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PETITIONED PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

CALLERY CHEMICAL COMPANY
EVANS CITY, BUTLER COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA


SUMMARY

Community members living in Evans City, Pennsylvania, petitioned the Agency for ToxicSubstances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to address health concerns regarding potentialemissions from the Callery Chemical Company. Callery Chemical Company, a division ofMine Safety Appliances Company (MSA), is located about 25 miles north of Pittsburgh at 1420Mars-Evans Road, Evans City, Pennsylvania, 16033. Residents were concerned about theincidence of brain cancer within their community from potential emissions from this site. ThePennsylvania Department of Health, Bureau of Epidemiology, evaluated cancer incidence incommunities living in southwestern Butler County. Only the incidence of breast cancer wasobserved to be elevated above an expected number of cases reported in southwestern ButlerCounty. No increase in brain cancer was observed in the southwestern Butler Countycommunity. No sampling data were available to determine the potential type and concentrationof contaminants present at the Callery Chemical site. ATSDR is currently working with thePennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to obtain sampling data. ATSDR willreview the data, when available, for plausible exposures and adverse health outcomes. ATSDRclassifies the Callery site as an indeterminate public health hazard.


PURPOSE AND HEALTH ISSUES

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) was petitioned by acommunity member of Evans City, Pennsylvania, to determine if potential health effects mayresult from operations at the Callery Chemical Company. Community members requestedATSDR to evaluate potential releases of toxic chemicals, particularly boron, from this site. Inthis health assessment, ATSDR will review the environmental data that are available and makerecommendations to obtain future sampling data necessary to evaluate plausible pathways of exposure.


COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS

The community surrounding the Callery Chemical site expressed concern regarding a perceivedincrease in the incidence of brain cancers that may be associated with potential boron exposurefrom the site.


BACKGROUND

Callery Chemical Company, a division of Mine Safety Appliances Company (MSA), is locatedabout 25 miles north of Pittsburgh at 1420 Mars-Evans Road, Evans City, Pennsylvania, 16033. Mars-Evans Road runs through this property to the north and south. The plant has beenoperating in Evans City since 1941, and portions of the 100-acre facility lie within AdamsTownship, Callery Boro, and Forward Township, Butler County. Approximately 50 buildings on this site and were used for offices, research and development, and manufacturing. To date,12 of these buildings have been demolished. Historically, operations have been conducted byfour divisions of MSA at this site: MSA Safety Products Division, Callery Chemical Company,MSA Research, and Advanced Systems Division. Currently, most operations on-site areconducted by Callery Chemical. Callery has been producing chemicals for more than 50 years. Specialty chemicals produced at this facility include boron chemicals, metal alkoxides, andalkali metals. The facility currently has approximately 250 employees.

The Callery facility is surrounded by areas that are predominately rural and agricultural. Someresidential and light industrial areas are within one mile of the site. Evans City isapproximately 2 miles northwest of the facility, while the town of Callery is withinapproximately 2000 feet south of the facility. It is reported that residents receive drinkingwater from private wells (1). The facility was composed of four areas (Map A): a 30-acrecentral portion of the site used for manufacturing, the wastewater treatment facility located on a10-acre section in the northwestern section, a four-acre northeastern section that contains anabandoned manufacturing area, and the n-hexyl carborane (nHC) plant in the northeasterncorner.

The wastewater treatment facility was located within an oxbow of Breakneck Creek, whichflows toward the north through the facility. The treatment facility was approximately 20 feetabove the creek. The creek was reported to have flooded several times each year (1). Hydrogeologic evaluations near the treatment facility demonstrated that shallow groundwaterflows radially away from the treatment facility towards Breakneck Creek. A shallow aquifer islocated five to six feet below the surface (1). According to Callery Chemical Company, allregulated underground storage tanks at the facility have been removed in accordance with theU. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Pennsylvania Department ofEnvironmental Protection (PADEP) guidelines, former wastewater impoundments were closedin the 2970's, and the four replacement impoundments have also been closed according to stateguidelines. Two fish kills have been documented for the creek (1). Twelve monitoring wellsare located around the treatment facility, and quarterly groundwater reports are submitted toPADEP. Additional monitoring wells are located near the nHC plant.

In January of 1993, A.T. Kearney conducted a Draft Phase II Resource Conservation andRecovery Act (RCRA) Facility Assessment (RFA) of the Callery site for EPA. The report(June 1993) contains information obtained from a review of available documents fromregulatory files at EPA Region III in Philadelphia, PADEP, and from a visual inspection of thesite conducted on January 27, 1993.

The Callery facility started receiving municipal water in 1954. Process waste is generatedduring various manufacturing, assembly, and research activities. Currently, waste is eithershipped off-site or treated in one of the three waste treatment areas, Unit 1A, 1B, or the WasteTreatment Facility. Several Drum Storage Areas handle various types of hazardous wastes. Inaddition, reports indicated that MSA received hazardous wastes from sources off-site betweenDecember 1983 to June 1985 (1). Incidences of hazardous waste violations have been reported(1). In mid-January 1996, during an EPA removal action, pentaborane gas cylinders werebeing neutralized inside a steel vessel and an explosion occurred during nitrogen purging of the process equipment. A chemical release was not reported to have occurred.


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