PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT ADDENDUM
HAMILTON, BUTLER COUNTY, OHIO
Chemicals presented in this section will be discussed in further detail in other sections of the public health assessment. Chemicals listed in these Data Tables are not necessarily a threat to human health and may be eliminated in other sections of the public health assessment. This section is not a complete listing of all of the chemicals found at the site. A complete listing can be found in the Remedial Investigation and Feasiblity Study (RI/FS) and subsequent studies.
Comparison values are used as guides to aid in the determination of the chemicals of concern. A chemical is not automatically included as a chemical of concern if it exceeds the comparison value, because people must also be exposed to the chemical or have the potential to be exposed to it. Comparison values for the chemicals that do not cause cancer are either ATSDR's Environmental Media Evaluation Guides (EMEGs) or are calculated by ODH. The calculated values used the U.S. EPA standard Reference Dose (RfD), adult and/or child body weights, and how much water or soil a person drinks or eats. If exposure to a child is not likely to occur, as in the workplace, the comparison value will be given only for adults. Cancer Guides are used to assist in the evaluation of the cancer risk of a chemical. They are calculated using the U.S. EPA cancer slope factors, adult body weights and ingestion rates. The formulas used for these calculations are included in Appendix C. The comparison values for drinking water are either the U.S. EPA Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCL), ATSDR EMEGs, or calculated by ODH, which ever is the lowest number.
- Surface Soil
Ohio EPA investigations (1981), U.S. EPA FIT (Field Investigation Team) study (1981), and the
Remedial Investigation (CH2M Hill, 1984) indicated that surface soil within the fenced perimeter
of the site was contaminated by organic chemicals. The highest concentrations of these
chemicals, including pesticides, PCBs, semi-volatiles, VOCs, and metals, were in the upper six
feet of soil (Table 2). PCBs and the pesticide, chlordane, were present above comparison values.
In 1983, ten surface soil samples were collected from the upper two inches of soil (Figure 4,
Appendix A). Pesticide and VOC levels in 1983 were highest in the vicinity of the Chem-Dyne
building and the boiler building in the northwest corner of the site (sampling sites SS-7, SS-8;
Figure 4, Appendix A) (Table 2). Metals were found at the highest levels at several locations in
the southern half of the site (sampling sites SS-2, TP-6, TP-7 (Figures 4 and 5, Appendix A)(Table 2).
CONTAMINANT LEVELS IN ON-SITE SURFACE SOILS, 1983
- ND = Chemical not detected
mg/kg = milligram per kilogram=parts per million
1 = Noncancer Comparison Value calculated by ODH
2 = Cancer Risk Guide
Subsurface soils samples consisted of 21 split-spoon samples from seven on-site borings plus 11 test pit samples from the upper 10 feet of soil (Figure 5, Appendix A). Subsurface soils contained many of the same chemicals detected in the surface soil samples, but at much lower concentrations. An exception to this was the presence of lead at 11,900 mg/kg in a sample from 3-5 feet. In general, chemical concentrations were highest in the upper six feet of soil.
Eight monitoring wells were installed and sampled by the U.S. EPA FIT team in 1981 and resampled by WESTON in 1982. Two wells were abandoned and the remaining six wells were sampled in April, 1983. Five additional monitoring wells were installed on-site in June, 1983 and all 11 monitoring wells were sampled (Phase II RI, CH2M Hill). All 11 wells were resampled in October of the same year (Phase III, RI, CH2M Hill). The locations of these on-site groundwater monitoring wells are shown in Figure 6, Appendix A.
All on-site monitoring wells are screened in the unconfined sand and gravel aquifer that underlies the site. Monitoring wells consisted of nine shallow wells screened at depths of 35 to 40 feet and two deep wells screened at depths of 65 and 78 feet. The 1983 sampling of on-site wells indicated that on-site groundwater was contaminated with very high levels of VOCs. The highest concentrations of these chemicals were in wells MW-6, MW-7, and MW-10, at the south end of the site (Figure 6, Appendix A). Chemicals in these wells included 1,2-dichloroethene at concentrations up to 40,000 µg/L and trichloroethene up to 53,000 µg/L. VOCs were generally found in the shallow portions of the aquifer on-site, at depths less than 15-20 feet below the water table (Table 1-D, Appendix D).
