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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

LOWER ECORSE CREEK DUMP
WYANDOTTE, WAYNE COUNTY, MICHIGAN

ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINANTS AND OTHER HAZARDS

Contaminants of concern at this site were selected from those chemicals for which the concentration in at least one environmental medium exceeded a health-based comparison value. Lifetime exposure to chemical concentrations at or below the appropriate comparison values for a chemical is not expected to result in more than 1 case of cancer in 1 million people exposed or any non-cancer health effects. Comparison values used in this assessment include:

    ATSDR Environmental Media Exposure Guides (EMEGs)

    ATSDR Cancer Risk Evaluation Guides (CREGs)

    ATSDR Reference Dose Evaluation Guides (RMEGS):   Concentrations computed from the U.S. EPA Reference Dose (RfD) for chronic exposure of a child, assuming pica behavior for soil ingestion(1)

    U.S. EPA Drinking Water Health Advisories, Lifetime (LTHA)

    U.S. EPA Safe Drinking Water Act Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs)

    U.S. EPA Safe Drinking Water Act Maximum Contaminant Level Goals (MCLGs)

If no comparison values for a chemical in a medium exist, or there is no CREG available for a carcinogen, the chemical is retained as a contaminant of concern.

To identify facilities which might contribute to the environmental contamination at the Lower Ecorse Creek Dump site, the MDPH searched the Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (TRI) data base for 1987 through 1992. The U.S. EPA compiles the TRI from information provided by industries. The TRI contained entries for 14 facilities with the same postal zip code (48192) as the Lower Ecorse Creek Dump site, 2 facilities in zip code 48229 north of the site, and 2 facilities in zip code 48146 northwest of the site. The closest listed facility to the site is the Cathodic Electrocoating Company, approximately 0.5 mile northeast of the site in zip code 48229. The next nearest facility is the McCord Gasket Division of McCord Payen Inc., approximately 0.75 mile southeast of the site in zip code 48192. Another facility is located approximately 1 mile southeast of the site and two others approximately 1.5 miles south-southeast of the site, all three in zip code 48192. The other facility in zip code 48229 is approximately 1.5 miles northeast of the site. The remaining 12 facilities listed in the three zip codes are located approximately 3 miles or more from the Lower Ecorse Creek Dump site. These 12 include both those in zip code 48146, northwest of the site, and 10 of those in zip code 48192, all south of the site. Because of the distance between the facilities and the site, the releases from the 16 listed facilities located 1 mile or more from the site are not likely to contribute to the environmental contamination at the site.

The TRI Reports from the Cathodic Electrocoating Company list releases to air of acetone, toluene, methyl isobutyl ketone, glycol ethers, methanol, methyl ethyl ketone, ethylbenzene, mixed xylene isomers, and n-butyl alcohol. The reports list transfers to off-site treatment or disposal facilities of zinc compounds, with no environmental releases. The reports also list sulfuric acid, but no environmental releases or off-site transfers of the chemical.

The TRI Reports from the McCord Gasket Division of McCord Payen Inc. list releases to the air of 1,1,1-trichloroethane, 1,1,2-trichloroethane, acetone, and dichloromethane (methylene chloride). The reports list transfers to off-site treatment or disposal facilities of friable asbestos, with no environmental releases. The reports also list chromium, but no environmental releases or off-site transfers of the chemical (7).

The prevailing winds in the site area are from the west or southwest. Chemicals released to the air from facilities northeast or southeast of the site are not likely to contribute much to the environmental contamination at the site.

A. On-Site Contamination

Surface Soil

U.S. EPA, MDNR, and contractors collected samples of the surface soil in the site area in October 1989 and December 1992. Cyanide concentrations found in these samples are listed in Table 1. In January and February 1994, contractors for the U.S. EPA collected 123 surface soil samples, taken from depths of 0-6 inches, from the site area. Selected samples(2) were analyzed for metals, volatile and semi-volatile organic chemicals, and cyanide. The cyanide analysis included total cyanide and Weak Acid Dissociable (WAD) cyanide analyses.(3) No volatile organic chemicals were detected at concentrations above comparison values. The maximum concentrations of contaminants of concern found in these soil samples are summarized in Table 1 (9).

