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PETITIONED PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

SITES IN
BLUEFIELD, WEST VIRGINIA; BLUEFIELD, VIRGINIA; AND VICINITY


SUMMARY

Numerous sites in Bluefield Virginia, Bluefield West Virginia,and vicinity have been evaluated for public health issues at therequest of community residents. Several chemicals associatedwith mine equipment motors, electrical transformers, orvegetation control were said to have been improperly used ordisposed of at the sites. Residents contend that inadequatehandling or disposal of chemicals has resulted in exposure in theworkplace and in residential settings. The contaminants ofconcern are polychlorinated biphenyls, polychlorinateddibenzodioxins, polychlorinated dibenzofurans, trichloroethylene,2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, and 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyaceticacid. Environmental sampling shows one or more of the chemicalsare present at some locations. However, for several of theidentified sites, data are too limited (or are absent) toconclude whether improper use or disposal of the contaminants ofconcern has occurred. Additional information is needed to fullyevaluate releases, migration, and resulting contaminant levels atpoints of potential human exposure, as well as to more fullyevaluate associated potential health concerns. Because data arelimited, ATSDR considers the Bluefield area to be anindeterminate public health hazard.

Ongoing human exposure to PCBs in the Bluefield area may beoccurring for children and adults at the Sam Neal Property. Children and adults may have been exposed to dioxin at the SamNeal Property. Exposures to PCBs were likely in the past forworkers at Acken Sign, APCO Service Center, Joy Manufacturing,and Linn Electric.

Exposures to PCBs and dioxin at the Sam Neal Property do notappear to be great enough to result in noncarcinogenic healtheffects. Exposure to PCBs at the Sam Neal Property doesrepresent a small increased risk for cancer for thoseworking orliving there for many years. However, it appears unlikely thatanyone has worked or lived at that location long enough to be atrisk.

Evaluation of mortality data for total cancers and diabetes ofTazewell County, Virginia and Mercer County, West Virginiarevealed less deaths than expected. Evaluation of mortality datafor stomach cancer in Tazewell County indicated that there weremore deaths than expected due to that disease based on the ratefor Virginia but less deaths than expected based on the rate inthe United States. For lung cancer in Tazwell County, themortality rate was greater than expected based on state andnational levels. However, rates for the counties may not reflectthe occurrence of these health outcomes in the Bluefield area. Data to evaluate this specific area were not available.


INTRODUCTION

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) isauthorized to perform Public Health Assessments for releases orfor facilities where persons or licensed physicians provideinformation that people may have been exposed to a hazardoussubstance. ATSDR received petition letters from a citizen andfrom a citizens' committee concerning certain chemical and healthissues in the Bluefield Virginia (VA) and Bluefield West Virginia(WV) area (1,2). This public health assessment is a response tothe petitions and to additional issues that were reported, orbecame evident, to ATSDR while evaluations were in progress. Petitioners and some of the other residents in the area reportedthat they have been exposed to several hazardous substances inthe workplace and elsewhere in their respective communities.


BACKGROUND

A. HISTORY AND SITEDESCRIPTION

Residents of the Bluefield, VA, and Bluefield, WV, area, through petition letters and subsequent discussions with ATSDR personnel, reported that several hazardous chemicals were improperly used or disposed of at numerous locations within Mercer County, WV, and Tazewell County, VA. Residents identified specific locations in or near Bluefield, VA, Bluefield, WV, and Glen Lyn, VA where use and disposal may have taken place. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified an additional location in Bluefield, WV. The locations include the following:

Acken Sign Service (current owner)--aka (also known as) Baker Mine Service, aka West Virginia Armature Service;
Appalachian Power Company Service Center;
Appalachian Power Company Glen Lyn Power Plant;
Bernard Neal property (current owner unknown)--aka Mintwood Road site;
Blacor Steel (current owner)--aka Platnick Salvage Yard;
Bluefield Armature;
Bluefield area streets and alleys, City Park, and Bluefield, WV, high school track;
Bull Tail Hollow;
Joy Manufacturing property (plus the adjacent Galliat property)--aka Elwin Aliff (current owner), aka Hart Electric, aka Lin-Elco;
Lin-Electric Company (current owner)--aka National Electric, aka McGraw Edison, aka National Coil, aka Cooper Industries;
Mercer County Landfill;
Old Bluefield, VA, landfill on High Street;
Sam Neal property (identified by EPA); and
Two closed landfills on Glenwood Drive and on Cumberland Drive in Bluefield, WV, were also specified, but the party who identified them was uncertain whether any wastes associated with mine equipment repair were ever disposed of there. Thus, those landfills are not considered further in this assessment.

