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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

PFOHL BROTHERS LANDFILL
CHEEKTOWAGA, ERIE COUNTY, NEW YORK




ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION AND OTHER HAZARDS

In order to determine what environmental contaminants may be a concern, ATSDR has evaluatedall of the available environmental monitoring data (1979 to present). Environmental data wastaken from references 1-4, 6-10, 12-13, 19, and 23-24. Comparison values were used as a basisfor evaluation of the data and to determine which contaminants should be looked at more closely. Comparison values are health-based estimate of concentrations in environmental media belowwhich no known or anticipated adverse effect on the health of persons should occur. The valuesallow an adequate margin of safety. Appendix 2 contains a list and descriptions of the comparisonvalues used in this Public Health Assessment.

A contaminant is selected for further evaluation if the contaminant in a valid environmental sampleexceeds comparison values. The presence of a contaminant on the list in the Appendix 3 Tablesdoes not mean that either exposure to the contaminant or adverse health effects has occurred orwill occur. Inclusion in the lists indicates only that the potential for human exposures to theselected contaminants and the potential for adverse human health effects as a result of anyexposures to the selected contaminants will be discussed in more detail in later sections of thisPublic Health Assessment.

Appendix 3, Tables 1-13 list the contaminants detected above health comparison values in thevarious waste materials and environmental media (soil, leachate, surface water, sediment, andgroundwater) found on and off the proposed Pfohl Brothers Landfill NPL site. In addition tocomparing the detected concentrations of metals found in surface soils (0-3 inches below thesurface), sub-surface soils (greater than three inches below the surface) and sediment to healthbased comparison values, it is also prudent to compare the detected levels to background ornormal soil/sediment levels. Appendix 3, Table 14 lists the maximum concentration of each metaldetected above health comparison values in surface soil, sub-surface soil, and sediments (on-siteand off-site). In addition, Appendix 3, Table 14 lists the normal range of metal concentrationsfound in soils typical to the Pfohl Brothers Landfill area. This type of comparison helps identifywhich of the metals detected are not normal and may be site-related.

A.    On-Site Contamination

The environmental investigations conducted by the Erie County Department of Environment andPlanning, the EPA contractor, a contractor for the Pfohl Brothers Landfill owners, NYSDEC, andNYSDOH have identified various waste materials and various contaminants in the on-site soils,leachate, surface water, sediment, and groundwater (1-7). This part of the Pfohl Brothers LandfillPublic Health Assessment will identify what contaminants were detected above health comparisonvalues in the waste material and environmental media (i.e., soil, leachate, surface water, sediment,and groundwater).

1.    Waste Material

Samples were taken from the waste material found in the drums located throughout the site andfrom waste material laying on the surface of the landfill and buried in the landfill. Analysis ofthese samples indicate that the waste material at the Pfohl Brothers Landfill contain a vast varietyof contaminants (1). Appendix 3, Tables 1 and 2 list the contaminants detected in the wastematerial above health comparison values. The contaminants detected most frequently abovehealth comparison values and above background soil levels (i.e. metals) were phenol [<0.26-2,600milligrams of phenol per kilogram of material (mg/Kg)], carcinogenic PAHs (<0.02-621 mg/Kg),non-carcinogenic PAHs (<0.02-1,236 mg/Kg), dibenzofuran (<0.02-49,000 mg/Kg), PCBs(<0.05-10,064 mg/Kg), aluminum (9-108,00 mg/Kg), arsenic (<0.4-575 mg/Kg), barium (<0.5-8,860 mg/Kg), cadmium (<0.5-39.4 mg/Kg), chromium (<0.5-18,100 mg/Kg), copper (<0.5-29,400 mg/Kg), lead (<0.5-36,000 mg/Kg), mercury (<0.05-4.4 mg/Kg), and zinc (<0.5-35,300mg/Kg).

[NOTE: PAHs are a group of chemicals that are formed during the incomplete burning of coal,oil, gas, wood, garbage, or other organic substances (22). They are also typically found in tars. There are more than 100 different PAH compounds. PAHs normally considered to becarcinogenic are benzo(a)anthracene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, benzo(j)fluoranthene,benzo(k)fluoranthene, benzo(a)pyrene, dibenz(a,h)anthracene, and indeno(1,2,3-c,d)pyrene.]

The most common waste material found at the Pfohl Brothers Landfill was the phenol tar (1). Samples of the tar were taken to the NYSDOH laboratory and were analyzed very extensively. Inorder to determine whether the tar contained any dioxins, the NYSDOH laboratory had to usechemical extraction procedures (i.e., benzene and acetone) before dioxins could be detected. Theanalytical results indicated that various dioxins, including 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzodioxin, arecontained in the tar. If the NYSDOH lab had not conducted the chemical extraction procedure, itis very unlikely the dioxins would have been detected. Because the chemical extraction procedureused by the NYSDOH laboratory are not a natural process (whether in the environment or insidea biological organism), the dioxins are not likely to move out of the tar matrix because the dioxinsare bound very tightly to the tar. Therefore, the dioxin levels detected in the tar material will notbe discussed in this public health assessment.

Contaminants found in waste material at the surface of the landfill are of particular interest topublic health because people could easily come in contact with the material. Therefore, theanalytical results of the exposed waste material are listed separately in Appendix 3, Table 1 (1). The contaminants detected in the exposed waste material which significantly exceed healthcomparison values (at least one order of magnitude above health comparison values) and normalbackground concentrations were dibenzofuran (<0.02-1,800 mg/Kg), carcinogenic PAHs (<0.02-621 mg/Kg), non-carcinogenic PAHs (<0.02-1,236 mg/Kg), aluminum (9-2,120 mg/Kg), andcadmium (1-1.9 mg/Kg).

2.  Soil

Many of the organic and metal contaminants detected in the waste material were also detected inthe soil samples taken in Areas B and C (1). No contaminants were detected in soil samples takenfrom Area A above health comparison values or above background levels (1).

Appendix 3, Table 3 presents the contaminants detected above health comparison values insurface soils (1). The surface soil samples were taken from foot pathways that bisect the landfill(people took these paths to get to Aero Lake). The contaminants frequently found (more thanonce) in these samples which significantly exceeded health comparison values and backgroundlevels were dibenzofuran (<0.05-13 mg/Kg), carcinogenic PAHs (<0.05-31 mg/Kg), barium(<0.5-2,220 mg/Kg), cadmium (<0.5-28 mg/Kg), chromium (4-84 mg/Kg), copper (6-1,057mg/Kg), lead (2-985 mg/Kg), manganese (59-1,770 mg/Kg), mercury (<0.1-6.2 mg/Kg), and zinc(36-2,770 mg/Kg).

Surface soil samples were analyzed for the most toxic forms of dioxins and furans (e.g., 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzodioxin). The analytical results indicate that none of the analyzed dioxins orfurans were detected above health comparison values.

The contaminants frequently found in sub-surface soils significantly above health comparisonvalues and background levels (see Appendix 3, Tables 4 and 14) were dibenzofuran (<0.1-1,900mg/Kg), carcinogenic PAHs (<0.5-102 mg/Kg), non-carcinogenic PAHs (<0.5-158 mg/Kg),PCBs (<0.05-3.7 mg/Kg), barium (<0.5-5,080 mg/Kg), cadmium (<0.5-8 mg/Kg), lead (<0.5-2,340 mg/Kg), and zinc (13-5,850 mg/Kg).

During the RI, a "walk over" gamma radiation survey was conducted throughout the landfill. Inaddition, the subsurface sources of elevated gamma radiation were investigated during the test pitexcavations (7). The survey and sample results indicate that the elevated gamma readings arescattered randomly throughout Areas B and C. Upon reviewing the sampling information,ATSDR's radiation expert concluded that the elevated gamma radiation is not at levels of healthconcern provided people did not remove the discrete objects which are the radiation sources. Bythe summer of 1994, proper disposal of all of the accessible radiation sources had beencompleted.

3.  Leachate

Leachate is water that has come in contact with buried waste material and has moved through the waste material and surrounding soil matrix to the surface of the landfill. The term "leachate" does not refer to groundwater or spring water.

Over 40 leachate seeps have been identified at the Pfohl Brothers Landfill. The first time leachatesamples were collected and analyzed was in 1979. The Erie County Department of Environmentand Planning took seven samples of leachate seeps in May 1979 (2). Since that initial investigation, every other investigation has taken and analyzed leachate samples (1-6). Appendix 3, Table 5 lists what contaminants were detected during any of the investigations above health comparison levels. The contaminants frequently found in aqueous leachate samples significantly above health comparison values were dibenzofuran (<0.01-0.063 mg/L), carcinogenic PAHs (<0.006-0.022 mg/L), aluminum (0.04-303 mg/L), arsenic (<0.001-0.017 mg/L), barium (<0.05-10,000 mg/L), cadmium (<0.003-0.122 mg/L), chromium (<0.002-0.426 mg/L), lead (0.007-1.64 mg/L), manganese (0.123-16.1 mg/L), and nickel (<0.013-1.26 mg/L).

Several pesticides were detected in samples of leachate seeps from the Pfohl Brothers Landfill. Generally, the concentrations of the pesticides were at or below health comparison values.

4.  Surface Water

Rainfall run-off and leachate seep drain into several drainage ditches and wetlands located on the Pfohl Brothers Landfill. Analytical results of samples taken from the on-site drainage ditches and wetlands did not detect any organic compounds above health comparison values (1). Metals were detected in the surface water samples above health comparison values (see Appendix 3, Table 6). The metals frequently found in the surface water samples significantly above health comparison values were barium (<0.01-1.83 mg/L), cadmium (<0.003-0.035 mg/L), lead (<0.002-2.44 mg/L), and manganese (0.054-1.83 mg/L).

