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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT
ANNISTON, ALABAMA


EVALUATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION AND
POTENTIAL EXPOSURE PATHWAYS

Introduction

ATSDR has evaluated environmental data to determine whether contamination poses hazards to people having access to, or living near, the ANAD site. For each environmental medium, ATSDR examines the types and concentrations of contaminants in the medium. ATSDR uses comparison values for screening contaminant concentrations in an environmental medium and to select contaminants for further evaluation. Data tables in this document list contaminants in each medium (i.e., groundwater, soil, surface water, sediment) that are present in the environment at levels greater than, or equal to, health-based comparison values. Contaminants at, or below, the comparison values are reasonably regarded as harmless. Contaminants that exceed the comparison values, however, would not necessarily be expected to produce adverse health effects. ATSDR strongly emphasizes that comparison values are not thresholds of toxicity; rather comparison values are designed to be many times lower than levels at which adverse health effects were observed in experimental animal or human health studies. As a prudent measure, ATSDR uses the highly conservative comparison value to recognize and resolve potential health problems before they are realized. Comparison values used in this document include ATSDR's health-based environmental media evaluation guides (EMEGs), reference dose media evaluation guides (RMEGs), and cancer risk evaluation guides (CREGs) and EPA's MCLs. MCLs are enforceable drinking water standards that are protective of public health for an individual who consumes 2 liters of water per day over a lifetime of 70 years. A description of the comparison values used in this PHA is provided in Appendix B.

Regardless of the level of contamination, a public health hazard exists only if people come in contact with, or are otherwise exposed to, the contaminated media. Therefore, ATSDR considers how people might come into contact with, or be exposed to, contaminated media. In evaluating exposure, ATSDR determines whether the exposure occurred through ingestion, dermal (skin) contact with contaminated media, or inhalation of vapors, and also considers exposure variables (e.g., duration and frequency) and the toxicology of the contaminant. ATSDR considers these factors together to determine whether the site poses any health hazards. This exposure evaluation process is further explained in Figure 4.

After the initial review of potential health hazards at the ANAD site and as a continuation of the public health process, ATSDR identified the following potential exposure pathways as requiring further evaluation:

  • ingestion of contaminated groundwater,
  • contact with surface water and sediment contamination in Dry Creek, and
  • contact with on-site soil contamination.

These potential exposure pathways have been evaluated in more detail, utilizing data gathered and remedial activities conducted since ATSDR's initial involvement in 1989. The objective is to determine whether these pathways represent, under site-related conditions, a threat to human health. Table 2 summarizes the potential exposure pathways discussed in this section of this document.


Groundwater Contamination

Groundwater contamination poses the primary public health hazard associated with past waste disposal practices at ANAD because of potential migration to drinking water supplies at levels likely to pose health hazards. In evaluating groundwater contamination from a public health perspective, the extent and magnitude of contamination is first considered and then possible exposure pathways are examined.

    The Nature and Extent of Groundwater Contamination

    On-Site

ANAD identified four source areas of groundwater contamination in the SIA: the Landfill Area, the Trench Area, the Northeast Lagoon Area, and the Industrial/Plating Facility Area (SAIC, 1997a).

The source areas within the SIA are shown in Figure 3 and described below:

    Landfill Area: This area included sanitary and abrasive dust landfills, as well as an unlined lagoon that reportedly received liquid hazardous waste for nearly 20 years until it was replaced in the late 1970s by a lined impoundment (USAEC, 1995e). ANAD discontinued all disposal and storage of liquid waste in this area in the early 1980s and the lined impoundment was closed in 1982 in accordance with RCRA requirements.

    Trench Area: This area contained seven trenches used for the disposal of soil and sludges, including vat sludges, paint booth sludges, and wastewater treatment sludges (USAEC, 1995e; SAIC, 1997b). Between 1982 and 1983, ANAD excavated the trenches and discarded the material in an off-site disposal facility (ANAD, 1991). In 1983, ADEM granted approval for closure of the landfill.

    Northeast Lagoon Area: This area consisted of an underground concrete storage tank, a lagoon, and a waste storage area. A wide variety of waste was disposed of in this area, including degreasing sludge, including TCE, paint waste, acids, and electroplating sludges (containing metals and cyanide). ANAD ceased on-site disposal of hazardous waste in the early 1980s (USAEC, 1995e), but industrial operations continue in this area.