Approximate locations of the sites addressed in this assessmentare shown in Figure 1--except for the reported extensive networkof affected streets, alleys and playgrounds, which would be toonumerous to place in the figure.

Residents expressed concern to ATSDR about several types ofchemicals. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), trichloroethylene(TCE), dioxin--including polychlorinated dibenzodioxins (PCDDs)and 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), andpolychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) are contaminants of concernat all locations. At Bull Tail Hollow, a resident was alsoconcerned about 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T).

For many years, service companies and entrepreneurs in theBluefield area repaired and rebuilt mine equipment motors thatwere cooled with fluids that contained PCBs. Motors weredegreased and baked in ovens. Degreasing was by both steam andsolvents, which sometimes included TCE. Often, copper wire wasreclaimed by burning coolant-soaked insulation, sometimes in pitsor on the ground surface. Waste fluids and other wastesgenerated by baking and burning were disposed of both at the worklocations and at locations off site. Degreasing, baking,burning, waste disposal and other such activities released PCBsand solvents, including TCE, into work areas and intoenvironmental media onand off properties. Some PCDDs and PCDFscould also have been released, either as contaminants containedin PCB fluids or, under certain conditions, as a result of PCBcombustion.

Electrical transformers that contain PCB-laden dielectric fluidshave been in service and maintained by power companies, includingAppalachian Power Company (APCO), for many years. In response torelatively recent EPA regulations, power companies have beenremoving and replacing many transformers that contain PCBs atconcentrationsgreater than 50 parts per million (ppm). Thosetransformers--including others that fail in service--aretransported to maintenance centers owned by power companies or byservice companies. There, dielectric fluids are retrieved anddisposed of. PCB storage, disposal, decontamination, and spill


Figure 1

cleanup are regulated by EPA under the Toxic Substances ControlAct (TSCA). However, transformer maintenance activities providean opportunity for releases of PCBs--as well as some PCDDs andPCDFs if the dielectric fluids also contain these compounds.

A former resident of Bull Tail Hollow reported to ATSDR that thepower company and sheriff's department sprayed defoliants in thatcommunity to remove vegetation. The principal active chemicalsinclude 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T.

ATSDR also reviewed EPA's Toxic Chemical Release Inventory database for possible industrial sources of the indicatedcontaminants and found none reported for the region.

A brief description of each of the specific sites of interest isprovided in the remainder of this section.

Acken Sign Service

The facility is in Bluefield, WV, and consists of a largebuilding, paved parking areas, and an adjacent smallgravel-surfaced area. Access to the paved and graveled areas isnot restricted. The current owner manufactures signs andreported to ATSDR that he does not service equipment or usematerials that contain PCBs or other contaminants of concern.

A former owner reported to ATSDR that the facility was used priorto 1982 for repairing mining equipment and transformers thatcontained PCBs in coolant and dielectric fluids. Investigationsconducted in 1986 and 1988 lead to remediation in 1990 (3). Theinvestigations identified five areas that required remediation. Remediation was conducted in accordance with 40 CFR 761. Remediation included such activities as concrete floor removal toa depth of 6 inches, concrete floor scarification, high-efficiency particulate air vacuuming, woodfloor replacement,surface wiping, and sump cleanout. Concrete floor removal wasconducted within a negative-pressure enclosure, and a dustless,vacuum- and filter-equipped system was used to scarify concretefloors. The materials removed were disposed of at a permittedhazardous waste management facility.

Appalachian Power Company Service Center

The APCO Service Center, in Bluefield, WV, is APCO's electricalservice center for the surrounding region. The property isimmediately west of the Joy Manufacturing site and, together withJoy, is bounded on the north by land reported to ATSDR to be theGalliat property. The facility consists of a large building anda large, partially paved, outdoor storage area. The entirefacility is enclosed by a fence that has a gate that can belocked when the work day is finished.

