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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

NEASE CHEMICAL
SALEM, COLUMBIANA COUNTY, OHIO


CONCLUSIONS

The contamination of MFLBC (associated with the Nease Chemical site) represents a public health hazard, because of past exposure and the possibility of future exposures. There is no information available to determine the level of past exposure. MFLBC could have been contaminated with mirex for at least 25 years. This public health assessment focused on off-site contamination in the MFLBC (fish, wildlife, sediment, flood plain soil, and cows grazing in pastures along the creek). The completed exposure pathways include consumption of fish from the creek, consumption of wildlife from areas along the creek, consumption of mirex contaminated milk/meat, contact with contaminated sediment and flood plain soil. Although the consumption of wildlife (raccoons and opossums) may present a risk of exposure because the levels in these samples were very low, the risk of adverse health effects would not be significant. Although ODH recommends that fish caught in the creek not be eaten, it is not a legally enforceable ban and it is possible that some area residents still eat the fish. As long as the sediments remain contaminated with mirex, the fish will likely be contaminated, and eating fish caught in MFLBC remains a valid exposure pathway.

An ODH study showed that at least 14 residents from the Salem area had been exposed to mirex. The ODH Exposure Assessment indicated that the likely routes of exposure to site-related chemicals were through the consumption of animal products (milk and meat) and employment at the Nease plant. Eight out of the 14 people with detectable levels of mirex consumed animal products. The exposure on three of the farms has ceased. Sampling of dairy milk from farms along MFLBC has not detected mirex since 1989.

The available data do not indicate that people are currently being exposed to off-site contaminated soil and sediments at levels that would adversely effect their health. The level of past exposures is not known. Preliminary results of the current exposure investigation, however, indicate no detectable levels of mirex in the majority of individuals tested. Contaminated flood plain soil and stream sediments can continue to contribute to the exposure of wildlife, fish, and possibly cattle.

Although residents have been concerned that their private wells could become contaminated by the presence of mirex in the creek, the hydrophobic or "water hating" nature of mirex makes is very unlikely that the wells on property along the creek will be impacted by contamination in the creek. This pathway has been eliminated because sampling by the Ohio EPA has shown that none of these vulnerable wells has been affected by the contamination in the creek.

At this point, the primary contaminant of concern is mirex. The toxicological data for humans is very sparse, with most data for mirex obtained from laboratory animal studies. Mirex is classified as a probable/possible human carcinogen. The liver appears to be the target organ for the effects of mirex.

RECOMMENDATIONS

1. Complete a health consultation(s) when the remainder of the on-site monitoring data become available.

2. Additional signs warning of the fish and wading advisories need to be placed along the creek.

3. Educate local school children about the contamination of the creek.

4. Perform an observational field survey of area wildlife to determine the reproductive success of the population.

5. Maintain fence around the site.

6. Evaluate and distribute the results from the expanded exposure investigation.

7. The data and information developed in the Nease Chemical Public Health Assessment have been evaluated for appropriate follow-up health activities. Human exposure to mirex, a site-specific chemical is known to have occurred in the past, may be currently occurring and may occur in the future. The Health Activities Review Panel (HARP) determined that follow-up health activities are indicated. ATSDR and ODH concluded that area residents may need information about the nature and possible consequences of exposure to contaminants associated with the Nease Chemical Superfund site. An environmental health education program is recommended to advise the local medical community and local citizens about chemical exposure. A thorough epidemiological investigation of the exposed population may include a community health investigation, a disease and symptom prevalence study, and site specific surveillance study.

PUBLIC HEALTH ACTIONS

The Public Health Action Plan for the Nease Chemical site contains a description of actions to be taken by ATSDR and ODH.

1. ODH will perform a health consultation(s) to evaluate the environmental monitoring data collected after completion of this public health assessment.

2. ODH has completed an expanded exposure investigation, and will write a health consultation discussing the results.

3. Because the community has expressed concerns about this site, the Ohio Department of Health and ATSDR plan to develop a Community Assistance Panel (CAP) for the community in the vicinity of the Nease Chemical Superfund site and the Middle Fork of Little Beaver Creek. Additional information about the CAP is in Appendix G. The CAP will provide a forum to exchange information. Important topics and information to be discussed are the follow-up actions and their limitations, and how the agencies can assist in identifying additional people who may have been exposed. The CAP will also ensure community involvement in any follow-up actions performed.

4. ODH will provide environmental health education for local health care providers about the possible health outcomes resulting from exposure to mirex and any other known site-related chemicals.

5. ATSDR, Division of Toxicology has performed a toxicological review of available literature for mirex, photomirex, and kepone, and produced a toxicological profile for mirex/photomirex/ and kepone.

6. ODH in conjunction with the U.S. EPA and Ohio EPA will educate local school children about the contamination of the Middle Fork of Little Beaver Creek and to place additional signs along the creek.

PREPARERS OF REPORT

Tracy Shelley, M.S.
Chief, Health Assessment Branch
Bureau of Epidemiology and Toxicology
Ohio Department of Health

Irena Scott, PH.D
Researcher, Health Assessment Branch
Bureau of Epidemiology and Toxicology
Ohio Department of Health

Robert Frey, PH.D.
Geologist, Health Assessment Branch
Bureau of Epidemiology and Toxicology
Ohio Department of Health

Reviewed by B. Kim Mortensen, PH.D.
Chief, Bureau of Epidemiology and Toxicology
Ohio Department of Health


ATSDR Regional Representative

Louise Fabinski
Regional Services
Office of the Assistant Administrator


ATSDR Technical Project Officer

Richard Kauffman, M.S.
Toxicologist
Superfund Site Assessment Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

CERTIFICATION

This Nease Chemical public health assessment was prepared by the Ohio Department of Health under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). It is in accordance with approved methodology and procedures existing at the time the public health assessment was begun.