5.  Sediments

Sediments are soils found under surface water and leachate. Sediment samples have been takenfrom on-site leachate seep areas and drainage ditches (1). Analytical results of these samplesindicate that the contaminants frequently found above health comparison values and backgroundlevels were dibenzofuran (<0.37-2.5 mg/Kg), carcinogenic PAHs (<0.37-17.1 mg/Kg), cadmium(<0.9-6 mg/Kg), lead (11-1,180 mg/Kg), and zinc (48-910 mg/Kg).

6.  Groundwater

Appendix 3, Table 8 lists the contaminants detected above health comparison values ingroundwater samples taken from beneath the Pfohl Brothers Landfill (1, 4). This tableincorporates the results of all the on-site groundwater investigations conducted to date. Thecontaminants found frequently in on-site groundwater samples significantly above healthcomparison values were benzene (<0.002-0.29 mg/L), dibenzofuran (<0.01-0.02 mg/L), bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (<0.01-0.84 mg/L), PCBs (<0.0005-0.11 mg/L, only detected twice), barium(0.025-1.53 mg/L), chromium (<0.001-0.728 mg/L), lead (<0.002-0.369 mg/L), manganese(<0.0005-3.45 mg/L).

The first time an attempt was made to collect groundwater samples from underneath the PfohlBrothers Landfill was during the investigation conducted for the landfill owners (4). Theconsultant hired for the landfill owners installed fourteen very shallow monitoring wells. Analytical results of samples taken from these wells did not detect any volatile or semi-volatileorganic compounds above health comparison values. Metals were found in the groundwatersamples above health comparison values.

The next investigation of groundwater underneath the Pfohl Brothers Landfill was conductedduring the State of New York supported RI process (1989-1993) (1, 5). A total of 18 monitoringwells were installed (monitoring wells number 2S, 2D, 3S, 3D, 4S, 4D, 5S, 5D, 8S, 9S, 10S, 11S,12S, 13S, 14S, 15S, 16S, and 17S). [NOTE: The monitoring wells installed for the Ecology andEnvironment investigation were not used during the RI.] The State of New York RI wells weredesigned and constructed so that samples from these wells would represent both theunconsolidated and bedrock aquifers. Analytical results of samples taken from these on-site wellsfrequently detected benzene, dibenzofuran, bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, PCBs (only detectedtwice), barium, chromium, lead, and manganese above health comparison values.

It is not possible to conduct any trend analysis on the groundwater analytical results because themonitoring wells were not consistently sampled and analyzed for all of the compounds on theEPA Target Compound List over a one year period (i.e., sample and analysis from each wellevery quarter). The on-site monitoring wells have been sampled, on average, less than two times. The two State of New York RODs require routine monitoring of wells during the long-termremediation of the Pfohl Brothers Landfill.

7.  Landfill Gas

When waste materials decay in a landfill, methane and other gases can be produced. If volatileorganic compounds are in the landfill, the volatile organic compounds will be carried along withthe methane. These gases ("landfill gas") can migrate through the sub-surface soils or vent to theatmosphere.

From April - June 1994 (ten sampling events), the generation of "landfill gas" was monitored(combustible gas meter, oxygen meter, photoionization detector, and organic vapor analyzer) insix gas probes (25). The results indicate that the Pfohl Brothers Landfill is not generating asignificant amount of "landfill gas". Five of the six probes never contained any significantexplosive and organic gases (e.g., above 50 percent the lower explosive limit).

Only gas probe number five contained significant amounts of explosive or organic gases. Thisprobe is located in the middle of Area C (25). No dwellings are located near this probe.

Environmental monitoring (ambient air monitoring) conducted when test pits were dug into thelandfill for the RI did not detect any significant levels of explosive gases (1).

Based on the gas probe monitoring results and other on-site gas monitoring activities, the PfohlBrothers Landfill is not generating significant quantities of "landfill gases". Therefore, it is notlikely that "landfill gases" would be able to migrate off-site.

8.  Ambient Air

During the remedial activities at the Pfohl Brothers Landfill, ambient air samples were taken (26).In addition, remedial worker exposure to airborne contaminants were monitored with personal airsampling devices (26). Analytical results of the ambient air and personal air samples did notdetect any contaminants above health comparison values.

B.  Off-Site Contamination

The environmental investigations conducted by the Erie County Department of Environment andPlanning, EPA contractor, NYSDEC, and NYSDOH have identified contaminants in the off-sitesoils, surface water, sediment, and groundwater above health comparison values (1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10). These contaminants may be site-related. This part of the Pfohl Brothers Landfill Public HealthAssessment will identify what contaminants were detected above health comparison values andbackground levels in the environmental media (i.e., soil, surface water, sediment, andgroundwater). This section will also discuss the results of the fish, radon gas, and private drinkingwater well investigations.

1.  Soil

Surface and sub-surface soil samples have been taken beyond the boundaries of the Pfohl BrothersLandfill (1, 8). The surface soil samples were taken from residential yards and gardens near thelandfill. Sub-surface soil samples were taken at the monitoring well locations and near thesouthern boundary of Area C.

Analytical results of the surface soil samples indicate that arsenic (<2-21 mg/Kg), barium (67-801 mg/Kg), cadmium (0.6-6.2 mg/Kg), and zinc (47-969 mg/Kg) were the only contaminantsdetected above health comparison values and background levels (see Appendix 3, Tables 9 and 14) (8). No dioxins or PCBs were detected above health comparison values. Spacial analysis ofthe arsenic, barium cadmium, and zinc analytical results did not demonstrate a pattern. Inaddition, arsenic, barium, cadmium, and zinc only exceeded health comparison and backgroundlevels a few times. Therefore, the scattered elevated detections of arsenic, barium, cadmium, andzinc indicate that there is not a significant contamination problem in off-site surface soils.

Analytical results of the off-site subsurface soil samples did not detect any contaminants abovehealth comparison values and background levels (see Appendix 3, Tables 10 and 14) (8).

2.  Surface Water

Surface water samples were collected from Aero Lake and Ellicott Creek during the State of NewYork sponsored RI process (1989-1993) (1, 8). Analytical results of the samples found bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (<0.01-0.022 mg/L), barium (0.38-0.87 mg/L), and cadmium (<0.005-0.009mg/L) above health comparison values (see Appendix 3, Table 11). The barium and cadmiumwere detected only once above their respective health comparison values (0.7 and 0.007 mg/L) insamples from Aero Lake.

3.  Sediment

Sediment samples were also taken from Aero Lake and Ellicott Creek during the State of NewYork sponsored RI (1, 8). Analytical results of the samples found carcinogenic PAHs, aluminum,arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, manganese, and vanadium above health comparisonvalues. However, analytical results of sediment samples taken up-stream from the Pfohl BrothersLandfill indicate that none of the chemicals detected in the Aero Lake and Ellicott Creek samplesare above normal background levels.

4.  Fish

NYSDEC collected and analyzed a total of 16 composite fish samples obtained from Aero Lake,"Aero Creek" (an unnamed tributary to Ellicott Creek from the northern boundary of the landfill),and Ellicott Creek (10). Based on the analytical results, it does not appear that the fish in thevicinity of the Pfohl Brothers Landfill contain concentrations of PCBs, organochlorine pesticides,dioxins, dibenzofuran, and mercury above background or health comparison values.

5.  Radon

NYSDOH provided radon test canisters to people living on Pfohl Road. Laboratory analysis ofthe canisters were conducted by the EPA laboratory. The analytical results indicate that there isno radon in the homes near the Pfohl Brothers Landfill above the guidelines established by EPA.

6.  Groundwater

Nineteen monitoring wells were installed beyond the boundaries of the Pfohl Brothers Landfillduring the New York State sponsored RI (monitoring well numbers 1S, 1D, 6S, 6D, 7S, 7D, 18S,18D, 19S, 19D, 20S, 20D, 21S, 21D, 22S, 22D, 23S, 23D, and 23DD). Analytical results ofsamples taken from these wells indicate that benzene (<0.02-0.005 mg/L), tetrachloroethane(<0.001- 0.001 mg/L), bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (<0.01-0.042 mg/L), lead (<0.005-0.034mg/L), manganese (<7-2.2 mg/L) and chromium (<0.01-2.2 mg/L) were detected above healthcomparison values (1, 8, 20, 20, 20).

In addition to collecting samples from monitoring wells, NYSDOH collected samples fromresidential basement sumps of homes adjacent to the Pfohl Brothers Landfill (9). Analyticalresults of these samples did not find any contaminants above health comparison levels excepttrichloroethene. Trichloroethene was detected in one sump at 0.005 mg/L. The trichloroethenemay be from solvents or other materials used in the home. Trichloroethene was not detected inany of the monitoring wells adjacent to this home.

It is not possible to conduct any trend analysis on the groundwater analytical results because themonitoring wells were not consistently sampled and analyzed for all of the compounds on theEPA Target Compound List over a one year period (i.e., sample and analysis from each wellevery quarter). The off-site monitoring wells have been sampled, on average, less than two times. As required by the two State of New York RODs, a schedule of routine monitoring of wells willbe a part of the long-term remediation of the Pfohl Brothers Landfill.

7.  Private Drinking Water Wells

Prior to 1985, the residences adjacent to the Pfohl Brothers Landfill obtained their potable waterfrom private wells. Since 1985, potable water for these residences was obtained from the localmunicipal drinking water system.

In May, June, and October 1980, the Erie County Department of Environment and Planningsampled seven of the private wells adjacent to the landfill (one on Rein Road, one on Pfohl Road,three on Aero Drive, one on Transit Road, and one on Scott Road) (2). Analytical results of thefirst sampling event indicated that some of the wells may have been contaminated with PCBs(0.0001-0.0014 mg/L). However, when the wells were resampled again in June and October,PCBs were not detected (<0.00005 mg/L).