APCO personnel reported that transformers and capacitorscontaining PCB fluids have been stored or serviced at thefacility. In the past, some of the transformer fluids containedabout 60 to 70% (600,000 to 700,000 ppm) PCBs. Tetrachlorobenzene and trichlorobenzene comprised the remainder. Capacitor fluids contained essentially 100% PCBs. Now, inresponse to EPA regulations, units handled at the facilitycontain much lower levels of PCBs. Transformers and capacitorsare now tested for PCB content before being removed from theirplace of installation. Units that contain PCBs in excess of500 ppm are sent directly to a commercial facility that processesthem and properly disposes of the dielectric fluids. Capacitorswith fluids containing less than 500 ppm PCBs are sent to theService Center where they are stored in leak-free containers in aspecial area, drained, and retrofilled with clean mineral oil. Transformers containing PCB fluids [as defined at 40 CFR761.3(a)(2)] cannot be serviced and are stored at the site forvery limited time and under strict control measures. Fluidscontaining less than 50 ppm PCBs are subsequently transported toAPCO's Glen Lyn Power Plant where they are burned in a coal-firedboiler. Fluids containing PCBs between 50 and 500 ppm are alsodisposed of off the property in ways that meet EPA requirements.

Appalachian Power Company Glen Lyn Power Plant

The APCO Glen Lyn plant, in Glen Lyn, VA, about 18 miles east ofBluefield, uses some waste fluids that contain PCBs (atconcentrations less than 50 ppm) as supplemental fuel for acoal-fired boiler. A commenter reports that this practice isauthorized by 40 CFR 761.3, and the required EPA notification hasbeen properly made. APCO personnel reported to ATSDR thatoperating procedures require the fluids to be injected while theunits are at normal operating temperatures. Injection duringstartup or shutdown is prohibited. During normal operations,boiler flame temperature is about 3,000 degrees F; average boilertemperature is about 2,400 degrees F.

Bernard Neal Property

This site, a 150- by 50-foot vacant lot of uncertain ownership,is on Mintwood Road, immediately beyond the eastern limit ofBluefield, WV. A citizen reported that PCBs and solid wastesfrom the Joy Manufacturing facility were disposed of on theproperty in the early 1970s. Access to the property is notcontrolled.

Blacor Steel

Blacor Steel spans several acres in Bluefield, VA. Scrap metalhas been processed and stored on the property for many years bythe current and former owners. The present owner has operatedthe facility since 1974. A resident reported that someelectrical transformers have been scrapped at the yard andexpressed concern that PCB liquids might have been released. Thecurrent owner reported to ATSDR that the property does not accepttransformers, and that no transformers have knowingly beenbrought onto the property over the years they have operated thebusiness. Access to the scrap area is controlled by a fence.

Bluefield Armature

This facility has a large building, paved parking areas, and alarge, undeveloped, vegetated area behind the building that isenclosed by a high fence. The company repairs electric motors. The owner reported to ATSDR that the company does not servicemotors containing PCBs and has not repaired more than two orthree oil-cooled motors since the business opened in 1969. Apetitioner reported being told by a former employee that oilsfrom motor repair had been dumped on the ground behind thebuilding.

Bluefield Area Streets and Alleys, City Park, Playgrounds, andHigh School Track

Residents report that city street departments at one time appliedwaste oils from many sources--including mine motor servicecenters and an electrical substation--as a dust palliative onunpaved alleys and streets, on unpaved recreation and parkingareas at the Bluefield City Park, on playgrounds, and on theBluefield, WV, high school track. In a deposition, a city workerfor Bluefield, WV, reports he last drove the oil truck in the1970's (4). Specific information is not available about sprayingfrequency and concentrations of contaminants of concern in thefluids sprayed. Likewise, records are not available to fullyidentify the streets, alleys, and playgrounds that were sprayed. The high school track and the parking areas at City Park are nowpaved, as are many of the alleys and streets.

Bull Tail Hollow

Bull Tail Hollow is a community of a few dozen homes and arecently developed trailer park near Mercer Mall, just beyondBluefield's northeast corporate boundary. Residences face a roadthat is over a mile in length and largely unpaved. A formerresident reported to ATSDR that waste liquids from mine motorrepair have been sprayed periodically on unpaved portions of theroad. The resident also reported that the power companyperiodically sprayed Agent Orange (a defoliant composed of 50%2,4-D and 50% 2,4,5-T) from a helicopter along power distributionlines in the area. The resident reported that defoliants havebeen sprayed onto some homes and other portions of residentialproperties, including a few springs once used for domestic watersupply. During a discussion with EPA personnel, ATSDR wasadvised that Agent Orange was never licensed for use in theUnited States--but many other herbicide formulations containing2,4-D and 2,4,5-T have been used in the country. Power companypersonnel say that 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T were present at lowconcentrations in their defoliants. Extensive defoliant sprayingwas also said to have been conducted by the sheriff's departmentwithin Bull Tail Hollow as part of a law enforcement activity. The type of chemicals used by the sheriff's department were notreported. ATSDR has not received specific evidence of improperherbicide application.

