PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT
PREFERRED PLATING CORPORATION
EAST FARMINGDALE, SUFFOLK COUNTY, NEW YORK
A summary of the environmental contamination data collected for the Preferred Plating site is presented in Appendix B, Tables 1-6. Contaminants selected for further evaluation are identified and evaluated in subsequent sections of the public health assessment to determine whether exposure to them has public health significance. When selected for further evaluation in one medium that contaminant will be reported in all media where it is detected. These contaminants are selected and discussed based upon the following factors:
- Concentrations of contaminants on and off the site.
- Field data quality, laboratory data quality, and sample design.
- Comparison of on-site and off-site concentrations with background concentrations.
- Comparison of on-site and off-site contaminant concentrations with public health assessment comparison values for (1) non-carcinogenic endpoints and (2) carcinogenic endpoints. These values include Environmental Media Evaluation Guides (EMEGs), Cancer Risk Evaluation Guides (CREGs), drinking water standards, other relevant guidelines.
- Community health concerns.
The first remedial investigation, which was done in 1988 and 1989 by EBASCO Inc., included sampling of shallow soil, subsurface soil, groundwater, and surface water and sediments from the storm water subsurface dry-wells. Additional groundwater data were collected by Malcolm Pirnie in 1990 and 1991. Soil borings were installed and shallow and subsurface soil was sampled during the second remedial investigation which was done by Malcolm Pirnie in late 1991.
The shallow soil samples collected in 1988 and 1991 were taken from points around the building, under the building, and on the adjacent property. The soil samples collected in 1988 were taken as a composite core between 0 and 6 inch depths. The samples collected in 1991 were taken as a composite core from soil borings at a depth between 0 and 4 feet. Phthalates were detected in the 1988 samples. No other organic compounds were found at concentrations above the detection limits. Samples taken in both 1988 and 1990 contained cadmium and chromium at concentrations in excess of comparison values (Table 1).
Subsurface soil samples were taken in 1988 from angle borings. The borings were installed at the edge of the building and were angled underneath the building to collect soil underneath the waste water holding tanks (Table 2). These samples were taken from 4 to 55 feet deep. No organic compounds were detected in these soils at concentrations above comparison values. Cadmium was detected at concentrations above comparison values.
Subsurface soil samples were also collected during the installation of monitoring wells in 1988. These samples were taken from 12 to 46 feet deep. No organic compounds or metals were detected at concentrations above comparison values (Table 2).
The 1991 Remedial Investigation included subsurface soil sampling near the former waste water holding tanks, the former sanitary leaching pits, and non-source areas. The non-source sampling locations are scattered around the site in areas not known to be source areas; these samples were from the same soil borings as were the shallow soil samples. The soil borings for the former waste water holding tanks, the former sanitary leaching pits, and one of the non-source borings were made through the building floor. The soil samples from underneath the building were taken from between 1 and 13 feet below the building floor level. The non-source samples other than the samples under the building were taken between 4 and 16 feet deep. The samples analyzed from the former waste holding tanks area contained concentrations of volatile organic compounds in excess of comparison values (Table 2). The other samples did not contain organic compounds above comparison values. Cadmium was detected at concentrations in excess of comparison values in the samples from the waste water holding tanks area, the sanitary leaching pits area, and in some of the non-source samples. Chromium was detected at concentrations in excess of comparison values in the samples taken from the waste water holding tanks area and the sanitary leaching pit area.
Groundwater monitoring wells were installed in 1989 and sampled in 1989 and 1990. The monitoring wells were installed on-site in upgradient and downgradient locations and in two off-site downgradient locations. Upgradient refers to the direction from which the groundwater flows towards the site; downgradient refers to the direction in which the groundwater flows away from the site. The on-site monitoring wells were designed to collect water (are screened) from between 10 and 25 feet deep, except for two deeper wells (one upgradient and one downgradient) which were screened at 40 to 50 feet deep. The two off-site wells were screened at 60 to 70 feet deep. All wells are screened in the Upper Glacial Aquifer.
