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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

NATIONAL ZINC COMPANY
BARTLESVILLE, WASHINGTON COUNTY, OKLAHOMA


CONCLUSIONS

Based on the available information, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry(ATSDR) concludes that the proposed National Zinc Company National Priorities List site is apublic health hazard because individuals are being exposed to cadmium, lead, and zinc surfacesoil contamination at levels that could result in adverse health effects. Children are more likelythan adults to ingest surface soil contamination. Studies have demonstrated that the childrenliving in the area of surface soil contamination have higher blood lead levels than the levels ofchildren living outside the area of contamination. Individuals who are exposed to the surfacesoil contamination may experience proteinuria (i.e., protein in urine which is evidence of mildkidney damage); decreased metabolism of vitamin D; impaired hearing and growth; and slightlydecreased IQs. Remediation of the contaminated soils should remove this public health hazard.

Environmental monitoring studies conducted in the past indicate that individuals may have beenexposed to cadmium, lead, zinc, and sulfuric acid at levels which could result in adverse healtheffects. The 1970s blood cadmium and blood lead studies demonstrated that children living nearthe smelter were exposed to elevated levels of cadmium and lead. Individuals who wereexposed in the past to the air emissions from the smelter and the surface soil contaminationcould have experienced decreased hemoglobin synthesis, anemia, increased blood pressure,impaired hearing and growth, slightly decreased IQs, and encephalopathy. Cadmium airemissions from the National Zinc Company smelter could have increased lifetime Bartlesvilleresidents' risk of developing cancer. Exposure to sulfuric acid air emissions could have resultedin irritation to the eye, nose, throat, lung, and skin at the time of exposure, but does not pose acurrent threat to the health of individuals in this area.

Analysis of samples taken from groundwater monitoring wells on and near the Zinc Corporationof America facility indicate that the groundwater contamination found on the facility has notmigrated very far. No drinking water wells are known to exist within the area of contamination. Therefore, it is unlikely that any drinking water wells have been contaminated with facility-related metals.

Results of ambient-air monitoring data indicate that the interim dust control measures at theresidual piles are preventing significant air emissions. ATSDR scientists are concerned that airemissions from the residual piles at the Zinc Corporation of America could occur whenever thepiles are disturbed or the interim measures are not continued.

Information on the incidence of cancer and birth defects is not available for the Bartlesville area. The Oklahoma Department of Health is presently compiling the data.


RECOMMENDATIONS

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) recommends the following:

1)Continue to clean up the contaminated soils in residential areas.

2)Continue to control air emissions from the residual piles.

The proposed National Zinc Company National Priorities List (NPL) site, Bartlesville,Washington and Osage Counties, Oklahoma, has been evaluated by the ATSDR HealthActivities Recommendation Panel (HARP) to determine what future health activities arerecommended at this site. Because human exposure to hazardous substances associated with thesite has occurred, an evaluation of adverse health outcomes that may be related to past exposuresis recommended. In addition, an evaluation of health statistics should be conducted to the extentpossible. A site specific environmental health education program is recommended to advisepublic health professionals and local medical community of the nature and possibleconsequences of exposure to contaminants at the proposed National Zinc Company NPL site. ATSDR provided health education during the public comment period of this Public HealthAssessment. As far as practical, ATSDR and the Oklahoma State Department of Health(OSDH) will cooperate in conducting these activities.


PUBLIC HEALTH ACTIONS

The Public Health Action Plan (PHAP) for the proposed National Zinc Company NationalPriorities List site is a description of actions the Agency for Toxic Substances and DiseaseRegistry (ATSDR), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Oklahoma StateDepartment of Health (OSDH), and the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality(ODEQ) will take at the site after the public health assessment is complete. The purpose of thePHAP is to ensure that this public health assessment identifies public health hazards and includesa plan of action to stop or prevent harm to people from their exposure to hazardous substances inthe environment. ATSDR, EPA, OSDH, and ODEQ are committed to this plan and will ensurethat it is carried out.

A. Public Health Actions Taken

OSDH and ODEQ -- with ATSDR's support -- have conducted blood lead monitoring ofBartlesville children. In addition, OSDH and ATSDR have conducted lead health educationprograms for the local public health professionals, members of the local medical community,and the general public.

EPA has remediated the contaminated surface soils at the playgrounds and school groundswithin Bartlesville.

EPA has issued a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) corrective action orderrequiring the owners of the Zinc Corporation of America facility to develop and implement aplan to clean up the environmental contamination at the facility.

EPA has issued an Unilateral Administrative order requiring the potentially responsible partiesto perform a removal action in residential areas where the soil contamination exceeds 1,500milligrams of lead per kilogram of soil (mg/kg) and/or 90 mg/kg for cadmium. The removalactions required by the EPA Unilateral Administrative order began in March 1994 and continueduntil the end of 1994. A community relations office was established by the potentiallyresponsible parties to answer questions concerning the on-going removal action.