Sub-surface Soil

U.S. EPA and MDNR and contractors collected samples of sub-surface soil in the site area in October 1989, April 1990, May 1991, October 1991, June 1992, December 1992, and April 1993. Cyanide concentrations found in these samples are listed in Table 2. In January and February 1994, contractors for the U.S. EPA collected 292 sub-surface soil samples from the site area, ranging in depth from 6-24 inches to 6-8 feet. Some of these samples were analyzed for metals, volatile and semi-volatile organic chemicals, and cyanide. The cyanide analysis was for both total cyanide and WAD cyanide. No volatile organic chemicals were detected above comparison values. The concentrations of contaminants of concern found are summarized in Table 2. The highest concentrations of cyanide were found in samples from 4 to 6 feet deep (9).

In November 1994, a contractor for the U.S. EPA collected three samples of soil (from the surface to 1 foot deep)(4) from the lot at 488 North Drive (see Figure 3). Two of these samples were from the back yard, one from the front. The sample from the front was only analyzed for cyanide, the others for metals and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (Table 2) (4).

Groundwater

Investigators have collected samples of water from the basement sumps of several residences in the site area (470/480, 446, 488, 455, and 438) on several occasions since October 1989. They collected groundwater samples from the site area in April 1990 and samples of water seeping through the basement walls of the residence at 470/480 North Drive in April 1993. The maximum cyanide concentrations found in these water samples are listed in Table 3 (9).

In December 1994, a contractor for the U.S. EPA collected samples of sediment and water from the basement at 488 North Drive. No organic chemicals were found in these samples (Table 4Table 5) (4).

Basement Air

Investigators collected air samples from the basements of several houses at the site in June 1992 and April 1993. An air sample collected from the basement of 488 North Drive in June 1992 contained 1 ppm cyanide. An air sample collected from the basement of 470/480 North Drive the same day contained no detectible cyanide. Basement air samples were also collected that day from 446 and 471 North Drive, but the samples were not analyzed, according to the report. In April 1993, two basement air samples were collected from 470/480 North Drive. One sample contained 1.1 ppm cyanide, the other 0.1 ppm (9). The OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit for cyanide is 5 mg/m3, equivalent to 4.5 ppm hydrogen cyanide (10).

B. Off-Site Contamination

Subsurface Soil

In November and December 1994, a contractor for the U.S. EPA collected 300 soil samples (mostly 0-1 foot deep(5) with some as deep as 7-9 feet) from the residential area along North Drive both east and west of the site, from lots along Emmons Street south of the site, and from the north bank of the Ecorse River opposite the site. All these samples were analyzed for cyanide, 115 samples were also analyzed for a full suite of metals, 117 for polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, 30 for other semi-volatile organic chemicals, 49 for volatile organic chemicals, 34 for PCBs, and 21 for chlorinated dioxins and furans. These samples contained no significant cyanide, and the concentrations found of other contaminants of concern (Table 6) were generally not of concern, except for the 15,000 ppm manganese found in one sample (0-1 foot deep) from a nearby backyard. None of the 21 samples also analyzed for chlorinated dioxins and furans, and contained any detectable 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzodioxin, the most toxic chlorinated dioxin. The only chlorinated dioxin or furan detected was octochlorodibenzodioxin (maximum concentration 16 ppb), which is not considered significantly toxic (11) (4).

Sump Water and Sediment

In December 1994, a U.S. EPA contractor collected samples of water and sediment from the basement sumps of 7 houses near the site. The samples did not contain exceedingly high concentrations of cyanide, though the water sample from one house contained very high concentrations of lead, manganese, mercury, nickel, zinc, and other metals (Table 7Table 8) (4). The presence of these metals in this sample is probably related to activities within the basement where it was collected, since no other sample contained similar concentrations of these metals.

Basement Air

A U.S. EPA contractor collected 7 samples of air from 6 basements near the Lower Ecorse Creek Dump site in November 1994. None of these samples contained cyanide at a detection limit of 3.0 ppm (4).

Groundwater

In November and December 1994, a U.S. EPA contractor collected 7 groundwater samples from temporary wells near the Lower Ecorse Creek Dump site, four from a park west of the site, one from near the west end of North Drive and two from near the east end of North Drive. Three of the samples collected from the park were analyzed for a full suite of organic and inorganic chemicals, the other four samples were only analyzed for total cyanide. No organic chemicals were detected in the three samples from the park. The cyanide concentrations found were below the comparison value (Table 9) (4).

Ecorse River Water and Sediment

In June 1991, three sediment samples and three water samples were collected from the Lower Ecorse Creek Dump and analyzed for total cyanide and reactive cyanide. No cyanide in either form was found in any sample (9).