    Industrial/Plating Facility Area: ANAD operated a metal plating shop, an oil-water separator, and a cyanide pretreatment system in this area. Chemical wastes generated included metals (e.g., chromium, copper, nickel, cadmium), acids, cyanide, and petroleum hydrocarbons (US ACE, 1991). This area is currently active.

Contaminants from these major source areas, including TCE, 1,2-dichloroethylene (1,2-DCE)--a degradation product of TCE--methylene chloride, and metals such as lead and chromium, have entered the underlying groundwater (see Table 3). TCE (up to 200,000 parts per billion [ppb]) and 1,2-DCE (up to 1,000 ppb) were the most frequently detected contaminants in the shallow aquifer, but because of the complex geology it is not known with certainty whether the contaminants migrate as plumes. Some of the highest concentrations of contaminants were measured in the bedrock aquifer of the Trench, Landfill, and Industrial/Plating Facility areas. It is likely that these high concentrations are due to the presence of chemicals known as dense nonaqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs), such as TCE, collecting on the bedrock surface (QST Environmental, Inc., 1998). The DNAPLs are also considered to be the most likely source for off-site contaminant migration (QST Environmental, Inc., 1998).

In 1990, ANAD started operating groundwater interception systems at each of the four major source areas to prevent VOCs from migrating beyond the boundary of the site at levels greater than the MCLs (QST Environmental, Inc., 1998). Groundwater is extracted from wells in each area, discharged and blended in a sump, filtered to remove particulates, and eventually sent to an air-stripping unit equipped to remove VOCs and polish the VOCs and to remove residual semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs) using activated charcoal columns (USAEC, 1995e). The system in the Industrial/Plating Facility Area also removes chromium. The treated groundwater is then discharged, 10 miles from the ANAD site, into Choccolocco Creek, as permitted under RCRA (Ware, 1996; ANAD, 1998).

Data collected through the RI process indicate that the shallow groundwater treatment system is not adequately reducing the levels of DNAPLs in groundwater. ANAD is currently considering the use of more effective groundwater treatments to meet their clean-up goals and will further evaluate off-site groundwater contamination under a forthcoming RI (SAIC, 1997b).

    Off-Site

The fractured nature of the aquifer underlying ANAD and the surrounding area makes determining the direction of groundwater flow from the southeastern corner of ANAD (the location of the major source areas) difficult. During a 1992-1994 dye tracer study, ANAD injected dye into underlying groundwater to track its flow. This dye tracer study suggested that the groundwater under the major source areas flows in multiple directions, ranging from southeast to the northwest. According to the study, groundwater passing beneath ANAD resurges in springs near Oxford, 5 miles to the southeast, and in springs in the Blue Eye Creek and Eastaboga Creek drainage, as much as 10 miles to the southwest (EWC, 1994). This early study, however, had not adequately considered background levels of the dye tracer chemicals (possibly from consumer products) in the aquifer (ANAD, 1998).

In 1997, ANAD conducted a more detailed follow-up dye tracer study to further delineate the direction and extent of groundwater flow beneath the depot. Injected dye from this study was never detected outside of the SIA, however, possibly suggesting that groundwater flow between the SIA and off-site areas is both weak and much slower than originally thought (SAIC, 1998). Additional studies to characterize the hydrogeology of the area are ongoing (Ware, 1998; SAIC, 1998).

In addition to the two dye tracer studies, ANAD has monitored a number of wells and springs in the surrounding area on a quarterly basis since 1995. Of the on-site contaminants, only TCE has been found at concentrations above its MCL (5 ppb) in off-site springs or private wells (see Table 4). The highest TCE concentrations (up to 20 ppb) were measured in Blue Mill Spring, a nondrinking water supply spring in the town of Oxford (Ware, 1996; USAEC, 1995a-d). Sources other than ANAD, including industry located 0.5 miles from the spring, are being investigated as the origin of the contamination. Nearby production wells for the Oxford public water supply, however, have been unaffected by TCE.

Coldwater Spring, which lies 2.2 miles south of the ANAD site boundary, is of special concern because it is the only active water source for the Anniston Water Works, which serves Fort McClellan, ANAD, the towns of Anniston, Coldwater, and a portion of Oxford. Water sampled from the spring has consistently contained low concentrations of TCE since 1981. The highest measured TCE level was recorded in 1995 at 3.52 ppb, which is below the MCL of 5 ppb (USAEC, 1995d). Ongoing groundwater monitoring efforts will help to further clarify the extent of elevated TCE contamination in areas where private drinking water wells are located.