Historical data presented in the RI (CH2M Hill, 1984) indicated that contaminant levels in individual monitoring wells remained high throughout the period from 1981 to 1983. Recent monitoring and extraction well data (Conestoga-Rover & Associates, 1992) indicate a decrease in contaminant concentrations of several orders of magnitude in on-site groundwater (Table 2-D, Appendix D).
Public nuisance odor complaints from local residents initially brought the Chem-Dyne site to the attention of governmental agencies. In June 1976, the State of Ohio filed suit against Chem-Dyne for "emitting offensive odors into the air." Antidotal evidence from local residents, site workers, and agency personnel indicated that a strong characteristic "Chem-Dyne smell" permeated the air in the vicinity of the site. Ohio EPA personnel (Ohio EPA, 1983) determined that this distinctive smell was the result of two pesticide-related chemical compounds (MIDT hydrochloride and diethyl dithiophosphoric acid).
In 1976, a chemical reaction in a tank car at the site fumed "noxious and toxic vapors" for four days. In 1979, a fire broke out at the site that caused about 100 drums of chemicals to explode and release "large quantities of noxious fumes" (CH2M Hill, 1984). Five firefighters at the site were overcome by fumes and hospitalized.
The Ransohoff Corporation filed suit on behalf of its workers against Chem-Dyne in 1979. The company alleged that as a result of Chem-Dyne operations, its employees were exposed to chemicals in the air and became ill. The Ransohoff Corporation building is located roughly six feet from the northern property line of the Chem-Dyne Corporation.
Site specific air monitoring by WESTON (July and August, 1982) was taken at a level five feet above ground along perimeter of the fence surrounding the site. Samples taken downwind along the eastern boundary of the Chem-Dyne site indicated the presence of benzene, 1,1,1 trichloroethane, and tetrachloroethene. Other organics identified included acetone, hexane, trichlorotrifluorethane, and trichloroethene (CH2M Hill, 1984). It is not known whether or not air monitoring was done on-site or in surrounding neighborhoods when the plant was in operation.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) tested on-site air at the Chem-Dyne site over a four-day period, June 7-10, 1983 (Table 3). This was done at the request of the U.S. EPA in order to evaluate health and safety conditions for on-site workers removing drummed and tanked wastes and other debris from the site. NIOSH took 195 air samples from four areas on-site, with most samples taken at breathing level, at 5-6 ft (Table 2). Their conclusions stated that "The generally low concentrations of airborne contaminants in the 195 samples collected at this site suggest that chemical exposure during drum removal operations is minimal. The high level of respiratory and skin protection worn further protects workers from occupational exposure to chemicals" (NIOSH, 1985). The concentrations exceeded safe levels for people not in protective clothing.
NIOSH AIR SAMPLING, CHEM-DYNE SITE, JUNE, 1983
- µg/m3 = micrograms of chemical per cubic meter of air
1 = Cancer Risk Guide
2 = U.S. EPA Reference Concentration
NA = None Available
MIBK = Methyl isobutyl ketone
Waste Materials-On-site Buildings
Samples of waste material from the floor of the Chem-Dyne Building contained a variety of semivolatile organic compounds, VOCs, metals, and pesticides (Table 3-D, Appendix D). Most of these chemicals were also found in on-site soil and groundwater. The concentration of all of the chemicals in the waste was less than what was in either soil or groundwater. PCBs were also present in the waste materials at concentrations approaching levels of concern. During late 1985 and 1986, existing structures at the site were demolished and debris properly disposed.
Off-site surface soil, groundwater, surface water, sediment, and fish in the Ford Canal were sampled during the remedial investigation.
Surface soils (0-2 inches) were collected from four areas adjacent to the southern edge of the site (Table 4) (Figure 4, Appendix A) and from two test pits in the same general area (TP-1, TP-2, Figure 5, Appendix A).
CONTAMINANT LEVELS IN OFF-SITE SURFACE SOILS.