The shallow on-site monitoring wells sampled in July 1989 indicated an increase in the concentrations of inorganic and organic contaminants in the downgradient wells relative to the upgradient wells (Table 3). Volatile organic compounds which were found in the monitoring wells at concentrations above comparison values included benzene, 1,1-dichloroethane, 1,2-dichloroethane, ethylbenzene, tetrachloroethene, toluene, trichloroethene, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, and xylene.
Cadmium, chromium, and lead concentrations in the groundwater exceeded comparison values. However, sample results varied depending on whether the groundwater samples were filtered or were not filtered. May 1989 data and 1990 data included both filtered and not-filtered samples. Cadmium concentrations were not greatly affected by filtration; therefore, the elevated cadmium concentrations are likely due to dissolved metal in the water, not from suspended sediments. The data regarding chromium and lead are less conclusive, indicating that at least a portion of the elevated chromium and lead concentrations are due to sediment suspended in the water samples. Based on the results from non-filtered samples, cadmium, chromium, and lead were selected for further evaluation in this Public Health Assessment.
Deep on-site wells were sampled in July 1989 and the data from these wells are presented separately in Table 4. No organic compounds were detected. Cadmium, chromium and lead were detected at concentrations above comparison values in these samples which were not filtered. Subsequent sampling data for these wells were not reported separately from the shallow wells, and are included in Table 3.
Storm Drains Water and Sediments
Liquid samples from the on-site subsurface storm dry-wells contained concentrations of metals above comparison values (Table 5). The samples of sediments from the on-site storm dry-wells contained phthalates, benzene, and metals above comparison values (Table 5).
Chromium was detected in nearby off-site industrial wells in 1953 and at a US Army base about 1,000 feet downgradient of the site in 1958. At that time the SC DHS reported that Preferred Plating was the only source of chromium in the area. The concentration of chromium detected in the industrial wells ranged from 50 to 8,000 micrograms per liter; the concentration in the Army base well water was 600 micrograms per liter.
Two off-site monitoring wells were installed downgradient of the site in 1988. The well locations were established based on the groundwater flow direction estimated by EBASCO Inc. for the RI. One well was installed about 1,500 feet south of the site, and one well was installed 2,250 feet south of the site. Both wells were screened at 60-70 feet in the Upper Glacial Aquifer. The nearer well contained no organic compounds at concentrations above comparison values. Lead was the only metal detected above standards in these samples which were not filtered (Table 6). The samples from the other off-site well contained several volatile organic compounds at concentrations above comparison values or standards (Table 6). Lead was also present at concentrations above comparison values.
One private well, which is about 1,100 feet downgradient of the site, was sampled by the SC DHS in January 1991. The water sample contained 7 micrograms per liter (mcg/L) of chlorobenzene, 0.8 mcg/L of 1,1-dichloroethane and 1.0 mcg/L of tetrachloroethene. Lead and cadmium were not detected (at a detection limit of 3 and 2 mcg/L, respectively); chromium concentration in the sample was not analyzed. The well is no longer in use and the house that the well served was demolished.
Another private well was sampled in April 1993. This well serves a commercial building and supplies water to the bathrooms; bottled water is used for drinking. The sampling results for off-site industrial and private wells are summarized in Table 7.
The SC DHS has documented widespread contamination of the Upper Glacial aquifer in western Suffolk County. Dispersion and convergence of contamination plumes has resulted in contamination of the aquifer with low levels of volatile organic compounds and metals. A groundwater contamination plume of chromium from the Preferred Plating Corporation site was identified as affecting the US Army base in 1958. Data are currently insufficient to determine the location, depth, or concentration of chromium in the plume at this time. However, the limited information available indicates that the concentration of chromium has been reduced by dilution to levels below those of concern for human exposure. Nevertheless, the site may have contributed all or some portion of the contamination detected in off-site wells.
The two Remedial Investigations were performed in accordance with US EPA Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QA/QC) guidelines. Previous investigations, including the private well water samples, did not meet these guidelines. Data from the two Remedial Investigations were primarily used to prepare this public health assessment. US EPA data quality review summaries indicated minor QA/QC problems in the Remedial Investigations; however, these problems were not sufficient to alter the interpretations of the data in this public health assessment. Samples taken and analyzed by SC DHS were subject to SC DHS standard procedures. No problems with these sample results were identified.