    Potential Exposure to TCE-Contaminated Groundwater

    Public Water: Past, Current, and Future

Approximately 95% of the residents of Calhoun County receive their drinking water from one of five public water supplies, such as the Anniston Water Works (Haskew, 1996). Table 5 provides information on the public water supplies in Calhoun County. Since 1981, TCE at concentrations (up to 3.52 ppb) slightly above the CREG of 3 ppb, but below the MCL of 5 ppb, has been consistently measured in the only active spring (Coldwater Spring) serving the Anniston Water Works. The Safe Drinking Water Act requires public suppliers to test their water regularly for contaminants, including TCE. Each of the five Calhoun County public water suppliers tests for TCE in their production wells or springs either on a quarterly or annual basis. (Those wells or springs exceeding the analytical detection limit for TCE are sampled on a quarterly basis.) In recent sampling of the public water supplies, no TCE was detected at concentrations above the MCL. Should a contaminant be detected above its MCL, the supplier is required to switch to an alternative drinking water source or to purify the contaminated water. Although TCE levels consistently above ATSDR's CREG have been detected in Coldwater Spring, which serves Anniston Water Works, Calhoun County public water supplies are tested and they meet safe drinking water standards.

    On-Site Drinking Water: Past, Current, and Future

Although the groundwater beneath ANAD contains high concentrations of VOCs, it has never been used as drinking water. Over its years of operation, ANAD has supplied its employees with drinking water from the Anniston Water Works. Monitoring of the public water supply indicates that the water consistently meets safe drinking water standards (USAEC, 1995d). Future exposure to contaminated groundwater is unlikely to occur because ANAD does not anticipate using the contaminated groundwater for drinking or other domestic uses and the depot will continue to provide its employees with drinking water from the Anniston Water Works (ANAD, 1997). ANAD employees have not been exposed to contaminated groundwater. Although groundwater beneath the site is contaminated, it has never been used as a drinking water supply.

    Private Wells: Past, Current, and Future

Calhoun County residents who receive their drinking water from private wells are not required to test their well water. ANAD tested wells in the area of the site to assess the possibility that private wells might contain ANAD-related TCE at concentrations greater than the MCL. Through a survey of wells in the directions of groundwater flow from the site, ANAD identified five private wells and three dug wells about 1.5 miles southeast of the property boundary (Ware, 1996). Four of the five private wells were reportedly used for drinking water. ANAD analyzed the well-water samples for VOCs, SVOCs, metals, and explosive compounds, and found that one well had TCE concentrations (6.1 ppb) exceeding the MCL (5 ppb) (Ware, 1996). After finding TCE in the well, ANAD retested the well every two weeks (for a total of eight times) and then on a quarterly basis until it was determined that annual sampling would be sufficient. Over the years of sampling, no additional TCE has been detected (detection limit of 2 ppb). Because of the one-time detection of TCE at levels above the MCL, exposure, if any, would have been for a short period of time. To date, ANAD is not aware of any down gradient wells from the depot that have not been sampled for TCE (Ware, 1998).

The karst (fractured) nature of the bedrock below ANAD makes the area of potential TCE contamination quite extensive. Within this broad area of potential contamination, there may be untested private wells (EWC, 1994; Ware, 1996). To account for the potential extent of contamination, ANAD had, at the request of the well owners, tested private wells within a 3- to 4-mile radius of the site for VOCs. In addition, ANAD had installed boundary and off-site monitoring wells to determine the outer limits of ANAD-related contaminant migration in the groundwater (Ware, 1998). To date, ANAD has detected high TCE concentrations (up to 5,000 ppb) in one boundary well, but TCE concentrations below 10 ppb has been detected in the other boundary wells (Ware, 1998). ANAD is pumping and treating groundwater from the contaminated boundary well, while they continue to monitor groundwater in other wells on a periodic basis to further identify areas of contamination that could possibly threaten off-site private wells (Ware, 1997). Exposure, if any, to TCE at the maximum concentration detected in one well for the short duration that it may have been present is not likely to pose a health hazard. ANAD will continue to monitor groundwater movement from the site, boundary and off-site groundwater quality, and private well water near ANAD to identify and diminish the threat of potential health hazards.


Surface Water and Sediment Contamination at Dry Creek

Dye tracer studies have shown potential hydrologic connections between groundwater under ANAD's source areas and the surface water of Dry Creek (EWC, 1994), suggesting that Dry Creek may receive contaminants from ANAD via groundwater recharge. Site documentation also indicates that contaminants may have been directly discharged into the creek from four treatment areas (or groupings of SWMUs) (SAIC, 1997b). The following is ATSDR's evaluation of potential public health hazards from contact with Dry Creek surface water and sediment.