- ND = Chemical not detected
NA = Comparison value not available
mg/kg=milligrams per kilogram = parts per million
1 = Cancer Risk guide calculated by ODH
2 = Noncancer screening value calculated by ODH
The concentration of PCBs and chlordane exceeded the comparison values. The highest levels of contaminants in off-site soils (both organics and metals) were found in the vicinity of OS-3 and TP-1, both adjacent to the Chem-Dyne property. The North End Athletic Field (city of Hamilton park) is about 500 feet east of the off-site sample areas.
Off-site groundwater has been extensively evaluated for site-related chemical contamination. Samples were collcted from monitoring wells and production wells at nearby industries. Twenty-four off-site monitoring wells were sampled during the remedial investigation at the site (Table 4-D, Appendix D). This early study showed that there is a two-pronged contaminant plume in the shallow groundwater that is carrying chemical contaminants off site to the west (Figure 7, Appendix A). The highest concentrations of chemicals were found in groundwater monitoring wells MW-15 (Table 5-D, Appendix D), just west of the Chem-Dyne Building and in MW-34, west of the site (Figure 6, Appendix A). Although concentrations have been declining since 1982, the levels of a number of VOCs are still above comparison values (Table 5-D, Appendix D). Concentration decrease with increasing distance from the site (CH2M Hill, 1984).
A number of active production and water supply wells located within a one mile radius of the Chem-Dyne site were identified and sampled in 1981, 1982, in two rounds in 1983, and in 1992 (Table 5) (Figure 8, Appendix A). None of these wells are used for drinking water, but are used for cooling or production purposes. Low-levels of possibly site-related chemicals (VOCs) were detected in 1983 in a well whose water is used for heating and cooling purposes (Table 6-D). The concentration of vinyl chloride was above the cancer risk guide. This well is just southwest of the Chem-Dyne site and close to MW-34, a highly contaminated off-site monitoring well.
Sampling of production well #4 at the Champion Paper facility in 1982 showed contamination with 1,1,1-trichloroethane (290 µg/L), 1,1,2-trichloroethane (120 µg/L), trans-1,2 dichloroethene (210 µg/L), and trichloroethene (100 µg/L). The levels of these VOCs exceeded the comparison values only if this well was used as a source of drinking water. It is, however, used as a source of paper process water by Champion Paper. Production wells at Champion Paper, the city of Hamilton Power Plant, and Mercy Hospital (Figure 8, Appendix A) were sampled in 1992 (Table 5). The concentration of trichloroethene (TCE) exceeded the U.S.EPA MCL in the Champion well and at the Hospital.
CONTAMINANT LEVELS IN OFF-SITE PRODUCTION WELLS (1992)
- ND = Chemical not detected
µg/L = micrograms per liter=parts per billion
1 = Comparison Value calculated by ODH
2 = U.S.EPA MCL
These data show that low levels of some site-related VOCs are still contaminating production wells in the general vicinity of the Chem-Dyne site. Off-site soil gas sampling by Conestoga-Rovers, Inc. (1993) indicates VOCs in soil gas at the five-foot depth in the industrial area south of the site and adjacent to Mercy Hospital.
Surface water and sediment
Surface water and sediment samples were collected in the Ford Hydraulic Canal upstream and downstream of the site (Table 6). A second round of sampling included four downstream and four upstream sediment samples, one surface water sample from the Ford Canal and three (one upstream and two downstream) surface water samples from the Great Miami River.
CONTAMINANT LEVELS IN FORD CANAL SEDIMENTS (1983)
- mg/kg = miligrams per kilogram = parts per million
Sediment samples showed that stream sediments were impacted by site-related contaminants. Many of the chemicals detected in downstream samples were not detected upstream from the site. The concentration of chromium in the downstream sediments was close to background concentrations. Lead concentrations were higher downstream of the site. Chlordane, lead, and toluene were also found in on-site soils.
No chemicals were detected in surface water samples collected from the Ford Canal and the Great Miami River. Downstream surface water samples from the Ford Canal and the Great Miami River contained 1,1,1 trichloroethane at 40 µg/L and 14 µg/L, respectively.
