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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

MONSANTO COMPANY/SOLUTIA INCORPORATED
[a/k/a ANNISTON PCB SITE (MONSANTO COMPANY)]
ANNISTON, CALHOUN COUNTY, ALABAMA


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This public health assessment (PHA) was conducted to identify pathways of human exposure andto assess the public health implications of these exposures to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)in selected environmental samples. The samples are limited to surface soil, subsurface soil, andsediment collected under Consent Order Number 96-054-CHW dated March 8, 1996. TheAlabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), in coordination with the Agency for ToxicSubstances & Disease Registry (ATSDR) prepared this PHA to document any potential health hazards.

Based upon this evaluation, ADPH concludes that:

  • The levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) found in surface soil at two residences that have not been cleaned up pose a public health hazard. Exposure to these PCB levels could result in an increased risk of adverse health effects for children.
  • The levels of PCBs found in surface soil in several areas posed a public health hazard to children in the past.
  • There is not enough information to know if there are PCBs in dust in the air of the two homes where the PCB-contaminated surface soils have not been cleaned up. For thisreason, people at those homes may also be exposed by breathing PCB-contaminated dust.

The following activities are planned:

  1. ATSDR, in conjunction with ADPH, will evaluate any additional environmental sampling data collected subsequent to the 1996 Consent Order.
  2. ATSDR, in conjunction with ADPH, is currently evaluating biological data andenvironmental data provided by a local environmental group to determine the extent ofcontamination and if other pathways of exposure to PCBs may exist in the Anniston area.
  3. ATSDR, in conjunction with ADPH, will continue to provide environmental healtheducation for local public health officials, the local medical community, and local citizens to assist the community in assessing possible adverse health outcomes associated with exposures to PCBs.
  4. ADPH, in conjunction with ATSDR, will share this public health assessment with ADEMand EPA so that those making site management decisions are aware of the public healthissues identified herein.

The following activities are recommended:

  1. Prevent further exposure to PCBs at the two residences that have not been cleaned up.
  2. Conduct follow-up activities designed to fill data gaps that currently hinder the local medical community and local citizens from assessing and mitigating possible adverse health outcomes associated with exposures to PCBs.
  3. Obtain additional input from the West Anniston community to ensure that follow upactivities designed to address site-related public health issues are conducted in a manner that is relevant and acceptable to the community.

For more current information, please refer to recent health consultations by ATSDR.


PURPOSE AND HEALTH ISSUES

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), through a cooperative agreement with theAgency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) in Atlanta, Georgia, evaluates thepublic health significance of hazardous waste sites in Alabama. This public health assessmentwas conducted to evaluate on-site and off-site surface soil, subsurface soil, and sediment samplescollected at the Monsanto Company/Solutia Inc. (Solutia) site in Anniston, Alabama, underConsent Order Number 96-054-CHW dated March 8, 1996. The purpose of this public healthassessment is to evaluate environmental samples taken under the 1996 Consent Order andidentify human exposure scenarios that could potentially affect public health.

In conducting the public health assessment, ADPH reviewed environmental data and solicitedcommunity health concerns. The environmental data were reviewed to determine whether (andhow) people could come into contact with PCB-contaminated surface soil, subsurface soil, andsediment. If human exposures could occur, ADPH determined whether the exposure was atlevels which might cause harm. Community health concerns were collected to determinewhether health concerns expressed by community members could be related to exposure tochemicals released from the site.

This public health assessment presents conclusions about whether exposures are occurring, haveoccurred in the past, and if exposure could occur in the future. Based on exposure pathways andcontaminant concentrations, conclusions are made about whether a public health hazard ispresent. In some cases, it is possible to determine whether exposures occurred in the past;however, a lack of appropriate historical data often makes it difficult to quantify past exposures. If it is found that a threat to public health exists, recommendations are made to stop or reduce the threat to public health.


BACKGROUND

Site Description and History

The Solutia site is located one mile west of downtown Anniston on State Highway 202 inCalhoun County, Alabama. The manufacturing portion of Solutia consists of approximately 70acres and is bordered on the south by Highway 202, on the east by the Clydesdale Avenueextension, on the west by First Avenue, and on the north by the Norfolk Southern and ErieRailroads. The area north of Solutia contains residential, commercial, and industrial properties. Residential properties are also located east and west of the site [1, 2, 4].

In 1917, Southern Manganese Corporation began manufacturing ferro-manganese, ferro-silicon,ferro-phosphorous compounds, and phosphoric acid at the site. In the late 1920s, production ofbiphenyls was initiated. In 1930, Southern Manganese Corporation became Swann ChemicalCompany. Monsanto purchased Swann Chemical Company in 1935, and manufactured PCBs,parathion, phosphorous pentasulfide, para-nitrophenol, and polyphenyl compounds. In the early1970s, Monsanto ceased production of PCBs, and in the mid-1980s production of parathion andphosphorous pentasulfide ceased. In 1997, Monsanto renamed its chemical business to Solutia,Inc. Currently, para-nitrophenol and polyphenyl compounds are manufactured at Solutia'sAnniston facility [2, 3].

Throughout the facility's history, hazardous and nonhazardous wastes were disposed of at twolandfills located adjacent to Solutia's manufacturing facility, the West End Landfill and theSouth Landfill. The West End Landfill is a six-acre plot located on the southwest side of themanufacturing facility, north of Highway 202. The unlined landfill was used for disposal of allrefuse from the facility from the mid-1930s until 1961. In November 1961, Monsanto Companyand the Alabama Power Company conducted a property exchange that included the West EndLandfill and an adjacent property. With the closure of the West End Landfill, Solutia begandisposing of wastes at the South Landfill [1, 2].

The South Landfill is located southeast of the manufacturing facility, south of Highway 202. Thelandfill contains ten individual unlined cells, two of which previously received hazardous wastesfrom the plant. The landfill is situated on the lower northeast slope of Coldwater Mountain andis surrounded to the east, south, and west by undeveloped land [2]. A portion of a drainage ditch,known as the East Drainage Ditch, is located on the western edge of South Landfill [1, 2]. Operations at the South Landfill ended in 1988.

Previous Investigations

South Landfill

Investigations at the South Landfill began in 1980. During these investigations,organophosphorous pesticides were found to be present in groundwater and in catchment basinslocated adjacent to the landfill. In 1982, the catchment basins for the South Landfill were closedand interceptor wells were installed to capture affected groundwater. Additional interceptorwells, including two wells in the plant production area, were installed in 1987 when it wasdetermined that the contaminated groundwater extended beyond the initial receptor wells. In1989, Monsanto capped the two cells previously used for disposal of hazardous substances at theSouth Landfill [2, 3].

During precipitation events, the moderate-to-steep slopes, characteristic of Coldwater Mountain,contributed to significant quantities of surface-water flow across the South Landfill. Surfacewater flowed along the eastern and western sides of the Solutia site into various ditches,including the East Drainage Ditch that flowed through residential and commercial areas [1, 2]. In 1994, surface-water samples indicated the presence of PCBs in some of the outfalls from theSouth Landfill [2]. In 1997, Solutia began implementing measures to control the storm waterrunoff from the landfill. Solutia removed vegetation from the area, placed a low permeabilitycap over the western half of the landfill, and diverted storm water runoff to a retention andsedimentation pond [2]. In 1998, Solutia completed remediation activities at the South Landfillby diverting storm water run-on from unaffected areas upstream of the South Landfill, installing culverts for drainage, and closing the ditches with PCB contaminated sediment [2, 3].

