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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

CRYO-CHEM INC.
WORMAN TOWNSHIP, BOYERTOWN, BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA


CONCLUSIONS

Based on the information reviewed, the Pennsylvania Department of Health concludes that this site represents a public health hazard. Residents southeast of the site have been exposed to site-related contaminated groundwater containing 1,1-dichloroethene and other VOCs. Exposure to these contaminants occurs through ingestion, inhalation, and dermal contact. Long-term exposure to contaminated groundwater of greater than one year may cause adverse health effects such as cancer. Residential well water testing occurred during the RI. However, sampling of private well water has not occurred at a new residential home near the groundwater contamination plume. As a result of this data gap, there is insufficient information to fully determine the exact boundaries of the groundwater contamination plume. The people living in this home may currently be exposed or may become exposed in the future to site contaminants through use of their well water.

Evaluation of Health Outcome Data reveals total deaths for the 1979-1989 period for both Earl and Douglass Townships were below the expected number of deaths.

TCE, other VOCs, and lead were found upgradient of the site in private wells at levels above drinking water standards. Although this contamination is not related to the site, its presence represents a public health problem, especially for children.


RECOMMENDATIONS

The Pennsylvania Department of Health recommends:

Site Characterization Recommendations

  1. Sample water from the newly constructed residential well, and any others that may be drilled in the direction of groundwater flow from the site. Conduct yearly monitoring of residential wells in the neighborhood along Fern Drive and Sunrise Lane.
  2. Conduct one year of quarterly sampling with a follow-up of semi-annual sampling of all newly constructed residential wells, within or near the contamination plume, for VOCs.
  3. Define the extent of the contaminant plume.
  4. Determine the source of contamination in upgradient private wells.

Cease/Reduce Exposure Recommendations

  1. The open well that is upgradient of the site on Fern Drive should be either properly protected or properly abandoned. Since the physical and possible environmental hazard associated with this well is not site-related, we also recommend its existence be brought to the attention of local authorities, particularly if they have any program that deals with certifying, inspecting, and the installation or closure of wells.
  2. Inform households with contaminated private wells above appropriate health guidelines, at the tap, not to drink, shower, or bathe in their contaminated well water.
  3. Provide an alternate water supply to residences whose well water contains VOCs or other contaminants above health guidelines.
  4. Request the Earl and Douglass Township Zoning Authorities or other appropriate local government agencies to impose institutional controls on installing a well or using groundwater from the groundwater contamination plume until this natural resource has been determined to be acceptable by state and local authorities.

Other Recommendations

  1. Conduct blood lead samples of children where the residential lead level was 87.0 µg/L and 70.0 µg/L in private well water.
  2. Provide community health education to new residents near the CryoChem site who do not yet have inline water treatment filters, and who are currently exposed to contaminants in groundwater about possible health effects resulting from use of contaminated residential well water. Also, provide community health education to residents upgradient of the site who are exposed to lead in their tap water.

Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP) Recommendations

The information and data developed in the public health assessment for CryoChem, Inc., Boyertown, Pennsylvania, have been evaluated by ATSDR's Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP) for appropriate follow-up with respect to health activities. Because of exposure to site-related contaminants (VOCs) and nonsite-related contaminants (lead), through the ingestion of contaminated drinking water, HARP determined that the following health actions are indicated:

  1. Community health education for those persons who have been exposed to contaminated drinking water. PADOH will take the lead for the community health education.
  2. Consideration for ATSDR's TCE subregistry for those persons exposed to TCE contaminated drinking water.
  3. Biological indicators of exposure testing (i.e., blood lead testing) for those children six months to six years old who consumed lead (not site-related) from contaminated drinking water at levels above EPA's action level of 15 ppb.

PUBLIC HEALTH ACTIONS

The public health action plan (PHAP) for the CyroChem, Inc. site contains a description of actions to be taken (or that have been taken) by ATSDR and/or other governmental agencies at and in the vicinity of the site subsequent or prior to the completion of this public health assessment. The purpose of the PHAP is to ensure that this public health assessment not only identifies public health hazards, but provides a plan of action designed to address threats to public health as a result of releases of contaminants into the environment. Included is a commitment on the part of PADOH and ATSDR to follow up on this plan to ensure that it is implemented.