Fish tissue samples were collected from the Ford canal as part of the remedial investigation (Table 7). Four fish were collected from a site in the canal three miles upstream from the site, just west of the diversion gate on the Great Miami River. Twenty-four fish were collected from a downstream reach of the canal, several hundred feet west of the site, between the RR tracks and the Great Miami River. Fish samples included fillets of carp, northern pike, largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, and white bass. Gizzard shad samples were analyzed as whole fish samples. PCBs were detected in all fish sampled as well as a number of semi-volatile chemicals (primarily phthalates). As a result of PCB contamination, ODH issued a fish consumption advisory recommending that area residents not eat any fish caught in the canal.
CONTAMINANT LEVELS IN FORD CANAL FISH (1983)
|FISH SPECIES||PCB LEVELS IN
|PCB LEVELS IN|
- Concentrations expressed as the sum of PCB-1242 and PCB-1254
mg/kg=milligrams per kilogram=parts per million
The Pathways Analysis Section contains discussions of how chemicals move in the environment and how people can be exposed site-relatd chemicals. Environmental pathways discuss how chemicals move in the environment. For example, chemicals in a landfill can move through a landfill into the groundwater or seep out at the surface (leachate). Chemicals in soil can be blown off of a site by the wind or can be carried away in rain water runoff. Human exposure pathways are how people can be exposed to chemicals in their environment. A chemical may be in groundwater or soil, but people may not come in contact with the contaminated dirt or water. For example, groundwater at a site or near a site is contaminated, but everyone within a 10 mile radius of the site uses public water from a reservoir upgradient from the site. If people are not in contact with the contaminated water or dirt, they will not be exposed to the chemicals and that pathway can be eliminated.
The environmental pathways or ways chemicals move or moved in the environment at the Chem-Dyne site are groundwater, soil, and air. Chemicals in the groundwater may still be moving away from the site. One off-site monitoring well still has VOCs above comparison values. The air and soil pathway were eliminated in 1986 when contaminated soil was removed and the site was capped. In the past, air samples at the site contained many different chemicals. Past reports have shown problems at the site with fumes and fires, which indicate a transportation of site-related chemicals away from the site. Sometimes when chemicals move away from a site, they can move to an area where people can be exposed to them.
A completed human exposure pathway means that there is a source of the chemical (the site), groundwater, air, or soil is contaminated, people can come in contact with the contaminated water, air or soil (there are private or public water supplies located in the area or children may play in the area), there is a way for people to be exposed to the chemicals (people drank the contaminated groundwater or ingested the dirt). If one of these points is missing the pathway is not completed, but may be considered to be a possible or potential exposure pathway. For example, groundwater would be considered a potential exposure pathway if it is contaminated and no one is using it as a water supply, at this time, but people could use it in the future.
Completed exposure pathways at Chem-Dyne were on-site soil, chemicals in the air, and fish in Ford Canal (Table 8). Air measurements taken after the facility was closed reported high levels of a number of different chemicals (Table 3). It is likely that when Chem-dyne was in operation the number of chemicals in the air and the concentrations would have been higher. There is no way to determine what those chemicals were or what the concentrations were 14 years after the plant closed. One can assume that if chemical concentrations exceeded comparison values in 1983, three years after the facility closed, air levels when the facility was open would likely have been much higher.
Soil at the site was also a completed exposure pathway. Elevated levels of several pesticides, lead, and PCBs were present in on-site soils. Workers on site and people who trespass on site could have been exposed to these chemicals by inhaling dust and dirt. Because of clean-up at the site soil and air are considered past exposure pathways.
The consumption of fish is also a completed exposure pathway because fish in the canal contained elevated levels of PCBs. ODH has recommended that people not eat fish that they catch in the Ford Canal since 1983. This is not a ban but an advisory and people could still be eating fish that they catch in the canal.
A potential exposure pathway means that we are uncertain about one of the elements mentioned above. For example, groundwater is contaminated, but we do not know with any certainty if people are using the water. Groundwater is considered to be a potential exposure pathway because workers at the Champion paper plant may be exposed to chemicals volatilized from process water (Table 8). Water sampled from production wells at the plant contained a few chemicals above levels of concern. Until remediation shows that VOC levels in groundwater drop below levels at which health effects could occur, future exposure to contaminated groundwater is possible.