West End Landfill

In April 1993, the Alabama Power Company detected PCBs in preliminary analysis of materialfound at the Anniston substation (formerly the West End Landfill). A thin protective covering ofsoil was placed over the toe of the landfill in late April. In December 1993, Solutia reacquiredthe property [2]. In 1996, Solutia completed construction of a multi-media cap on the West EndLandfill and of a soil cover on the area immediately around the landfill [2, 3]. The cap includeda minimum of six inches of compacted clay, a 60 millimeter thick high density polyethyleneliner, a drainage fabric, 18 inches of cover soils, and a vegetative layer. Access has beenrestricted to the area with a fence. To control for storm water run-off from the West EndLandfill, Solutia closed the drainage ditches in the area and installed hard piping to collect runoff from the area [3].

Off-Site Areas Sampled

On April 5, 1995, Solutia entered into a Consent Order with the Alabama Department ofEnvironmental Management (ADEM) in which Solutia agreed to develop and implement asampling plan to sample soils in the storm water drainage system in an area immediately east ofthe site (roughly bounded by Clydesdale Avenue, Eighth Street, Montrose Avenue and Highway202) [2]. Solutia collected sediment samples throughout the reach of the drainage ditches andcollected soil samples extending outward on both sides of the ditches. In addition, soil andsediment samples were also collected from Solutia's property and from north of Eighth Street. PCBs were detected at varying concentrations in sediment samples collected from drainageditches flowing from the South Landfill area and flowing from Solutia's production area. PCBswere also detected at varying concentrations in soil samples collected near various drainageditches in the area [2].

Based on the sampling data, Solutia began purchasing PCB-contaminated properties locatedimmediately east and north of the main facility, including properties along the East DrainageDitch and properties located south of Tenth Street, between Clydesdale Avenue and MontroseAvenue [2, 4]. By 1998, structures on the majority of the purchased properties were demolishedand soil covers were constructed over areas with PCB contaminated soils [2, 3]. The coversconsisted of a geotextile fabric over the existing ground surface and a minimum of 14 inches ofcover soil which was then seeded [3]. In addition to cover construction, storm water flowingthrough the covered areas was isolated in pipelines and conveyed to a discharge structureconstructed on Tenth Street [2, 3]. Solutia property ownership as of October 1999 is presented inAppendix B, Figure 1.

On March 8, 1996, Solutia entered into a second consent order (Consent Order Number 96-054-CHW) with ADEM. This Consent Order further expanded and defined the scope of Solutia's on-going investigation and remedial activities in areas in close proximity to the site. Under thisOrder, Solutia agreed to sample four additional areas for the presence of PCBs; to identify otherareas potentially affected by PCBs and to propose and implement a sampling plan for such areas;to complete the upgrading of the cap on the West End Landfill in accordance with the earlier planapproved by ADEM; to submit a design and schedule for implementing storm water run-offcontrols for the area immediately east of the facility; to undertake additional efforts to relocateresidents in the original sampling area east of the facility and efforts to mitigate exposurepotential for those residents who chose not to relocate; and to offer weekly cleaning services totwo churches in the area immediately east of the facility [2, 5].

As agreed to in the 1996 Consent Order, Solutia collected soil and sediment samples at variousareas identified as having the potential for PCB contamination [2]. (The areas sampled under the1996 Consent Order are presented in Appendix B, Figure 2.) A total of 550 samples wascollected from residential and commercial properties in the areas identified as having thepotential for PCB contamination. At least two samples were collected from each residential orcommercial property in the areas sampled. Samples were also collected from the drainageditches in the selected areas. Samples were field screened at a minimum detection limit of 5parts per million (ppm). (Samples collected from Solutia's landfill were field screened at 10ppm, in accordance with the 1995 consent order.) If PCBs were detected at concentrations at orabove the minimum detection limit, the samples were sent to a certified laboratory for furtheranalysis [6, 7]. The following is a description of the areas sampled. A more completedescription of the areas, extent of contamination, and progress of remedial activities is providedin the section titled Evaluation of Environmental Contamination, Pathways of Exposure, and Public Health Implications.

Area A: Area A is a residential area located northeast of Solutia between Tenth Streetand Eleventh Street extending from Pine Grove Road to McDaniel Avenue.

Area B: Area B is a residential area located east of Solutia along Zinn Parkway, north ofHighway 202 and south of Moses Street.

Area BN: Area BN is a commercial area east of Solutia located north of Seventh Street,south of Tenth Street between Clydesdale Road and Crawford Avenue in the BoyntonStreet area.

Area C: Area C is a residential area north of Solutia that extends from the railroad tracksnorth to West Ninth Street and from Parkwin Avenue to Bancroft Avenue.

Area CP: Area CP is a commercial property northeast of Solutia located north of WestTenth Street, between Clydesdale Road and Pine Grove Road.

Area D: Area D is a residential area located west of Solutia along First Avenue betweenJefferson Street and Adams Street.

Area E: Area E is a residential/commercial area north of Solutia located south of WestTenth Street between Duncan Avenue and Parkwin Avenue.

Area GASCO: Area GASCO consists of seven small Alabama Gas Company right-of-ways located east of Solutia.

Area LF: Area LF is the Solutia landfill (South Landfill) located south of Highway 202.

Line A: Line A is the portion of the Northern Drainage Ditch located northeast of Solutiathat flows between the railroad tracks and Eleventh Street, beginning at Clydesdale Roadand continuing to Snow Creek.

Area MDN: Area MDN is the median located south of Solutia on Alabama Highway202 between First Avenue and Third Avenue.

Area NP: Area NP is Solutia property located north of the railroad tracks, south of WestNinth Street, and west of Bancroft Avenue.

Area XE: Area XE is a commercial area northeast of Solutia located south of WestTenth Street between Parkwin Avenue and Ferron Avenue, and includes the southwestcorner of West Tenth Street and Duncan Avenue.

In addition to completing the environmental sampling agreed to under the 1996 Consent Order,Solutia finished upgrading the cap on the West End Landfill; implemented storm water run-offcontrols for the area immediately east of the facility; made additional efforts to relocate residentsin the original sampling area east of the facility and to mitigate exposure potential for thoseresidents who chose not to relocate; and offered weekly cleaning services to the two churches inthe area immediately east of the facility [2, 7].

To further define the extent of contamination, Solutia has conducted additional sampling in areassurrounding the facility. At the request of local environmental groups, EPA collected additionalsurface soil samples and air samples from various properties near the Solutia site. These data are being reviewed by ATSDR and will not be evaluated in this public health assessment.

Demographics and Land Use

ADPH examined information about population demographics to identify the presence ofsensitive populations, such as young children and the elderly, in the vicinity of the site. Demographics also provide details on residential history in a particular area--information thathelps ADPH assess time frames of potential human exposure to contaminants.