    The Nature and Extent of Contamination at Dry Creek

Table 6 and Table 7 summarize surface water and sediment monitoring results, respectively. During the Phase I RI, ANAD conducted only limited sediment sampling and no surface water sampling of Dry Creek from the section running parallel to the depot. Data from the 14 Phase I RI sediment samples indicate that metals and VOCs are not present at concentrations above comparison values (USAEC, 1994). A limited number of the sediment samples were also analyzed for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Though benzo(a)pyrene was detected in 20 parts per million (ppm), all other benzo(a)pyrene concentrations (0.42 ppm to 0.6 ppm) were low and just slightly above the ATSDR comparison value (0.1 ppm).

As part of its Phase II RI, ANAD has collected surface water samples and additional sediment samples from Dry Creek. ANAD used some of these samples to assess the nature and extent of contamination between the upper and lower reaches of Dry Creek flowing through the SIA. Samples were analyzed for VOCs, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), metals, and SVOCs. Among the contaminants detected in surface water above the CREG were TCE and bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate. The highest concentrations of contaminants were found in sediment samples from the northern portion of the creek. With the exception of several metals--arsenic, beryllium, and manganese--contaminant concentrations were below comparison values (SAIC, 1997b).

    Potential Exposure to Contaminants in Sediment and Surface Water in Dry Creek

Regardless of the level of contamination in Dry Creek, a public health hazard would exist only if people were exposed to the contaminated media through wading, swimming, or consuming contaminated fish. Because the creek is shallow (1-foot deep) and is not easily accessible, fishing or swimming do not take place in the section of Dry Creek running alongside ANAD (Ware, 1996). Even if people wade in the creek, it is unlikely that they contact harmful levels of contaminants frequently or for long periods. People do occasionally swim and wade in the creek near Highway 78, about 1.5 miles downstream from ANAD (Haskew, 1996). Choccolocco Creek, into which Dry Creek discharges, is not accessible to anyone but local landowners, and fishing and swimming occur infrequently (Haskew, 1996). These observations suggest that exposures to possible contaminants in Dry Creek, whether through consuming fish or swimming or wading in the water, are limited in frequency and duration. Also, it is unlikely that the concentrations of PAHs or metals detected in sediment samples would migrate to the recreational areas at levels that could pose a public health hazard. The groundwater and soil remediation activities described in this PHA should alleviate future sources of possible surface water and sediment contamination in Dry Creek. Any limited recreational use of Dry Creek and Choccolocco Creek that might potentially result in exposure to relatively low levels of contaminants (measured in Dry Creek) is not likely to pose a public health hazard.


On-Site Soil Contamination

As a result of normal ANAD operations, hazardous materials have been spilled on, or released to, on-site soil. The following is ATSDR's evaluation of the extent of contamination in on-site soil and examination of potential exposure pathways of concern for contaminated soil.

    The Nature and Extent of On-Site Soil Contamination

    Southeast Industrial Area

During the 1994 RI, ANAD assessed potential soil contamination around 24 of the 29 SWMUs in the SIA. Table 8 presents the sampling results. The most contaminated surface soil in these areas (SWMUs 1, 12, 22, and 25) had been successfully excavated, transported off site, and replaced with clean fill in the 1980s. Contaminants still present at concentrations above comparison values in surface soil during the 1994 monitoring included benzo(a)pyrene (6 ppm) and metals--most notably arsenic (up to 15.4 ppm), beryllium (up to 13.2 ppm), chromium (up to 410 ppm), lead (up to 2,500 ppm), and manganese (up to 2,690 ppm). Even higher levels were detected in the subsurface soil. Isolated areas, particularly SWMU 12, also contained elevated subsurface soil concentrations of PCBs (8.4 ppm) and TCE (30,000 ppm). While no further soil remediation has been recommended for most of ANAD's SWMUs, ANAD intends to remove remaining contaminated subsurface soils that continue to pose a significant threat to underlying groundwater. For example, ANAD is currently conducting the final stages of an emergency removal action using in-situ chemical oxidation of the VOC-contaminated soil at SWMU 12.

    Ammunition Storage Area

Between 1968 and 1978, ANAD disposed of propellants and other hazardous materials, including Composition B (a mixture of explosive materials), octal, white phosphorus, and explosives, in trenches located in the ASA of the depot. For more than 40 years, ANAD also destroyed propellants through open burning. ANAD continues to burn propellants, but current burning operations are conducted in metal pans raised above a concrete bed to prevent contamination of underlying soil and groundwater. Waste generated from the burning is hauled off site in drums for appropriate disposal. These waste management operations are regulated under RCRA (Ware, 1996).

