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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

NATIONAL ELECTRIC COIL/COOPER INDUSTRIES
DAYHOIT, HARLAN COUNTY, KENTUCKY


CONCLUSIONS

ATSDR considers the NEC site to be a past public health hazard. Changes in work practices, connections to a municipal water source, removal actions, and other activities have helped reduce human exposure to hazardous chemicals at the site. A health hazard existed because of human exposure to groundwater and surface soil contaminants in the past; past potential human exposure to contaminated sediments; past potential human exposure to air contaminants; and past on-site worker exposure to solvents at levels of public health concern. Exposed populations include residents of the Holiday Mobile Home Park, local well users, and NEC employees. Contaminants of concern include VOCs, PCBs, and heavy metals.

ATSDR considers the National Electric Coil (NEC) NPL site to be adequately characterized with respect to environmental contamination, except for the air pathway. Groundwater, off-site surface soil, and sediment contamination were further characterized during the Remedial Investigation. Fish were analyzed for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Monitoring of air and water effluent continues to be conducted during the pump and treat process.

Based on PCB concentrations in edible portions of fish, there would be an increased risk of cancer for anyone eating for 70 years one meal a month or more of rock bass, golden redhorse, or channel catfish caught in the Cumberland River near the site. Data suggest that several sources of PCBs, not just the NEC site, contribute to levels in fish.

ATSDR currently considers the NEC site to be an indeterminate public health hazard. Additional information on air emissions from the air stripper is needed to evaluate if health effects are possible. Specifically, an off-site downwind air monitoring station is needed as well as modeling of air emissions.

Many community members expressed health concerns to ATSDR during an April 1992 site visit. Those concerns were discussed in the previous section (Community Health Concerns Evaluation).

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. Prevent exposure to contaminated drinking water. Because there are contaminants of health concern in the groundwater, a public health hazard exists if people drink the water or use it for household purposes. Periodic testing of water from all private wells in use in the area of contamination is recommended to determine which wells are contaminated. Testing should continue until the groundwater has been remediated or plume migration has been halted. The groundwater in the bedrock aquifer should be tested for organic and inorganic contaminants. Sampling for chemicals of concern in wells should include trichloroethylene, vinyl chloride and polychlorinated biphenyls as well as 1,2-dichloroethene. Analysis for 1,2-dichloroethene should differentiate between cis and trans forms.

  2. Issue a fish advisory to inform residents of PCB levels in fish and possible increased risk of cancer if one meal a month or more is consumed as discussed in this assessment. Additionally, determine if mercury is present in fish upstream of the NEC site.

  3. Determine the extent and, if possible, the source, of elevated zinc and lead in off-site groundwater. This contamination is in the bedrock aquifer but is not believed to be originating from the NEC site.

  4. Monitor any air or water effluent discharged to the environment during the air-stripping process. Keep emissions below health guidelines to prevent future exposure at levels of health concern. Specifically, monitor trichloroethene, dichloroethene, and vinyl chloride in air at the boundary (southern) between the NEC site and the Holiday Mobile Home Park, at the mobile home park, and downwind to the north. ATSDR needs air data that will permit evaluation of health effects as well as background concentrations for the previously described contaminants. ATSDR recommends establishing a downwind air monitoring station because of residences to the north of the NEC site. ATSDR requests that the information be supplied as it becomes available.

  5. Model air emissions from the air stripper using worst case scenario conditions (maximum concentrations of contaminants and meteorological conditions such as inversions). The model should determine where the contaminated air plume will travel including effects of nearby buildings and local meteorology on the dispersion of contaminants. Air sampling should be conducted to confirm the model.

  6. Test river water near National Electric Services for fecal coliforms. If fecal coliforms are found, test residents for pathogenic intestinal organisms such as Giardia, bacteria and amoebas. Not all health concerns reported by residents are necessarily a result of contaminants from NEC. Some health problems could be mitigated or eliminated if additional contaminant sources are identified.

ATSDR previously recommended that soil in the Mobile Home Park be analyzed for barium, lead, and other metals as well as PCBs, and dioxin/furan concentrations. Additional sampling for these contaminants has been done and an evaluation provided in this document. Low concentrations of PCBs and dioxin/furans were found in the Mobile Home Park but not at levels of health concern. Limited areas of elevated lead concentrations were also detected. ATSDR also previously recommended that a fish tissue study be conducted for edible portions of the fish. ATSDR is recommending a fish advisory as stated in the second recommendation in this section.

Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP) Recommendations

The information and data developed in the National Electric Coil/Cooper Industries Public Health Assessment have been evaluated by the ATSDR Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP) for appropriate followup with respect to health activities. Because exposures to contaminants at levels of public health concern have occurred in the past and because community members have expressed concerns about contaminant exposures, the Panel determined that educational programs for both the community and health professionals are indicated. The educational programs will focus on adverse health effects associated with exposure to lead (especially in children), vinyl chloride, PCBs, and organic solvents. The health education program for the community also will address other health concerns stated by citizens.

HARP had determined that a biological indicators of exposure study was indicated to evaluate whether children who live in the Holiday Mobile Home Park have been exposed to lead. HARP specifically determined that blood lead testing was indicated. The panel determined that the children should be tested for PCBs if soil sampling indicated contamination.

Finally, HARP determined that a disease and symptom prevalence study of the community around the site should be considered.

Soil in the Holiday Mobile Home Park was sampled for lead and PCBs in August 1993. The above HARP determinations, made in June 1992, indicate that the children should be tested for PCBs if soil sampling indicates contamination. Soil sampling conducted during the remedial investigation did not indicate PCB or lead contamination of the Holiday Mobile Home Park at levels at which significant exposure could occur. However, fish tissue data were collected in 1993 and indicated fish as a source of PCBs. Since there are multiple sources of PCBs (soil and fish), a biological indicators of exposure study for PCBs is still recommended. However, since lead is cleared from the blood in a few months and the soil concentrations in the mobile home park are not significant, a biological indicators of exposure study for lead is no longer indicated.

PUBLIC HEALTH ACTIONS

This Public Health Action Plan for the NEC site contains the actions planned by ATSDR, EPA, and the State of Kentucky to protect human health and the environment from hazardous substances. The recommendations made in the previous section will be addressed in this Public Health Action Plan. On September 30, 1992, EPA finalized a Record of Decision (ROD) on "interim" remedial action for the NEC site (34). The selected remedy contains actions that were also recommended by ATSDR in this Public Health Assessment and are specified below. Additionally, EPA has conducted a Remedial Investigation at the NEC site. The actions taken and to be implemented by federal and state agencies are listed below.

Actions Taken:

1. ATSDR returned to the Dayhoit community on March 30, 1993 to present the conclusions of the public health assessment and answer any questions, including health concerns.

2. ATSDR provided some health education to local physicians. We distributed Case Studies in Environmental Medicine for trichloroethylene (TCE), polychlorinated biphenols (PCBs), and dioxin at the Daniel Boone Clinic (35). A program called "Medical Evaluation of Workers and Nearby Residents Living Near the National Electric Coil/Cooper Site in Dayhoit" was presented on March 8, 1994 at the Harland County Hospital, Harlan, Kentucky. Approximately 18 doctors, nurses and hospital administrators attended the presentation.

3. EPA sampled surface soil at the Holiday Mobile Home Park and fish in the Cumberland River during the Remedial Investigation. ATSDR's evaluation of this data is provided in this document.

4. ATSDR has contacted the Kentucky Department of Health concerning sampling for fecal coliforms. ATSDR suggests that this issue be taken up by local health officials and citizens who wish to pursue it.

5. The pump and treat system or groundwater/air stripper system is operating. This system will reduce the migration of the groundwater contaminant plume in the bedrock aquifer (34).

The containment of groundwater contamination will reduce the chance that additional water wells will be affected. The ultimate goal will be to return groundwater to within drinking water standards. Contamination in the shallow aquifer will be addressed by EPA's final remedy selection (34).

EPA is monitoring vinyl chloride, TCE, and cis-1,2-DCE emissions from the air stripper. Ambient air monitoring is being performed at the fenceline separating NEC and the Holiday Mobile Home Park, at the mobile home park and on-site at the stack pipe exit point. Treated groundwater from the air stripping tower is being discharged to the Cumberland River in accordance with Kentucky Pollutant Discharge Elimination System requirements. If air or groundwater emissions exceed performance standards, groundwater pumping will cease until EPA adds control measures to achieve the performance standards (34).

6. EPA is currently modeling air emissions from the air stripper using local meteorological data. They will be examining the action levels for possible revision (36).

Actions Planned:

1. ATSDR will contact the Kentucky Department of Health to discuss the recommendation for a fish advisory.

2. With respect to remaining HARP determinations, ATSDR will encourage state government or universities to conduct a disease and symptom prevalence study and a biological indicators of exposure study for PCBs.

3. ATSDR will review air emissions, groundwater, and other environmental data as they become available and will alter this Public Health Action Plan as appropriate for the protection of public health and the environment.

