation while health concerns or effects are investigated.
- Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA):
- CERCLA was put into place in 1980. It is also known as Superfund. This act concerns releases of hazardous substances into the environment, and the cleanup of these substances and hazardous waste sites. ATSDR was created by this act and is responsible for looking into the health issues related to hazardous waste sites.
- A belief or worry that chemicals in the environment might cause harm to people.
- How much or the amount of a substance present in a certain amount of soil, water, air, or food.
- See Environmental Contaminant.
- Delayed Health Effect:
- A disease or injury that happens as a result of exposures that may have occurred far in the past.
- Dermal Contact:
- A chemical getting onto your skin. (see Route of Exposure).
- The amount of a substance to which a person may be exposed, usually on a daily basis. Dose is often explained as "amount of substance(s) per body weight per day".
- Dose / Response:
- The relationship between the amount of exposure (dose) and the change in body function or health that result.
- The amount of time (days, months, years) that a person is exposed to a chemical.
- Environmental Contaminant:
- A substance (chemical) that gets into a system (person, animal, or the environment) in amounts higher than that found in Background Level, or what would be expected.
- Environmental Media:
- Usually refers to the air, water, and soil in which chemcials of interest are found. Sometimes refers to the plants and animals that are eaten by humans. Environmental Media is the second part of an Exposure Pathway.
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
- The federal agency that develops and enforces environmental laws to protect the environment and the public's health.
- The study of the different factors that determine how often, in how many people, and in which people will disease occur.
- Coming into contact with a chemical substance.(For the three ways people can come in contact with substances, see Route of Exposure.)
- Exposure Assessment:
- The process of finding the ways people come in contact with chemicals, how often and how long they come in contact with chemicals, and the amounts of chemicals with which they come in contact.
- Exposure Pathway:
- A description of the way that a chemical moves from its source (where it began) to where and how people can come into contact with (or get exposed to) the chemical.
ATSDR defines an exposure pathway as having 5 parts:
- Source of Contamination,
- Environmental Media and Transport Mechanism,
- Point of Exposure,
- Route of Exposure, and
- Receptor Population.
When all 5 parts of an exposure pathway are present, it is called a Completed Exposure Pathway. Each of these 5 terms is defined in this Glossary.
- How often a person is exposed to a chemical over time; for example, every day, once a week, twice a month.
- Hazardous Waste:
- Substances that have been released or thrown away into the environment and, under certain conditions, could be harmful to people who come into contact with them.
- Health Effect:
- ATSDR deals only with Adverse Health Effects (see definition in this Glossary).
- Indeterminate Public Health Hazard:
- The category is used in Public Health Assessment documents for sites where important information is lacking (missing or has not yet been gathered) about site-related chemical exposures.
- Swallowing something, as in eating or drinking. It is a way a chemical can enter your body (See Route of Exposure).
- Breathing. It is a way a chemical can enter your body (See Route of Exposure).
- Lowest Observed Adverse Effect Level. The lowest dose of a chemical in a study, or group of studies, that has caused harmful health effects in people or animals.
- See Cancer.
- Minimal Risk Level. An estimate of daily human exposure - by a specified route and length of time -- to a dose of chemical that is likely to be without a measurable risk of adverse, noncancerous effects. An MRL should not be used as a predictor of adverse health effects.
- The National Priorities List. (Which is part of Superfund.) A list kept by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the most serious, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country. An NPL site needs to be cleaned up or is being looked at to see if people can be exposed to chemicals from the site.
- No Observed Adverse Effect Level. The highest dose of a chemical in a study, or group of studies, that did not cause harmful health effects in people or animals.
- No Apparent Public Health Hazard:
- The category is used in ATSDR's Public Health Assessment documents for sites where exposure to site-related chemicals may have occurred in the past or is still occurring but the exposures are not at levels expected to cause adverse health effects.
- No Public Health Hazard:
- The category is used in ATSDR's Public Health Assessment documents for sites where there is evidence of an absence of exposure to site-related chemicals.