In December 1994, U.S. EPA contractors collected 7 water samples and 8 sediment samples from the Ecorse River. The one sediment sample without a corresponding water sample was collected from the bank of the river where the contractors had observed blue material at the surface. They analyzed the creek water and sediment samples for cyanide, metals, volatile organic chemicals, and semivolatile organic chemicals. They analyzed the sediment sample collected on the bank for cyanide, metals, and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons. These samples did not contain significantly elevated concentrations of cyanide or other contaminants of concern. There were at most very slight differences in concentrations between upstream and downstream samples. For some chemicals, the maximum concentration was found in a sample from the North Branch of the Ecorse River, upstream of the site (Table 10Table 11) (4).

Biota – Detroit River Fish

On many occasions since 1981, the MDNR and the Ontario Ministry of Energy and the Environment (OMOE) have collected fish from the Detroit River downstream from the mouth of the Ecorse River to monitor contamination with toxic chemicals in the fish from the river. Cyanide, the primary contaminant of concern at the Lower Ecorse Creek Dump site, is not known to bioaccumulate in fish. Hence, neither the MDNR nor the OMOE routinely analyzes fish samples for cyanide.

The fish collections and analyses by the MDNR and OMOE from the Detroit River in the vicinity of and downstream from the mouth of the Ecorse River are summarized in Table 12. The maximum concentrations of contaminants found are listed in Table 13 and Table 14 (1213141516). Only five of the twenty carp collected in 1990 by the OMOE were analyzed for chlorinated dioxins and furans and for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These five included the three longest fish and the other two were among the ten longest collected. Of the PAHs, only phenanthrene was reliably detected.

The presence of these chemicals in these fish has not been attributed to the Lower Ecorse Creek Dump site, but to other sources in the watershed of the Detroit River. The only contaminant found at the site that is also found in Detroit River fish at concentrations of health concern is mercury. The mercury concentrations in fish samples collected near the mouth of the Ecorse River are not significantly different from those found in fish samples collected elsewhere along the Detroit River.

C. Quality Assurance and Quality Control

In preparing this Public Health Assessment, the MDPH relied on the information provided in the referenced documents and assumed that adequate quality assurance and quality control measures were followed with regards to chain-of-custody, laboratory procedures, and data reporting. The validity of the analysis and conclusions drawn for this Health Assessment is determined by the reliability of the referenced information.

D. Physical and Other Hazards

During their site visit in January 1994, MDPH personnel examined U.S. EPA photographs taken during the emergency removal action that revealed signs that the soil or leachate from the soil in the site area might be highly corrosive. A sewer line serving the property at 470/480 North Drive had corroded and collapsed. One wall of the basement had also been eaten away. Contractor personnel had noticed a pinhole leak in the gas line serving the property. A collapsed sewer line might pose some health hazard from sewage backing up into the house if a collapse blocks the flow. It is more likely that the collapse would open the pipe up and allow the sewage to escape into the ground. Erosion of a wall of a basement might weaken the wall enough that it would collapse, bringing down part of the house. A gas leak poses hazards of fire and explosion, if the gas collects to concentrations above the flammability or explosive limits. The basement wall, sewer line, and gas line that had corroded were all repaired or replaced by the U.S. EPA or the utility company during the emergency removal action. There is no record of further evaluation of utility lines serving other houses in the site area. The utility company supplying natural gas to the area routinely conducts surveys of their service area to detect leaking gas, taking appropriate measures to eliminate the leaks when detected.

Corrosive materials in the soil and groundwater at the site might also pose a hazard to human health, attacking skin that comes into contact with them or linings of the mouth and throat if the materials are ingested. There is no evidence or anecdotal reports that the corrosive materials are present in concentrations sufficient to damage skin during the brief times people are typically exposed to these materials.

PATHWAYS ANALYSES

To determine whether nearby residents are exposed to contaminants migrating from the site, ATSDR evaluates the environmental and human components that lead to human exposure. An exposure pathway contains five major 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 considered a completed pathway if there is evidence that all five of these elements are or have in the past been present. A pathway is considered a potential pathway if one or more of these elements is not known to be or have been present, but could be or have been. An exposure pathway can be eliminated from consideration if one of the elements is not present and could never be present. The following sections discuss the most important exposure pathways at this site.