In addition to the eight private drinking water wells adjacent to the Pfohl Brothers Landfill, theErie County Department of Environment and Planning obtained a sample from a private well onSouth Youngs Road (northwest of the landfill) in May and October 1980 (2). Analytical resultsof the May sample detected PCBs (0.0013 mg/L). However, analytical results of the Octobersample did not detect any PCBs (<0.00005 mg/L). The South Youngs Road well is located up-gradient and cross-gradient of the Pfohl Brothers Landfill.

PCBs do not migrate very rapidly in groundwater (27). Because of the migration characteristicsof PCBs, it is unlikely that wells contaminated with PCBs would not be contaminated one monthlater or even five months later. In addition, the second highest PCB concentrations reported werefrom a well (South Youngs Road) that could not become contaminated because of the PfohlBrothers Landfill (the well is not hydrologically connected to the landfill or the other privatedrinking water wells adjacent to the landfill). Therefore, there is some question as to the validityof the May 1980 PCB analytical results.

In addition to PCBs, the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning also analyzedsome of the October private drinking water well samples for metals (2). Cadmium (<0.01-0.012mg/L), barium (<0.7-6.2 mg/L), and manganese (<0.02-0.06 mg/L) were detected in some wellsabove health comparison values (0.007 mg/L, 0.7 mg/L, and 0.05 mg/L, respectively). Most ofthese wells provided drinking water to businesses.

During the EPA contractor investigation (1982) of the Pfohl Brothers Landfill, water sampleswere taken from four private drinking water wells adjacent to the landfill (two on Pfohl Road andtwo on Scott Place) (6). Two of the private drinking water wells sampled in 1980 were sampledduring this investigation (i.e., the Scott Place wells). In the 1982 EPA study, no metals abovehealth comparison values were detected from the two wells which were previously sampled in1980. Analytical results of the other two well samples (1982) indicate only manganese (0.03-0.1mg/L) was detected in one of the wells above health comparison values (i.e., 0.05 mg/L). Thisprivate drinking water well was located on Pfohl Road. No PCBs or other organic compoundswere detected above health comparison values in any of the private drinking water wells.

In 1991 and 1993, NYSDOH sampled several private drinking water wells located approximatelyone quarter mile northeast of the Pfohl Brothers Landfill (12, 13). The analytical results of thesesamples did not detect any contaminants above health comparison values. These wells are up-gradient of the landfill.

In 1994, NYSDOH sampled seven private drinking water wells located on Rehm Road,approximately one mile south of the landfill (21). Analytical results of these samples did notdetect any site-related contaminants above health comparison values.

C.  Quality Assurance And Quality Control

ATSDR was able to obtain quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) information and datafor all of the chemical analytical data presented in this Public Health Assessment except for thesamples taken by the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning (1980). As discussedabove in the private drinking water well sub-section of this Public Health Assessment, there issome question whether the May 1980 sampling results are accurate. QA/QC information and datafor those samples would have been useful in determining whether PCBs were really in the privatedrinking water wells.

The QA/QC information for the other environmental investigations indicates appropriate QA/QCwas performed and that the analytical results reported by these investigation are likely to be valid.

D.  Physical Hazards

Prior to 1990, access to the Pfohl Brothers Landfill was not restricted. It has been reported toATSDR that people frequently walked and played on the landfill. During this time period (priorto 1990), various deteriorated drums and waste material (e.g., construction debris, tires, andbroken applicants) protruded through the soil surface. These drums and waste materials were aphysical hazard (tripping, puncture, and cut) to anyone entering the landfill.

In 1990, NYSDEC constructed a fence that surrounds most of the landfill and effectivelyrestricted access to the site. In addition, all of the exposed drums were removed from the site andproperly disposed of by the spring of 1994. These actions have significantly reduced the physicalhazards at the Pfohl Brothers Landfill.

E.  Review of Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (TRI) Data

To identify possible facilities that could contribute to the contamination at the proposed PfohlBrothers Landfill NPL site or the facilities discharges that could increase an individuals exposureto site-related contaminants, ATSDR searched the 1987 to 1992 files of the TRI databases (28). TRI was developed by the EPA from chemical release information (air, water, and soil) providedby certain industries.

Several limitations of TRI data should be noted (29). The air release data in TRI may beestimates or actual measurements. Many of the reported data are estimates based on conservative(overestimated) scenarios. Consequently, the levels of emissions recorded in TRI are often biasedon the high side. In addition, reporting is restricted to specific chemicals that are used or releasedabove specified amounts. Finally, it is believed there have been and still are industries that do notreport releases. Smaller industries may not be aware that reporting requirements exist or that theyare responsible for such reports (29).

Appendix 1, Figure 3 delineates the location of facilities which reported TRI environmentaldischarges from 1987-1992. The search of TRI indicates there are three facilities, within a twoand one half mile radius, which discharged site-related compounds into the environment.

The facility closest to the Pfohl Brothers Landfill is Pratt & Lambert, Inc. According to TRI,Pratt & Lambert, Inc., released approximately 13,532 pounds (average) per year of ethylbenzenefrom 1988-1992, 16,300 pounds (average) per year of toluene from 1988-1989, and 19,000pounds of acetone in 1990. It is unlikely these small releases would have any affect on the PfohlBrothers Landfill or community adjacent to the landfill.

The next closest facility to the landfill is Reichhold Chemical, Inc.. This facility reported that itreleased approximately 186 pounds (average) per year of toluene from 1988-1992. It is unlikelythese small releases would have any affect on the Pfohl Brothers Landfill or community adjacentto the landfill.

The third facility is Quebecor Printing (Arcata Graphics). As indicated on Appendix 1, Figure 3,this facility is nearly 2.5 miles south of the Pfohl Brothers Landfill. According to TRI, QuebecorPrinting released approximately 1,458,850 pounds (average) per year of toluene from 1988-1992. Given the distance of this facility from the Pfohl Brothers Landfill, it is unlikely these releaseswould have any affect on the community adjacent to the landfill.

PATHWAY ANALYSIS

In this section of the Public Health Assessment, the possible environmental exposure pathways areevaluated to help determine whether individuals have been, are being, or will be exposed to site-related contaminants. The pathway analysis consists of five elements:

  1. Identifying contaminants of concern possibly related to the site;
  2. Determining that contaminants have been/are being/will be transported through an environmental medium;
  3. Identifying a point of exposure (i.e., a place or situation where people might be exposed to the contaminated media);
  4. Determining that there is a plausible route of human exposure (i.e., can the contaminant enter the body?); and
  5. Identifying an exposed population (i.e., how many people, if any are at the point of exposure?).

An environmental exposure pathway is considered complete when there is good evidence that allfive elements exist (30). The presence of a completed pathway indicates that human exposure tocontaminants has occurred in the past, is occurring, or will occur in the future. When one ormore of the five elements of an exposure pathway are missing, that pathway is consideredpotential. The presence of a potential exposure pathway indicates that human exposure tocontaminants could have occurred in the past, could be occurring, or could occur in the future. An exposure pathway can be eliminated from consideration if at least one of the five elements ismissing and will never be present. If there is uncertainty about the site-relatedness of thecontaminants of concern in an exposure pathway, the pathway will be evaluated as if thecontaminants were site-related.

The completed, potential, and no known environmental exposure pathways are discussed below.

A.  Completed Environmental Exposure Pathways

There is evidence that people may have been exposed to waste material (e.g., exposed drums) andcontaminated on-site surface soils through ingestion, inhalation, and skin contact at the proposedPfohl Brothers Landfill NPL site (the "Waste and On-Site Surface Soil" pathway). The formerlyexposed drums were also a physical hazard to people who walked on to the landfill (the "PhysicalHazard" pathway). In addition, people may have been exposed (ingestion, inhalation, and skincontact) to site-related contaminants when they swam and played at Aero Lake (the "Aero Lake"pathway).

Information and data obtained by ATSDR indicates that there are currently no completedenvironmental exposures pathways at or near the proposed Pfohl Brother NPL site.

1.  Waste and On-Site Surface Soil

Analysis of waste material in exposed drums and on-site surface soil samples (Areas B and C)demonstrates dibenzofuran, carcinogenic PAHs, non-carcinogenic PAHs, aluminum, barium,cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, and zinc frequently above levels of health concern. Accordingto local citizens, children frequently played and walked through the landfill areas. In addition, ithas been reported to ATSDR that children may have played with waste material at the landfill andwaste material that migrated from the landfill onto residential yard borders. Individuals, primarilychildren, may have been exposed to the waste material and surface soil contamination (Areas B and C) via inadvertent consumption and skin contact with the waste material and soil on hands orfood items, mouthing of objects, or the ingestion of nonfood items (pica). In addition, theseindividuals could have inhaled the soil contaminants whenever the on-site waste material and soilwere distributed (e.g., dust and particulate matter).

People employed at the landfill could have been exposed (inhalation, ingestion, and skin contact)in the past to waste material during waste disposal operations. The extent of exposure woulddepend upon the personal protection equipment the workers wore (i.e., gloves, protectiveclothing, and respirator) and the length of contact, both of which would affect the amount ofwaste material ingested, inhaled, or accumulated on the skin.

It is presently unlikely that people can be exposed to on-site waste material and surface soilcontamination because the exposed drums and the phenol tars have been removed from the siteand properly disposed of. In addition, the fence surrounding most of the landfill should restrictassess to the landfill. Therefore, the potential for people to be exposed to any remaining surfacesoil contamination has been reduced. Once the landfill has been capped (as required by the NewYork State ROD), the potential for people to be exposed to surface soil contamination will bereduced even more.

The State of New York requires site-remedial workers at the Pfohl Brothers Landfill to wear theappropriate personal protection equipment to prevent exposures. In addition, the remedialworkers are monitored to assure they are not exposed to site-related contaminants at levels ofhealth concern.

Analysis of soil samples indicate there are not any contaminants at levels of health concern in Area A.