There are no known physical or other hazards present at the site.
To identify facilities that could contribute contamination in the
area around the Preferred Plating Site, NYS DOH reviewed the Toxic
Chemical Release Inventory (TRI) data for 1990. TRI is developed
by the US EPA from the chemical release (air, water, soil)
information provided by certain industries. Three facilities were
identified near the site. One facility, Joel Meisner & Co., Inc.,
uses copper but does not report any releases to the environment.
Halbro Control Industries is 2.5 miles from Preferred Plating and
reports releases of 15 pounds per year of glycols. Napco Security
Systems is also 2.5 miles from the site and reports releases of
6,000 pounds per year of fugitive emission and 7,000 pounds per
year of stack emissions of Freon 113 (1,2,3-trichloro-1,2,2-trifluoroethane). Based on this TRI data and air emission
modeling, none of these emissions would appear to result in
significant exposure to residents near the site.
To determine whether nearby residents and persons on-site are exposed to contaminants migrating from the site, an evaluation was made of the environmental and human components that lead to human exposure. This pathways analysis consists of five elements: a source of contamination, transport through an environmental medium, a point of exposure, a route of human exposure, and an exposed population.
An exposure pathway is categorized as a completed or potential exposure pathway if the exposure pathway cannot be eliminated. A completed exposure pathway occurs when the five elements of an exposure pathway link the contaminated source to a receptor population. Should a completed exposure pathway exist in the past, present, or future, the population is considered exposed. A potential exposure pathway exists when one or more of the five elements are missing, or if modeling is performed to replace real sampling data. Potential pathways indicate that exposure to a contaminant could have occurred in the past, could be occurring now, or could occur in the future. An exposure pathway can be eliminated if at least one of the five elements is missing and will never be present. The discussion that follows incorporates only those pathways that are important and relevant to the site.
Chromium in the groundwater downgradient of Preferred Plating resulted in human exposures through contamination of private wells. The Preferred Plating well and other nearby industrial wells were found to be contaminated with chromium in 1953. These wells were used primarily for industrial processes, but also were used for drinking water and bathroom water for employees. By 1956 these wells were deepened to tap uncontaminated groundwater zones. Subsequently, the wells were abandoned and the affected properties were hooked up to public water. In 1958, the well serving a small US Army base was found to be contaminated with chromium. The well provided drinking water to the base until the well was found to be contaminated, after which the base was connected to public water. Exposure to chromium in these wells occurred through ingestion of drinking water.
Sampling data from 1991 and 1993 found two private wells which were contaminated with low levels of volatile organic compounds. Exposure to contaminants occurred through ingestion, dermal contact, and inhalation of chemicals in the drinking water. Water from one of these wells, which serves a private residence, was not analyzed for chromium. This well is no longer used and was abandoned in 1992. The other well serves a commercial building and the water contained slightly elevated levels of chromium and lead. The water is currently used for bathroom facilities only; bottled water is used for drinking.
Human contact with other contamination is unlikely under existing conditions because the contaminated soil and storm drain liquids and solids are underneath buildings or paved areas. There is no significant potential for surface movement of contamination off-site through surface water because storm water at the site is directed to on-site subsurface storm water dry wells. Soils on-site are sandy and readily absorb precipitation.
Although the contaminated soil at the site is not available for direct contact under existing conditions, if site use changes and clean-up (remedial) work is not done, exposures could occur. For example, if the existing building were torn down and replaced, direct contact with contaminated soil is possible. Construction workers and future residents, if any, could be exposed to metals and volatile organic compounds through direct contact and ingestion of contaminated soil and through inhalation of volatile organic compounds released into the air during excavation of contaminated soil.
Groundwater on-site is not presently being used. However, if on-site groundwater is not remediated, contamination from the site will continue to affect off-site downgradient groundwater. Off-site groundwater contamination could reach Suffolk County Water Authority public drinking water supply wells and expose residents to contamination through household use of contaminated water. Contamination in the subsurface soil and the storm drain liquids and solids on-site may continue to serve as a source of groundwater contamination possibly affecting the public wells in the future.