Calhoun County is predominantly rural, especially to the north and west. The county, which hasa total population of 115,000, encompasses an area of 610 square miles. The City of Anniston isan industrial and agricultural area of approximately 26,000 residents. Approximately 5,926people live within a 1-mile buffer of the site, including 415 children ages 5 and younger and 889people ages 65 and older [1].

A geographic information system (GIS) was used to estimate the population within one mile ofthe site. This information is based on the 1990 Census data. However, Solutia has purchasedmore than 50 residential properties in close proximity to the main facility from 1995 to present,resulting in a significant change in the population surrounding the site. Because currentdemographic estimates are not available, ADPH is unable to provide a more accurate descriptionof the demographic breakdown of the area.

Many people in Calhoun County, including residents of Anniston, receive their water from theAnniston Water Works. (In addition, Anniston uses the Earl C. Knowlton Treatment Plant forstand-by services. This plant draws its water from Hillabee Lake [8].) The water works drawsits water solely from the artesian Coldwater Spring, a groundwater source located approximately10 miles southwest of the Solutia site. About 58,000 people (roughly 50% of the CalhounCounty community) are served by the Anniston Water Works. Other Calhoun County residentsuse water from four smaller public water supply systems (i.e., Oxford Water System and SewerBoard, Calhoun Water System, Jacksonville Treatment Facility, and Weaver City Water Supply)or private wells. The four smaller public water supplies also obtain water from groundwatersources.

The majority of the surface water run-off in Calhoun County is westerly through many smalltributaries of the Coosa River. The Coosa River forms most of the western boundary of thecounty. In the immediate area around the Solutia site, drainage is through ditches leading towardSnow Creek. Snow Creek eventually drains into Choccolocco Creek, which empties into LakeLogan Martin on the Coosa River [1, 2].

The near-site geology consists of two water-bearing zones; the residuum and the ShadyDolomite. The residuum consists of low permeability silts and clays that are the products ofweathering. Locally, the residuum extends to a depth of more than 100 feet and acts as a semi-confining unit to the underlying Shady Dolomite. Water levels in the residuum reflect recent andseasonal variations in precipitation. The quality of groundwater in the residuum is highlyvariable and reflects surface and near-surface conditions. The predominant lateral groundwaterflow direction within the residuum is to the north. This shallow groundwater flow system isinfluenced by the operation of Solutia's three groundwater corrective action systems whichintercept known areas of affected groundwater and remove constituents from the subsurface for treatment [2].

Quality Assurance and Quality Control

In preparing this public health assessment, ADPH relied on information provided in thereferenced documents and contacts. ADPH reviewed the data and found that standard EPAanalytical methods were used. Therefore, ADPH found the quality of the data to be acceptable. The validity of the analyses and conclusions drawn in this document is determined by the reliability of the referenced information.

The minimum detection limit for all the samples collected under the 1996 Consent Order was setabove screening levels used in this document to select areas for further evaluation. Therefore, allthe areas sampled under the 1996 Consent Order were evaluated to determine the potential for adverse health effects.

Alabama Department of Public Health Involvement

Health Consultation: Monsanto Company, Anniston, Calhoun County, Alabama

As a result of the findings under the 1995 Consent Order, ADEM contacted the ADPH in March1995 to discuss the sampling results and the possibility of human exposure. In April 1995,representatives from the ADPH conducted site visits and evaluated the environmental data todetermine if the site posed a hazard to public health. In January 1996, the ADPH released ahealth consultation which evaluated the surface soil, sediment, and groundwater samples. ADPHdetermined that the concentrations of PCBs detected in the areas sampled posed a public healthhazard. ADPH recommended additional environmental and biological samples to determinewhether humans were exposed to PCBs [1].

Health Consultation: Cobbtown/Sweet Valley Community, Anniston Alabama

In October 1995, ADPH and ATSDR began an exposure investigation in the area identified asthe Cobbtown/Sweet Valley Community (located near Snow Creek and the East Drainage Ditchadjacent to the Monsanto site). This residential area was selected because it received drainagedirectly off the site landfills, and residents had direct access to the water. Surface soil, sediment,surface water, and in-house dust samples were collected from different locations east and west ofthe Solutia facility. In addition, groundwater samples were collected from nearby municipalwater supplies, Clyde A. Williams Well and Coldwater Springs. PCBs were not detected in anyof the municipal water supplies. However, PCB concentrations exceeded comparison values inthe surface soil, sediment, surface water, and dust samples [1, 4].

In October 1995, ADPH conducted a door-to-door census of 35 homes, made numeroustelephone contacts, and conducted several mailings to the affected community (35 homes). Aspart of the exposure investigation, ADPH and ATSDR offered free biological testing to theresidents of the Cobbtown/Sweet Valley to determine if they had been exposed to PCBs. Residents who participated in the exposure investigation were given a health education needssurvey to determine their knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors.

A total of 103 residents of the Cobbtown/Sweet Valley community voluntarily participated in thebiological testing. PCB concentrations ranged from undetectable to 303 parts-per-billion (ppb) inblood. Thirty-one people had undetectable levels (less than 3 ppb) of PCBs in their blood. Forty-six people had PCB blood levels exceeding 10 ppb. Of those 46 people, 28 had PCB bloodlevels exceeding 20 ppb, including 5 people whose PCB blood levels were greater than 100 ppb. The average concentration of PCBs detected was 24.5 ppb and the median concentration detectedwas 8.4 ppb. Blood levels were found to increase with age and with the length of time a personhad lived at their current residence [4].

Those residents whose PCB blood levels exceeded 20 ppb were offered a medical examination atthe University of Alabama at Birmingham, Occupational and Environmental Medicine Clinic(UAB/OEM). Eight of the 28 people whose blood levels exceeded 20 ppb accepted the offer forthe free examination at the clinic. Clinic physicians discussed each patient's occupational andenvironmental history and their blood PCB level. They also conducted a general physicalexamination to identify existing health problems and provided a follow up letter for each patient. The clinic conducted health professional education for 85 local health care providers to definethe potential health effects of PCB exposure.

To ensure that resident's needs were met, ATSDR and ADPH distributed information about theexposure investigation to the residents involved as quickly as possible. Residents receivedresults of the exposure investigation at a public meeting, where they also discussed samplingresults with ADPH staff and PCB health effects with a physician from the UAB/OEM. Atoll-free number was also provided to the residents to help them get answers to their questions. Residents involved in the exposure investigation received results of soil, in-house dust, and bloodsampling by mail. ADPH released the second health consultation addressing the results of theexposure investigation in June 1996. Based on the environmental and biological samplingresults, the ADPH classified the Cobbtown/Sweet Valley community as a public health hazard and recommended additional sampling[4].

Consent Order Number 96-054-CHW, March 8, 1996

Subsequent to ADPH's two health consultations, ATSDR and ADPH made recommendations toADEM and EPA to protect the public's health. As a result, ADEM and the Monsanto Companyentered into a consent decree that required Monsanto to enlarge their offer of relocation toinclude all residences within the exposure investigation area. Monsanto offered to purchase the35 homes identified in the exposure investigation. For residents who did not agree to sell,Monsanto offered temporary relocation and remediation.