2.  Physical Hazards

Prior to 1990, access to the Pfohl Brothers Landfill was not restricted. It has been reported toATSDR that people frequently walked and played on the landfill. During this time period (priorto 1990), various deteriorated drums and waste material (e.g., construction debris, tires, andbroken applicants) protruded through the soil surface. These drums and waste materials were aphysical hazard (tripping, puncture, and cut) to anyone entering the landfill. ATSDR does nothave any information which indicates that physical injuries have occurred. This pathway isconsidered completed because there was a high potential for injuries to occur.

In 1990, NYSDEC constructed a fence that prevented people from entering the landfill fromsouth, east, and west; the most likely paths of entry. Therefore, access to the landfill wasrestricted. In addition, all of the exposed drums were removed from the site and properlydisposed of by the spring of 1994. These actions have significantly reduced the physical hazardsat the Pfohl Brothers Landfill.

3.  Aero Lake

Analytical results of surface water and sediment samples from Aero Lake demonstrates bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (in surface water only), carcinogenic PAHs (in sediment only), barium,cadmium, and lead occasionally above levels of health concern. According to local citizens,people swam, fished, and played in and around Aero Lake. These individuals could have beenexposed to the contaminants during these activities through ingestion, inhalation, and skincontact. However, such exposures are not likely to occur on a continuous bases.

Since the south, east, and west sides of the landfill were fenced, access to Aero Lake through thelandfill has been restricted. The most direct and easiest route of access to Aero Lake was acrossArea B of the landfill. Therefore, it is likely that the frequency of human exposure tocontaminants in Aero Lake has been reduced even more than in the past.

B.  Possible Environmental Exposure Pathways

People could have been potentially exposed to site-related contaminants via groundwater; on-site leachate, surface water, sediment. In addition, people could have been exposed to radiation if they removed the sources of radiation from the landfill.

1.  Groundwater

Analysis of private drinking water well samples taken by the Erie County Department ofEnvironment and Planning and an EPA contractor indicate that the wells may have beencontaminated with PCBs, barium, cadmium, and manganese. As discussed previously, there issome question as to the validity of the 1980 PCB analytical results. In addition, it is not possibleto determine the distribution of metals in the groundwater because the monitoring wells were notconsistently sampled and analyzed for all of the compounds on the EPA Target Compound Listover a one year period (i.e., sample and analysis from each well every quarter). The on- and off-site monitoring wells have been sampled, on average, less than two times. As required by the twoState of New York RODs, a schedule of routine monitoring of wells will be a part of the long-term remediation of the Pfohl Brothers Landfill. This monitoring effort will help clarify whethermetals have migrated off-site and to what extent.

All of the dwellings near the landfill were connected to the municipal water supply system by theend of 1985. If people were exposed to contaminated groundwater from their private drinkingwater wells, this exposure pathway stopped by 1985 because the municipal drinking water supplyis not contaminated with any site-related compounds.

In 1994, NYSDOH took samples from active private drinking water wells one mile south of thelandfill. These wells are probably not down-gradient of the landfill. In addition, NYSDOH hassampled some active wells northeast of the landfill. These wells are probably up-gradient of thelandfill. Analytical results of these samples indicate the wells were not contaminated with anysite-related compounds above health comparison values. Therefore, it is unlikely people whoobtain drinking water from these wells were or are currently being exposed to site-relatedcontaminants. If the remedial activities outlined in the New York State ROD are appropriatelydesigned, constructed, and maintained, the potential for future exposures to contaminatedgroundwater should be reduced.

2.  On-Site Leachate, Surface Water, and Sediment

Analysis of on-site leachate, surface water, and sediment samples indicated that dibenzofuran,carcinogenic PAHs, aluminum, arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, manganese, nickel, andzinc were frequently detected above health comparison values. Prior to the installation of thefence, people could have inadvertently consumed and inhaled the contaminants in these on-siteenvironmental media. Inadvertent skin contact could have also occurred. However, suchexposures were not likely to have occurred very frequently.

In 1990, NYSDEC constructed a fence that surrounded most of the landfill and effectivelyrestricted access to the site. This has significantly reduced the potential for people to come incontact with contaminated on-site leachate, surface water, and sediment.

3.  Radiation

During the RI, a "walk over" gamma radiation survey was conducted throughout the landfill. Inaddition, the subsurface sources of elevated gamma radiation were investigated during the test pitexcavations. The survey and sample results indicated that elevated gamma readings werescattered randomly throughout Areas B and C. Upon reviewing the sampling information,ATSDR's radiation expert concluded that the elevated gamma radiation was not at levels of healthconcern provided people did not remove the discrete objects which were the radiation sources.

If people removed the discrete objects which were the radiation sources, they could have beenexposed to elevated gamma radiation. The radiation exposure would have continued as long as the source was kept near the individual. ATSDR does not have any information which indicates that people have removed the radiation sources. This potential environmental exposure pathway is discussed to inform the public of the possible concerns if someone had removed a radiation source from the landfill.

By the summer of 1994, proper disposal of all of the accessible radiation sources had been completed. Therefore, the potential for human exposure to site-related gamma radiation has been significantly reduced.

C.  No Apparent Environmental Exposure Pathways

Analysis of off-site surface and subsurface soil samples indicates there is no significantcontamination of these environmental media. Therefore, it is unlikely that people were or could be presently exposed to contaminants of health concern.

Analysis of ambient air and remedial worker breathing zones did not detect any contaminants above health comparison values. Therefore, it is unlikely that people were or are currently being exposed to contaminants of health concern.

Monitoring of landfill gas probes indicate the Pfohl Brothers Landfill is not generating anysignificant amounts of "landfill gas." Therefore, it is unlikely that "landfill gas" has migrated or will migrate into the dwellings near the landfill.

Analytical results of fish samples did not detect concentrations of PCBs, organochlorinepesticides, dioxins, dibenzofuran, and mercury above background or health comparison values. Because the fish did not contain any of the site-related compounds which are easilybioaccumulated, it is unlikely the fish would contain any of the other site-related contaminants at levels of health concern. Therefore, it is unlikely that anyone was or is currently being exposed to site-related contaminants by ingesting Aero Lake or Ellicott Creek fish.

PUBLIC HEALTH IMPLICATIONS

A.  Toxicological Evaluation

Introduction

The contaminants of concern released into the environment at the Pfohl Brothers Landfill sitehave the potential to cause adverse health effects. However, for adverse health effects to occurthe pathway for exposure must be completed. A release does not always result in exposure. Aperson can only be exposed to a contaminant if they come in contact with the contaminant. Health effects resulting from the interaction of an individual with a hazardous substance in theenvironment depend on several factors. One is the route of exposure: that is, whether thechemical is breathed; consumed with food, soil, or water; or whether it contacts the skin. Anotherfactor is the dose to which a person is exposed, and the amount of exposure dose that is actuallyabsorbed. Mechanisms by which chemicals are altered in the environment or inside the body, aswell as the combination (types) of chemicals are also important. Once exposure occurs,characteristics such as age, sex, nutritional status, genetics, life style, and health status of theexposed individual influence how the contaminants are absorbed, distributed, metabolized, andexcreted. Together those factors and characteristics determine the health effects that may occuras a result of exposure to a contaminant. Much variation in those mechanisms exists amongindividuals. For Example; all children mouth or ingest nonfood items to some extent. The degreeof pica behavior varies widely in the population, and is influenced by nutritional status and thequality of care and supervision (30). Groups that are at increased risk for pica behavior arechildren aged 1 to 3 years old, children from families of low socioeconomic status, and childrenwith neurologic disorders (e.g., brain damage, epilepsy, and mental retardation).

Health guidelines provide a basis for comparing estimated exposures with concentrations ofcontaminants in different environmental media (soil, air, water, and food) to which people mightbe exposed. ATSDR has developed a Minimal Risk Level (MRL) for contaminants commonlyfound at hazardous waste sites. The MRL is an estimate of daily exposure to a contaminantbelow which non-cancer, adverse health effects are unlikely to occur. MRLs are developed fordifferent routes of exposure, like inhalation and ingestion, and for length of exposure, such asacute (less than 14 days), intermediate (15 - 364 days), and chronic (365 days or greater). OralMRLs are expressed in units of milligrams of contaminant per kilogram of body weight per day(mg/kg/day). MRLs are not derived for dermal exposure. The method for deriving MRLs doesnot include information about cancer, therefore, an MRL does not imply anything about thepresence, absence, or level of cancer risk. If an ATSDR MRL is not available as a health value,then EPA's Reference Dose (RfD) is used. The RfD is an estimate of daily human exposure to acontaminant for a lifetime below which (non-cancer) health effects are unlikely to occur (30).

To link the site's human exposure potential with health effects that may occur under site-specificconditions, ATSDR estimates human exposure to the site contaminant from ingestion and/orinhalation of different environmental media (30). The following relationship is used to determinethe estimated exposure (via ingestion) to the site contaminant:

    ED = (C x IR x EF) / BW

where:

    ED =  exposure dose (mg/kg/day)
    C   =  contaminant concentration
    IR  =  intake rate
    EF  =  exposure factor
    BW =  body weight

Standard body weights for adults and children are 70 kg and 10 kg, respectively. However, toestimate exposure in this public health assessment, the body weight for a child was assumed to be16 kg, this is because ATSDR does not expect a toddler or infant to have trespassed upon thesite. The maximum contaminant concentration detected at a site for a specific medium is used todetermine the estimated exposure. Use of the maximum concentration should result in the mostconservative evaluation for human health risks. Some exposures are intermittent or irregularlytimed (i.e. exposures resulting from trespassing). For those exposures, an exposure factor (EF) iscalculated which averages the dose over the exposed period. When unknown the biologicalabsorption from the environmental media (soil, water) is assumed to be 100%.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies chemicals as Class A, Class B, Class C,Class D, or Class E). This classification defines a specific chemical's ability to cause cancer inhumans and animals. According to EPA, Class A chemicals are known human carcinogens, andClass B chemicals are probable human carcinogens. Class B is further subdivided into twogroups: Group B1 consists of chemicals for which there is limited evidence of carcinogenicityfrom epidemiologic studies in humans; and Group B2 consists of chemicals for which there issufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in animals, but inadequate evidence or no data availablefrom epidemiologic studies in humans. Group C chemicals are possible human carcinogens. Group D chemicals are not classifiable as to human carcinogenicity and Group E chemicals arethose for which there is evidence that they are not carcinogenic to humans. For carcinogenicsubstances, EPA has established the Cancer Slope Factor (CSF) as a guideline. The CSF is usedto estimate the number of excess cancers resulting from exposure to a contaminant. The NationalToxicology Program in its Annual Report on Carcinogens classifies a chemical as a "knownhuman carcinogen" based on sufficient human data. Its classification of a chemical as being"reasonably anticipated to be a carcinogen" (RAC) is based on limited human or sufficient animaldata. ATSDR considers the above physical and biological characteristics when developing healthguidelines.