HUMAN EXPOSURE PATHWAYS AT CHEM-DYNE
|COMPLETED EXPOSURE PATHWAYS|
|POTENTIAL EXPOSURE PATHWAYS|
*Although a fish consumption advisory has been in place since 1983, people may still catch and eat fish caught in the canal. The advisory is a warning not a ban on fishing.
Samples of waste material from the floor of the Chem-Dyne Building contained a variety of semivolatile organic compounds, VOCs, metals, and pesticides. Concentrations were typically low, and exposure would have been minimal. Exposure of workers to these chemicals during demolition would have been further reduced because they wore personal protective clothing and equipment, such as portable air supplies.
The site is currently in the Long Term Remedial Action stage of site clean-up. During late 1985 and 1986, existing structures at the site were demolished and the debris and select "hot spot" soils removed. Soil removal and the placement of the cap over the majority of the site were completed in 1987. The groundwater remediation program at the site began operating in 1988 with the installation of 25 extraction wells, a number of wastewater injection wells, and the construction of a water treatment plant that includes an air stripper. Ongoing remedial activities include the groundwater pump and treatment operation. Compliance wells ringing the site have shown that the groundwater plume has largely been contained. The average concentration of total VOCs in the influent coming into the treatment plant has decreased from 2,000 ug/L in 1988 to 410 ug/L in 1992 (Conestoga-Rovers & Associates, 1992), indicating that contaminant levels in on-site groundwater are being reduced by the pump and treat system.
This section includes discussions of what is known about the chemicals to which human exposure is possible at the Chem-Dyne site. There is often little information about the health effects caused by low level environmental exposures. Most human exposure studies use information from exposures where people work, where they can be exposed to a lot more of the chemicals. Industrial exposure data normally do not include precise information about the exact dose, the purity of the chemicals, their interactions with other substances, and the duration of the exposure. For some chemicals, there is no information available on the effects in people therefore, we use data collected from studies using laboratory animals. Animals do not necessarily show the same responses that humans do when exposed to toxic substances. However in animal experiments using carefully controlled doses and time periods, researchers observe health effects that they believe may also occur in people.
Air - The only air measurements we were able to review for this assessment were taken in 1983. It is likely that when Chem-dyne was in operation the number of chemicals in the air and the concentrations of the chemicals in the air would have been higher. There is no way to determine what those chemicals were or what the concentrations were 14 years after the plant closed.
It was likely that in the past, people on site were exposed to arsenic in the air by inhaling contaminated dust. This pathway was eliminated when contaminated dirt was either removed and the site capped. We cannot with any certainty know how much arsenic people could have been exposed to in the past or for how long. Long term exposure could increase one's risk of developing cancer. Chem-dyne was only in operation from 1976 to 1980 and soil remediation was completed in 1987.
Arsenic exists in two forms, organic arsenic and inorganic arsenic. The organic forms are usually less harmful than the inorganic forms. Most arsenic compounds have no smell, thus, you cannot tell if arsenic is present in the air. Because small amounts of arsenic are normally found in the air, people take in small amounts as they breath. When people breath air containing arsenic dust, many of the particles will be taken up from the lungs into the body. After arsenic enters the body, the liver may change the inorganic arsenic into a less harmful organic form.
Epidemiological studies have shown that breathing inorganic arsenic increases the risk of lung cancer. Most studies have involved workers exposed to arsenic trioxide dust; however, increased incidence of lung cancer have also been observed at chemical plants. Several studies suggest that people living near smelters or arsenical chemical plants may also be at increased lung cancer risk. Arsenic exposure has been associated with the development of tumors of the bladder, kidney, liver, and the lung.
People who breath levels that are much higher than the levels found in on-site air (e.g., 100 µg/m3) might experience a sore throat and irritated lungs, darkening of the skin, and the appearance of small warts on the skin. It is not known if workers at the plant experienced any of these symptoms. Since levels on site were not as high as those which could produce these effects, it is unlikely that people living near the site would experience these problems.