ANAD recently completed (June 1998) field work for an RI/FS covering the 15 SWMUs in the ASA, but the data are not yet available for review. Limited data from an expanded 1994 site investigation, however, revealed the presence of explosives (e.g., high melting explosives [HMX]) and other hazardous materials (e.g., total petroleum hydrocarbons, nitrate/nitrate, molybdenum) in surface soil in the disposal and burning areas (Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc., 1994). Results from the ongoing RI activities should provide a clearer picture of the nature and extent of soil contamination in the ASA and provide data for selection of appropriate treatment measures.

    Potential Exposure to On-Site Soil Contamination (SIA and ASA)

A perimeter fence controls potential access to contaminated areas by the public (off-site civilian population) or by on-site residents (military personnel and their family members); therefore, no significant potential exists for exposure to contaminated soil in the SIA or ASA. Worker exposure, if any, to the highest levels of soil contamination is likely to be brief and intermittent and is not expected to result in adverse health effects. Remediation workers will wear protective clothing to further reduce exposures to soil contaminants. Much of the highly contaminated soil has been removed from the SIA and replaced with clean fill and ANAD is continuing to clean up the remaining contaminated surface and subsurface soil. ANAD is currently reviewing appropriate measures to treat or remove existing on-site soil contamination in the ASA. Exposure to harmful levels of contaminants from the ASA is unlikely because the contaminated and burn areas are located approximately 3 miles east and west and approximately 10 miles north and south of the nearest off-site residential property (Ware, 1996). No public health hazard is associated with on-site soil at either the SIA or the ASA.


COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS

Health concerns have been brought to ATSDR's attention through the public health assessment process at the ANAD site. ANAD has prepared a community relations plan (CRP) that details community concerns and develops goals and objectives to better understand the needs of the surrounding community (QST Environmental, Inc., 1998). Through public meetings and interviews, community members expressed concerns about environmental conditions and potential health hazards at ANAD. Community members concerned about the site formed a Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) in May 1998. Involvement in the RAB process allows community members to review environmental documents and proposed plans and to serve as a liaison between the community and Army.

Following are several concerns, stated by community members, regarding contamination and health effects associated with the ANAD site.

  • Concern about the adequacy of groundwater testing, in particular about the types of contaminants being measured.

ANAD's quarterly groundwater sampling effort tested for all contaminants identified in the Safe Drinking Water Act. This act requires public water suppliers (such as those for Calhoun County) to test their water regularly for harmful contaminants and specifies that concentrations of these contaminants must not exceed their respective MCLs. The MCLs are enforceable drinking water regulations that are protective of public health.

It is important to note that contaminated groundwater only poses a public health hazard if it is consumed. Calhoun County residents who are connected to a public water supply, or who have had their wells tested, can be confident that their water meets the stringent standards of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Concerned Calhoun County residents who have not had their private drinking water wells tested can call the Alabama State Health Department for help in deciding whether testing is necessary or the Alabama Department of Environment for help in identifying laboratories that test drinking water.

  • Concern that rates of cancer, miscarriages, and birth defects seem slightly higher than normal in the area.

In assessing the threats to the public's health, ATSDR first examines the potential exposure pathways related to a site. If ATSDR determines that a completed exposure pathway poses a public health threat, ATSDR may gather health outcome data to complement the environmental and exposure data. In evaluating available data from the ANAD site, ATSDR has not found a completed exposure pathway posing a potential public health hazard. Based on the data available for review, ATSDR does not believe that contaminants from the ANAD site are responsible for health problems such as cancer, miscarriages, and birth defects. A complete drinking water/private well inventory and thorough testing, however, are necessary to verify that no exposures exist.

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) monitors cancer incidence in Alabama communities (Wilson, 1998). Citizens with concerns about cancer rates in the area surrounding the Anniston Army Depot should express their concerns to the ADPH Bureau of Health Promotion and Information's Statewide Cancer Registry at 334-206-5552.

  • Concern about consumption of fish from water bodies potentially affected by ANAD- related contaminants.