An increased excess lifetime cancer risk is not a specific estimate of expected cancers. Rather, itis an estimate of the increase in the probability that a person may develop cancer sometime in hisor her lifetime following exposure to that contaminant.

There is no general consensus within the scientific or regulatory communities on what level ofestimated excess cancer risk is acceptable. Some have recommended the use of the relativelyconservative excess lifetime cancer risk level of one in one million because of the uncertainties inour scientific knowledge about the mechanism of cancer. Others feel that risks that are lower orhigher may be acceptable, depending on scientific, economic and social factors. An increasedlifetime cancer risk of one in one million or less is generally considered an insignificant increase incancer risk.

For non-carcinogenic health risks, the contaminant intake was estimated using exposureassumptions 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 healtheffects) developed by ATSDR or EPA.

Non-carcinogenic effects unlike carcinogenic effects are believed to have a threshold, that is, adose below which adverse effects will not occur. As a result, the current practice is to identify,usually from animal toxicology experiments, a no-observed-adverse-effect-level (NOAEL), Thisis the experimental exposure level in animals at which no adverse toxic effect is observed. TheNOAEL is then divided by an uncertainty factor (UF) to yield a risk reference dose. The UF is anumber which reflects the degree of uncertainty that exists when experimental animal data areextrapolated to the general human population. The magnitude of the UF takes into considerationvarious factors such as sensitive sub-populations (for example, children, pregnant women, and theelderly), extrapolation from animals to humans, and the incompleteness of available data. Thus,exposure doses at or below the risk reference dose are not expected to cause adverse healtheffects because it is selected to be much lower than dosages that do not cause adverse healtheffects in laboratory animals.

The measure used to describe the potential for non-cancer health effects to occur in an individualis expressed as a ratio of estimated contaminant intake to the risk reference dose. If exposure tothe contaminant exceeds the risk reference dose, there is concern for potential non-cancer healtheffects. As a rule, the greater the ratio of the estimated contaminant intake to the risk referencedose, the greater the level of concern. A ratio equal to or less than one is generally considered aninsignificant (minimal) increase in risk.

However, data are very limited on the health effects of multiple contaminant exposure. Theeffects of multiple contaminant exposure can be additive, synergistic (greater than the sum of thesingle contaminant exposures), or antagonistic (less than the sum of the single contaminantexposures). Also, simultaneous exposure to contaminants that are known or probable humancarcinogens could increase the risk of developing cancer. ATSDR's evaluation of exposures inthis public health assessment is limited to individual contaminant exposures; multiple exposureshave not been evaluated because an appropriate methodology for doing so has not beenestablished.

The term "past users" will be used to refer to persons who may have come into contact with thecontaminants by walking or playing on the landfill and by swimming or playing at Aero Lake. Because of uncertainty regarding duration of exposures for most populations, ATSDR is using thefollowing worse case scenarios: 1) all exposures are intermittent (assuming no more than fivemonths per year due to weather conditions); 2) all exposures occurred in the past (site fenced,exposed drums removed, and access to Aero Lake restricted); 3) individuals exposed at themaximum concentration of the chemical found in the reported medium; 4) an adult incidentallyingests 100 mg/day of soil or sediment and a child incidentally ingests 200 mg/day; 5) anindividual using Aero Lake for recreational purposes accidentally intakes 0.25 L/day of surfacewater; and 6) adults were exposed to the maximum concentration for thirty years, and children tothe maximum concentration for a minimum of ten years. Pica child was not evaluated because itis highly unlikely that a child trespassing upon the site would ingest 5000 mg of soil a day. Inaddition pica is not a behavior expressed by most children.

The completed exposure pathways discussed are our best estimates of possible scenarios basedupon what we know about the history of the site. Exposure of former site workers to on-sitecontaminants has not been evaluated because ATSDR is not aware of the amount of time the pastworkers would have been exposed to on-site contaminants and not enough information is knownabout past work practices.

1. On Site

ATSDR has identified two past completed on-site exposure pathways for persons who walked orplayed upon the landfill (past users). These pathways are: 1) exposure to physical hazards suchas deteriorating drums and debris via physical contact and 2) exposure to contaminants in exposedwaste material and on-site surface soil via incidental ingestion, dermal contact, and inhalation.

2. Off Site

One past completed pathway for past users has been identified by ATSDR: Aero Lake surfacewater and sediment via incidental ingestion, dermal contact, and inhalation.

Skin absorption (following dermal contact) with contaminants is possible. It is difficult toestimate skin exposure and absorption across the skin, but most of the major contaminants ofconcern do not cross the skin easily. It is believed that dermal contact with the contaminatedmedia is limited.

ATSDR has prepared toxicological profiles for many substances found at hazardous waste sites. Those documents present data and interpret information on the substances. Health guidelines,such as ATSDR's MRL and EPA's RfD, and CSFs are included in the toxicological profiles. Those health guidelines are used by ATSDR health professionals in determining the potential fordeveloping adverse non-carcinogenic health effects and/or cancer from exposure to a hazardoussubstance. Because ATSDR has no methodology to determine amounts of chemicals absorbedthrough the skin, the Agency has not developed MRLs for dermal contact. Preparers of thispublic health assessment have reviewed the profiles for the contaminants of concern at the PfohlBrothers Landfill site.

Contaminants listed in Appendix 5, Tables 1 and 2 for which the estimated exposure doseexceeded the health guidelines, are classified as carcinogenic or probably carcinogenic, and orwhich have no guidelines will be discussed further.

3. Aluminum (31)

Aluminum is a silver-white, flexible metal and is found naturally in the earth combined with otherelements. It makes up approximately 8% of the earth's surface. Combined with othercompounds, it is commonly used in deodorants, antacids, and for the treatment of drinking water. In the metallic form it is used to form appliances, cooking utensils, and building materials.

Aluminum was detected in on-site exposed drum waste, in on-site surface soil, and in Aero Lakesediment at the maximum concentrations of 2,120 mg/kg, 11,000 mg/kg, and 11,200 mg/kgrespectively. These concentrations do not exceed the typical background level for aluminum inthe state of New York. ATSDR has not developed MRLs. EPA has developed a provisionalRfDs for the ingestion of aluminum (1 mg/kg/day).

Past users may have been exposed to aluminum via incidental ingestion, inhalation, or dermalcontact while on the landfill or at Aero Lake. Exposure to aluminum is usually not harmful. There is no air data to evaluate the potential from inhalation exposure. Many types of foodscontain aluminum because they are grown in soil that contains aluminum. People normally ingestabout 10 mg of aluminum per day. Very little of the ingested aluminum enters the bloodstream. Most of the aluminum leaves the body quickly in the feces. Incidental ingestion of aluminum fromthe contaminated media should not result in any adverse non-cancer health effects. Dermalcontact with the contaminated media is not expected to have produced any adverse health effectsexcept possibly in persons who are sensitive to aluminum compounds (such as antiperspirants). Skin rashes may have developed in these sensitive individuals.

4. Arsenic (32)

Arsenic (As) is a metal-like material usually found in the environment combined with otherelements. Arsenic when combined with carbon and hydrogen is referred to as organic arsenic. Arsenic combined with other elements such as oxygen, chlorine, and sulphur is referred to asinorganic arsenic. The organic forms of As are usually less harmful than the inorganic forms. Inorganic As occurs naturally in many kinds of rocks, especially those containing copper and leadores. The main use of arsenic is as a wood preservative to make the wood resistant to rotting anddecay. Arsenic is also used as an ingredient in insecticides and herbicides. Arsenic is not broken-down or destroyed in the environment, but it will readily change from one chemical form toanother by natural chemical reactions.

Most arsenic-induced toxicity in humans is due to exposure to inorganic arsenic. In the UnitedStates the average adult consumes 0.05 mg/day of arsenic in their diet. Food is usually the largestsource of As exposure in humans.

ATSDR estimated the arsenic exposure doses that persons who walked and played on the landfillor swam and played in Aero Lake might have received from the incidental ingestion of sediment,waste and surface soil. No studies were located regarding unusual susceptibility of any humansubpopulation to arsenic. All estimated exposure doses were below the health guideline of 0.0003mg/kg/day. In addition, the levels of arsenic found in these media were similar to the Statebackground levels. Therefore, non-carcinogenic adverse health effects are not expected to occur.

EPA has classified arsenic as a Class A known human carcinogen by the oral and inhalationroutes. Epidemiologic studies of people exposed to arsenic in Taiwan indicate that exposure toarsenic is associated with skin cancer. Based on that and other studies, the EPA considers arsenica human carcinogen. The EPA has calculated a cancer unit risk factor, which can be used toestimate the probability of excess cancer risks for a lifetime of exposure to arsenic. Cancer risksfor exposure were estimated based on the maximum concentration of arsenic in the contaminatedmedia. There does not appear to be a significant increase risk of cancer based upon thoseestimations.