A power company representative told ATSDR that the company'sdistribution system in the Bull Tail Hollow area was sprayed withherbicides twice--the complete system was sprayed in 1969 andindividual portions in 1974 and 1975. The company reported thatspraying was directed by personnel who knew the area well and wasdone with precision--with no spray applied to residential areas,streams, lakes, springs, crop areas, or orchards. A commentersays the power company observes no-spray buffer zones aroundresidences, known springs, streams, crops, etc. Also, herbicidesare applied under the direct supervision of certified pesticideapplicators and in accordance with laws and regulations, labeldirections, and company guidelines.

A reservoir covering about 28 acres is midway along the communityroad. An official of the Green Valley-Glenwood Public ServiceDistrict (GVGPSD) reported to ATSDR that they use the reservoiras one of their sources of public water supply and operate awater-treatment and filtration plant along the shore. He alsoreported that the reservoir is not fenced and is used for fishingand possibly swimming.

Joy Manufacturing (and Galliat Property)

The Joy Manufacturing property, in Bluefield, WV, is immediatelyeast of the APCO Service Center. The Joy and APCO sites arebounded on the north by the Galliat property, which isundeveloped.

A citizen reported to ATSDR that several owners have used thesite between the 1930s and mid-1980s for mine equipment motorrepair. The currently inactive facility consists of severalconnected buildings surrounded by paved and unpaved areas. Theproperty is enclosed by a high fence that has a locked gate. Themotors contained coolant fluids, which typically were 100%(1,000,000 ppm) PCBs. A commenter reports that Aroclor 1254 wasnot known to have been used. A commenter reports that motorswere steamcleaned, parts were disassembled and degreased withsolvents (including limited use of TCE), components were baked inovens and wires were stripped, and motors were reassembled andrefilled with coolant. A resident reported that miscellaneouswaste materials were sometimes burned on the ground outside thebuilding, and some waste coolants were poured onto the ground andinto building drains. A commenter reports that building drainswere not discovered during facility cleanup. Repair activitiesceased in the mid-1980s, and the facility has not been occupiedsince.

The Galliat property is north of the Joy and adjoining APCOService Center sites. The area is principally a broad, heavilyvegetated, drainage swale that extends from Washington Street tothe high school--a distance of about 600 feet--where itterminates at an embankment. Parts of the swale may be underother ownership. Currently, access to the Galliat property ispartially restricted by a fence on Washington Street and byfences at the north edge of the Joy and APCO Service Centerproperties.

Beginning in 1986, until 1988, under EPA oversight, the JoyCompany conducted investigation and clean-up activities in itsbuildings and on the surrounding grounds (5,6). On-site cleanupincluded removing surficial contaminated soils, coveringexcavated areas with a layer of fill soil from an off-sitesource, paving over contaminated materials, pressure-washing andother cleaning of parts of the building, and removing someconcrete and wood materials. Off-site cleanup included removingcontaminated surface soils and replacing them with clean fillsoils in two areas--between the east property line and WashingtonStreet and in the swale on the Galliat property. Surficial soilswere excavated and replaced with clean fill in the parts of theswale that are immediately north of Joy and north of the easternpart of APCO Service Center. A commenter reports that all areasknown to be contaminated with PCBs were remediated, under EPAoversight, to achieve the required cleanup criteria.

A group of former employees brought legal action in which theyalleged they were wrongfully exposed to, and absorbed, variouschemicals. The district court granted the company's motion forsummary judgement finding that the plaintiffs had not shown theyhad sustained any physical injury from their exposure to toxicchemicals. That decision was upheld by the U.S. Court ofAppeals (7).

Lin-Electric Company

The site, in Bluefield, WV, consists of a large building andpaved outdoor areas. A fence restricts access to most of theoutdoor areas. Previous facility owners serviced mine equipmentmotors, including many that contained PCB liquids. Lin-Electric,the current owner, re-manufactures motors and generators, but anexecutive reported to ATSDR that the company has never handledany materials that contain PCBs or the other contaminants ofconcern. Before Lin-Electric purchased the property, sampling,evaluation, and remediation were conducted to identify hazardousmaterials and to certify that waste management units were closedaccording to state hazardous waste management regulations (8). Cleanup was conducted in several areas of the building, and a TCEstorage tank was removed from the grounds.