As a continuation of the assessment process, ADPH reviewed the environmental data collectedunder the 1996 Consent Order and prepared this PHA to address any potential public healthhazards. Any environmental samples collected since the 1996 Consent Order was issued will notbe evaluated in this public health assessment. Another report will be released by ATSDR evaluating any data collected subsequently to the 1996 Consent Order.


DISCUSSION

Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)

PCBs are a group of manufactured organic chemicals that contain 209 individual chlorinatedchemicals (known as congeners). The acronym PCB is used in this document to refer to anycommercial or environmental mixture of PCBs. PCBs are either oily liquids or solids and arecolorless to light yellow in color. They have no known smell or taste. There are no knownnatural sources of PCBs. Most commercial PCB mixtures produced in the United States areknown by their industrial trade name, Aroclor [9].

PCBs were widely used in the past as coolants and lubricants in transformers, capacitors, andother electrical equipment. PCBs were released into the air, water and soil during themanufacturing process and during the use of the electrical equipment. Although banned fromproduction and distribution in the late 1970's, PCBs remain in the environment. The highlychlorinated PCBs were prevalent in the 1996 Consent Order sampling. These PCBs are poorlymetabolized and tend to accumulate in tissues and organs rich in fat (lipids) [9]. PCB residueshave been found in soil, air, water, aquatic and marine sediments, fish, wildlife, and humans.

The information currently available on the human health effects of exposures to PCBs isinconclusive, so the evaluation of health effects is complicated by a number of factors. Some ofthese factors include small numbers of individuals in any single study, poorly defined individualexposure status, the presence of other risk factors and other possible exposures, and lag (latency)period from the time of the PCB exposure to the time of that the health effect can be detected. An additional potential complication is variation in specific congener composition of the PCBexposure. Individual congeners may vary in toxic potency and may be influenced by thepresence of other congeners and impurities. Thus, the toxicity of the mixture may depend on thetoxicity of the individual congeners and their interactions. Most of the available toxicity datadoes not deal with effects from specific individual congeners. Therefore, current studies ofhealth effects may overestimate or underestimate the actual health hazard of the various PCBmixtures [9]. More research is needed to better define the human health effects from bothexposures to PCBs and from body burdens of PCBs.

The toxic effects of PCBs have been studied extensively both in laboratory animals and wildlife. Reported toxic effects include damage to the liver, skin, brain, stomach, and thyroid gland [9]. There have also been reports of developmental (problems in learning and memory), reproductive(difficulty in becoming pregnant, small offspring), and immune (increased numbers of infections)problems [9]. The PCB-induced changes were dependent upon a number of factors including theage, sex, and species of the animal, the route of exposure, the duration of exposure, and thechlorine content of the PCB-mixture [10].

Animal studies are useful in determining possible adverse health effects from exposure tocontaminants; however, in some cases the relevance of animal data to human health is unclear orinconclusive. Occupational data, in conjunction with animal data, have suggested that there is apotential for certain effects on the thyroid gland, the liver, the skin, the eyes, the blood, and theimmune system. There are also reports of neurodevelopmental and reproductive effects inhumans exposed to PCBs [9].

PCBs have been reported to cause certain cancers in animals, including liver cancer, leukemia/lymphoma, and stomach cancer [11]. While PCBs are suspected of being carcinogenic to humans, current available data is still somewhat controversial. Studies of workers exposed to PCBs have reported an increased number of deaths due to cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, the rectum, the liver, the brain, the blood (leukemia and lymphoma) and skin (malignant melanoma) [12]. However, these cancers have not been observed consistently across studies. In a recent study of individuals with non-work-related (environmental) exposures, PCBs were linked to an increased risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) [13].

Based on the cancer in animals, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) hasstated that PCBs may reasonably be anticipated to be carcinogens. The International Agency forResearch on Cancer has determined that PCBs are probably carcinogenic to humans. The EPAhas proposed that PCBs are probable human carcinogens. A detailed review of the carcinogenicpotential of PCBs by EPA demonstrates that some PCBs mixtures in the environment (e.g., thosetypically found in fish or in soil) are likely to be more carcinogenic than others (e.g., those typically found in water or air) [14].

Environmental Contamination and Exposure Pathways

Substances released into the environment do not always result in human exposure. Humanexposure to a hazardous substance can occur only if humans come in contact with the substanceeither by ingestion (eating or drinking a substance containing the chemical), inhalation (breathingair containing the chemical), or dermal absorption (skin contact with a substance containing thechemical). ADPH staff members try to determine whether people working or living near theSolutia site could have been (past scenario), are (current scenario), or will be (future scenario)exposed to PCBs in on-site or off-site soils and sediments. A glossary of terms used in thisdocument is provided in Appendix A.

An exposure pathway consists of five elements: a source of contamination, transportation ofenvironmental media, point of exposure, a route of human exposure, and a receptor population.Exposure pathways are categorized as either completed, potential, or eliminated pathways. Foran exposure pathway to be completed, all elements of the pathway must be present. Potentialpathways are those where there is not sufficient evidence to show that all the elements are presentnow, could be present in the future, or were present in the past. Eliminated pathways are thosewhere exposure is not present now, was not present in the past, and will not be present in thefuture.

If exposure was or is possible, ADPH staff members then consider whether PCBs are present atlevels that might affect public health. PCB concentrations are compared to ATSDR comparisonvalues; comparison values are media specific concentrations of contaminants that are consideredto be safe levels of exposure. Exceeding a given comparison value does not mean that adversehealth effects are expected to occur. The comparison value used in this document to determinethe potential for non-cancerous health effects is the cancer risk evaluation guide (CREG) forPCBs in soil. CREGs are non-enforceable health-based comparison values developed byATSDR. CREGs are estimated contaminant concentrations expected to cause no more than oneexcess cancer in a million persons exposed over a lifetime (70 years). The CREG for PCBs is 1ppm.

Generally, a contaminant is selected for further evaluation if it is detected at a concentration thatexceeds its comparison value. Since the minimum detection limits were set above ATSDR'scomparison value for PCBs in all the samples collected under the 1996 Consent Order, thepotential for a public health hazard was evaluated for all the areas sampled. The results of theenvironmental sampling conducted under the 1996 Consent Order are presented below in Tables1 through 3. Each table identifies the area sampled, the number of samples collected, the rangeof PCB levels detected, and the average concentration of PCBs detected in the area.

Table 1.

PCB concentrations detected in surface soil (0-3" deep)
Location Number of samples Concentration Range (ppm) Average concentration*
Area A 38

<5.0 - 12.4

4.4
Area B 35

<5.0 - 10.5

2.9
Area BN 18

<5.0 - 9.9

3.7
Area C 29

<5.0 - 33.8

6.7
Area CP 43

<5.0 - 710

29.4
Area D 20

<5.0 - 28.0

6.1
Area E (Residential) 35

<5.0 - 112.5

12
Area E (Commercial) 32

<5.0 - 384

51.5
Area GASCO 16

<5.0 - 56.9

8.1
Area LF 69

<10.0 - 41.0

6.2
Area MDN 4

<5.0

2.5
Area NP 60

<5.0 - 1850

64
Area XE 61

<5.0 - 2810

130.4
Line A 26

<5.0 - 450

60.9
* To calculate averages, ADPH replaced those samples field screened at less than 5 ppm with the value of half the detection limit (2.5 ppm).