A. Completed Exposure Pathways

Surface Soil

Surface soil samples from the site have been found to contain high concentrations of cyanide and other chemicals. The site is part of a residential area, with eight occupied residences and two vacant lots within the site area. People living in the site area might incidentally ingest contaminated soil in the process of their normal home activities. Young children living in the site area might, if subject to pica behavior, deliberately ingest contaminated soil during their play in contaminated areas. The most contaminated areas of surface soil were covered over with clean topsoil in December 1989. There were reports that the covering soil had eroded in places, so more topsoil was added in the summer of 1991. Contaminated soil from the property at 470/480 North Drive was removed for off-site disposal in late 1993. The exposed population, the residents of the eight houses on the site, numbers approximately 20 people based on interviews with area residents conducted by ATSDR and MDPH. It has been reported that children from the neighborhood beyond the limits of the site frequent the property at 470/480 North Drive to use the swimming pool, indicating that an unknown number of other people might have been exposed to the contaminated soil.

Basement Air

Air in the basements of some houses on the site has been found to contain cyanide, presumably arising from the decomposition of cyanide-containing compounds in the waste deposited on the site. Residents and visitors to these houses are exposed to the cyanide in the air, especially in the basements. Not all basements that were sampled had measurable cyanide in the air. One air sample collected from one basement contained no detectable cyanide, but air samples collected from the same basement approximately 10 months later did contain detectable cyanide. The maximum exposed population, the residents of the eight houses on the site, numbers approximately 20 people based on interviews with area residents conducted by ATSDR and MDPH (6).

Groundwater

The shallow groundwater at the site contains high concentrations of cyanide. The groundwater has been colored blue from contamination leaching out of the soil at the site. Blue-colored water has seeped into the basements of a home on the site. A person in the basement when the seepage occurs might come into contact with the blue-colored water and incidentally ingest cyanide.

Anyone who uses the groundwater in the site area as a potable water supply would be exposed to the cyanide by ingestion. There is no evidence available that anyone uses wells in the site area for a water supply. The area is currently served by Wyandotte and Detroit municipal water systems, whose sources are surface water intakes on the Detroit River and Lake Huron. Water lines in the site area could be corroded by the contaminated groundwater, which could result in contaminants from the groundwater entering the household water supplies and the municipal water system. However, water supply lines normally operate under enough pressure that, if a line develops a hole, water is more likely to leak out than in.

B. Potential Exposure Pathways

Surface Water

Rain water runoff from areas of contaminated surface soil could carry contaminants into the Ecorse River. Contaminated groundwater from the site area could discharge into the Ecorse River. The Ecorse River empties into the Detroit River approximately 1 mile upstream from intakes for the Detroit and Wyandotte municipal water systems. If contaminants from the site reach these inlets, people served by these municipal water systems could be exposed to site-related contaminants. To date, there is no indication of site-related contamination of water or sediments in the Ecorse River. In addition, dilution in the Ecorse and Detroit Rivers probably reduces the concentrations of contaminants from the site to levels that would not be detectable and would not be of health concern. Routine MDPH sampling and analysis of water from the Wyandotte and Detroit municipal water supplies have not found contaminants (18).

Biota – Home Garden Fruits and Vegetables

During the January 1994 visit to the site by MDPH personnel, they noticed that a tree that was being transplanted from the front yard to the back yard of 470/480 North Drive had a noticeable bluish tinge in the roots and small branches. This coloration might have come from the tree pulling up blue groundwater through its roots. Other plants in the site area might similarly pull up blue groundwater. The cyanide complex causing the blue coloring might be deposited in edible portions of plants, and anyone eating the plant products from the site area might ingest the cyanide complex. It is not known whether there are any vegetable gardens in the site area. The tree cited above was a crab apple tree, some varieties of which produce edible fruit. The owners of the property do not harvest the fruit from the tree, valuing it for its flowers as a decoration to their property.

Biota – Detroit River Fish

Fish collected from the Detroit River in the vicinity of and downstream from the mouth of the Ecorse River contain PCBs and mercury at levels of health concern. This contamination has not been associated with the Lower Ecorse Creek Dump site.

Residents of and visitors to the area fish in the Detroit River. Sport anglers generally supplement their diet and that of their families and friends with some of the fish they catch. The MDPH has issued an advisory that no one eat any carp from the Detroit River, due to PCB content, and that no one eat more than one meal a week of freshwater drum from the Detroit River, because of the mercury content. The MDPH also advises that nursing mothers, pregnant women, women who intend to have children, and children under 15 should not eat more than one meal per month of freshwater drum from the River, again because of the mercury content (19).

