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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

TULSA FUEL AND MANUFACTURING
COLLINSVILLE, TULSA COUNTY, OKLAHOMA


DISCUSSION

Contaminant Selection

ATSDR reviewed environmental sampling data (1, 4) and selected contaminants of potential concern that warranted further evaluation for exposure and public health significance. The contaminants selected include:

antimony
arsenic
cadmium
copper
lead
manganese
zinc

The tables in Appendix B list the contaminants and their concentrations found in soil, sediment, and water. Only the chemicals that exceed a certain environmental screening level are included for further evaluation. The screening levels, or comparison values, are conservative (i.e. protective) values that would be unlikely to cause health effects even if a person were exposed daily to the chemical. The comparison values are described in Appendix C.

The soil on and around the Tulsa Fuel and Manufacturing (TFM) site was sampled and analyzed for metals during the 1994 Site Investigation and the 1999 Removal Assessment Report. For the Site Investigation, a limited number of judgmental samples were taken. Judgmental sampling is when a location to be sampled is chosen for some particular reason; in this case, the areas sampled were believed to have high levels of contaminants or to be in areas of high exposure.

For the Removal Assessment Report, a large number of judgmental and random samples (from a grid pattern) were taken and most were analyzed on-site using X-Ray Fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF) techniques. This type of soil analysis is useful because it can provide a large number of quick results that can be read in the field. However, it is considered to be a screening effort only, and generally 10% of the samples are also sent to a laboratory for confirmation analysis (12). For this Removal Assessment Report, only 9 samples, about 4%, were sent for confirmation. The XRF data were only included in this public health assessment if they were confirmed by laboratory results (where R2 > 0.7)(1).

The surface soil at the TFM site was sampled for metals from 0 to 6 inches in depth. Over a hundred samples were taken from across the entire site, from the road at the northern edge of the site, and from the residential property on the site. Lead was found at a maximum of 36,500 ppm (parts per million). Other metals detected above the comparison values are arsenic, cadmium, manganese, and zinc, as listed in Table B1, Appendix B. The distribution of arsenic, lead, and cadmium levels across the site are mapped in Appendix A, Figures 3, 4, and 5, respectively.

Radiation was also screened for during a site walk-through in 1999. No ionizing radiation was detected. (4)

The subsurface soil was sampled at forty waste pile locations for the Removal Assessment. Samples were taken at three different depths according to their composition: slag, slag/clay mixture, and clay. The depths varied from location to location; some of the slag extended as deep as nine feet. Table B2 in Appendix B lists the results from the slag analysis, since this material will have the highest concentrations of smelter contaminants. The soil under the road was sampled at a depth of 2 to 24 inches. Arsenic, cadmium, lead, manganese, and zinc were detected above their comparison values.

Off-site surface soil results are listed in Tables B3. Only eight surface soil samples have been collected off-site, mostly to the north, and may not be representative of other areas around the site. The trailer park nearest the site was not sampled because the top soil there had allegedly been replaced. Eight samples of subsurface soil were taken at six locations off-site, from 2 to 36 inches below the surface. Although some of the metal concentrations are above comparison values, they are much lower than site concentrations. Maximum concentrations of arsenic, cadmium, lead, manganese, and zinc were found slightly above comparison values.

The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality reported that, at other smelter sites in Oklahoma, slag or waste material has been transported off-site to be used as fill in driveways or in school running tracks (13). This could have occurred in the past at the TFM site since it was abandoned in the 1920s and large amounts of slag material were left behind. No sampling data have been taken, nor any investigation conducted, to evaluate this possibility.

Sediment samples were collected in the northern ponds and in the southern impoundment for both the 1994 and 1999 reports (see Table B4, Appendix B). The same metals that are elevated in the on-site soil are also above the comparison values in the sediment. Higher concentrations were reported in the 1994 Site Investigation than in the 1999 Removal Assessment. This could be because the earlier sampling event targeted contaminated areas (judgmental sampling) and the later report took random samples from each body of water.

Five off-site sediment samples were taken for the Site Investigation. All were below comparison values or near background levels. The locations for these samples, downstream from the TFM site, could also be influenced by another former smelter site to the northeast of TFM.