Table 2. Contaminant Concentrations in Sediment Samples (0-3" deep).

Table 2.

Contaminant Concentrations in Sediment Samples (0-3" deep)
Location Number of samples Concentration Range (ppm) Average concentration*
Area A 3 <5.0 2.5
Area C 11 <5.0 - 369 71.7
Area CP 38 3.7 - 1193 130.6
Area E (Commercial) 9 17.4 - 209 65.3
* To calculate averages, ADPH replaced those samples field screened at less than 5 ppm with the value of half the detection limit (2.5 ppm).

Table 3.

Contaminant Concentrations in Subsurface Soil Samples
Location Number of samples Depth (inches) Concentration Range (ppm) Average concentration*
Area A 2 12-15" <5.0 - 3.4 3.0
Area BN 1 6-9" 6.6 6.6
Line A 4 12-15" <5.0 - 7.1 4.6
1 26-29" <5.0 --
* To calculate averages, ADPH replaced those samples field screened at less than 5 ppm with the value of half the detection limit (2.5 ppm).

Determining Public Health Implications

Health effects are related to a variety of characteristics, including age, sex, nutritional habits,health status, lifestyle, and family traits. All of these characteristics may influence how PCBs areabsorbed (taken up by the body), metabolized (broken down by the body), and excreted(eliminated from the body). If completed or potential exposure pathways have been identified,and a contaminant has been detected at levels exceeding ATSDR comparison values, then ADPHstaff members consider those physical and biological factors and evaluates the potential foradverse cancerous and non-cancerous health effects.

To evaluate the possible cancer risk associated with the exposures that occurred to peopleworking or living in the areas sampled under the 1996 Consent Order, ADPH calculated thetheoretical upper bound cancer risk using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)cancer slope factor for PCBs. A cancer slope factor is an estimate of a chemical's potential forcausing cancer. If adequate information about the level, frequency, and length of exposure to aparticular carcinogen is available, an estimate of excess cancer risk associated with the exposurecan be calculated using the cancer slope factor for that carcinogen. These upper boundcalculations are only used as a guide and must be used in combination with the evaluation of themechanism of toxicity of the carcinogen and the strength and weight of evidence of thelaboratory and epidemiologic studies. The true risk could be as low as zero; however, ADPHand ATSDR have taken a "weight of evidence" approach to the assessment of hazards associatedwith the PCBs in the Anniston area.

Cancer risk calculations attempt to estimate exposures to a "reasonably highly exposedindividual" for the particular exposure pathways being considered. Most individuals in theexposure pathway would have estimated risks below this estimate. For example, we do notexpect that exposures occurred continuously over 30 years in all individuals. Furthermore, ourcancer risk calculations make "protectively conservative" assumptions about how toxic PCBsare, and generally do not assume that our bodies can avoid cancer through natural immunity. Also, cancer risk calculations generally do not assume humans are less sensitive to carcinogensthan test animals. Some researchers have argued that exposure to carcinogens at levels similar tothat which occurred at this site may not necessarily result in cancer.

Because cancer risk is a conservatively protective estimate of the likelihood, or chance, of gettingcancer, ADPH uses this to support decisions about whether and where to take action. Our cancerrisk estimate is a "worst case" estimate. Our estimate of cancer risk is not intended to suggestthat cancer will occur, nor should it be interpreted as a statement that a certain cancer rate hasoccurred or will occur. The general public has a "background risk" of about one in two or threechances of getting cancer, and a one in four or five chances of dying of cancer [15]. In otherwords, in a million people, it is expected that about 400,000 would get cancer from a variety ofcauses at some time in their lifetime, and about 250,000 would die from cancer. If we say thereis a "one-in-a-million" excess cancer risk from a given exposure to a contaminant, we mean thatif one million people are exposed as highly as a "reasonably highly exposed" individual for thissite, then our worst case estimate is that one cancer above the background chance, or the400,001st cancer, may appear over the lifetimes of those million persons from that particularexposure.

Chemical exposure may result in adverse health effects other than cancer. Such effects may beacute (resulting from a short-term exposure of less than 14 days), intermediate (resulting from anexposure of more than 14 but less than 365 days), or chronic (resulting from a long-termexposure, at least a year's duration). For each area sampled, we calculated estimated exposuredoses for adults, children, and/or workers to evaluate the potential for adverse health effects fromshort-term, intermediate, and/or long-term exposure to PCBs. The maximum concentration ofPCBs detected in an area and/or property was used to calculate the estimated exposure dose forshort-term exposures. The average concentration of PCBs detected in an area and/or propertywas used to calculate the estimated exposure dose for intermediate and long-term exposures(ADPH replaced those samples field screened at less than 5 ppm with the value of half thedetection limit [2.5 ppm] to calculate average concentrations for each area). These estimatedexposure doses were compared to the documented findings from animals studies and fromstudies of people exposed to PCBs in the workplace. Appendix D provides the exposurefrequencies and ingestion rates used to calculate estimated exposure doses.

Evaluation of Environmental Contamination, Pathways of Exposure, and Public Health Implications

Summary: As a result of site visits and a review of the available data, ADPH concluded thatPCBs in surface soils and sediments in various areas surrounding the Solutia site presents apublic health hazard. In the past, local residents and employees of businesses in the area mayhave been exposed to contaminated surface soils located in their yards or near their place ofbusiness that could have resulted in an increased risk of adverse health effects. Solutia hascompleted remediation activities at many of the areas with contaminated surface soils; however,some residents have not provided access to Solutia to conduct remedial activities. In the absenceof remediation, trespassers, adults, and children could remain exposed to PCBs in surface soilsvia incidental ingestion of soil through normal hand-to-mouth contact. In addition, there isinsufficient information from the sampling conducted under the 1996 Consent Order todetermine whether dust containing PCBs is present in the air of buildings in the areas containingcontaminated surface soils. Consequently, a potential exposure pathway may exist via inhalationof PCB-contaminated dust. Furthermore, air exposures due to volatilization of PCBs (i.e., PCBvapor caused by evaporation of PCBs) have not been evaluated in this PHA, nor have exposuresto PCBs from ingestion of fish, game, and local produce. These pathways will be evaluated infuture health consultations, as sufficient data become available.

The following sections summarize ADPH's analyses of exposure pathways and the public health implications of exposure for each area sampled under the 1996 Consent Order. The areas of contamination are divided into on-site and off-site areas. Off-site areas are further divided into residential and commercial areas.

The Nature and Extent of On-Site Soil Contamination

Area LF

Area LF is the Solutia landfill (South Landfill) located south of Highway 202. As part of the1996 Consent Order, Solutia collected surface soil samples from the landfill. PCBs weredetected at concentrations ranging from less than 10.0 ppm to 41 ppm [6].

Solutia has completed remediation activities at the landfill. Vegetation was removed from thearea, a low permeability cap was placed over the western half of the landfill, and storm water runoff has been diverted to a detention basin to reduce storm water flow and flooding downstream [3].

