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PETITIONED PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

CALLERY CHEMICAL COMPANY
EVANS CITY, BUTLER COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA


DISCUSSION

Environmental sampling data are limited for this site. During the site visit and in the EPADraft Phase II site review, 66 Solid Waste Management Units (SWMUs) and six Areas ofConcern (AOC) were identified as areas of potential contamination and release of hazardouswaste or waste (1). The areas identified and targeted for RCRA Phase II sampling included:container storage areas, ponds, drains, sewers, treatment areas, open burning and detonationareas, incinerators, short-terms storage areas, and leak/spill areas. The decisions forrecommending subsequent soil, air, groundwater, or surface water sampling were based on thestructural integrity of the unit, a history of a release, visual evidence of contamination, or typeof waste treated. Environmental sampling of potentially contaminated media is necessary tofurther evaluate exposures and potential health effects.

Soil/Subsurface Soil Gas/Sediment

Potential contamination of soil may have occurred in the past and present from leaky sewerlines, spills, decayed treatment units, and unknown contamination from potentially hazardouswaste. The areas considered for sampling included:Treatment Area Trench and Sump (Unit 4),Building 38 Floor Trenches and Drains (Unit 8), Building 38 Rinse Tank (Unit 9), Acid SewerLine (Unit 17), Caustic Sewer Line (Unit 18), Sanitary/Acid Line (Unit 19), Former SewerLines (Unit 21), Trickling Filter/Sludge Drying Beds (Unit 33), Former Acid Pond No. 1(Unit34), Former Caustic Pond No. 1 (Unit 35) and No. 2 (Unit 36), Cooling Pond (Former AcidPond No. 2) (Unit 37), nHC Sumps (Unit 42), Abandoned Drum Storage Area (Unit 45), Wastepile No. 1, Large Landfill (Unit 57), Former Small Landfill (Unit 58), and Open Burning Areas (Unit 60).

Potential contamination may have occurred in the past and present because of leaky sewer lines,spills, faulty treatment unit, and unknown potential contamination due to the type of potentiallyhazardous waste treated. The Sanitary/Acid Line (Unit 19), Former Sewer Lines (Unit 21), andthe Former Small Landfill (Unit 58) represent a potential source for the generation ofsubsurface gas from the type of organic waste managed and the integrity of the pipes. Soilsampling was recommended for these areas to include metals, volatile, and semi-volatilecontaminants.

The units that were proposed for future soil sampling included the Treatment Area Trench andSump (SWMU 4), Building 38, Floor Trenches and Drains (SWMU 8), Building 38 RinseTank, Acid Sewer Line (SWMU 17), Caustic Sewer Line (SWMU 18), Sanitary Acid Line(SWMU 19), Former Sewer Lines (SWMU 21), Trickling Filter/Sludge Drying Beds (Unit 33),Former Acid Pond No. 1 (Unit 34), Former Caustic Pond No. 1 (Unit 35) and No. 2 (Unit 36),Cooling Pond (Former Acid Pond No. 2) (Unit 37), Abandoned Drum Storage Area (Unit 45),Wastepile No. 1, Large Landfill (Unit 57), Former Small Landfill (Unit 58), and OpenBurning Areas (Unit 60). Other areas of concern included the areas where the Fuel OilUnderground Storage Tanks (USTs), Gasoline USTs, Pentane and Acetone USTs, and aboveground n-hexyl carborane (nHC) Tanks were located in the past or are currently located. Inaddition the RFA recommended soil sampling in areas where reported or apparent spills andleaks had occurred in the past or currently represent a potential hazard.

No sampling data were available to determine the potential type and concentration ofcontaminants present in the soil and sediment near the points of release of waste from CalleryChemical to Breakneck Creek. Therefore, ATSDR could not evaluate the soil and sediment forpast, current, and future exposures and could not determine the public health implications.

Groundwater

Potential contamination of groundwater may have occurred in the past and present from leakysewer lines, spills, faulty treatment unit, and unknown potential contamination from potentiallytreated hazardous waste (1). The areas considered for future sampling included TreatmentArea Trench and Sump (Unit 4), Building 38 Floor Trenches and Drains (Unit 8), Building 38Rinse Tank (Unit 9), Acid Sewer Line (17), Caustic Sewer Line (Unit 18), Sanitary/Acid Line(Unit 19), Former Sewer Lines (Unit 21), Trickling Filter/Sludge Drying Beds (Unit 33),Former Acid Pond No. 1 (Unit 34), Former Caustic Pond No. 1 (Unit 35) and No. 2 (Unit 36),Cooling Pond (Former Acid Pond No. 2) (Unit 37), nHC Sumps (Unit 42), Large Landfill(Unit 57), and the Former Small Landfill (Unit 58).

Surface Water

Potential contamination of surface water may have occurred in the past and present from leakysewer lines, spills, faulty treatment unit, and unknown potential contamination from the type ofpotentially hazardous waste treated. In the past, the Acid Sewer Lines (Unit 17), Caustic SewerLine (Unit 18), Sanitary/Acid Line (Unit 19), Storm Sewer System (Unit 22), and the LargeLandfill (Unit 57) have leaked and overflowed waste into Breakneck Creek. Ponds Nos. 1 and 2 (Unit 29) were permitted to release treated waste waters into Breakneck Creek.