PUBLIC HEALTH IMPLICATIONS

A. Toxicological Evaluation

Exposure doses for the various chemicals at this site are evaluated by comparison with health-related standards. The primary standards used for consideration of non-cancer adverse health effects are the Minimal Risk Levels (MRLs) established by the ATSDR and Reference Doses (RfDs) and Reference Concentrations (RfCs) established by the U.S. EPA. If an exposure dose does not exceed the MRL, RfD, or RfC, it is generally accepted that there would be little risk of adverse non-cancer health effects occurring. The MRLs, RfDs, and RfCs may not be sufficiently protective for especially susceptible individuals, such as the very young, the very old, those whose systems have been weakened by other causes, and those with a high sensitivity to a specific chemical.

The exposure doses will also be compared, as appropriate, to experimental and epidemiological data. The exposure doses will be compared to the highest doses at which no adverse health effects were observed (No Observed Adverse Effect Levels, or NOAELs) and to the lowest doses at which adverse health effects were observed (Lowest Observed Adverse Effect Levels, or LOAELs).

The risk of contracting cancer after exposure to a carcinogen is computed from the extent of the exposure and a cancer potency factor derived from experimental or epidemiologic studies. This yields an estimated risk in terms of the number of additional cases of cancer that are likely to develop in a large population that undergoes the exposure compared to an equal-size population that has not been exposed. The slope factors are computed as upper bounds, with appropriate safety factors, and the actual risk is likely to be lower, and may be as low as zero. For this assessment, a significant additional risk of developing cancer is one additional case of cancer in a population of 1 million people experiencing the exposure over a lifetime of 70 years.

Exposure doses for this assessment are computed using the following standard assumptions: an adult weighing 70 kilograms (154 pounds) who drinks 2 liters (approximately 2 quarts) of water a day and incidentally ingests 100 milligrams of soil per day; a child weighing 10 kilograms (22 pounds) who drinks 1 liter (approximately 1 quart) of water per day and incidentally ingests 200 milligrams of soil per day, or, if subject to pica behavior, deliberately ingests 5,000 milligrams of soil per day. Pica behavior is an abnormal urge to consume non-food substances, such as soil. This most commonly occurs between ages 2 and 5.

Cyanide

The cyanide ion (CN-) is a common structure formed when elemental nitrogen and carbon are combined. Cyanide-containing compounds are produced by certain bacteria, fungi, and algae, and are found naturally in a number of foods and plants. Cyanide can combine with vitamin B12a (hydroxocobalamin) in the body to form vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), an essential vitamin for humans. Cyanide compounds can be absorbed through the lungs, gastro-intestinal tract and skin. Once absorbed, the cyanide is rapidly distributed throughout the body via the blood. Approximately 80% of the absorbed cyanide is detoxified in the liver, forming less toxic thiocyanate, which is readily excreted in urine. A small amount of cyanide is eliminated as carbon dioxide in expired air, along with small amounts of hydrogen cyanide (HCN). Although cyanide is produced in small amounts by many different organisms, it reaches toxic levels in the environment solely due to human activities (10). Simple cyanide salts, such as HCN, sodium cyanide, and potassium cyanide, are much more toxic than cyanide complexed with heavy metals, due in part to their higher solubility, volatility, and bioavailability. Cyanide-metal complexes will interact more with the solids in soil because of their ionic nature and insolubility in water (20).

Cyanide compounds are used in several industrial processes because of the ion's ability to form stable complexes with a number of metals. Cyanide compounds are still used for this purpose in the mining, plating, metallurgical, and photographic industries. Coal gasification processes produced HCN as an unwanted component in the gas produced. The cyanide-containing gas was allowed to react with iron, which bound the cyanide in non-volatile, insoluble complexes with the metal. The soil on the sites of such industries is commonly contaminated with iron cyanide complexes (20).

The threat to human health and the environment posed by cyanide contamination greatly depends on its physicochemical behavior, which is strongly related to its chemical speciation. Cyanide is often disposed of in the form of iron cyanide complexes, which are generally considered to be very stable in the environment (10).

Early analytical data identified the cyanide-containing compound found at the Lower Ecorse Creek Dump site as ferric ferrocyanide, the major component of Prussian Blue, a common pigment. In aqueous solution, this compound will dissociate, yielding the hexacyanoferrate (II) ion and iron hydroxide solids, which are virtually insoluble in water. In general, cyanide ion is a weak base in aqueous solution, but readily forms a variety of complexes with numerous transition metals (e.g. magnesium and nickel) in addition to iron (21). Due to the rapid formation of these insoluble complexes, the amount of free cyanide (hydrogen cyanide or HCN) in the environment would be very low.