Surface water results from the on-site ponds and southern impoundment indicated that arsenic, cadmium, lead, and manganese exceed their comparison values for drinking water (see Table B5, Appendix B). The surface water bodies are not used for drinking water, but may be used for recreational purposes. The 1994 off-site surface water samples, collected downstream from the site, were not above the drinking water comparison values, except for manganese. Manganese was detected at a maximum concentration of 262 parts per billion (ppb).

Only one groundwater sample has been analyzed for this site. In 1992, the Oklahoma State Department of Health sampled the on-site residential well for bacteria and total metals. The sample was collected from the kitchen faucet. Coliform bacteria were detected in the well water, which could indicate surface water contamination. For the metals, only barium and zinc were detected, but they were below their comparison values (14). Other site-related metals were not detected, however the detection limits for some of these metals were above their comparison values.

The air was sampled during the 1999 Removal Assessment activities. Respirable and total suspended particulates at five locations were collected continuously over a 24-hour period for five days. None of the metals detected were above their comparison value. The maximum concentration of lead measured in the air was 0.13 µg/m3 (microgram per cubic meter), which is approximately ten times less than the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for lead (1.5 µg/m3). No record of air quality during the smelter operation has been found. However, based on information regarding typical horizontal smelters of that era, releases of sulfur dioxide and metal fumes were likely in the past (15).

Seven catfish (8 to 18 inches long) were caught in the southern impoundment and the fillets were analyzed for metals (4). No fish were observed in the northern ponds. The three metals that were detected in the catfish fillets were below their comparison values.

Identifying contaminants for further assessment does not imply that human exposure would actually result in adverse health effects. The significance of any exposure to those contaminants and the potential for associated health effects are established through further evaluation. An overview of this evaluation process is provided in Appendix D.

Exposure Pathways

ATSDR examined plausible exposure pathways and their associated contaminants and identified several pathways that warranted further evaluation for potential health effects. The pathways selected for more evaluation are presented in Table B6 (Appendix B) and include exposure to the soil, sediment, and surface water on-site. The people most likely exposed to the contaminants on the site would be the current resident and those who frequently visit or trespass on the site. The current resident reportedly spends only a small amount of time each day in the yard (personal communication with resident, June 2000). Trespassing on the site has been observed in the past, but is assumed to be limited since the site is in an isolated area. If the occupancy of the on-site residence changes in the future, the exposure to contamination may increase significantly, especially if children live there.

Several of the plausible exposure pathways did not warrant further evaluation for health impact because the exposure, if any, would not be at levels that would affect human health. In some cases, further evaluation was impossible because environmental sampling data was not available to estimate exposure doses. Those pathways are outlined in Table B7 (Appendix B). Some of these pathways may be addressed in the future when sampling data are available.

During the operation of the smelter from 1914 to 1925, exposure of workers to contaminants is likely. However, it is not possible to evaluate the health implications since the contaminant levels, the exposure duration, the exposure frequency, the extent of personal protection, and other factors are not known. Therefore, this type of exposure will not be discussed further.

Public Health Implications

In this section, the public health implications of chemicals in the on-site soil, sediment, and surface water environmental exposure pathways that have at least one concentration above a comparison value are discussed. For the on-site soil exposure pathway, these chemicals are arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, manganese, and zinc. For the on-site sediment exposure pathway, they are arsenic and cadmium. For the surface water pathway, arsenic was the only chemical above a comparison value.

Introduction

Identification of the public health implications of a site focuses on identifying which chemicals and exposure situations could be a health hazard. The first step is the calculation of child and adult exposure doses, as described in Appendix E. These are then compared to an appropriate health guideline for that chemical. The results of these calculations are presented in Tables E1 through E3 starting on page 37. Any exposure situation, where the exposure dose is lower than a health guideline, is eliminated from further evaluation.