People on site could have been exposed to 1,2-DCA by breathing its vapors in the air. This pathway was eliminated as a current pathway when the soil remediation was completed, meaning people can no longer be exposed to this chemical by breathing it. When one inhales 1,2-DCA, it may go to many body organs. Most of it remains unchanged and leaves the body within two days. There is no reliable information about the health effects in people exposed to 1,2-DCA. No effects on people have been reported at the levels measured in the air samples at the site (16-370 µg/m3). People who breath large amounts of 1,2-DCA may develop nervous system disorders, liver and kidney disease, or heart failure. It is not known whether former workers at the plant experienced any problems associated with possible DCA exposure.
People on site could have been exposed to toluene by inhaling its vapors in the air. This pathway was eliminated as a current pathway when wastes were removed and when the soil remediation was completed. Most of the toluene that enters the body leaves within 12 hours. No symptoms have been reported in people at the levels measured in the NIOSH (1983) air samples.
A chief target organ of toluene exposure is the brain. It is unknown if the low levels of toluene that people breath at work can cause permanent effects on the brain or body after many years. Low to moderate repeated occupational exposure can cause tiredness, confusion, weakness, memory loss, drunken-type behavior, nausea, and appetite loss. These symptoms usually disappear when exposure is stopped. It is not known whether former workers at the plant experienced any problems associated with possible toluene exposure.
Occupational studies have suggested that exposure to toluene and ethanol may increase the potential for alcohol-induced fatty liver. Populations that may be unusually susceptible to toluene exposure are: asthmatics, people having respiratory difficulties, those with cardiovascular or liver disease, the malnourished, the elderly, the young, cigarette smokers, and alcohol drinkers.
Water - People working at nearby plants with contaminated production water, could be exposed by breathing air contaminated with chemicals released from the water during the plant operations.
The potential pathway for exposure to benzene is through contaminated process water supplies. The most likely routes of exposure to humans would be through inhalation of vapors. Benzene is a clear, flammable liquid that occurs naturally in animals and plants and can be produced by volcanoes and forest fires. It has a pleasant odor that most people can smell at concentrations of around 1-5 parts of benzene per million parts of air (ppm). It is used to manufacture nylon, rubber cement, paint removers, plastics, detergents, and pesticides. It is also an important ingredient in gasoline.
The highest concentration of a substance that is believed (based on animal studies that do not include cancer) not to cause adverse health effects in people is the Minimum Risk Level (MRL). For people, the level of benzene in the air that is expected to be safe is 2 parts per billion parts of air (ppb). Exposure to high concentrations of benzene chiefly affects the nervous, the blood, and the immune systems. The chief target of benzene toxicity is the bone marrow. People who breath benzene for a long time may experience harmful effects in the tissues that form blood cells, especially the bone marrow. This can result in anemia and harm to the immune system. Some research suggests that low level human exposure to benzene is associated with a type of leukemia, however, this information is too limited to substantiate a causal relationship at levels as low as 1-10 ppm (Austin, 1988).
Exposure to benzene may also damage the reproductive organs. Some women workers who breathed high levels of benzene for many months had irregular menstrual periods and showed a decrease in the size of their ovaries. It is not yet known what effects exposure to benzene might have on the developing fetus. Studies using pregnant animals show that breathing benzene can harm the fetus. These effects include low birth weight, delayed bone formation, and bone marrow damage.
The potential pathway of exposure to PERC is through the contamination of industrial process water supplies. Most people can smell PERC when it is present in the air at 1 ppm. Most of it leaves your body rapidly, however, a small amount stays in your body tissues. The health effects of breathing air having low levels of PERC that are not much above comparison values are unknown. However no harmful effects on people have been reported at the exposure levels measured in the on-site monitoring well.
When people inhale PERC at very high levels, much higher than what could result from volatilization from contaminated process water, they may experience headaches, dizziness, sleepiness, confusion, nausea, difficulty in speaking, and walking. Animals that have been chronically exposed to PERC levels that are much higher than the levels in on-site/off-site groundwater can show liver and kidney damage.
The potential pathway of exposure to TCE is through contaminated process water supplies. The most likely routes of exposure to humans would be through inhalation of vapors. TCE in groundwater degrades slowly. It can be broken down into compounds that are even more toxic, such as vinyl chloride.
