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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT
BAYOU BONFOUCA
SLIDELL, ST. TAMMANY PARISH, LOUISIANA


CONCLUSIONS

Based on the information reviewed by the Louisiana Office of Public Health, the Bayou Bonfouca Site is characterized as a public health hazard due to sediment, soil, and groundwater contamination by creosote. Exposure to site contaminants may have occurred for those going on the site and to those using the bayou for swimming or wading. Since compliance with the advisory against swimming is voluntary, there is a potential for present exposures to be occurring. Direct dermal exposures to the highest levels of PAH's in these areas have resulted in skin burns on skin divers working in the bayou. Groundwater does not represent a potential exposure pathway because the City of Slidell's municipal drinking water supply is deep and has not been affected by site contaminants.

While exposure to site chemicals through consumption of fish and shellfish will not occur if advisories are heeded, a potential also exists for ingestive exposures prior to the issuing of the advisory. Furthermore, since compliance with the advisory is voluntary, there is a potential for present exposures to be occurring and future exposures to occur. Further characterization of area biota is needed.

An analysis of cancer incidence rates for the Greater Slidell Area compared to South Louisiana reported statistically significant excesses for lung cancer rates and the rate for all cancer-sites combined. Interpretation of these rates is complicated by the lack of a plausible completed exposure pathway and the unavailability of cancer rates for the communities within 1 mile of the site rather than the entire Greater Slidell Area. However, these rates warrant further investigation.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. Conduct air monitoring throughout remediation of the site and incineration of the soils and sediments in order to guarantee no off-site releases of volatile and semi-volatile compounds (such as naphthalene). There are school children, industrial workers, and a neighboring residential community within a half-mile of the site who would be exposed if there were a release of harmful compounds in the air.

  2. Maintain site security to eliminate public access from all routes until remediation is complete and the risk of exposure is eliminated.

  3. Extend the advisory issued by LDEQ and reevaluate it when additional sampling data is available for fish and shellfish. The advisory may be extended to include all water sports on the bayou. This will help eliminate any potential exposure to contaminated bayou sediments.

  4. Conduct sampling of fish, shellfish, and other biota along the entire reaches of Bayou Bonfouca to establish species specific information on contamination in these foods and determine risk of adverse human health effects through ingestion. Since Bayou Bonfouca is part of the Lake Pontchartrain basin, contamination in these biota may have impact on the Lake ecology including the aquatic food chain.

  5. Conduct a follow-up Public Meeting in the Slidell community to explain the results of this Public Health Assessment.

  6. Review health statistics for lung cancer and all-sites cancer on an on-going basis using SEE's geographic information system and block group cancer incidence data.

  7. ATSDR should consider additional follow-up activities if data become available to suggest human exposure is occurring or has occurred in the greater Slidell area and St. Tammany Parish.

Health Activities Recommendation Panel Statement

In accordance with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980, as amended, the data and information developed in the Bayou Bonfouca Health Assessment Addendum have been evaluated by the Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP) for appropriate follow-up health activities. The HARP concluded that a follow-up public meeting be held to explain to the community the results of this Public Health Assessment. As a follow-up to the health outcome data analysis in this evaluation, LOPH will conduct a yearly health statistics review of cancer incidence in the effected community. If additional data become available suggesting human exposure to hazardous substances is occurring, ATSDR and LOPH will reevaluate this site for additional follow-up activities.

Public Health Actions

Based on the recommendations made in this Public Health Assessment the following public health actions have been or will be undertaken:

  1. LOPH will conduct a Public Meeting in the Slidell Community to explain the results of the Health Assessment.

  2. LOPH will monitor parish health statistics on a regular basis. This will include following the lung cancer rate and the rate for all primary cancer sites combined.

  3. LOPH will recommend to LDEQ to sample fish, shellfish, and other biota in Bayou Bonfouca to establish species-specific information on contamination.

  4. LOPH will recommend that the health advisory jointly issued by LOPH and Louisiana Department Of Environmental Quality warning against swimming and consumption of fish and shellfish taken from the Bayou within a seven-mile area of the site be extended to include all water sports.

  5. LDEQ is conducting air monitoring during site remediation.

 

PREPARERS OF REPORT

Reviewed by:

Lina Balluz, ScD., M.P.H.
Louisiana Office of Public Health
Environmental Epidemiology

Jennifer Goodwin, M.S.
Louisiana Office of Public Health
Environmental Epidemiology

Laura Fadil, M.P.H
Louisiana Office of Public Health
Environmental Epidemiology

Prepared by:

Sally W. Kendrick, M.S.
Louisiana Office of Public Health
Environmental Epidemiology

Jeffrey Purvis, M.P.H.
Louisiana Office of Public Health
Environmental Epidemiology

Michelle Lackovic. M.P.H.
Louisiana Office of Public Health
Environmental Epidemiology

ATSDR SENIOR REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE

George Pettigrew
Regional Operations, Region VI
Office of the Assistant Administrator

ATSDR TECHNICAL PROJECT OFFICER

William J. Greim
Environmental Health Scientist
Division of Health Assessment & Consultation
Remedial Programs Branch

CERTIFICATION

The Bayou Bonfouca Public Health Assessment was prepared by the Louisiana Office of Public 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.

William Greim
Technical Project Officer
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.

Robert C. Williams, P.E., DEE
Director, DHAC, ATSDR

 

REFERENCES

  1. Bayou Bonfouca Site, Remedial Investigation Report (RI), CH2M Hill, April 25, 1986.

  2. Bayou Bonfouca Site, Supplemental Remedial Investigation Report, CH2M Hill, April, 1986.

  3. Bayou Bonfouca Source Control OU, Design Investigation Report, CH2M Hill, July 16, 1990.

  4. Bayou Bonfouca Site Health Assessment, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), September 11, 1986.

  5. Cancer in Louisiana - Volume VI, Epidemiology Section, Louisiana State Medical Center, New Orleans, 1990.

  6. Final Supplemental Geotechnical Report, United States Environmental Protection Agency, March 10, 1989.

  7. Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals, Marshall Sittig, 1981, Noyes Publication.

  8. Preliminary Report: Analytical Results for Selected Crab Samples form Bayou Bonfouca, John L. Laseter, December 3, 1981, University of New Orleans

  9. Phase II Final Report, The Bayou Bonfouca Creosote Spill: Results of the Pilot Biomonitoring Program, 1982, John Laseter and I.R. DeLeon, Center for Bio-Organic Studies, University of New Orleans.

  10. St. Tammany Parish Public Health Profile, State of Louisiana, Department of Health and Hospitals, Office of Public Health, April 1990.

  11. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Benz(a)anthracene. Atlanta,Georgia: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, March 1990; DHHS publication no. ATSDR/TP-88-04.

  12. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for 2,3-Benzofuran. Atlanta, Georgia: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, October, 1990; DHHS publication no. ATSDR/TP-91/04.

  13. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Benzo(a)pyrene. Atlanta, Georgia: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, May, 1990; DHHS publication no. ATSDR/TP-88-05.

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