The next step is the revision of the exposure dose to better match probable rather than worst-case exposure scenarios. Lastly, these revised exposure doses are compared to known toxicological values for the chemical of concern. This would include the no observed adverse health effect level (NOAEL) and the lowest observed adverse health effect level (LOAEL) identified in ATSDR Toxicological Profiles. If the chemical of concern is a carcinogen, the cancer risk is recalculated using the revised exposure dose. These comparisons are the basis for stating whether or not the exposure is a health hazard.

Possible Health Consequences of Chemicals

There were health guidelines to identify the risk of non-cancer health effects for all 6 chemicals of concern except lead. There was a health guideline to identify cancer risk for arsenic, but not for the other possible human carcinogens, cadmium and lead. Copper, manganese, and zinc are not considered carcinogens.

Soil Exposure Pathway

The exposure doses and cancer risk for the chemicals in this pathway are displayed in Table E1. The possible health consequences are discussed in the following paragraphs.

Arsenic

Health effects due to arsenic in the Tulsa Fuel on-site soil exposure pathway could occur if a child had regular exposure to contaminated soil. Health effects in adults are unlikely. The adult and child exposure doses for the maximum arsenic concentrations of 864 ppm are above the health guideline for non-carcinogenic health effects. The child exposure dose for the mean arsenic level of 138 ppm was above the arsenic health guideline, while for the mean, the adult exposure dose was below.

Exposure of small children (under 5 years old) could result in adverse health effects if a child played on arsenic-contaminated soil on the site nearly every day. At the maximum level of 864 ppm, daily contact for a few minutes might be sufficient for health effects, while at the mean level of 138 ppm, contact would have to be for several hours a day. However, it appears that small children do not currently have the opportunity for frequent contact since no children reside on-site. It is also unlikely that small children living offsite could regularly access the contaminated areas since there are no residences within about ½ mile of the contaminated areas, other than the one house on-site. It is occupied by an adult man.

An adult would have to have prolonged contact with soil contaminated at or near the maximum concentration of 864 ppm for 4-5 days a week for an increased risk of health effects. Currently, this is unlikely since no one works at the site and the individual living on-site reportedly spends a limited amount of time outside.

The cancer risk for the maximum and mean arsenic levels are elevated if someone were exposed to those levels nearly every day for 70 years. ATSDR calculations indicate that the mean arsenic level would increase cancer risk only if there was daily exposure for at least 30 years, and for the maximum level, if there was daily exposure for at least 10 years. It appears unlikely that anyone could meet these exposure circumstances since no one works on site and the individual living on-site reportedly spends a limited amount of time outside.

Cadmium

Health effects in children or adults due to exposure to cadmium in soil from this site appear unlikely based on the contaminant levels or the likely exposure scenarios. As indicated in Table E1, the child exposure dose for both the mean and maximum cadmium levels exceed the health guideline, while the adult exposure doses do not. Thus, adults will not be considered further in evaluating the possibility of health effects for cadmium.

Health effects in children appear unlikely because they do not have the opportunity to have sufficient exposure to result in harm. The calculated exposure doses for children assume that a 2 to 3 year old child would have nearly daily contact with contaminated soil for several hours a day. As discussed for arsenic, there are currently no children living on-site and it does not appear likely that small children from neighboring residences would access the site because of the distances involved.

Copper

Health effects in children or adults due to exposure to copper in soil from this site appear unlikely based on the contaminant levels or the likely exposure scenarios. As indicated in Table E1, the child exposure dose for the maximum copper level exceeds the health guideline, but for the mean it does not. The adult exposure doses for the mean and maximum levels do not exceed the health guideline; therefore, adults will not be considered further in evaluating the possibility of health effects for copper.

Health effects in children appear unlikely because they do not have the opportunity to have sufficient exposure to result in harm. The calculated child exposure dose for the maximum copper level assumes that a 2 to 3 year old child would have nearly daily contact with contaminated soil several hours a day. As discussed for arsenic, there are currently no children living on-site and it does not appear likely that small children from neighboring residences would access the site because of the distances involved.

Lead

A review of the ATSDR Toxicological Profile for Lead indicates that daily exposure to lead at any location where lead levels were above 400 ppm, could be a health hazard for children less than 6 years old (20). However, it is very unlikely that small children could have enough exposure to result in health effects because it appears unlikely that they could access the contaminated soil. Currently, no children live on-site and the nearby residences are too far away for a small child to have regular exposure.