The U.S. EPA conducted laboratory analyses regarding the bioavailability of cyanide, or the amount that can be metabolized and/or utilized by the body, in soil samples taken from the Lower Ecorse Creek Dump site. These analyses involved different conditions than the total cyanide and Weak Acid Dissociable cyanide analyses cited above, conditions that attempted to replicate the environment in the human gastrointestinal tract. The results of these analyses (Table 15, which reproduces Table 14 in Reference 22) indicated that a very small percentage of the cyanide (generally less than 0.5%, with one sample reaching 10%) would be released in the stomach as free cyanide, leaving the vast majority of the cyanide in a complexed form, which would not be bioavailable and pass through the body unchanged (22).

Ingestion of the cyanide complexes would be most likely to cause adverse health effects, since the acid environment in the stomach might release free cyanide from the iron complexes. The analyses described above indicate that only a small fraction of the cyanide in the soil would be liberated as a soluble compound in the stomach.

Table 16 summarizes the comparison between the estimated exposure doses, the RfD, and the lowest lethal dose observed in humans, under various assumptions as to which analysis accurately reflects human exposure to the cyanide complex present at the site. Assuming that the "bioavailable cyanide" analysis reflects the actual exposure to free cyanide of a person ingesting the contaminated material at the site, no one is likely to have ingested enough surface material from the site to exceed the RfD. If subsurface material at the site is exposed, a child subject to pica behavior might ingest enough subsurface soil to exceed the RfD, but would not be likely to ingest enough material to attain the doses at which adverse health effects have been observed. No one is likely to incidentally ingest enough soil to exceed the RfD under this assumption.

On another hand, assuming the WAD analysis reflects the actual exposure to free cyanide of a person ingesting contaminated material from the site, a child subject to pica behavior might have ingested enough surface material from the site to exceed the RfD, though he or she would not be likely to have ingested enough surface material to attain the doses at which adverse health effects have been observed. If subsurface material is exposed, a child subject to pica behavior might ingest enough material to exceed the lowest dose which has killed people, again, assuming that WAD analysis is an accurate measure of exposure to free cyanide. A child not subject to pica might incidentally ingest enough subsurface material to exceed the RfD, based on the WAD analysis, though not sufficient to attain the doses at which adverse health effects have been observed. No one is likely to have incidentally ingested enough surface material to exceed the RfD.

Assuming that all the cyanide present is liberated as free cyanide, a child subject to pica behavior might have ingested enough surface material to exceed the lowest lethal dose observed in humans. Any child might have incidentally ingested enough material to exceed the RfD, but he or she would not have been likely to attain the doses at which adverse health effects have been observed. If subsurface soil were exposed, anyone might incidentally ingest enough material to exceed the RfD, and children might incidentally or deliberately ingest enough material to exceed the lowest lethal dose observed in humans.

The highest concentrations of cyanide were found in the subsurface soil and the surface soil contamination found at 470/480 North Drive has been remediated, reducing the likelihood of future exposure to the contamination.

B. Health Outcome Data Evaluation

Statistics on the occurrence of the symptoms of cyanide poisoning are not commonly collected from the general populace. The ATSDR evaluated the personal medical history of a resident of the site area whose parents were concerned that health problems he experienced might have been due to exposure to the cyanide contamination at the site. These evaluations did not identify a connection between these effects and his potential exposure to the cyanide compounds in the soil, air, and groundwater at his home (2). Any new data or information concerning the site will be evaluated to determine whether health outcome data should be included in future health assessments for this site.

C. Community Health Concerns Evaluation

ATSDR and U.S. EPA evaluations of the health problems experienced by one young resident of the site area have not identified a connection between these effects and his potential exposure to the cyanide compounds in the soil, air, and groundwater at his home (2).

At the availability sessions, ATSDR and MDPH personnel addressed the residents' health concerns. Many of the symptoms reported, such as headaches, are non-specific and it is impossible to attribute them to any specific exposure. The reported nervous conditions might be caused by exposure to cyanide, though it would be difficult to attribute them to exposure occurring at the site. The hives and nasal congestion one resident reported might be an allergic reaction to mold and mildew in their residence (6).

The Agency personnel also provided other concerned residents of the area with information about the potential health effects from exposure to the contaminants present at the site. There is no information available that links exposure to cyanide with cancer (10).

The MDPH released a draft of this Public Health Assessment for public comment on March 1, 1995. The comment period lasted until March 31, 1995, and was extended to April 15, 1995, at the request of an area resident. Comments received are addressed in the Responsiveness Statement section at the end of this assessment.


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