5. Bis (2-Ethylhexyl) Phthalate (DEHP) (33)

DEHP is a manufactured chemical that is used to make plastic more flexible. It is in polyvinylchloride (PVC) products like toys, vinyl upholstery, shower curtains, adhesives, and coatings. Vinyl plastics may contain up to 40% DEHP. DEHP is used in inks, pesticides, cosmetics, andvacuum pump oil. It is used to detect leaks in protective face gear, and as a test material forfiltration systems.

DEHP was found in Aero Lake surface water at a maximum concentration of 0.022 mg/L. Thereis no evidence that DEHP causes serious health effects in humans. Most of the data about healtheffects of DEHP comes from high exposures to rats and mice. The estimated exposure dose forpast users does not exceed the health guideline of 0.02 mg/kg/day, therefore, no adverse non-carcinogenic health effects are expected to occur.

EPA has classified DEHP as a Class B2 probable human carcinogen by the oral route. There is noevidence that DEHP causes cancer in humans, but high exposure in rats and mice produced anincrease in liver cancer. The concentration of DEHP found in the Aero Lake surface waters isextremely low, therefore, no significant increased risk of cancer is expected to occur.

6. Cadmium (34)

Cadmium (Cd) is a naturally occurring element that is usually found combined with other metals. Cd is currently used for the production of nickel-cadmium (NiCad) batteries and for metal plating. It is also used for pigments, plastics, synthetics, and for alloys.

Foodstuffs are the most important source of Cd exposure for the general population. Low levelsof Cd can be found in basic foods such as potatoes, grains, cereals, and leafy vegetables. Theamount of Cd absorbed from smoking one pack of cigarettes per day is about 1-3 micrograms ofCd per day (µg/day), roughly the same as in the diet. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)limits the amount of cadmium in food colors to 15 parts of cadmium per million parts of foodcolor (15 ppm). In the United States, the average person consumes about 30 µg/day of Cd intheir diet.

Past users were likely to have been exposed to cadmium in waste and on-site surface soil as wellas Aero Lake surface water and sediment. The maximum concentration of cadmium found inthese media were 1.9 mg/kg, 28 mg/kg, 0.009 mg/L, and 4.7 mg/kg respectively. The estimatedexposure doses do not exceed the health guideline of 0.0007 mg/kg/day. Adverse non-carcinogenic health effects are not expected to occur.

EPA classifies cadmium as a B1 carcinogen via inhalation. There is weak evidence of increasedlung cancer in humans from breathing cadmium. There is strong evidence that cadmium causescancer in animals via the inhalation route of exposure. Studies in humans and animals that ate ordrank Cd did not show an increased risk of cancer. Based on these data, and the fact that 1) likelyexposures were primarily through ingestion and dermal contact and 2) the exposure throughinhalation was not likely significant, carcinogenic health effects are not expected to occur.

7. Chromium (35)

Chromium (Cr) is a naturally occurring element found in rocks, soil, plants, animals, and involcanic dust and gases. Cr III is an essential nutrient required for normal energy metabolism. The National Research Council (NRC) recommended in its 1989 report a dietary intake of 50-200 µg/day. Cr III is believed to assist insulin in maintaining normal glucose levels. Cr VI, the formof Cr that is known to cause cancer in humans through inhalation, occurs rarely in the naturalenvironment. Cr compounds have no taste or odor. Cr is used for making steel and other alloys,bricks in furnaces, and dyes and pigments. It is also used for chrome plating, leather tanning, andwood preserving.

The general population is exposed to Cr by inhaling ambient air, ingesting food, and drinkingwater containing Cr. Dermal exposure of the general public to Cr can occur from skin contactwith certain consumer products or soils that contain Cr. U.S. soil levels of total chromium rangefrom 1.0 to 2,000 mg/kg, with a mean level of 37 mg/kg. Cr content of foods varies greatly anddepends of the processing and preparation.

Cr was detected in Aero Lake sediments (18.6 mg/kg) and in exposed waste (14.8 mg/kg) andon-site surface soil (84 mg/kg). The estimated exposure doses for past users do not exceed thehealth guidelines of 0.005 mg/kg/day (Cr VI) and 1.0 mg/kg/day (Cr III), therefore, adverse non-carcinogenic health effects are not expected to occur.

EPA has classified Cr VI as a Class A known human carcinogen by the inhalation route. Laboratory studies have not shown that Cr VI or Cr III cause cancer in animals when ingested. The form of Cr found at the site is not known. ATSDR does not have enough data to determineif Cr III is carcinogenic. No studies were located regarding cancer in humans or animals afterdermal exposure to Cr or its compounds. However, even assuming that the Cr at the site is CrVI, there does not appear to be a significant increase risk of cancer associated with the PfohlBrothers Landfill.

8. Cobalt (36)

Cobalt (Co) is a steel-gray, shiny, hard metal that occurs naturally in many different forms. Small amounts of cobalt are found in most rocks, soil, surface- and groundwater, plants, and animals. Cobalt is currently not mined in the U.S..

Cobalt and cobalt compounds are used in industry. Cobalt is used mostly in the production of alloys; as a drier for paint and the porcelain enameling used on steel bathroom fixtures, large appliances and kitchenwares; and in making colored pigments. Vitamin B12 is a cobalt-containing compound that is essential for good health in humans.

Cobalt was found in on-site surface soils at a maximum concentration of 18 mg/kg. ATSDR has not develop MRLs and EPA has not developed an RfD for cobalt ingestion. The estimated exposure doses are orders of magnitude below the NOAEL (human) for cobalt ingestion. In addition, the maximum concentration detected in surface soils did not exceed typical background levels for the state of New York. Adverse non-carcinogenic health effects are not expected to occur.

Individuals that are already sensitized to cobalt may be unusually susceptible because cobalt exposure may trigger asthmatic attacks. Dermatitis is a common result of dermal exposure to cobalt in humans. However, this effect is not expected to occur with intermittent exposure to cobalt at the low concentrations found in the on-site surface soils.

9. Copper (37)

Copper (Cu), a reddish-brown metal which occurs naturally in rocks, soil, water, plants, sediment,air, and animals (including humans), is an essential element for all known living organisms. Somecommon uses of copper is to make electrical wires, the U.S. penny, and some water pipes. It isalso combined with other metals to form the alloys brass and bronze. Soil generally containsbetween 2 and 250 mg/Kg copper although concentrations close to 7000 mg/Kg have been foundnear copper production facilities.

Copper rapidly enters the bloodstream and is distributed throughout the body after ingestion. Onemechanism that the body has to defend itself from acute exposure to high concentrations ofcopper is excretion (via vomiting or diarrhea). This mechanism helps block copper from enteringthe blood. ATSDR does not know how much copper enters the body via dermal contact.

Past users were likely to have been exposed to copper in contaminated waste and on-site surfacesoil. The maximum concentration found in the waste was 131 mg/kg and the highestconcentration in the surface soil was 1,057 mg/kg. ATSDR has not developed MRLs and EPAhas not developed RfDs for the ingestion of copper. There is little information on copper toxicityin man. Most of the reports of copper toxicity in humans involves acute exposure and theconsumption of water containing large amounts of copper or suicide attempts using coppersulfate. Long-term exposure of humans to copper by ingestion and dermal contact occurs inoccupational settings as well as the home. However, there is limited information on effects ofchronic copper exposure. Some of the non-carcinogenic health effects seen in these studies havebeen abdominal pain and vomiting following ingestion of contaminated water. The most affectedpopulation would most likely be children who come into contact with the surface soil. Theestimated exposure dose for children is 100 times lower than the LOAEL (human) for copperingestion. Adverse non-carcinogenic health effects are not expected to occur. Copper is notknown to cause cancer.

Individuals with Wilson's disease are unusually susceptible to copper toxicity because of theirimpaired ability to maintain normal copper homeostasis. Limiting copper intake through air,water, and food as well as special medical treatment is essential in treating the disease. Inaddition, infants and children less than one-year old and persons with liver damage may be moresusceptible to copper toxicity.

10. Dibenzofuran (38)

Dibenzofuran is an organic compound that contains two benzene rings fused to a central furanring. It is a white, crystalline powder derived from coal tar and is used to make other chemicalsand as an insecticide. It is released into the environment in atmospheric emissions involved withthe combustion of biomass, refuse, and diesel fuels. The incomplete combustion of propane hasbeen found to form dibenzofuran.

Dibenzofuran was detected in on-site exposed drum wastes (1,880 mg/kg) and surface soils (13mg/kg). ATSDR has no MRL and EPA has no RfD for this compound. ATSDR has notdeveloped a toxicological profile for the compound at this time.

Repeated dermal contact may cause skin growths, changes in skin color, and rashes. The rashesmay be made worse by excessive exposure to sunlight. More information is needed to determineif adverse non-carcinogenic health effects could occur at the concentration of the compoundfound in the on-site media.

Dibenzofuran has not been tested for its ability to cause cancer in animals, however, it is derivedfrom coal tar which is a substance that causes cancer in humans. It is not known if dibenzofurancauses cancer.

11. Lead (39)

Past users were likely to have been exposed to lead in contaminated waste (79 mg/kg) and on-sitesurface soil (985 mg/kg), and Aero Lake sediments (79 mg/kg). ATSDR has no MRLs and EPAhas no RfDs for lead. The maximum concentration found in surface soil exceeds the naturalbackground level found in New York.

Exposure to lead is particularly dangerous for unborn children and young children because of theirgreater sensitivity during development. Studies have shown that lead contamination in exteriordusts and soil at concentrations of 500 to 1000 mg/kg can begin to influence blood leadconcentrations in children residing in lead contaminated areas. Blood lead levels may be raisedabove background.