Mercer County Landfill

Residents reported to ATSDR that liquid wastes from repairingmine motors were disposed of in the early 1970s at this activemunicipal landfill, which is approximately 5 miles east ofBluefield, WV, near the community of Green Valley, WV. The partof the landfill where disposal occurred had originally been alarge, natural ravine. ATSDR's observations indicate that thelandfill cover is being maintained. Some leachate is releasedfrom the landfill slope and drains into a run-off collection-pondsystem. In earlier years, pond liquids were pumped to the top ofthe landfill and sprayed on the ground. Vehicle access from thehighway is controlled by a partial fence and a gate that can belocked. During service hours, an attendant is present at a scalebuilding near the entrance.

Bluefield, VA, Closed Landfill

Bluefield, VA, once operated a landfill on High Street, aboutone-half mile northwest of town. A citizen reported that wasteliquids from mine motor repair had been poured on the fill area. The landfill has since been closed and the property sold. ATSDR's observations show that the landfill was developed onsteeply sloping ground and is about an acre in size. Refusematerial is exposed on the landfill slope. The property isunfenced, but vehicular access is prevented by boulders, trees,and rough terrain.

Sam Neal Property

This site is residential and is on Rockwood Road immediatelybeyond the east corporate limit of Bluefield, WV. Two residencesare present--at the west and east parts of the property. Aprevious owner burned motors and transformers and reclaimedcopper wire. The units were burned in a small shed during warmweather and in the basement of the eastern residence during badweather (9). The western residence is inhabited. The easternresidence is not currently inhabited; ATSDR does not know whetherit was occupied during and after wire reclamation.

B. SITE VISIT

ATSDR representatives--Lynn Berlad, Don Gibeaut, and CharlesWalters--visited the Bluefield area in March of 1990 to meet withthe petitioners and other residents and to obtain information forassessing their concerns. ATSDR personnel examined the sites ofconcern--several in the company of an EPA representative--metwith some facility owners and elected officials, and gatheredinformation from residents and other sources. Earlier, in 1989,ATSDR personnel visited the Joy Manufacturing facility threetimes. Pertinent information obtained during site visits ispresented in other sections of this assessment.

C. DEMOGRAPHICS, LAND USE, ANDNATURAL RESOURCE USE

Bluefield and Surrounding Area

All sites except two--Mercer County Landfill and the APCO GlenLyn Plant--are within, or immediately adjacent to, Bluefield, VA,and Bluefield, WV. These adjoining cities are approximately 100miles south of Charleston, WV, and have a combined population ofabout 18,000 according to the 1990 census. The Bluefields are animportant commercial and financial center for Mercer and TazewellCounties and several other surrounding counties. Coal is animportant economic base for the area, and the community is hometo many businesses that serve this industry. Severalneighborhood playgrounds are in the community. Bluefield CityPark, an area of 380 acres, has ball fields, tennis courts,picnic grounds, and large open recreational and parking areas. Land outside Bluefield is principally forested; although,agriculture is important. The surrounding mountains and streamsprovide a variety of recreational opportunities.

Mercer County Landfill Vicinity

The Mercer County Landfill is in a relatively lightly populatedarea along U.S. Route 460, about 5 miles northeast of Bluefield,WV. The site is near two small communities, Green Valley andMaple Acres. About a dozen residences are adjacent to thelandfill property and at least an additional 12 are within about1,000 to 2,000 feet of the property. A juvenile detention centeris approximately 1,000 feet from the site. Undeveloped areasinclude timberland and farmland.

APCO Glen Lyn Plant Vicinity

The APCO Glen Lyn Power Plant is on the New River in a lightlypopulated part of Giles County, VA. Glen Lyn is a community ofseveral dozen homes many of which are within about 1,000 feet ofthe plant. Undeveloped areas include timberland and farmland.

Water Supply

Extensive public water distribution systems are in place for bothBluefields and are capable of providing water to all inhabitants. Some outlying areas and communities also have public watersystems. However, some private wells could be in use within theareas being served. Springs were also reported to ATSDR assources of potable water.

Bluefield, WV, officials reported to ATSDR that the city obtainsits public water supply from three reservoirs east and northeastof the city limits. The private company that manages the systemreported that all water is treated before distribution. Topographic maps show that none of the sites are within thewatershed of any of the reservoirs that supply the system. Adistribution map shows that one reservoir also receives waterfrom several springs within a watershed that contains most of thesites. Examination of map information shows that the groundsurface elevations at the springs are greater than surfaceelevations at the sites--except for the Beaver Pond Spring andtwo Bailey Springs.

