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PRELIMINARY PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

PENTA WOOD PRODUCTS
TOWN OF DANIELS
BURNETT, WISCONSIN


Conclusions

Health Hazard Summary: DOH and ATSDR conclude that the Penta Wood Products NPL site is a Public Health Hazard because of past exposures to site chemicals and the potential for future exposure to contaminated groundwater. It is an indeterminate public health hazard for exposure to current levels of contamination remaining in surface media.

DOH and ATSDR have concluded the following:

  1. On-site groundwater is contaminated and would pose a serious public health threat if people were to drink it. The future contamination of nearby private drinking water supplies is a public health concern. Enforcement agencies plan a comprehensive study of groundwater contamination in the next phase of remediation at the site. This information will help DOH and ATSDR better define the potential threat of exposure to contaminated drinking water. Until those data are available, future exposure to chemicals in drinking water poses an indeterminant health risk.
  2. Although there is partial fencing around the site, it is possible for people to trespass and come in contact with residual contaminants left in surface materials. Without data to fully evaluate this hazard, the site poses an indeterminate health hazard with regard to dermal contact and possible accidental ingestion of contaminants in surface media.
  3. In the past, on-site workers may have been exposed to PCP and arsenic in the treatment process from inhaling contaminated air, drinking contaminated groundwater, inadvertently ingesting contaminated soil and dust, and dermally absorbing PCP. Past occupational exposure to chemicals posed a likely health threat. However, it is not possible to recreate exposure scenarios from which we could anticipate measurable health effects. Specific health effects associated with past exposures to PCP and ACZA are included in the attached health consultation (See Appendix A).

In addition to the conclusions above, DOH and ATSDR concluded the following:

  1. The possibly exposed population is too small to conduct any meaningful comparison of morbidity and mortality on diseases that may be associated with the observed levels of exposure to site-related contaminants.
  2. Professional health education is appropriate for area physicians and local health department staff to address illness and symptoms that may be consistent with past exposures to harmful site chemicals.

Recommendations

  1. DOH should re-evaluate the Penta Wood Products NPL site after the results of the Remedial Investigation are available.
  2. DOH should continue to provide consultation and support to enforcement agencies (EPA and DNR) as they reduce the public health risks associated with contaminated media from this site.
  3. DOH should continue to provide professional support to area physicians and local health department staff as the need arises or community concerns dictate.
  4. DOH should continue to provide information and opportunities for citizen involvement through personal contacts, public meetings, educational materials and responses to citizen concerns.
  5. DOH should make certain that the most threatened residential wells are appropriately tested for site contaminants.

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