In April 1991, the NYSDOH conducted a blood lead screening for children living in the vicinity ofthe site. Of the twenty children screened the highest blood lead level found was 8 micrograms oflead per deciliter of blood (µg/dL). Currently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) has set the limit for blood lead level in children to 10 µg/dL. Blood lead levels in excessof 10 µg/dL are considered by CDC to be indicative of excess exposure to lead and have beenassociated with subtle neurological deficits and alterations of levels of critical enzymes. Becausethe levels seen in the screened children was below the action limit set by CDC, the NYSDOHdecided that no further testing of the population in the vicinity of the landfill was necessary. TheAmerican Academy of Pediatrics has concluded that lead continues to be a significant hazard tothe health of children in the United States. Based upon these biological data, ATSDR does notexpect non-carcinogenic health effects to have occurred in the exposed population.

Lead has been shown to cause cancer in animals, but at the levels found in the contaminatedmedia, carcinogenic health effects are not expected to occur in humans.

According to the toxicological profile for lead, no studies were found describing adverse non-cancer health effects in humans resulting from dermal exposure to inorganic lead.

12. Nickel (40)

Nickel is a natural element in the earth's crust; therefore, people are constantly exposed to smallamounts in food, water, and soil, and even smaller amounts in air. The National Academy ofSciences does not consider nickel to be an essential element for humans. Nickel-deficiency inhumans has not been reported in the literature; however, it has been induced in several species ofanimals. Dermal contact with nickel usually occurs by contact with metals containing nickel ornickel-plated jewelry. Stainless steel and coins contain nickel. It is often unknown what form ofnickel to which a person is exposed. Much of the nickel found in sediments, soil, and rock is sostrongly attached to dust and dirt or embedded in minerals that it is not readily taken up by plantsand animals and cannot easily effect someone's health. As with most hazardous waste sites,ATSDR does not know the forms of nickel found at this site.

Our daily intake of nickel from drinking water is about 2 µg. A person usually consumes 170µg/day in his food. We breathe in between 0.1 and 1 µg/day, excluding nickel in tobacco smoke. We are exposed to nickel when we handle coins and touch other metals containing nickel.

Nickel was found in on-site surface soil at a maximum concentration of 125 mg/kg. Theestimated exposure dose is below the chronic RfD (0.02 mg/kg/day). Therefore, adverse non-cancer health effects are not expected to occur in individuals exposed to the contaminatedmedium.

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has determined that nickel and certainnickel compounds may reasonably be anticipated to be carcinogenic. The ability of some nickelcompounds to cause nasal and lung cancers when inhaled has been well documented in workersfollowing chronic exposure. Animal studies support these findings. No studies were locatedregarding carcinogenic effects in humans after oral exposure to nickel at low concentrations. Studies using animals exposed to nickel in drinking water did not show a significant increase incancer risk. No studies were located regarding cancer effects in humans or animals after dermalexposure to nickel. Given that nickel was not detected above back ground levels, there does notappear to be a significant increase risk of cancer related to the Pfohl Brothers Landfill.

13. Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) (27)

PCBs were detected in on-site surface soil at a maximum concentration of 27 mg/kg. Past userscould have ingested, inhaled, or had dermal contact with the PCBs in the contaminated soil.

PCBs are a family of synthetic chemicals that contain 209 individual compounds (known ascongeners). There are no known natural sources of PCBs in the environment. PCBs have beenwidely used as coolants and lubricants in transformers, capacitors, and other electrical equipment.

The estimated dose by ingestion for past users did not exceed the chronic MRL (0.00002mg/kg/day), therefore adverse non-cancer health effects are not expected to occur.

Although exposure to PCBs by dermal contact has not been evaluated by ATSDR, it is knownthat contact with soil can result in absorption of PCBs. Health effects such as chloracne, redness,and skin rashes in people dermally exposed to PCBs have been documented in the literature.

EPA has classified PCBs as Class B2 – probable human carcinogens by the oral route. Thatclassification was prompted by animal data. Exposures have resulted in liver cancer, leukemia,lymphomas, and gastrointestinal tract tumors in laboratory animals. Using EPA's cancer potencyfactor of 7.7 (mg/kg/day)-1, indicates that there would be no apparent increased risk of cancer dueto past exposure to PCBs in contaminated on-site surface soil at the maximum level found.

According to the literature, people with compromised liver function, infectious hepatitis, andpersons taking medications potentially toxic to the liver may be especially sensitive to the adversehealth effects of PCBs. Because of physiologic differences in the detoxification and excretion ofPCBs, fetuses exposed to PCBs through the placenta can be more sensitive than adults. Breast-fed infants of PCB-exposed mothers can be exposed through breast milk. Children taking theantibiotic novobiocin also may be sensitive to PCBs.

14. Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) (22)

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are found ubiquitously in the environment from bothman-made and natural sources. These products include fossil fuels; cigarette smoke; industrialprocesses (such as coke production, refinement of crude oil); and exhaust emissions from gasolineengines, oil-fired heating, and burnt coals. PAHs are found in foods, particularly charbroiled,broiled, or pickled food items, and refined fats and oils.

Several carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic PAHs have been found in the Aero Lake sedimentsand on-site surface soil and exposed drum waste. The estimated exposure dose for these PAHsdoes not exceed their respective health guidelines of 0.1 and 0.03 mg/kg/day, therefore, adversenon-carcinogenic health effects are not expected to occur.

Evidence exists to indicate that mixtures of PAHs are carcinogenic in humans. The evidence inhumans comes primarily from occupational studies of workers exposed to mixtures containingPAHs as a result of their involvement in such processes as coke production, roofing, oil refining,or coal gasification. PAHs, however, have not been clearly identified as the causative agent. Cancer associated with exposure to PAH-containing mixtures in humans occurs predominately inthe lung and skin following inhalation and dermal exposure, respectively. Some ingestion ofPAHs is likely because of swallowing of particles containing PAHs subsequent to mucociliaryclearance of these particulates from the lung.

Some PAHs such as benzo(a)pyrene (BaP) are carcinogenic to animals by the oral route. Theresults of dermal studies indicate that BaP, benzo(b)fluoranthene, and chrysene are tumorigenic inmice following dermal exposure. The sensitivity of mouse skin to PAH tumorigenesis forms thebasis for the extensive studies performed using dermal administration. This tumorigenicity can beenhanced or modified with concomitant exposure to more than one PAH, long straight-chainhydrocarbons (i.e., dodecane), or similar organic compounds commonly found at hazardous wastesites. Thus humans exposed to PAHs in combination with these substances could be at risk fordeveloping skin cancer.

A quantitative cancer risk estimate has thus far been developed for BaP. The cancer slope factorfor BaP is 7.3 (mg/kg/day)-1 and is based on the geometric mean of risk estimates calculated fromprevious studies. EPA and others have developed a relative potency estimate approach for thePAHs. By using this approach, the cancer potency of the other carcinogenic PAHs can beestimated based on their relative potency to BaP. In order to calculate an exposure dose andevaluate the possible carcinogenic health effects for these PAHs, ATSDR converted theconcentrations to BaP equivalents. The equivalents were summed and an exposure dosecalculated. Based upon the exposure dose estimate, past exposure to the PAHs in the Aero Lakesediment and in on-site exposed drum waste and surface soils are not expected to result in anysignificant cancer risk.

B.  Health Outcome Data Evaluation

ATSDR conducts a review of health outcome data when the toxicologic evaluation indicates thelikelihood of health outcomes or when the community near the site has health concerns. Healthoutcome data are evaluated in this Public Health Assessment because the community near the sitehas health concerns. 

The evaluation of health outcome data may give a general picture of the health of a community, orit may confirm the presence of excess disease or illness in a community. However, elevated ratesof a particular disease may not necessarily be caused by hazardous substances in the environment. Other factors, such as personal habits, socioeconomic status, and occupation, also may influencethe development of disease. In contrast, even if elevated rates of disease are not found, acontaminant may still have caused illness or disease.

1. Health Survey

In June 1990, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) visited and interviewed theresidents of twenty households. The purposes of the interview were: 1) to determine the numberof persons living in the area of the Pfohl Brothers Landfill and their ages; 2) to determine how thepopulation living near the site might have been exposed to contaminants from the site; and 3) toget a general idea of the health status of the population.

The study indicated that there were sixty persons living in the households that were visited. Oneof the households included in the study is actually a family business. Thirty-five percent of thepopulation interviewed was age 17 or younger. Two-thirds of the studied population indicatedthat they had not entered the landfill at any time in the past. The rest indicated that they had spentsome time on the site, although the length of time varied. Some of those who did visit the sitevisited almost daily from childhood to adulthood. They indicated that they used the site forrecreational purposes. Approximately thirty-five percent of the people who visited the sitereportedly came into direct contact with site contaminants while on-site.

A variate of health conditions were reported. There was no unusual pattern in terms of frequencyof any one type of health condition among the surveyed residents.

An attempt was made to contact former area residents. Five former households declined toparticipate in the survey. The former residents (n=12) who participated in the survey were sent aquestionnaire. In addition, five other former residents were identified by current residents. Theseformer residents were also sent questionnaires. NYSDOH review of the questionnaires indicatedthat no unusual health information was reported.

An attempt was made to contact former landfill employees. Only one employee was identifiedand that employee declined to participate in the survey. Current employees of area businesseswere surveyed via questionnaires left at their place of employment. Of those who responded,none reported spending any time on the landfill itself.

Former and current employees (n=280) from the town of Cheektowaga who may have done workwhich brought them into contact with site contaminants were surveyed via survey forms (returnenvelopes were enclosed). Twelve percent of those workers responded. Of those respondingseventy-seven percent reported having come into contact with site contaminants.

According to NYSDOH "the survey did not reveal any unusual patterns of reported illnessesamong residents or workers. However it is difficult to draw firm conclusions based on the smallnumber of individuals surveyed. In addition, the survey could not detect any health conditionsthat may be related to exposure to site contaminants but that have not yet become clinicallyapparent."

ATSDR believes that the general protocol used in the health survey conducted in June 1990 wasadequate. The discussion and conclusion sections of the NYSDOH document did indicate thefact that a survey of that type cannot link reported illnesses to site contaminants.