TCE readily enters your body when you breathe air containing it. About half the amount you breath in will get into your bloodstream and organs; you will exhale the rest. Once it is in your blood, your liver changes much of it into other chemicals. Most of these chemicals leave your body within a day. The principal target organs of TCE in both humans and animals are the bone marrow, brain, spinal cord, liver, and kidney.
Insufficient information exists to determine whether effects from TCE can occur in humans during long-term exposures to low concentrations. No effects have been reported in people at the concentrations measured in the off-site production wells. People who breath moderate levels may have headaches or dizziness. When people inhale TCE at levels higher than what could result from volatilization from the process water, TCE is a narcotic; it can produce headaches, dizziness, nausea, and sleepiness.
A potential pathway of exposure to vinyl chloride through contaminated industrial process water supplies. The most likely routes of exposure to humans would be through inhalation of vapors. Vinyl chloride is easily absorbed and enters your blood rapidly when you breath it. When it reaches your liver, it is changed into several substances some of which may be more harmful than the vinyl chloride itself. Most of the vinyl chloride that is absorbed leaves the body in the urine within a day after it has been absorbed.
Some people who have breathed vinyl chloride at levels above what was present in on-site/off-site groundwater for several years, have developed changes in their livers. People are more likely to develop these changes if they breath high levels of vinyl chloride. People who have worked with vinyl chloride sometimes develop nerve damage and immune reactions. The lowest levels that cause these changes are unknown. Some people who have been occupationally exposed to high levels have problems with the blood flow in their hands. Some people are more sensitive to this effect than others. Individual men who have had occupational exposures complained of a lack of sex drive. Results of animal studies show that long-term exposure may damage the sperm and testes.
Some occupationally exposed women have experienced irregular menstrual periods and developed high blood pressure. Studies of occupationally exposed people show that over many years vinyl chloride can cause cancer of the liver. Brain cancer, lung cancer, and some cancers of the blood also may be connected with breathing it daily for several years.
Soil- Soils on site contained several chemicals above levels of concern. This pathway was eliminated when contaminated soils were either removed or covered with a cap. Prior to remediation, workers on the site could have been exposed to these chemicals by inhaling dust or ingesting dirt while eating or smoking.
Lead was found in the soil at 9.5 to 1,356 mg/kg. Exposure to the highest levels could result in health effects. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned that elevated concentrations of lead in soil or dust greater could lead to elevated blood lead levels in people who breathe or swallow the dirt. The extent of past exposure to lead at this site is unknown.
The effects of lead in the body are the same no matter how it has entered. Lead exposure is most dangerous in young children and fetuses. Pregnant women who have had lead exposure will pass lead to their unborn children. Unborn children can be harmed during fetal development or pregnancy. Lead exposure in a pregnant woman may result in premature birth, low birth weight, or even miscarriage. Young children absorb lead through the digestive tract more readily than do adults and they are more sensitive to its effects. Lead exposure in young children can decrease their intelligence (IQ) scores, cause hearing problems, and slow their growth. These effects may last as they get older and interfere with their performance in school. Exposure to lead at higher levels may also be harmful to adults. It can damage the brain and kidneys of children and adults, and may increase blood pressure in adults (ATSDR, 1990).
Heptachlor was found in the soil at the Chem-Dyne site at levels ranging from below the detection level to 30 mg/kg. Exposure to heptachlor can occur through ingestion of or skin contact with soil that contains heptachlor. No reliable human studies were found that show whether harmful effects occur from consuming heptachlor or from the chemical passing through the skin. Blood tests suggest that these chemicals might cause mild liver changes. Toxicological information suggest that if a person were to be exposed to the maximum concentration found in on-site soils, one could slightly increase the risk of developing cancer. This estimate assumes that a person was exposed from when the company opened to when the soil was remediated, approximately 10 years. This estimate does not incorporate exposures that might occur through skin contact or inhalation of soil dust or vapors from the soil.
Heptachlor can be changed into heptachlor epoxide in the environment and in animals who are exposed to it. After heptachlor is changed to heptachlor epoxide in the soil, it can get into the air. After heptachlor is absorbed into the body, it begins to break down into heptachlor epoxide. Both heptachlor and heptachlor epoxide build up in people and animals. It can still be measured in the fatty tissue several years after a person has been exposed. In laboratory animals, heptachlor epoxide is more harmful than heptachlor.
