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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

MICHIGAN SITES OF RADIUM DIAL CONTAMINATION

AIRCRAFT COMPONENTS (MICHIGAN RADIOLOGIC)
(a/k/a D & L SALES)
BENTON HARBOR, BERRIEN COUNTY, MICHIGAN

AND

H & K SALES (MICHIGAN RADIOLOGIC)

BELDING, IONIA COUNTY, MICHIGAN


CONCLUSIONS

  1. The Benton Harbor and Belding sites pose a public health hazard because workers in thebuildings have been exposed to radium-related radiation at levels of public health concern.(7) Trespassers might also be exposed to radium, radon, and radiation at levels of publichealth concern. Access to the warehouses has been restricted, but compliance with therestrictions has not been verified.
  2. The Bear Lake site posed an urgent public health hazard in the past, because the residentsof and visitors to the house on the site were exposed to radium-related radiation at levelsof serious human health concern.(8) The residents have been relocated from the property. The house has been demolished and contaminated soil and debris removed from the sitefor appropriate disposal.
  3. Soil contaminated with radioactive materials has been found around the D & L Sales warehouse. The warehouse property is adjacent to the Paw Paw River and contaminated soil might be transported into the river. There is no information available on analysis of water from the Paw Paw River. A preliminary survey found no radium contamination in sediments from the River.
  4. The radioactive material present in the Belding and Benton Harbor sites might spread inthe form of volatilized material or fly ash should a fire occur on either site.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. MDCH supports the recommendations made by ATSDR in their Health Advisory.
  2. Access to the D & L Sales and H & K Sales warehouses should continue to be restricteduntil the contaminated areas are decontaminated.
  3. MDCH, MDEQ, and U.S. EPA should continue to offer the former occupants of the BearLake site medical testing to evaluate their exposure to radioactive materials.
  4. Water and additional sediment samples from the Paw Paw River near the Benton Harborsite should be collected and analyzed to determine whether radioactive material from thesite has reached the river.
  5. In the case of a fire at the Belding or Benton Harbor sites, appropriate precautions mustbe taken to limit the spread of radioactive material through volatilization and windborneparticulates. The U.S. EPA has held training sessions for Belding emergency responsepersonnel. Benton Harbor and Benton Township emergency response personnel haveundergone equivalent training as part of emergency preparedness program at nearbynuclear power plants. Periodic refresher courses for all three communities' emergencyresponse personnel should be conducted until the remediation at the warehouses iscomplete.

HEALTH ACTIVITIES RECOMMENDATION PANEL STATEMENT

A Health Activities Recommendation Panel convened by ATSDR and MDCH has evaluated thedata and information developed for the Radium Dial Sites Public Health Assessment forappropriate follow-up health actions. The panel determined that workers or residents at the threesites have been exposed to radium-related radiation at levels of human health concern, thoughradiological assessment of several of the workers did not find elevated levels of radioactivematerial in their bodies. The panel recommended that MDCH and ATSDR continue to providehealth information to the former residents of the Bear Lake site, former employees of AircraftComponents, Inc., and workers at the Benton Harbor and Belding sites concerning the potentialeffects of their exposure.

PUBLIC HEALTH ACTIONS

Public Health Action Plans (PHAP) are developed to describe actions to be taken by ATSDRand/or the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) at and in the vicinity of sitessubsequent to the completion of Public Health Assessments. The purpose of the PHAP is toensure that Public Health Assessments not only identify public health hazards, but also provide a plan of action designed to mitigate and prevent adverse human health effects resulting fromexposure to hazardous substances in the environment. The public health actions to beimplemented by ATSDR and/or MDCH are as follows:

Health Actions Undertaken

On April 26, 1995, the ATSDR issued a consultation to the U.S. EPA concerning the Bear Lakesite, identifying the site as posing an urgent public health hazard. The U.S. EPA arranged torelocate the residents of the site, and began an emergency removal action at the site, whichincluded demolition of the buildings on the site and off-site disposal.

On June 28, 1995, the ATSDR issued a Public Health Advisory for the D & L Sales warehouseand H & K Sales warehouse sites.

Health Actions Planned

In coordination with the U.S. EPA, ATSDR, MDCH, MDEQ, and local health departments willcontinue to offer health information to the populations around the Radium Dial sites.

ATSDR and MDCH will coordinate with federal and state environmental agencies to carry outthe recommendations made in this assessment.

ATSDR will reevaluate and expand the Public Health Action Plan when needed. Newenvironmental, toxicological, or health outcome data, or the results of implementing the aboveproposed actions and recommendations may determine the need for additional actions at thesesites.

PREPARERS OF REPORT

    Michigan Department of Community Health, Environmental Epidemiology
    Division

    John Filpus, Environmental Engineer

    Michele Borgialli, Community Health Educator

    James Bedford, Environmental Toxicologist

    Robin Freer, GIS Specialist

    Brendan Boyle, Program Manager

    John Hesse, Principal Investigator

    Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Drinking Water and Radiological
    Protection Division

    David Minnaar, Chief, Licensing and Registration Section




ATSDR Regional Representative

    Louise Fabinski
    Regional Services, Region V
    Office of the Assistant Administrator

ATSDR Technical Project Officer

    William Greim
    Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
    Superfund Site Assessment Branch




CERTIFICATION

The Michigan Sites of Radium Dial Contamination Public Health Assessment was prepared bythe Michigan Department of Community Health under a cooperative agreement with the Agencyfor Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). It is in accordance with approvedmethodology and procedures existing at the time the public health assessment was initiated.