Groundwater on-site will be cleaned up based on the Record of
Decision which has been issued and calls for pumping and treating
contaminated groundwater. This remedial action should reduce the
chance of additional off-site migration of contaminated groundwater
from the site. Groundwater contamination that may result from
leaching of the contaminated subsurface soil and storm water dry-wells is also likely to be captured by the groundwater remediation
- Past and present ingestion, dermal and inhalation exposure to
volatile organic contaminants in a private water supply well.
Two private wells, downgradient of the site were sampled and found to contain volatile organic chemicals and metals (Table 7). Chlorobenzene, tetrachloroethene and chromium were detected at levels that exceed comparison values or drinking water standards for these chemicals. Chronic exposure to chemicals in drinking water are possible by ingestion exposure from drinking and eating, and by dermal and inhalation exposures from water uses such as showering, bathing and cooking. Although exposures vary depending on individual lifestyles, each of these exposure routes contributes to the overall daily uptake of contaminants and thus increases the potential for chronic health effects.
Tetrachloroethene causes cancer in laboratory animals exposed to high levels over their lifetime (ATSDR, 1991c). Chemicals that cause cancer in laboratory animals may also increase the risk of cancer in humans who are exposed to lower levels over long periods of time. Based on the results of animal studies, chronic exposure to this chemical in drinking water at the highest concentration found in private wells would pose a low increased cancer risk. Toxicological data are inadequate to assess the carcinogenic potential of chlorobenzene (ATSDR, 1990f).
Tetrachloroethene and chlorobenzene produce several noncarcinogenic toxic effects (primarily liver, kidney and nervous system effects) at exposure levels several orders of magnitude greater than potential levels of exposure from drinking water from the private well. Chemicals that cause effects in humans and/or animals after high levels of exposure may also pose a risk to humans who are exposed to lower levels over long periods of time. Although the risk of noncarcinogenic effects from past and present exposure to these two contaminants in drinking water aren't completely understood, the existing data suggest that they would be minimal.
Chromium was detected in non-residential private wells. These wells have been abandoned and the affected properties are now served by public water. The primary toxic effects associated with ingestion of large amounts of chromium are kidney damage, birth defects and adverse effects on the reproductive system (ATSDR, 1991e). Past exposure to chromium at the highest levels detected in non-residential private wells could pose a high increased risk of adverse health effects.
- Potential ingestion, dermal and inhalation exposure to
contaminants in public drinking water wells as a result of
contaminant plume migration.
As indicated in Tables 3 and 4, on-site and off-site groundwater is contaminated with volatile organic compounds and metals at concentrations which exceed New York State and/or Federal drinking water standards or guidelines. There is a potential for oral (ingestion), dermal and inhalation exposure to contaminants in public drinking water wells from migration of contaminated groundwater if the clean-up is not successful. This pathway is incomplete since no off-site migration to public drinking water wells has been identified and therefore no known exposure is occurring. The health risks from potential exposure to these volatile organic compounds and metal contaminants in on-site groundwater are discussed below.
Volatile Organic Compound Contaminants
Benzene is a known human carcinogen (ATSDR, 1991a). Tetra-chloroethene, 1,1-dichloroethane, 1,2-dichloroethane and trichloroethene cause cancer in laboratory animals exposed to high levels over their lifetime (ATSDR, 1989a; 1990a,; 1991b,c). Chemicals that cause cancer in laboratory animals may also increase the risk of cancer in humans who are exposed to lower levels over long periods of time. Based on the results of animal studies, chronic exposure to these chemicals in drinking water at the highest concentrations found in on-site groundwater could pose a low increased cancer risk. Toxicological data are inadequate to assess the carcinogenic potential of ethyl-benzene (ATSDR, 1989b), toluene (ATSDR, 1989c ), 1,1,1-trichloroethane (ATSDR, 1990d) and xylenes (ATSDR, 1990b) in humans.