The higher lead levels found on-site could cause health effects in adults if there was exposure to these concentrations all day nearly every day (20). As described before, there is no one, at present, that meets this exposure scenario.

Manganese

Health effects in children or adults due to exposure to manganese in soil from this site appear unlikely based on the contaminant levels or the likely exposure scenarios. As indicated in Table E1, the child exposure dose for both the mean and maximum manganese levels exceed the health guideline, while the adult exposure doses do not. Thus, adults will not be considered further in evaluating the possibility of health effects for manganese.

Health effects in children appear unlikely because they do not have the opportunity to have sufficient exposure to result in harm. The calculated exposure doses for children assume that a 2 to 3 year old child would have nearly daily contact with contaminated soil several hours a day. As discussed for arsenic, there are currently no children living on-site and it does not appear likely that small children from neighboring residences would access the site because of the distances involved.

Zinc

Health effects in children or adults due to exposure to zinc in soil from this site appear unlikely based on the contaminant levels or the likely exposure scenarios. As indicated in Table E1, the child exposure dose for both the mean and maximum zinc levels exceed the health guideline, while the adult exposure doses do not. Thus, adults will not be considered further in evaluating the possibility of health effects for zinc.

Health effects in children are unlikely because they do not have the opportunity to have sufficient exposure to result in harm. The calculated exposure doses for children assume that a 2 to 3 year old child would have nearly daily contact with contaminated soil several hours a day. As discussed for arsenic, there are currently no children living on-site and it does not appear likely that small children from neighboring residences would access the site because of the distances involved.

Sediment Exposure Pathway

The exposure doses and cancer risk for the 2 chemicals in this pathway are displayed in Table E2. Possible health consequences are discussed in the following paragraphs.

Arsenic

Health effects in children or adults due to exposure to arsenic in sediment on this site appear unlikely based on the contaminant levels or likely exposure scenarios. As indicated in Table E2, the child exposure dose for both the mean and maximum arsenic levels exceed the health guideline, while the adult exposure dose for the mean and maximum levels does not. Thus, adults will not be considered further in evaluating the possibility of health effects for arsenic.

Health effects in children appear unlikely because they do not have the opportunity to have sufficient exposure to result in harm. The calculated exposure doses for children assume that an individual would have nearly daily contact with contaminated sediment several hours a day. As discussed for arsenic in soil, there are no children living on-site and it does not appear likely that small children from neighboring residences would access the site because of the distances involved.

Cadmium

Health effects in children or adults due to exposure to cadmium in sediment on this site appear unlikely based on the contaminant levels or the likely exposure scenarios. As indicated on Table E2, the child exposure dose for both the mean and maximum cadmium levels and the adult exposure dose for the maximum level exceed the health guideline. The adult exposure dose for the mean level does not.

Health effects in children appear unlikely because they do not have the opportunity to have sufficient exposure to result in harm. The calculated exposure doses for children assume that an individual would have nearly daily contact with contaminated sediment several hours a day. As discussed for arsenic in soil, there are currently no children living on-site and it does not appear likely that small children from neighboring residences would access the site because of the distances involved.

An adult would have to have prolonged contact with sediment contaminated at or near the maximum concentration of 189 ppm for 4 or 5 days a week. Currently, this is unlikely since no one works at the site. The individual living on-site would be at risk only if he went to the most contaminated areas nearly every day and spent several hours in contact with the sediment. This is unlikely.

Surface Water Exposure Pathway

The exposure doses and cancer risk for the chemical in this pathway are displayed in Table E3. Possible health consequences are discussed in the following paragraphs.

Arsenic

Health effects in children or adults due to exposure to arsenic in surface water on this site appear unlikely based on the contaminant levels and the likely exposure scenarios. As indicated in Table E3, the child and adult exposure doses for both the mean and maximum arsenic levels do not exceed the health guideline, so noncarcinogenic effects will not be considered further.