Public Health Actions Taken:

  1. With the exception of the new residential well, located on Sunrise Lane, EPA has sampled all homes south and southeast of the site which were potentially in the contamination plume.

Public Health Actions Planned:

PADOH will be available to provide health consultation to nearby residents who do not have inline water treatment filters and who are exposed to contaminated groundwater.

EPA has indicated that they plan to take the following actions related to the recommendations in the public health assessment.

  1. EPA is planning to inform households with contaminated private well water, at the tap, above appropriate MCLs not to drink, shower, or bathe in their contaminated well water.
  2. EPA is planning, during the Remedial Action Phase, to install appropriate inline water treatment filters to residences whose well water contains VOCs or other contaminants above EPA's Maximum Contaminant Level.
  3. ATSDR's Division of Health Studies has been advised about the HARP determinations to include residents in the TCE registry and to test children for blood lead levels where lead is present in well water. The Division evaluated the proposal for including residents on the TCE registry. The registry is closed and no special considerations are noted for this site. The Division determined that lead testing should be considered for persons drinking contaminated water. PADOH will recommend that the people exposed to lead in their drinking water consult their private physicians about testing.

ATSDR will coordinate with the appropriate agencies regarding actions to be taken in response to those recommendations provided in this public health assessment for which no plan of action has yet been developed.


PREPARERS OF REPORT

Robert M. Stroman, R.Ph.
Pharmacist
Pennsylvania Department of Health

Kandiah Sivarajah, Ph.D.
Director, Health Assessment Program
and State Toxicologist
Pennsylvania Department of Health

ATSDR Regional Representative:

Charles Walters
Region III, Regional Representative
Regional Operations
Office of the Assistant Administrator

ATSDR Technical Project Officer:

Gail Godfrey
Technical Project Officer
Remedial Programs Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation


CERTIFICATION

The CryoChem, Inc., Site Public Health Assessment has been prepared by the Pennsylvania Department of Health under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). It is in accordance with approved methodology and procedures existing at the time the public health assessment was initiated.

Gail D. Godfrey
Technical Project Officer, SPS, RPB, DHAC

The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation, ATSDR, has reviewed this public health assessment and concurs with its findings.

Richard Gillig
for Director, DHAC, ATSDR


REFERENCES

  1. Final Remedial Investigation Report for the CryoChem Site, JACA Corporation, March 23, 1990, Volumes I to III.

  2. 1990 Municipal Population: Pennsylvania, U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, PSDC90-01-91.

  3. Summary of General Population Characteristics 1990, Census of Population and Housing, 1990 Summary Tape File 1A, U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, June 1991.

  4. 1986 Population and 1985 Per Capita Income Estimates: Pennsylvania U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, PSDC80-18-87.

  5. Public Schools, Secondary Enrollments, 1990-1991, High School Graduates, 1989-1990, Pennsylvania Department of Education, 1991.

  6. Public Schools, Elementary Enrollments, 1990-1991, Pennsylvania Department of Education, 1991.

  7. Nursing Home Directory, State Health Data Center, Pennsylvania Department of Health, December 1990.

  8. Directory of Pennsylvania Hospitals, State Health Data Center, Pennsylvania Department of Health, December 1990.

  9. Preventing Lead Poisoning in Young Children, Centers for Disease Control, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, October 1991.

  10. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Toxicological Profile for Trichloroethene, Atlanta, Georgia, October 1989.

  11. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Toxicological Profile for 1,1-Dichloroethene, Atlanta, Georgia, October 1989.

  12. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Toxicological Profile for 1,1,1-Trichloroethane, Atlanta, Georgia: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, December 1990; DHHS Publication No. (PHS) TP-90-27.

  13. Pennsylvania Vital Statistics File, State Health Data Center, Pennsylvania Department of Health, 1991.

  14. Bailor, J.C. III, Ederer F. Significance Factors for the Ratio of a Poisson Variable to its Expectation. Biometrics, 20:639-643, 1964.

  15. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Toxicological Profile for Tetrachloroethene, Atlanta, Georgia: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, February 18, 1992, Draft Update.

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