2. Blood Lead Screenings

On April 24, 1991, the NYSDOH conducted a blood lead screening for children living in thevicinity of the site. Twenty children were tested and the highest blood lead level found in thetested population was 8 µg/dl. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has set the actionlevel for blood lead at 10 µg/dl, therefore NYSDOH decided that no further testing of thepopulation living near the landfill is necessary.

Based upon information presented in the blood lead screening report ATSDR agrees withNYSDOH that no further testing of the population living near the landfill is necessary at this time.

3. Cancer Incidence Investigations

Cancer incidence is a community health concern that residents and former residents believed to beassociated with the Pfohl Brothers Landfill site. The NYSDOH conducted two studies of cancerincidence. The first study, completed in March 1991 evaluated the occurrence of cancer (from1978 to 1987) in three census tracts that comprise the site and Ellicott Creek areas. The secondstudy, completed in November 1991, was a follow-up to the first. It evaluated female breastcancer patients residing in the census tract associated with the landfill.

NYSDOH evaluated the incidence of cancer for 16 anatomical sites in the three census tracts thatsurround the Pfohl Brothers site for 1978-1987 (1st NY study). The evaluation was done bycomparing the rates of observed cases to those expected from areas of New York with a similarpopulation density. Observed rates were significantly greater than expected only for all cancers inwomen, breast cancer in women, and prostate cancer in men.

There were 447 cases of cancer observed in women where 401 were expected (1st NY). Most ofthis excess appears to come from the occurrence of breast cancer where 130 cases were observedwhile 105 were expected.

In a follow-up investigation, NYSDOH found that the incidence of breast cancer was as expectedin two of the three census tracts (2nd NY). In the third census tract (100.01), in which the landfillactually is, 32 cases were observed while 21 were expected. NYSDOH was able to interview 25of the patients or their relatives. The results of those interviews indicated that only four of the 25cases had any sort of exposure to landfill contaminants. In addition, analysis of the geographicdistribution of the breast cancer cases in this census tract identified no clustering around thelandfill.

There were 79 cases of prostate cancer in men while 49 were expected (1st NY). Most of thisexcess was in census tract 100.01, where 21 cases were observed and 8 were expected. Geographic analysis identified no clustering around the site.

The results of NYSDOH's epidemiologic investigations, along with the lack of evidence of largescale exposure to site contaminants, indicates that the occurrence of cancer is probably not relatedto the site.

ATSDR has reviewed NYSDOH's studies of cancer incidence in the Pfohl Brothers Landfill areaand concludes that it was conducted appropriately. However, all evaluations of the type done byNYSDOH have limitations. The cancer incidence data used do not include information onpersonal risk factors (smoking, diet, alcohol, etc.) or on occupational and environmentalexposures to chemicals. Analyses of these data can only be descriptive and can't be used todetermine associations with possible agents.

4. Summary of Cancer Inquiry for homes and businesses on Rein Road, Cheektowaga

The New York State Department of Health investigated a possible cancer cluster that wasreported to them by a former resident of Rein Road. Using information from the New York StateCancer Registry, New York State Vital Records, and medical records, they tried to determine ifthe seventeen reported cases of cancer were an actual cluster.

The analysis revealed no obvious clustering by year, three of the reported cases were not cancers,the cases were diagnosed over a long period of time (30 years). Cancer of the kidney was theonly site that was found in more than two of the cases and in each case the diagnosis occurred inthree different years that were years apart. Cancers of the same type did not cluster by year. Thisinvestigation did not reveal any of the patterns of clustering. There is no evidence that nay of thereported cases are related to a common exposure, nor is there any evidence that any of theconfirmed cases of cancer were related to exposure occurring at the Pfohl Brothers LandfillNational Priorities List site.

5. Summary of Cancer Inquiry for homes and businesses near the Pfohl Brothers Landfill National Priorities List site, Cheektowaga

In December of 1994, the NYSDOH was provided with another list of people who had lived orworked in residences and businesses on Rein Road, Pfohl Road and Aero Drive. This list had 59people and included the 17 names previously provided. Of the 59 individuals on the list, 39 werespecified as having some form of cancer. NYSDOH was able to confirm 25 of the cases, and theremainder were assessed on the information provided. The cases did not appear to represent acancer cluster. Among the 39 cases reported, 20 different types or sites of cancer wererepresented. The 39 cancer cases were diagnosed over a long period of time (more than 35years). When more than one case of a single type of cancer was reported, those cases were not alldiagnosed in the same year but were spread out over a number of years.

ATSDR's Division of Health Studies (DHS) reviewed the cancer information provided byconcerned citizens for homes and business near the Pfohl Brothers Landfill National Priorities Listsite. The case reports provided by concerned citizens are case reports of persons with manydifferent tissue types. DHS determined that the small number of cases would not supply sufficientpower to evaluate any causal associations between exposures to chemicals from the site andcancer, either for all cancers or a specific tissue or anatomical site. DHS did not have anyinformation to assess whether the few cases of breast cancer included were among those personsin the Cancer Surveillance Program cases and subsequently interviewed for the 1978-1987 studyconducted by NYSDOH.

C.  Community Health Concerns Evaluation

  1. The community was concerned that data from a 1979 groundwater test was not madeavailable to the public.

    ATSDR has reviewed all of the available groundwater sampling data and environmentalinvestigations. No groundwater tests were conducted in 1979.

    In May 1979, the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning collected and analyzedseven leachate and surface water samples from the Pfohl Brothers Landfill (2). Leachate is waterthat has come in contact with buried waste material and has moved through the waste materialand surrounding soil matrix to the surface of the landfill. The term "leachate" does not refer togroundwater or spring water. Analytical results of these seven samples indicated that very lowconcentrations (less than 0.0002 mg/L) of various pesticides were being discharged to localsurface waters from the landfill.

    The first time groundwater was sampled near the Pfohl Brothers Landfill was in 1980. In May,June, and October 1980, the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning sampledseven of the private wells adjacent to the landfill (one on Rein Road, one on Pfohl Road, three onAero Drive, one on Transit Road, and one on Scott Road) (2). Analytical results of the firstsampling event indicated that some of the wells may have been contaminated with PCBs (0.0001-0.0014 mg/L). However, when the wells were resampled again in June and October, PCBs werenot detected (<0.00005 mg/L).

    In addition to the eight private drinking water wells adjacent to the Pfohl Brothers Landfill, theErie County Department of Environment and Planning obtained a sample from a private well onSouth Youngs Road (northwest of the landfill) in May and October 1980 (2). Analytical resultsof the May sample detected PCBs (0.0013 mg/L). However, analytical results of the Octobersample did not detect any PCBs (<0.00005 mg/L). The South Youngs Road well is located up-gradient and cross-gradient of the Pfohl Brothers Landfill.

    PCBs do not migrate very rapidly in groundwater (27). Because of the migration characteristicsof PCBs, it is unlikely that wells contaminated with PCBs would not be contaminated one monthlater or even five months later. In addition, the second highest PCB concentrations reported werefrom a well (South Youngs Road) that could not become contaminated because of the PfohlBrothers Landfill (the well is not hydrologically connected to the landfill or the other privatedrinking water wells adjacent to the landfill). Therefore, there is some question as to the validityof the May 1980 PCB analytical results.

    In addition to PCBs, the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning also analyzedsome of the October private drinking water well samples for metals (2). Cadmium (<0.01-0.012mg/L), barium (<0.7-6.2 mg/L), and manganese (<0.02-0.06 mg/L) were detected in some wellsabove health comparison values (0.007 mg/L, 0.7 mg/L, and 0.05 mg/L, respectively). Most ofthese wells provided drinking water to businesses.

    During the EPA contractor investigation (1982) of the Pfohl Brothers Landfill, water sampleswere taken from four private drinking water wells adjacent to the landfill (two on Pfohl Road andtwo on Scott Place) (6). Two of the private drinking water wells sampled in 1980 were sampledduring this investigation (i.e., the Scott Place wells). In the 1982 EPA study, no metals abovehealth comparison values were detected in the samples from the two wells which were previouslysampled in 1980. Analytical results of the other two well samples indicate only manganese (0.03-0.1 mg/L) was detected in one of the wells above health comparison values (i.e., 0.05 mg/L). This private drinking water well was located on Pfohl Road. No PCBs or other organiccompounds were detected above health comparison values in any of the private drinking waterwells.

    ATSDR is not able, at this time, to determine whether the metals detected in the private drinkingwater wells are site-related or whether people were exposed to metals in drinking water at levelsof health concern for a significant amount of time. This type of trend analysis could be conductedafter the parameter groundwater monitoring wells are consistently sampled and analyzed for all ofthe compounds on the EPA Target Compound List over a one year period (i.e., sample andanalysis from each well every quarter). The two State of New York RODs require the routinemonitoring of the wells as a part of the long-term remediation of the Pfohl Brothers Landfill.

  2. Residents were concerned about the protocol that was used in a cancer incidence studyconducted by the NYSDOH.

    ATSDR has reviewed NYSDOH's studies of cancer incidence in the Pfohl Brothers Landfill areaand concludes that it was conducted appropriately. However, all evaluations of the type done byNYSDOH have limitations. The cancer incidence data used do not include information onpersonal risk factors (smoking, diet, alcohol, etc.) or on occupational and environmentalexposures to chemicals. Analyses of these data can only be descriptive and can't be used todetermine associations with possible agents.

  3. Residents are concerned that there is a high incidence and prevalence of cancer amongcurrent and former area residents (especially those who lived in a residence near the PfohlBrothers Landfill site).

    The New York State Department of Health investigated the possible cluster at the address theresident reported. Their analysis of the reported cases revealed none of the patterns usuallyassociated with a clustering event. Based upon their analysis it is unlikely that the confirmedcases of cancer are caused by exposure to a contaminant originating from the proposed PfohlBrothers Landfill site.


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