Past, Present, and Potential Future Exposures (Area LF)

Since Solutia has completed remedial actions, current and potential future exposure to PCB-contaminated surface soil is not likely. ADPH has determined that a potential pathway ofexposure existed in the past for workers and neighboring residents to contaminated surface soil atArea LF. The potential for past exposure to contaminated surface soil at Area LF is believed tohave been minimal. The landfill was used for disposal of waste from the Solutia site. Workerswere at the landfill only to dispose of waste and were not there on a regular basis. Therefore,past exposure by workers and by neighboring residents, if any, to PCB-contaminated surface soilat Area LF was likely to be brief and infrequent. The most likely route of exposure would havebeen through incidental ingestion of PCB-contaminated surface soil from normal hand-to-mouthbehavior. Such exposure would not be expected to result in adverse noncancerous or cancerous health effects.

Area NP

Area NP is Solutia property located near a residential area. The property is located north of therailroad tracks, south of West Ninth Street, and west of Bancroft Avenue. A portion of theNorthern Drainage Ditch (NDD) is also located in the area. (The NDD consists of a series ofditches that run along the northern boundary of the Solutia facility.) Previous investigationsdetected PCBs in sediment samples collected from the NDD. As part of the 1996 ConsentOrder, Solutia collected surface-soil samples from Area NP. PCBs were detected in surface soilat concentrations ranging from less than 5.0 ppm to 1850 ppm [6].

In November 1998, Solutia completed remediation activities in Area NP. Solutia removed allstructures from the property and restricted access to the area with a fence. The contaminatedsoils were covered with a geosynthetic liner, a layer of soil (minimum of 18" deep), and seededto minimize soil erosion. To reduce the migration of PCB contaminated soil and sediment from the NDD, Solutia closed the portion of the NDD in the area and installed storm water piping [3].

Past, Present, and Potential Future Exposures (Area NP)

ADPH determined that a potential pathway of exposure existed in the past for neighboring adultsand children to contaminated surface soil at Area NP. Current and potential future exposures arenot likely since Solutia has completed remediation actions and restricted access to the area with afence.

The potential for past exposure to contaminated surface soil at Area NP is believed to beminimal. Exposure by neighboring adults and children, if any, to PCB-contaminated surface soilin Area NP in the past was likely to be brief and infrequent. The most likely route of exposurewould have been through incidental ingestion of PCB-contaminated surface soil from normalhand-to-mouth behavior. Such exposure would not be expected to result in adverse non-cancerous or cancerous health effects for adults. However, incidental ingestion of surface soilfrom Area NP could have resulted in an increased risk of adverse health effects for children. This assessment is supported by studies of animals who ingested similar doses of PCBs, andexperienced changes in behavior, deficits in memory and learning function, and hyperactivity [9]. Other effects observed in animals exposed to similar doses of PCBs include: skin irritation,swelling and/or reddening of the eyelids, reduced resistance to infection, and alterations in the liver and thyroid function [9].

The Nature and Extent of Off-site Soil Contamination

The following is ADPH's evaluation of the off-site sampling data and information collectedpursuant to the 1996 Consent Order and examination of potential exposure pathways of concern. The off-site areas sampled include both residential and commercial areas.

Residential Areas

Area A

Area A is a residential area located northeast of Solutia between Tenth Street and Eleventh Streetextending from Pine Grove Road to McDaniel Avenue. Several private residences, twochurches, and three commercial businesses are located in the area. Surface soil, subsurface soil,and sediment samples were collected from the area. PCBs were not detected above the fieldscreening assay detection limit in any samples collected from the seven residential properties inthe area. In addition, no PCBs were detected above the screening assay detection limit in thesediment samples collected from the area. PCBs were detected in several surface-soil samplesand in one subsurface-soil sample collected near a drainage ditch located on property owned bythe First Missionary Baptist Church. Concentrations of PCBs ranged from less than 5.0 ppm to12.4 ppm in surface-soil samples collected [5, 6]. PCBs were detected in one of the subsurfacesoil samples at a concentration of 3.4 ppm [6].

In October 1998, Solutia completed remediation activities in Area A. Solutia removedcontaminated soil from the drainage ditch area where PCBs were detected above the screeningassay detection limit. Excavation of contaminated soil occurred in layers; after removal of alayer of soil, soil samples were collected from the bottom of the excavation and screened forPCBs. Excavation of soil layers continued until analytical results verified that PCBs did notexceed the detection limit of 5 ppm. The excavated area was backfilled with clean clay material and covered with topsoil and sod.

Past, Present, and Potential Future Exposures (Area A)

No pathway of exposure exists to PCB-contaminated subsurface soil. While PCBs were detectedin subsurface soil samples in the area, it is unlikely that adults, children, or workers would havecome into contact with subsurface soil. Exposure to contaminants in soil and sediment usuallyoccurs in the top several inches (0-3 "). Even if adults or children were exposed to PCB-contaminated subsurface soil in Area A, no adverse health effects would be expected fromexposure to the levels detected.

ADPH determined that current and potential future exposures to PCB-contaminated surface soiland subsurface soil are not likely since Solutia has completed remediation actions and restrictedaccess to the area with a fence. A potential pathway of exposure existed in the past forneighboring adults and children to contaminated surface soil at Area A. However, the potentialfor past exposure to contaminated surface soil at Area A is believed to be minimal. The areawhere PCBs were detected is set away from the church and is adjacent to a main road (TenthStreet). It is unlikely that adults or children frequented this area. Such exposure, if any, would not be expected to result in adverse health effects.

Area B

Area B is a residential area located east of Solutia along Zinn Parkway, north of Highway 202and south of Moses Street. Surface-soil samples were collected from 14 residential properties inthe area. PCBs were detected above the screening assay detection limit at two properties, atmaximum concentrations of 10.5 ppm in one property and 9.0 ppm in the other property [6].

In October 1998, Solutia completed remediation activities in Area B at the property with thedetected PCB concentration of 10.5 ppm. Solutia excavated the contaminated soil from theproperty. Excavation of contaminated soil occurred in layers. After removal of a layer of soil,soil samples were collected from the bottom of the excavation and screened for PCBs.Excavation of soil layers continued until analytical results verified that PCBs did not exceed thedetection limit of 5 ppm. The excavated property was backfilled with clean clay material andcovered with topsoil and sod [3]. Solutia was not allowed access to the second property toconduct remedial actions. The maximum concentration of PCBs detected in surface soil at this property is 9.0 ppm [6].

Past, Present, and Potential Future Exposures (Area B)

ADPH determined that no pathway of exposure exists to PCB-contaminated surface soils at theproperty where Solutia completed remediation activities. However, a potential pathway ofexposure existed in the past for adults and children to contaminated surface soils at the property.In addition, a current completed pathway of exposure exists for adults and children to PCB-contaminated surface soil in the yard of the property owner who has not had their propertyremediated. The most likely route of exposure to PCBs at either property would have beenthrough incidental ingestion of surface soil. Exposure to the concentrations of PCBs detected ateither property would not be expected to result in adverse health effects for adults.