The levels of chlordane at Chem-Dyne ranged from below the detection limit to 580 mg/kg. So far, no effects have been shown to occur in either people or animals at this concentration. The lowest concentration that has been associated with effects (liver effects) is several times higher than this level. No harmful effects have been confirmed in studies of workers who made chlordane. One study found minor changes in liver function and there is some association between chlordane exposure and anemia and other changes in the blood cells, but the evidence is not very strong.
It is unknown whether chlordane exposure is linked with cancer in humans; however mice that are fed low levels over a long time developed liver cancer. There are not enough studies to determine whether chlordane can cause reproductive or birth defects in humans. Some evidence exists showing that animals exposed before birth or while nursing can develop behavioral effects.
Chlordane attaches strongly to particles in the upper layers of soil. It is not known whether chlordane breaks down in most soils. If breakdown occurs it is very slow. Chlordane can enter by contact with the skin, by breathing contaminated dust, and by directly ingesting or eating the soil. Chlordane accumulate in animals. The amount of chlordane that enters the body depends on the amount in the environment and the length of time a person is exposed to it. Chlordane and its breakdown products may be stored in the body fat. It may take months or years before these chemicals leave the body.
Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
The PCBs are a group of manufactured chemicals. Some commercial PCB mixtures are known in the United States by their industrial trade name. Aroclor 1254, for example, signifies that the molecule contains 12 carbon atoms (the first two digits) and approximately 54% chlorine by weight (second two digits). PCBs have not been manufactured in the United States since 1977,
If you swallow soil contaminated with PCBs, most of the PCBs will enter your body and pass into the bloodstream quickly. PCBs may be stored for years in the body fat.
PCB in soil at the Chem-Dyne Corporation site ranged from values that were below the detection limits to 93 mg/kg. These levels are below the lowest level at which harmful effects have been shown to occur. If a person were to be exposed to the maximum levels of PCBs found in soil at the site for as little a ten years, the estimated dose might increase the risk of developing cancer. This estimate does not incorporate exposures that might occur through skin contact. People, exposed to much higher levels than those in the soil at this site, experienced skin irritations such as acne and rashes. Workplace studies suggest that exposure to PCBs can also irritate the nose and lungs. In animal experiments, animals that were exposed to PCB levels that were much higher than those in the soil at Chem-Dyne for several weeks or months had serious health effects, including liver, stomach, and thyroid gland injuries, anemia, acne, and damaged reproduction.
An ODH survey released in March, 1989 revealed a high rate of self-reported respiratory disease in residents living within 0.5 mile of the Chem-Dyne site compared to residents living in a similar neighborhood on the south side of the city. Health data was gathered for 1,186 people living in these two neighborhoods in August, 1986, roughly five years after operations at the Chem-Dyne facility had ceased. The study area for the survey included residential areas immediately west, south, and east of the site, primarily homes between Vine Street and Ford Boulevard (Figure 2, Appendix A). The exact nature of the respiratory disease in residents was not determined during the study. The study also concluded that increased incidence of cancer and adverse reproductive outcomes were not associated with living close to the site (Appendix B). However, the evaluation of cancer incidence may not have accounted for the short latency period. The plant had only been closed for a few years when the study was initiated and most cancers require a period of 10-30 years after exposure before they would be seen in the exposed population.
ODH has attempted to contact citizens who in the past were active in a local citizens group. This group is no longer in existence. We did not received a responses to our requests for information about whether the community still has health concerns related to the site. Neither ODH or the city health department have any information on recent community health concerns.
As early as 1980, people living and working near the Chem-Dyne site reported an increased incidence of headaches, dizziness, eye irritations, and nausea resulting from exposure to fumes generated by site operations. Other health-related concerns voiced by the community have included reportedly high cancer rates and an epidemic of childhood leukemia in the surrounding neighborhoods and adverse health effects in people who used the pool and park east of the site (U.S. EPA, 1986). These concerns led to the community health survey completed by ODH in 1989. The survey revealed a high rate of self-reported respiratory disease in residents living within 0.5 mile of the Chem-Dyne site compared to residents living in a similar neighborhood on the south side of the city.