ATSDR reviewed environmental sampling data from a groundwater spring located on private property approximately 4 miles southwest of the SIA. The spring, known as M-6, flows into a lake that is used for bass fishing, as a water source for livestock, and potentially as a play area for children. Sampling results indicated that only low concentrations of infrequently occurring 4-methyl phenol (4.6 ppb) and toluene (0.52 ppb) were present in the samples. ATSDR concluded that the chemical concentrations in the spring water did not pose a public health hazard either to consumers of lake fish and/or area-grown meat/dairy products, or to children who play in the lake and/or on its shores (ATSDR, 1996b).

  • Concern over ANAD's plan to build a chemical incinerator.

During community interviews, it became evident to ANAD that the majority of the concern about the ANAD focused on the Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program being implemented in the ASA. This program, however, is not related to ANAD's environmental investigations of the SIA and ASA, conducted through the IRP process. Public Law 99-145 requires the Department of Defense to destroy stockpiles of chemical weapons because of potential health threats posed by leaving them in place. ANAD has applied and been granted the necessary permits to build an on-site incinerator to burn stockpiled mustard and nerve agents and associated propellants.

The Centers for Disease Control National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) works with DOD to ensure that the weapons are disposed of in a safe manner through incineration (Rogers, 1996). NCEH provides extensive support and coordination in the development of safeguards used in the destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles and has provided assistance to each of the Army's stockpile facilities in implementing site-specific safety programs. In addition to evaluating procedures addressing the safe handling and destruction of the chemical weapons, NCEH also reviews emergency plans and procedures for facility personnel, protection of the local communities' health during these demilitarization activities, and the extensive planning and training for community response in the event of an accident. NCEH also works with state and local medical and public health authorities in carrying out its mission.

Prior to operating an incinerator at a site, DOD conducts extensive testing to achieve operational efficiency and safety. The incinerator must meet all applicable environmental standards before being permitted under RCRA. Two incinerators at other national sites have successfully gone through extensive tests and will serve as working models for the incinerator proposed for ANAD.

ANAD has started construction of the incinerator in the north-central portion of the depot's ASA. As required under the RCRA permitting process for hazardous waste incinerators, ANAD's incinerator will be equipped with a number of safeguards designed to control emissions. Among the safeguards are waste feed cutoff systems, which automatically stop the operation when, and if, conditions fall outside acceptable ranges. As part of the permit process, the Army completed a human health risk assessment; another will be done just before operations to include any new requirements.

Community members interested in more information on the chemical destruction measures proposed for the ASA are encouraged to call Michael B. Abrams, Anniston Chemical Demilitarization Facility Office, 205-238-7043 or call the Special Programs Group (F-29) of the NCEH at (770) 488-7070.


ATSDR CHILD HEALTH INITIATIVE

ATSDR recognizes that infants and children may be more sensitive to environmental exposure than adults in communities faced with contamination of their water, soil, air, or food. This sensitivity is a result of the following factors: (1) children are more likely to be exposed to certain media (e.g., soil or surface water) because they play and eat outdoors; (2) children are shorter than adults, which means that they can breathe dust, soil, and vapors close to the ground; and (3) children are smaller, therefore childhood exposure results in higher doses of chemical exposure per body weight. Children can sustain permanent damage if these factors lead to toxic exposure during critical growth stages. ATSDR is committed to evaluating their special interests at sites such as ANAD, as part of the ATSDR Child Health Initiative.

ATSDR evaluated the likelihood that children living near the ANAD site may have been or may be exposed to contaminants at levels of health concern. ATSDR did not identify any situations in which children were likely to be, or have been, exposed to chemicals contaminants solely attributed to the ANAD site.

ATSDR based this conclusion on several factors, including:

  • Children are unlikely to have been on the ANAD site and therefore are unlikely to have come in contact with contaminated media. ANAD is several miles away from the nearest residential property, making it highly unlikely that a young, unsupervised child would wander on site where environmental contamination exists. Furthermore, a perimeter fence provides a barrier to trespassers.
  • Children drink water from private well water or public supplies that appears to be unaffected by ANAD contaminants. Few children in the area obtain drinking water from private wells. Of the private wells identified down gradient of ANAD, none appear to have been consistently affected by harmful levels of site-related chemicals. Children drinking water from public supplies are protected because public suppliers routinely test their water supplies to ensure that it is free of harmful levels of chemicals.
  • Children are not likely to have contacted site-related contaminants in the past when using nearby surface water bodies, and are unlikely to do so in the future. Dry Creek and Choccolocco Creek located near ANAD offers limited recreational opportunity for a young child. Any infrequent and brief contact to the relatively low levels of site-related contaminants (detected in Dry Creek) should not pose a hazard for a child.

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