William Greim
Technical Project Officer, SPS, SSAB, DHAC


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

R. Gillig
Director, DHAC, ATSDR


REFERENCES

  1. Michigan Department of Public Health, Division of Radiological Health. SitesContaminated with Radium from Aircraft Gauges, Detailed Summary. October 2, 1995.
  2. Michigan Department of Public Health, Division of Radiological Health. RadioactiveContamination at Benton Harbor, Michigan. October 2, 1995.
  3. Minnaar, D., MDPH DRH. Memorandum to G. Bruchmann, Subject: Radium GaugeUpdate. July 14, 1995.
  4. Michigan Department of Public Health, Division of Radiological Health. RadioactiveContamination at Belding, Michigan. October 2, 1995.
  5. Adler, K., Allen, C., U.S. EPA. Letter to Belding residents, Subject: Clean-up of BeldingWarehouse Site. February 6, 1997.
  6. Skowronek, R., MDEQ DWRP. Memorandum to D. Minnaar, Subject: Radium GaugeUpdate. April 14, 1997.
  7. Charp, P.A., ATSDR. Letter to Karl, R., U.S. EPA, on Bear Lake RadioactiveContamination site. April 26, 1995.
  8. Michigan Department of Public Health, Division of Radiological Health. RadioactiveContamination at Bear Lake, Michigan. October 2, 1995.
  9. Minnaar, D., MDPH DRH. Memorandum to G. Bruchmann, Subject: Radium GaugeUpdate. January 5, 1996.
  10. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Public Health Advisory for AircraftComponents (D & L Sales), Benton Harbor, Michigan, and H & K Sales, Belding,Michigan. June 28, 1995.
  11. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. GIS Spatial Analysis Data Charts. 1995.
  12. U.S. Bureau of the Census. 1990 Census Data.
  13. Copeland, G., MDPH Division of Health Statistics. Memorandum to D. Dolanski, MDPHDivision of Health Risk Assessment, Subject: Certificates of Death. October 16, 1995.
  14. Minnaar, D., MDEQ DWRP. Memorandum to G. Bruchmann, Subject: Radium GaugeUpdate. May 31, 1996.
  15. Skowronek, R., MDPH DRH. Memorandum to G. Bruchmann, Subject: Radium GaugeUpdate. July 21, 1995.
  16. Ecology and Environment, Inc. for U.S. EPA. Removal Action Plan for Benton HarborRadiation, Benton Harbor, Berrien County, Michigan, Draft. March 14, 1996.
  17. Michigan Department of Public Health. Cleanup and Disposal Guidelines for SitesContaminated with Radium-226. October 31, 1995.
  18. Ecology and Environment, Inc. for U.S. EPA. Removal Action Plan for BeldingWarehouse Site, Belding, Ionia County, Michigan, Draft. March 14, 1996.
  19. Skowronek, R., MDEQ DWRP. Personal communication. April 25, 1997.
  20. Minnaar, D., MDPH DRH. Memorandum to G. Bruchmann, Subject: Radium GaugeUpdate. September 29, 1995.
  21. Minnaar, D., MDPH DRH. Memorandum to G. Bruchmann, Subject: Radium GaugeUpdate. January 26, 1996.
  22. Minnaar, D., MDPH DRH. Memorandum to G. Bruchmann, Subject: Radium GaugeUpdate. November 9, 1995.
  23. Minnaar, D., MDPH DRH. Memorandum to G. Bruchmann, Subject: Radium GaugeUpdate. November 15, 1995.
  24. Bruchmann, G., MDPH DRH. Memorandum to F. Watt, Subject: Radium Dial Update. December 7, 1995
  25. Minnaar, D., MDPH DRH. Memorandum to G. Bruchmann, Subject: Radium GaugeUpdate. December 21, 1995.
  26. Skowronek, R., MDEQ DWRP. Memorandum to G. Bruchmann, Subject: RadiumGauge Update. June 28, 1996.
  27. Minnaar, D., MDEQ DWRP. Letter to J. Ledford. July 16, 1996.
  28. Skowronek, R., MDEQ DWRP. Comments on draft Public Health Assessment. May 27,1997.
  29. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Public Health Assessment GuidanceManual. March 1992.
  30. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Radium. ATSDR/TP-90/22. December 1990.
  31. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Radon. ATSDR/TP-90/23. December 1990.
  32. U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. WhitePaper on Risk Harmonization. September 1995.
  33. Dolanski, D., MDPH DHRA. Memorandum to G. Copeland, MDPH Division of HealthStatistics, Subject: Certificates of Death. July 24, 1995.
  34. Smith, E., U.S. EPA. Personal Communication. July 1, 1996.


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