If children deliberately ingested surface soil (pica behavior) in the past from the property that hasbeen remediated, they could have experienced an increased risk of adverse health effects. Studies of animals who ingested similar doses of PCBs experienced changes in behavior, deficits in memory and learning function, and hyperactivity [9].

There is insufficient information to determine whether dust containing PCBs is present on floorsor in the air of the home in Area B where the PCB-contaminated surface soils have not beenremediated. Consequently, potential exposure pathways may also exist via inhalation oringestion of PCB-contaminated dust.

Area C

Area C is a former residential area north of Solutia that extends from the railroad tracks north toWest Ninth Street and from Parkwin Avenue to Bancroft Avenue. Twenty-nine surface-soilsamples were collected from 16 private residences in the area. PCBs were detected in surfacesoil at concentrations ranging from less than 5.0 ppm to 33.8 ppm at eight properties. PCBs werenot detected above the screening assay detection limit of 5.0 ppm in surface soil-samplescollected at the remaining properties. In addition, 11 sediment samples were collected from theportion of the Northern Drainage Ditch located in Area C. Concentrations of PCBs ranged fromless than 5.0 ppm to 369 ppm in sediment [6].

In November 1998, Solutia completed remediation activities at all but one property in Area C. Remedial activities included purchasing the properties, removing all structures, covering thecontaminated soils with a geosynthetic liner, and restricting access to the purchased propertieswith a fence. In addition, Solutia closed the drainage ditch in the area and installed piping tocapture storm water [3].

The one property at which Solutia was denied access for remedial purposes had a PCBconcentration of 19.4 in surface soil. The owner has not restricted public access to the site orconducted any remedial actions. No one currently lives on the property or in the remaining portion of Area C.

Past, Present, and Potential Future Exposures (Area C)

ADPH determined that a potential pathway of exposure currently exists for trespassers to PCB-contaminated surface soil located at the property in the area where access has been denied toconduct remedial activities. Exposure by trespassers would likely be brief and infrequent. Themost likely route of exposure is through incidental ingestion of PCB-contaminated surface soilfrom normal hand-to-mouth behavior. Such exposure would not be expected to result in adversehealth effects.

However, adults and children could have come in contact with PCB-contaminated surface soil inthe past at Area C. Again, the most likely route of exposure would have been through incidentalingestion of contaminated surface soil. It is unlikely that such exposure would have resulted inadverse non-cancerous or cancerous health effects for adults. However, pre-school childrencould have experienced an increased risk of adverse health effects after exposure to PCB-contaminated surface soil in the area. Dermal effects and immunological effects have beenobserved in animal studies [9].

If children deliberately ingested surface soil (pica behavior) from Area C, they could haveexperienced an increased risk of adverse health effects. Studies of animals who ingested similardoses of PCBs experienced changes in behavior, deficits in memory and learning function, andhyperactivity. Other effects observed in animals exposed to similar doses of PCBs include: skinirritation, swelling and/or reddening of the eyelids, reduced resistance to infection, andalterations in the liver and thyroid function[9].

Past exposure, if any, to PCB-contaminated sediment in the portion of the Northern DrainageDitch located in the area was likely to have been brief and infrequent. The most likely route ofexposure would have been through incidental ingestion of contaminated sediment throughnormal hand-to-mouth contact. Such exposure would not be expected to result in adverse health effects for adults or children.

Area D

Area D is a residential area located west of Solutia along First Avenue between Jefferson Streetand Adams Street. Twenty surface soil-samples were collected from four homes in Area D. PCBs were detected at concentrations ranging from less than 5.0 ppm to 28 ppm [6]. All thesamples with concentrations of PCBs above the detection limit were detected on one property inthe area. Solutia has not been allowed access to this property to conduct remedial activities.PCBs were not detected above the screening assay detection limit of 5.0 ppm in surface-soil samples collected at the remaining three properties.

Past, Present, and Potential Future Exposures (Area D)

A completed exposure pathway exists for adults and children to contaminated surface soil atArea D. PCBs were detected in one residential yard in the area. The most likely route ofexposure is through incidental ingestion of PCB-contaminated surface soil from normal hand-to-mouth behavior.

ADPH determined that it is unlikely that incidental ingestion of PCB-contaminated surface soilin Area D would result in an increased risk of adverse health effects for adults. However, pre-school children could experience an increased risk of adverse health effects after exposure toPCB-contaminated surface soil at Area D. Dermal and immunological effects have beenobserved in animal studies [9].

If children deliberately ingest soil (pica behavior) from Area D, they could experience anincreased risk of adverse health effects after exposure of less than a year. Studies of animals whoingested similar doses of PCBs experienced changes in behavior, deficits in memory and learningfunction, and hyperactivity. Other effects observed in animals exposed to similar doses of PCBsinclude: skin irritation, reduced resistance to infection, and alterations in the liver and thyroidfunction. These effects are supported by animal studies [9].

There is insufficient information to determine whether dust containing PCBs is present in the airof the home in Area D where the PCB-contaminated surface soils have not been remediated. Consequently, a potential exposure pathway may also exist via inhalation of PCB-contaminated dust.

Area E - Residential

Area E is a former residential/commercial area north of Solutia located south of West TenthStreet between Duncan Avenue and Parkwin Avenue. A total of 76 environmental samples wascollected from the area. PCBs were detected at concentrations ranging from less than 5.0 ppm to112.5 ppm at in the residential portion of Area E [6].

In November 1998, Solutia completed remediation activities in the residential portion of Area E. Solutia purchased all the properties in the area, removed the structures, and restricted access tothe area with a fence. The contaminated soils were covered with a geosynthetic liner, a layer ofsoil (a minimum of 18" deep), and seeded to prevent migration and future exposures. Inaddition, Solutia closed the drainage ditch in the area and installed piping to capture storm water [3].

Past, Present, and Potential Future Exposures (Area E - Residential)

ADPH determined that since Solutia has completed remediation actions and no one currentlylives in the area, current and potential future exposures to PCB-contaminated surface soil inresidential Area E are not likely. However, a completed exposure pathway did exist in the pastfor adults and children to contaminated surface soil in residential yards in the area.

ADPH determined that it is unlikely that incidental ingestion of PCB-contaminated surface soilin residential Area E would have resulted in an increased risk of adverse health effects for adults. However, pre-school children could have experienced an increased risk of adverse health effectsafter exposure to PCB-contaminated surface soil at residential Area E. The most likely route ofexposure would have been through incidental ingestion of surface soil through normal hand-to-mouth contact. Dermal effects and immunological effects have been observed in animal studies[9].

If children deliberately ingested soil (pica behavior) from residential Area E, they couldexperience and increased risk of adverse health effects after less than a year of exposure. Studiesof animals who ingested similar doses of PCBs experienced changes in behavior, deficits inmemory and learning function, and hyperactivity. Other effects observed in animals exposed tosimilar doses of PCBs include: skin irritation, reduced resistance to infection, and alterations inthe liver and thyroid function. These effects are supported by animal studies [9].