Bluefield, VA, officials reported to ATSDR that their watersupply is withdrawn from the Bluestone River at a location withinthe city limits and is treated prior to distribution. Topographic maps show that essentially all the sites in theBluefield area appear to be within the large watershed that feedsthe Bluestone River.

The small community of Hales Bottom to the north of the closedBluefield, VA, landfill is not connected to the Bluefield publicwater system according to Bluefield officials. Those residentsare likely to use private wells for their potable water.

For Bull Tail Hollow, a GVGPSD representative told ATSDR that allresidences in the vicinity, except one, are serviced with treatedwater obtained from their water supply reservoir in the Hollow. One residence some distance from the reservoir uses a privatewell for water supply. A former resident reported to ATSDR thatsome residents have used springs as drinking water sources.

At the Mercer County Landfill, GVGPSD personnel advised ATSDRthat a few of the residences along U.S. Route 460 are notconnected to the water distribution system. Those residents andsome along a road at the east edge of the landfill propertyapparently rely on private wells for their potable water.

A town official at Glen Lyn, where the APCO Glen Lyn Power Plantis located, reported to ATSDR that residents obtain potable watersupplies from private wells and from a public system that is fedby wells and by a spring on high ground about a mile from theplant. Glen Lyn has received a grant to develop water-supply andsewage treatment systems. All residences and businesses will berequired to connect to those systems. The public water sourceswill include an existing deep well near the power plant andanother well across the New River.

Area Surface Water Uses

Surface waters of suitable size in the area support fishing andsome swimming and boating. Rivers and streams of principalinterest in Bluefield, VA, and Bluefield, WV, include these:

Bluestone River--The river originates in Tazewell County, isa narrow stream within Bluefield, VA, and becomes a majorwater course before it discharges to the New River about 28miles downstream of Glen Lyn. State officials told ATSDRthat the river supports a trout fishery upstream fromBluefield and for a distance downstream, where it thenbecomes a warm-water fishery.

East River--The river originates in the eastern section ofBluefield, WV, flows eastward, and discharges to the NewRiver at Glen Lyn, about 18 miles from Bluefield. Stateofficials reported to ATSDR that the river supports a troutfishery, possibly within the city limits.

Other surface waters of potential interest in the area include:

Brush Creek--The creek is near the Mercer County Landfill,flows northward through Princeton, WV, and discharges to theBluestone River at a point about 10 miles north of thelandfill.

New River--The river is the major water body in the region,flows through Glen Lyn, and receives discharge from theBluestone River.

GVGPSD Reservoir--The reservoir at Bull Tail Hollow appearsto be fed largely by runoff from the surrounding area. ATSDR's review of topographic maps suggests that anyreservoir outflow would likely discharge to the East River.

D. Health Outcome Data

ATSDR selects health outcomes for further evaluation from healthoutcome databases that have information on the area near thesite. Virginia and West Virginia maintain birth and deathcertificate-based databases. Virginia has a tumor registry, butno birth defects registry. West Virginia has had a tumorregistry since 1991 and a birth defect registry since 1990.

Cancer mortality data were accessed to help address communityhealth concerns and are evaluated in the Health Outcome DataEvaluation part of the Public Health Implications section.


COMMUNITYHEALTH CONCERNS

The following community health concerns were identified throughcontact with the petitioner, area residents, local and stateofficials and agencies, and EPA.

  1. A petitioner contends that the Joy Manufacturing site represents a health hazard because remediation (under EPA oversight) was insufficient.
  2. The petitioner Committee wonders whether PCB contamination from the Joy and APCO Service Center sites spreads via an underground cave and impacts the municipal water supply.
  3. Residents reported concern about Agent Orange, dioxin, PCDFs, and TCE and their possible association with excess cancer and diabetes. A petitioner also believes that the rate of cancer and diabetes for the Bluefield area is excessive and links reported excesses to local agencies' reported spraying of area roads and playgrounds with PCB waste oil.
  4. During the site visit, workers described personal health problems, which they attributed to workplace exposure to toxic chemicals. They also reported a lack of worker protection and inappropriate disposal practices. Workers contend that those practices could have also compromised the health of the entire community.
  5. It has been reported that spraying of PCB wastes and Agent Orange in the Bull Tail Hollow area has resulted in over 25 deaths from cancer, mostly lung and stomach. The spraying reportedly began in 1969-70 and may have also contaminated the water and fish at the Jim Bailey Dam.
  6. Several suicides have been reported in the area. Oneresident associated them with environmental contamination.



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