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HEALTH CONSULTATION

CABOT-WROUGHT PRODUCTS, DIVISION OF CABOT COPRORATION
(a.k.a. NGK METALS/CABOT BERYLCO, INCORPORATED)
MUHLENBERG, BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA


DISCUSSION

Chronic beryllium disease (CBD) appears to be a hypersensitivity syndrome that is present inpersons with a beryllium sensitivity. As with allergic syndromes generally, CBD is not expectedto show a significant dose-response relationship. Thus, a beryllium-sensitive individual living nearthe site could have a reaction to the low levels of beryllium present in the off-site ambient air. However, as of 1983, there has been only one such case reported among individuals whoseexposure began after 1950.

The NESHAP standard of 0.01 ug Be/m3 (based on a 30-day average) is set at a protective levelas opposed to a toxicity threshold. An inhalation exposure of either 0.08 ug/m3 (R-1) or 0.11ug/m3 (Y-1) is not likely to pose a public health hazard over a 5-week period. The NESHAP'slimit of 0.01 ug/m3, defined as a 30-day average, has only been exceeded twice (both times in1989) in the last 16 years. The limited exposure indicated in this data presents no public health hazard.

Table 2. Maximum concentrations of beryllium (ug/m3) in off-site ambient air for years 1989-1994.
YEAR Y-1a
(in-house)

R-1b
(contractor)

Comparison Value
(CREG)
ug/m3
NESHAPc
off-site
standard
ug/m3
1989d0.114540.081430.00040.01
1990e0.003740.002050.00040.01
19910.002730.001090.00040.01
19920.004090.001050.00040.01
19930.001810.000990.00040.01
1994f0.000550.000590.00040.01

a Analysis of ambient air monitor by NGK in-house method
b Analysis of ambient air monitor by NGK contractor method
c National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (off-site standard), based on 30 day average exposure
d Data available only for 3 Jan 1989 - 22 Aug 1989
e Data available only for 6 Feb 1990 - 2 Jan 1991
f Data available only for 4 Jan 1994 - 5 July 1994

ATSDR's Cancer Risk Evaluation Guide (CREG) represents the level corresponding to atheoretical cancer risk level of one-in-a-million, assuming lifetime exposure and the absence of athreshold for carcinogenic effects. Beryllium levels at the two monitors for the 5 week periodMay 23-June 27, 1989 and the week of August 15 - 22, 1989 are the highest levels measured. Allother measurements were considerably lower, showing an overall decrease with time, andapproaching ATSDR's CREG in 1994 (see Table 2). ATSDR concludes that, under site-specificconditions, this limited exposure to 0.11 ug/m3 presented in this data would not be expected tocause any elevated incidence of cancer and is not a public health hazard.


CHILD HEALTH INITIATIVE

ATSDR recognizes that children are different from adults when exposed to contamination in theirwater, soil, air, or food. Children are at greater risk than adults from certain kinds of exposure tohazardous substances emitted from waste sites and emergency events. They are more likely to beexposed for several reasons. First, children play outside more often than adults, increasing thelikelihood that they will come into contact with chemicals in the environment. Because they areshorter than adults they breathe more dust, soil, and heavy vapors close to the ground. Childrenare also smaller, resulting in higher doses of chemical exposure per body weight. The developingbody systems of children can sustain damage if toxic exposures occur during certain growthstages.

It is ATSDR's opinion that the levels of beryllium presented in this data are not likely to causeadverse health effects in children unless they have a hypersensitivity reaction to beryllium. However, if a parent or guardian has reason to believe that a child has been exposed to increasedlevels of beryllium and the child is experiencing symptoms (weight loss, cough, skin rashes,fatigue, chest and joint pain, and shortness of breathe), it is suggested that a board certifiedenvironmental/occupational physician or an Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinic(AOEC) be contacted to further evaluate the child.

An increase in childhood cancer incidence is not expected in children living nearby the site. Thedata reviewed identify increased ambient air beryllium levels for a total of 6 weeks in 1989 with anoverall decrease since that time. ATSDR believes that the limited exposure presented in this data,coupled with the overall decrease in ambient air levels of beryllium, will not cause an increase inchildhood cancer incidence.


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