- Public Health Assessment. A report or document that looks at chemicals at a hazardous waste site and tells if people could be harmed from coming into contact with those chemicals. The PHA also tells if possible further public health actions are needed.
- A line or column of air or water containing chemicals moving from the source to areas further away. A plume can be a column or clouds of smoke from a chimney or contaminated underground water sources or contaminated surface water (such as lakes, ponds and streams).
- Point of Exposure:
- The place where someone can come into contact with a contaminated environmental medium (air, water, food or soil). For examples:
the area of a playground that has contaminated dirt, a contaminated spring used for drinking water, the location where fruits or vegetables are grown in contaminated soil, or the backyard area where someone might breathe contaminated air.
- A group of people living in a certain area; or the number of people in a certain area.
- Potentially Responsible Party. A company, government or person that is responsible for causing the pollution at a hazardous waste site. PRP's are expected to help pay for the clean up of a site.
- Public Health Assessment(s):
- See PHA.
- Public Health Hazard:
- The category is used in PHAs for sites that have certain physical features or evidence of chronic, site-related chemical exposure that could result in adverse health effects.
- Public Health Hazard Criteria:
- PHA categories given to a site which tell whether people could be harmed by conditions present at the site. Each are defined in the Glossary. The categories are:
- -Urgent Public Health Hazard
-Public Health Hazard
-Indeterminate Public Health Hazard
-No Apparent Public Health Hazard
-No Public Health Hazard
- Receptor Population:
- People who live or work in the path of one or more chemicals, and who could come into contact with them (See Exposure Pathway).
- Reference Dose (RfD):
- An estimate, with safety factors (see safety factor) built in, of the daily, life-time exposure of human populations to a possible hazard that is not likely to cause harm to the person.
- Route of Exposure:
- The way a chemical can get into a person's body. There are three exposure routes:
- breathing (also called inhalation),
- eating or drinking (also called ingestion), and
- or getting something on the skin (also called dermal contact).
- Safety Factor:
- Also called Uncertainty Factor. When scientists don't have enough information to decide if an exposure will cause harm to people, they use "safety factors" and formulas in place of the information that is not known. These factors and formulas can help determine the amount of a chemical that is not likely to cause harm to people.
- The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act in 1986 amended CERCLA and expanded the health-related responsibilities of ATSDR. CERCLA and SARA direct ATSDR to look into the health effects from chemical exposures at hazardous waste sites.
- Sample Size:
- The number of people that are needed for a health study.
- A smallnumber of people chosen from a larger population (See Population).
- Source (of Contamination):
- The place where a chemical comes from, such as a landfill, pond, creek, incinerator, tank, or drum. Contaminant source is the first part of an Exposure Pathway.
- Special Populations:
- People who may be more sensitive to chemical exposures because of certain factors such as age, a disease they already have, occupation, sex, or certain behaviors (like cigarette smoking). Children, pregnant women, and older people are often considered special populations.
- A branch of the math process of collecting, looking at, and summarizing data or information.
- Superfund Site:
- See NPL.
- A way to collect information or data from a group of people (population). Surveys can be done by phone, mail, or in person. ATSDR cannot do surveys of more than nine people without approval from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- Synergistic effect:
- A health effect from an exposure to more than one chemical, where one of the chemicals worsens the effect of another chemical. The combined effect of the chemicals acting together are greater than the effects of the chemicals acting by themselves.
- Harmful. Any substance or chemical can be toxic at a certain dose (amount). The dose is what determines the potential harm of a chemical and whether it would cause someone to get sick.
- The study of the harmful effects of chemicals on humans or animals.
- Abnormal growth of tissue or cells that have formed a lump or mass.
- Uncertainty Factor:
- See Safety Factor.
- Urgent Public Health Hazard:
- This category is used in ATSDR's Public Health Assessment documents for sites that have certain physical features or evidence of short-term (less than 1 year), site-related chemical exposure that could result in adverse health effects and require quick intervention to stop people from being exposed.