Ethylbenzene, 1,1-dichloroethane, 1,2-dichloroethane, tetra-chloroethene, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, trichloroethene, toluene and xylene produce a variety of noncarcinogenic toxicities (primarily liver, kidney and nervous system effects) at exposures several orders of magnitude greater than potential exposures from on-site groundwater. Exposure to benzene has been associated with damage to blood cell-forming tissues and the immune system. Chemicals that cause effects in humans and/or animals after high levels of exposure may also pose a risk to humans who are exposed to lower levels over long periods of time. Although the risk of noncarcinogenic effects from potential exposures to these contaminants in drinking water aren't completely understood, the existing data suggest that they would be minimal.
Chronic exposure to elevated lead levels is predominantly associated with neurological and hematological effects (ATSDR, 1991d). The toxicological properties of chromium have already been discussed. The developing fetus and young children are particularly sensitive to lead-induced neurological effects. The most sensitive effect from chronic elevated exposure to cadmium is kidney damage (ATSDR, 1990c). Exposure to drinking water contaminated with these metals at the highest concentrations found in on-site groundwater could pose a high increased risk of adverse health effects.
- Potential ingestion, dermal and inhalation exposure to
Subsurface soils are contaminated with volatile organic compounds and metals (Table 2). Some samples of on-site subsurface soils showed contamination with volatile organic compounds and metals at concentrations that could pose a health threat to humans exposed through ingestion, skin contact, and inhalation of contaminated soil particles, and ingestion of vegetables grown in contaminated soil should the soil underneath the building be disturbed by excavation and the property be developed for residential use. Samples taken from wastewater holding tanks beneath the building contained trans-1,2-dichloroethene, tetrachloroethene, 1,1,1-trichloro-ethane, trichloroethene, cadmium, and chromium at levels exceeding health assessment comparison values (Table 2). Soil from angle borings and leaching pools contained cadmium at levels above comparison values (Table 2).
- Potential inhalation, dermal and ingestion exposure of persons
engaged in on-site clean-up activities.
Persons engaged in on-site clean-up (remediation) activities have a potential for exposure by multiple routes to organic chemicals and metal contaminants and could be at increased risk of adverse health effects. However, use of proper procedures, appropriate dust suppression methods and monitoring of ambient air for organic vapors during clean-up will minimize any low level increased risk to workers and nearby residents.
In 1990 NYS DOH reported on breast cancer incidence rates for small geographic areas within Nassau and Suffolk Counties for the years 1978-1987. The relationship between drinking water wells and hazardous waste sites was also examined. Variations were seen in breast cancer incidence rates among small geographic areas in these counties. No association was found between breast cancer incidence patterns and contaminated drinking water wells or hazardous waste sites.
The New York State Department of Health was contacted by a State legislator and the Nassau County Department of Health in August 1991 concerning what appeared to be an increased occurrence of Hodgkin's disease in the North Massapequa/South Farmingdale area of Nassau County. This issue was brought to the attention of the legislator and the county health department by two citizen groups.
NYS DOH conducted an investigation of the incidence of Hodgkin's disease in the Farmingdale/Massapequa area of Nassau and Suffolk Counties (zip codes 11701, 11735, 11758 and 11762) in response to this concern. The Preferred Plating site is located in the 11735 zip code area. The study was completed in April 1992.
The study found the incidence of Hodgkin's disease for the period 1978-1987 among both males and females was similar to that expected based on rates for areas of New York State with similar population density. Among males, 38 cases of Hodgkin's disease were observed and 32 were expected, while among females, 23 cases were observed and 28 cases were expected. The majority of cases were found in young adults, as expected based on the age distribution of the population. Plotting of the addresses of cases on a map revealed no obvious clustering of cases, and no concentration of cases near the Preferred Plating site or any other hazardous waste site listed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
The general public has not expressed concern for the site. The SC DHS has expressed concern for the site because of the need to protect the quality of the underlying aquifers which supply the water needs of the surrounding communities. Specifically, the SC DHS is concerned that site-related chemicals may migrate towards and contaminate nearby public water supply wells and private wells. A groundwater pumping and treatment system being installed as a remedial measure will clean on-site groundwater and minimize the ability of contamination from moving off-site. Remedial measures for the contaminated soil on-site will reduce the source of groundwater contamination at the site and may reduce the time needed for the groundwater treatment system to clean up the groundwater. A private well survey found and sampled one well in the area. These measures should address the concerns raised by the SC DHS.