4. Air and water effluent discharged to the environment during the air stripping process will continue to be monitored by EPA (34).

PREPARERS OF REPORT

Laura Barr
Environmental Health Scientist
Environmental Science Section
Remedial Programs Branch

Stephanie Prausnitz
Environmental Health Scientist
Health Science Section
Remedial Programs Branch

Dr. Fred Rosenberg
Medical Officer
Division of Health Education

Regional Representative:
Carl Blair
Public Health Advisor
EPA Region IV

REFERENCES

  1. Environmental Protection Agency (Region IV). Administrative file for National Electric Coil. 1989-1992.

  2. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ERCB). Health consultation for Dayhoit (Harlan County, Kentucky). March 1989.

  3. Harlan County, Kentucky, the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and Harlan County Chamber of Commerce. Resources for Economic Development. 1991.

  4. Department of Commerce. 1980 Census of the Population: General Social and Economic Characteristics, Kentucky. July 1983.

  5. Froelich AJ and McKay EJ. Geologic Map of the Harlan Quadrangle, Harlan County, Kentucky, revised 1972.

  6. Kentucky Department of Health Services, Division of Vital Records and Health Development, Health Data Branch. Vital Statistics Report. 1990.

  7. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Public Health Assessment Guidance Manual. Atlanta, Georgia: ATSDR, March 1992.

  8. National Library of Medicine. EPA Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (TRI) file on Toxicology Data Network (TOXNET). September 1991.

  9. Law Environmental. Status Report of Removal Action, National Electric Coil Site, Harlan County, Kentucky. May 1991.

  10. Law Environmental. Removal Action Report, National Electric Coil Site, Harlan County, Kentucky. October 1991.

  11. Lozier, Inc. Site Assessment Report, National Electric Coil. September 1990.

  12. Law Environmental, prepared for EPA. Remedial Investigation Report, National Electric Coil Site, Harlan County, Kentucky. July 1994.

  13. National Electric Coil Summary of Canister Air Sampling Results, correspondence with EPA Region IV, August 2, 1994.

  14. Vidoetape of interviews with past employees of National Electric Coil.

  15. International Technology Corporation. Final Dioxin/Furan Report prepared for Marvin Blount, Jr. February 5, 1993.

  16. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Health Consultation on dioxin/furan contamination in soil, May 1993.

  17. American Cancer Society. Answering Your Questions About Cancer. 71-1MM-Rev.2/84-No.2025-LE. 1984.

  18. Sherman J. Chemical Exposure and Disease: Diagnostic and Investigative Techniques. New York: van Nostrand Reinhold, 1988:19.

  19. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Draft Toxicological Profile for Vinyl Chloride. October 1991.

  20. National Library of Medicine (NLM). Hazardous Substances Data Bank on-line database. 1992.

  21. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for 1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane. Atlanta: ATSDR, December 1989.

  22. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Draft Toxicological Profile for Trichloroethylene. Atlanta: ATSDR, October 1991.

  23. Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. Chemical Infogram No. 89: Trichloroethylene. Hamilton, Ontario: 1990.

  24. McBirney, RS. Trichloroethylene and Dichloroethylene Poisoning. Archives of Industrial Hygiene and Occupational Medicine 1954;10:130-33.

  25. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Cis, trans, 1,2-Dichloroethene. Atlanta, Georgia: ATSDR, December 1990.

  26. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Draft Toxicological Profile for Selected PCBs. Atlanta, Georgia: ATSDR, October 1991.

  27. Preventing Lead Poisoning in Young Children. Centers for Disease Control, U.S. Public Health Service, October 1991.

  28. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Draft Toxicological Profile for Lead. Atlanta, Georgia: ATSDR, October 1991.

  29. National Research Council. Recommended Dietary Allowances. Washington: National Academy, 1989.

  30. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for zinc, draft. Atlanta: ATSDR, October, 1992.

  31. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards. Cincinnati, Ohio: NIOSH, 1990.

  32. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Asbestos. Atlanta, Georgia: ATSDR, December 1990.

  33. Center for Occupational Health, University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Medical Records (1990-1991 examinations and occupational and environmental histories).

  34. EPA Record of Decision, National Electric Coil Co./Cooper Industries Site, Dayhoit, Harlan County, Kentucky. September 30, 1992.

  35. ATSDR letter to F.A. Morfesis, Daniel Boone Clinic, July 7, 1993.

  36. ATSDR record of activity for telephone communication with EPA contractor doing air modeling. September 1, 1994.

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