Richard R. Kauffman, M.S.
Technical Project Officer
State Programs Section (SPS)
Superfund Site Assessment Branch (SSAB)
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation (DHAC)
ATSDR

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


Richard Gillig
for Director, DHAC, ATSDR


REFERENCES

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. 1995. Toxicological Profile for Mirex and Chlordecone.

Burse, V. W., S. L. Head, P. C. McClure, M. P. Korver, C. C. Alley, D. L. Phillips, L. L. Needham, D. L. Rowley, and S. E. Kahn. 1989. Partitioning of mirex between adipose tissue and serum. J. Agric. Food Chem. 37(3):692-699.

Bush, B., J. Snow, S. Connor, and R. Koblintz. Polychlorinated biphenyl congeners P P' DDE and Hexachlorobenzene in human milk in 3 areas of upstate New-York USA. 1985. Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 14(4)443-450.

Chu I, Villeneuve DC, MacDonald BL, et al. 1981. Reversibility of the toxicological changes induced by photomirex and mirex. Toxicology 21: 235-250.

Doull, J., C. D. Klassen, and M. D. Amdur (eds.). 1986. Casarett and Doull's Toxicology. 3rd ed., New York: Macmillan Co., Inc. p. 551.

U.S.EPA. Environmental Criteria and Assessment Office, Office of Health and Environmental Assessment, Office of Research and Development. Health Effects Assessment for Mirex. 1987. pgs. 12-20.

Environmental Studies Board Commission on Natural Resources National Research Council. Scientific and Technical Assessments of Environmental Pollutants. Kepone Mirex/ Hexachlorocyclopentadiene: An Environmental Assessment. National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C. 1978. pgs. 47-48.

Fish and Wildlife Service, U. S. Department of the Interior. Mirex Hazards to Fish, Wildlife, and Invertebrates: A Synoptic Review. Contaminant Hazard Reviews, Report No. 1. Biological Report 85(1.1). 1985. pgs. 10-11.

Hallett, D. J., K. S. Khere, D. R. Stoltz, I. Chu, D. C. Villeneuve, and G. Trivett. 1978. Photomirex: synthesis and assessment of acute toxicity, tissue distribution, and mutagenicity. J. Agric. Food Chem. Vol. 26(2):388-391.

Hayes, W. J. Jr. 1982. Chlorinated Hydrocarbon Insecticides. Pesticides Studied in Man. Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore/London. pg. 255.

Huff, J. 1990. Toxicology and Carcinogenesis studies of Mirex in F344/N Rats. National Toxicology Program NTP TR 313. NIH Publication No. 90-2569. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service. National Institutes of Health. pgs. 3-4.

IARC. Monographs on the Evaluation of the Carcinogenic Risk of Chemicals to Man. Geneva: World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer, 1972-1985. (Multivolume work). V5:207. 1974.

IARC. Monographs on the Evaluation of the Carcinogenic Risk of Chemicals to Man. Geneva: World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer, 1972-1985. (Multivolume work). V20 293 1979.

IARC. Monographs on the Evaluation of the Carcinogenic Risk of Chemicals to Man. Geneva: World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer, 1972-1985. (Multivolume work). V20 291 1979.

IARC. Monographs on the Evaluation of the Carcinogenic Risk of Chemicals to Man. Geneva: World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer, 1972-1985. (Multivolume work). S7 66 1987.

Janerich, D. T., W. S. Burnett, G. Feck, M. Hoff, P. Nasca, A. Polednak, P. Greenwald, N. Vianna. 1981. Cancer incidence in the Love Canal area. Science. 212:1404.

Larson P. S. et al. 1979. Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol. 42(2):271-7.

Kirk-Othmer. 1978-1984. Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. 3rd ed., Vols. 1-26. New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons. 24(84):299.

Menzie, C. M. 1980. Metabolism of Pesticides-Update III. Special Scientific Report-Wildlife No. 232. Washington, DC: U. S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. p 362.

Morgan, D. P., 1989. Recognition and management of pesticide poisonings. EPA-540 9-88-001 p. 19.

National Library of Medicine on-line Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS), 1994.

Singh, A., Villeneuve, DC, Bhatnagar, MK, and Valli, VEO. 1982. Ultrastructure of the thyroid glands of rats fed photomirex: An 18-month recovery study.

The Chemical Society. 1975. Foreign Compound Metabolism in Mammals Vol. 3. London: The Chemical Society. p. 409.


GLOSSARY

Biota-All the living organisms of a particular area; the combined plants and animals of a region.

Cancer incidence-The number of new cases of cancer occurring during a certain period of time.

Carcinogen-Any cancer causing substance or substance that contributes to the development of cancer in people.

Carcinogenic activity-Cancer-causing activity.

Cataracts-Opacity of the lens of the eye, causing partial or total blindness.

Chloracne-An acne-like eruption caused by exposure to chlorine and chlorine type of compounds.

Crohn's Disease-An inflammation of part of the digestive tract.

Dermatitis-Inflammation of the skin.

Epidemiological study-A study of the spread of a disease.

Fetal visceral-The internal organs of an unborn young.

(an increased incidence of effects upon the internal organs of the unborn young.)

Latency period-The period of time between an exposure and the appearance of effects.

Lower Trophic Fish-Fish that are herbivores, feeding on bottom plants and aquatic debris, such as carp and catfish.

Parkinsons Disease-Characteristically produces progressive muscle rigidity, paralysis, and involuntary tremor.

Post-natal exposure-An exposure that takes place soon after birth.

Transplacental-Through the placenta.

Upper Trophic Fish-Fish that are carnivorous, feeding on other fish or insects, such as bass and sunfish.


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