The cancer risk for the maximum and mean arsenic levels are elevated if someone were exposed to those levels nearly every day for 70 years. It appears unlikely that anyone could meet these exposure circumstances since no one works on site. The only person currently living on-site would have to have nearly daily contact with the contaminated areas to increase his risk of cancer.

Children and Other Susceptible Populations

As part of ATSDR's Child Health Initiative, the possibility of health effects in children due to exposures to site contaminants was carefully considered in this public health assessment. This evaluation indicates that health effects in children exposed to on-site contaminants are unlikely because exposure levels are too low to cause harm or because children would not have access to contaminated areas.

ATSDR's Child Health Initiative recognizes that the unique vulnerabilities of infants and children demand special emphasis in communities faced with contamination of their water, soil, air, or food. Children are at a greater risk than adults from certain kinds of exposures to hazardous substances emitted from waste sites and emergency events. They are more likely to be exposed because they play outdoors and they often bring food into contaminated areas. They are more likely to come into contact with dust, soil, and heavy vapors close to the ground. Also, they receive higher doses of chemical exposure due to lower body weights. The developing body systems of children can sustain permanent damage if toxic exposures occur during critical growth stages.

Lead contamination of soil and dust is a particular concern for small children (generally 6 years old and younger) because of the risk factors listed above. Although small children are not likely to be exposed to the soil at the TFM site itself; it is not known, at present, whether any slag material was removed from the site and deposited in residential areas. In addition, another smelter operated near the city of Collinsville in the past and may also be a source of lead contamination in the area. The amount of lead in the blood can be measured to determine if exposure to lead has occurred. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that young children be tested for lead poisoning, especially if the children have been in contact with lead-contaminated soil or dust (20). Thus, ATSDR concludes that it would be prudent public health practice to have the children under 6 years old in the Collinsville area tested for lead in their blood.


COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS

ATSDR held a public availability session at the Collinsville City Hall Annex on July 27, 1999, to meet with area residents and gather any health concerns the community might have concerning the site. This public availability session followed a public meeting at which representatives of various government agencies were introduced and the site conditions were discussed.

In addition, ATSDR released an earlier version of this public health assessment, which was open for public comment from February 15 through March 24, 2000. The public comment period was announced in local newspapers and the public health assessment was available in the Collinsville Public Library; on W. Main Street in Collinsville, Oklahoma. Only one comment was received during this period.

The following public health concerns were posed at the meetings or in written comments:

  1. What about flooding in the area? Could that spread the contaminants?

Response: Flooding could cause some contaminants to move off-site. However, since metals from the slag material would not easily dissolve in water, the flooding would have to move soil particles to significantly spread contamination. Most likely, flood water would follow the same drainage pathway that already exists; that is, it would flow to the ponds or southern impoundment and then flow to the east to Blackjack Creek. There were some environmental samples taken in Blackjack Creek, but more sampling is recommended.

  1. What are the effects on the wildlife?

Response: The only wildlife sampled so far were the catfish caught in the southern impoundment. The few metals detected in the fillets were not above their comparison value and therefore are not likely to cause adverse health effects in humans who consume them. ATSDR's mission is to evaluate human health effects from hazardous waste sites. Therefore, any impact to wildlife that would not affect human health is best addressed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ).

  1. Was the goat (reported in the past to have wandered on-site) a milk goat and if so, who is drinking the milk?

It is not known who owns the goat that has wandered on the site in the past or if it is used for milk (5). The sighting of a goat was reported to ODEQ, but was not observed by ATSDR or ODEQ. The on-site resident has not seen a goat on the property in recent years.

If additional information becomes available, ATSDR will evaluate this possible exposure pathway. Please contact Barbara Cooper, ATSDR, at 1-888-422-8737 (toll-free) if you have any information regarding goats on the old smelter site or other health concerns.


1. R 2 (square correlation coefficient) is a statistical parameter which describes the linear relationship between two sets of data. R2 ranges from 0 to 1; with higher numbers indicating good correlation. In this case, if R2 is greater than 0.7, we conclude that the XRF data is similar enough to the laboratory analysis data to be used with confidence (12).


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