The administration of the remediation of the site has been delegated to ODEQ in lieu offinalizing the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) (a.k.a., "Superfund"). The State PilotDelegation Program was approved by EPA on March 15, 1994.

Also on March 15, 1994, ODEQ and the potentially responsible parties signed a ConsentAgreement and Final Order.

The Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study prepared by the potentially responsible parties wasmade available to the public on July 1, 1994, and finalized on September 1, 1994.

On September 1, 1994, a draft Proposed Plan for remedial action was issued by ODEQ.

ATSDR provided health education during the public comment period (September 21, 1994through November 20, 1994) of this public health assessment.

On December 13, 1994, ODEQ issued a Record of Decision (ROD) for Operable Unit One ofthe proposed National Zinc Company NPL site. The ROD presents the selected remedial actionto reduce the risks to human health associated with exposure to the contaminated materials.

B. Public Health Actions Planned

EPA and ODEQ will continue to ensure the remediation of the site-related environmentalcontamination and the control of air emissions from the residual piles.

As required by the ROD for Operable Unit One, blood lead studies will be conducted annuallythroughout the remedial action. In addition, comprehensive blood lead studies will be conductedtwo years and five years after the completion of the remedial action in residential areas. Thesestudies will be used to assure that the selected remedial action is protective of public health.

ATSDR and OSDH will conduct an evaluation of adverse health outcomes that could be relatedto past exposures to site-related contaminants. In addition, an evaluation of health statisticsshould be conducted to the extent possible.

ATSDR and OSDH will provide health education to advise local public health professionals andmembers of the local medical community of the nature and possible consequences of exposure tocontaminants at the proposed National Zinc Company NPL site.

EPA and ODEQ will update ATSDR on remedial activities at the proposed National ZincCompany NPL site. ATSDR will assist EPA, ODEQ, and OSDH with public health activities atthis site.


PREPARERS OF REPORT

Sven E. Rodenbeck, P.E.
Environmental Engineer Consultant
Superfund Site Assessment Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

John R. Crellin, Ph.D.
Environmental Health Scientist
Superfund Site Assessment Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

ATSDR REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE

Jennifer L. Lyke
Environmental Protection Specialist
ATSDR Region VI


REFERENCES

  1. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Health Consultationconcerning Zinc Corporation of America, Bartlesville, Oklahoma. July 16, 1991.

  2. Baker EL, Hayes CG, Landrigan JL, et al. A nationwide survey of heavy metalabsorption in children living near primary copper, lead, and zinc smelters. AmericanJournal of Epidemiology 1977;106:261-73.

  3. Research Triangle Institute. Epidemiologic study conducted in populations living aroundnon-ferrous smelters. Volume 2. Washington, D.C.: National Technical InformationService, PB87-121091, 1986.

  4. Pees NA. Community health aspects of environmental contamination with lead andcadmium from a primary zinc smelter. A dissertation submitted to the graduate facultyin partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. University of Oklahoma, 1985.

  5. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). School soil study - Bartlesville. Research Triangle Park, North Carolina: Surveillance and Analysis Division, EPA, 1979.

  6. Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH). Lead/cadmium particulate study,Bartlesville - Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City: OSDH, 1980.

  7. EPA. National Zinc Site Update. Dallas, Texas: EPA; October 28, 1993.

  8. EPA. Data Evaluation Technical Memorandum. National Zinc Site - RemedialInvestigation/Feasibility Study and Remedial Design. U.S. Environmental ProtectionAgency ARCS Contract No. 68-W8-0112. March 1994.

  9. Rhoades ED. Final performance report: Bartlesville blood lead testing project. Oklahoma City: OSDH, 1992.

  10. Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality. Record of Decision for Operable UnitOne of the National Zinc Site. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Oklahoma Department ofEnvironmental Quality, December 13, 1994.

  11. PTI Environmental Services. National Zinc Site: remedial investigation/feasibility study. Bellevue, Washington: PTI Environmental Services; September 1994.

  12. EPA. Zinc Corporation of America, RCRA 3008(h) order, EPA I.D. No.OKD000829440. Dallas, Texas: EPA; September 1, 1993.

  13. Roberts/Schornick and Associates. Interim measures implementation report for theResource Conservation and Recovery Act 3008 (h) administrative order on consent U.S.VI-006(h) 93-H: Zinc Corporation of America, Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Tulsa,Oklahoma: Roberts/Schornick and Associates; August 1994.

  14. Zinc Corporation of America. Letter and enclosures to Barry Feldman from John R.Knapp, Jr. concerning the 1994 Progress Report on Interim Measures and the RCRAFacility Investigation Phase I at the Zinc Corporation of America facility in Bartlesville,Oklahoma. October 10, 1994.

  15. EPA. Letter to Thomas L. Vogt from Robert B. Elliott concerning the results of analysesfor samples collected at Zinc Corporation of America plant in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. August 21, 1981.

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