Air

According to the Draft Phase II RCRA Facility Assessment of the Callery site for the EPA (1), the potential for contaminant release to the air during operation of the Potassium ColumnScrubber, Large and Small Paint Booths in Building 74, Shot-blasting Unit Dust Collector (Unit12), Incinerator and Flare, Thermal Treatment Unit (Unit 59), and the Open Burning Areas(Unit 60) may have been high in the past. However, no data are available to evaluate this exposure pathway.


HEALTH OUTCOME DATA EVALUATION

ATSDR defines five steps in an exposure pathway that are likely to occur in order for apopulation to become at risk for developing adverse health effects. These include the presenceof a contaminated source, contaminated environmental media (soil, sediment, water, air, biota),a point of exposure (media), an exposure route (ingestion, inhalation, dermal contact), and thepresence of a receptor population receiving a dose at a level where health effects may berealized. A person who is exposed to a contaminant may not necessarily develop a disease or illhealth effects. The type of contaminant, the amount received into the body (dose), and how thebody reacts will influence disease development. In addition, several other factors maydetermine whether disease occurs or not and include the age, race, sex, genetics, diet, and otherlife-style factors of an individual. For some diseases, a period of time (20-30 years) may occurbetween when the individual was exposed to a contaminant and develops the disease. Thisperiod of time is termed the "latency period." The development of many cancers involves thislatency period. In addition, it is rare that a causal relationship can be determined betweenexposure to a contaminant and adverse health effects. Usually many factors are involved in thedevelopment of a disease, and often not all these factors are known for a population.

Health outcome data refer to the rates or incidence (number of cases reported over a period oftime) of certain illnesses such as cancers, miscarriages, stillbirths, and birth defects that arerecorded by state and federal agencies. They reflect the health trends in a population and helpto identify any unusual increases in a disease. Physicians and hospitals are obligated by law toreport certain cases of illness to the Office of Public Health, Section of Vital Records, StateTumor Registries, or some other database. The Cancer or Tumor Registry collects informationon the occurrence of disease development in a population (morbidity) or the number of deathsthat have occurred from a disease (mortality). The registry separates cancers into differentcategories such as skin, liver, gallbladder, colon, and so forth, defined by the cell type that isaffected. Depending on the type and availability of the data, the rate of specific cancers can bedetermined for the entire United States, a particular state, county, or city. Often healthstatistics can only be obtained at the county level and may not reflect the health trends in a smallpopulation surrounding a particular contaminated site.

In 1996, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Bureau of Epidemiology, evaluated the risk ofcommunities living in southwestern Butler County developing cancer (2, 3, 4, 5). Cancer casesreported to the Pennsylvania Cancer Registry (PCR) after September 1984 were used for theanalysis. The number of cancer cases reported in this community or the "observed" number ofcases were compared with the "expected" number of cases for the period 1988 through 1992.The expected number of cases were calculated by multiplying the number of persons in ButlerCounty by the cancer incidence rates established for the State of Pennsylvania. This standardincidence ratio (SIR) was calculated for both males and females of all age groups. Informationwas not available for confirmed cancer cases diagnosed before September 1984. The incidencerates for all types of cancers including cancer of the brain and central nervous system werereviewed. While differences in the incidence rates were found, they were not considered to besignificant and the increase may be due to sampling or reporting error. Only the incidence ofbreast cancer reported in southwestern Butler County was observed to be elevated above theexpected number of cases. No increase from the expected incidence of brain cancer wasobserved during that period in the southwestern Butler County community. To date, a causalrelationship between exposure to environmental contaminants and the incidence of brain cancershas not been established. Additionally, the knowledge of the mechanisms involved in the development of a cancerous cell and tumor proliferation is complex and incomplete.


DISCUSSION OF COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS

In evaluating the health of a specific population living near a contaminated area, a plausiblecompleted pathway of exposure should be defined, the toxicity of chemicals present evaluated,and the community's health concerns addressed. The community surrounding the CalleryChemical site expressed concern regarding a perceived increase in the incidence of braincancers that may be associated with potential boron exposure from the site. No increase in the incidence of brain cancer was observed in the southwestern Butler County community. Onlybreast cancer was found to be significantly elevated in southwestern Butler County. Data arenot yet available to fully characterize this site for contaminants and to adequately define acompleted pathway for off-site exposure. Once this information becomes available, ATSDR will reevaluate the potential exposures to chemicals that may result in adverse health conditions.


CHILD HEALTH INITIATIVE

ATSDR recognizes that children are different from adults when exposed to contamination intheir water, soil, air, or food. Children are at greater risk than adults from certain kinds ofexposure to hazardous substances emitted from waste sites and emergency events. They aremore likely to be exposed for several reasons. First, children play outside more often thanadults, increasing the likelihood that they will come into contact with chemicals in theenvironment. Because they are shorter than adults they breathe more dust, soil, and heavyvapors close to the ground. Children are also smaller, resulting in higher doses of chemicalexposure per body weight. The developing body systems of children can sustain damage iftoxic exposures occur during certain growth stages. Data are not available to fully characterizethis site for contaminants and to adequately define a completed pathway for off-site exposures tochildren. However, when data become available for review, ATSDR will evaluate thelikelihood of children living near the Callery Chemical site being exposed to contaminants at levels of health concern.


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