Commercial Areas

Area BN

Area BN is a commercial area east of Solutia located north of Seventh Street, south of TenthStreet between Clydesdale Road and Crawford Avenue in the Boynton Street area. Onesubsurface soil sample (6-9" deep) and 18 surface-soil samples were collected from threebusinesses in the area. PCBs were detected at a concentration of 6.6 ppm in the subsurface-soilsamples and at concentrations ranging from less than 5.0 ppm to 9.9 ppm in the surface-soilsamples [6].

In Area BN, Solutia has completed remediation activities at all of the properties to which it hasbeen allowed access. Excavation of contaminated soil occurred in layers; after removal of a layerof soil, soil samples were collected from the bottom of the excavation and screened for PCBs. Excavation of soil layers continued until analytical results verified that PCBs did not exceed thedetection limit of 5 ppm. The excavated area was backfilled with clean clay material and covered with topsoil and sod [3].

Past, Present, and Potential Future Exposures (Area BN)

While PCBs were detected in subsurface-soil samples in the area, it is unlikely that adults,children, or workers would have come into contact with subsurface soil. Exposure tocontaminants in soil and sediment usually occurs in the top several inches (0-3 "). No pathwayof exposure exists to PCB-contaminated subsurface soil. If exposure to PCB-contaminatedsubsurface soil in Area BN did occur, an increased risk of adverse health effects would not beexpected.

ADPH determined that current and potential future exposures to PCB-contaminated subsurfaceand surface soils are not likely since Solutia has completed remediation actions in the area. Apotential pathway of exposure existed in the past for workers in Area BN to contaminated surfacesoil. However, the potential for past exposure to contaminated surface soil at Area BN isbelieved to be minimal. Worker exposure, if any, to PCB-contaminated surface soil was likelybrief and infrequent. The most likely route of exposure to PCBs in Area BN would have beenthrough incidental ingestion of surface soil. Such exposure would not be expected to result in an increased risk of adverse health effects.

Area CP

Area CP is a former commercial area northeast of Solutia located north of West Tenth Street,between Clydesdale Road and Pine Grove Road. Forty-three surface-soil samples were collectedfrom three properties in the area (eastern side: Anniston Concrete and City of Anniston; westernside: Miller property). Thirty-eight sediment samples were collected from the portion of the EastDrainage Ditch located in the central portion of Area CP. PCBs were detected in surface soil atconcentrations ranging from less than 5.0 ppm to 710 ppm in surface soil and from less than 5.0ppm to 1193 ppm in sediment [6].

By November 1999, Solutia had purchased the property and removed all but one of thestructures, contained and covered the contaminated soils on the eastern end and central area ofthe Area CP with a geosynthetic liner and a layer of soil (minimum of 12" deep). They hadconstructed a fence to restrict access to the eastern side of Area CP. Remedial activities on thewestern end included excavation of the contaminated soil. The excavation occurred in layers. After removal of a layer of soil, soil samples were collected from the bottom of the excavationand screened for PCBs. Excavation of soil layers continued until analytical results verified thatPCBs did not exceed the detection limit of 5 ppm. The excavated area was backfilled with cleanclay material. Access to the western end of Area CP is also restricted by a fence [3].

Past, Present, and Potential Future Exposures (Area CP)

ADPH determined that current and potential future exposures are not likely since Solutia hascompleted remediation actions and restricted access to the area with a fence. However, apotential pathway of exposure existed in the past for workers of Anniston Concrete (located onthe eastern portion of Area CP) to PCB-contaminated surface soil. Exposure to contaminatedsediment in the portion of the EDD in Area CP was not likely, since the ditch ran through thecentral portion of Area CP, an area that was wooded and relatively inaccessible. In addition,exposure to contaminated surface soils on the western portion of Area CP was also not likely,since the area was used as a junkyard and people did not frequent the area.

The potential for past exposure to contaminated surface soil on the eastern portion of Area CP isbelieved to be minimal. Worker exposure, if any, to PCB-contaminated surface soils was likelyto have been brief and infrequent. The most likely route of exposure to PCBs in Area CP wouldhave been through incidental ingestion of surface soil. Such exposure would not be expected toresult in adverse noncancerous or cancerous health effects for workers on the eastern portion of Area CP.

Area E

Area E is a former residential/commercial area north of Solutia located south of West TenthStreet between Duncan Avenue and Parkwin Avenue. A total of 76 environmental samples wascollected from the area (35 surface-soil samples from the residential area, 32 surface-soil samplesfrom the commercial area, and 9 sediment samples from the portion of the Northern DrainageDitch located in commercial Area E). PCBs were detected in surface soil at concentrationsranging from less than 5.0 ppm to 384 ppm in surface-soil samples and from 17.4 ppm to 209ppm in sediment samples collected from Area E [6].

In November 1998, Solutia completed remediation activities in Area E. Solutia purchased andremoved all but one structure in the area and restricted access to the area with a fence. Thecontaminated soils were covered with a geosynthetic liner, a layer of soil (a minimum of 18"deep), and seeded to prevent migration and future exposures. In addition, Solutia closed the drainage ditch in the area and installed piping to capture storm water [3].

Past, Present, and Potential Future Exposures (Area E - Commercial)

ADPH determined that current and potential future exposures to PCB-contaminated surface soilor sediment in commercial Area E are not likely since Solutia has completed remediation actionsand restricted access to the area with a fence. However, a potential pathway of exposure existedin the past for workers in Area E to contaminated surface soil and sediment.

Adults and children could have come in contact with PCB-contaminated surface soil in the pastat Area E. Again, the most likely route of exposure would have been through incidentalingestion of contaminated surface soil. It is unlikely that such exposure would have resulted inan increased risk of adverse health effects for adults. However, pre-school children could haveexperienced mild adverse health effects after long-term exposure to PCB-contaminated surfacesoil in the area. Dermal effects and immunological effects have been observed in animal studies[9].

The potential for past exposure to contaminated surface soil and sediment at commercial Area Eis believed to be minimal. Worker exposure, if any, to PCB-contaminated surface soils orsediment located in commercial Area E was likely to have been brief and infrequent. The mostlikely route of exposure to PCBs in commercial Area E would have been through incidentalingestion of surface soil. Such exposure would not be expected to result in an increased risk of adverse h ealth effects for workers in commercial Area E.

Area GASCO

Area GASCO consists of seven small Alabama Gas Company right-of-ways located east ofSolutia. (A description of each right-of-way is provided below.) A total of 16 surface-soil samples was collected from the seven right-of-ways.

GASCO #1 is along Clydesdale Road between West Eighth Street and thenorthernmost railroad tracks. Access is restricted by a fence.

GASCO #2 is south of West Tenth Street and east of Moses Street. Access is notrestricted.

GASCO #3 is south of West Tenth Street and west of Zinn Parkway. Access is notrestricted.

GASCO #4 is on the western side of Montrose Avenue just north of theintersection of Montrose Avenue and West Moses Street. Access is not restricted.

GASCO #5 is east of the intersection of Boynton Street and West Tenth Street.Access is not restricted.

GASCO #6 is at the intersection of West Sixth Street and Ferron Avenue. Accessis not restricted.

GASCO #7 is at the intersection of West Seventh Street and Clydesdale Road.Access is not restricted.

Only two of the seven right-of-ways had PCB detections, GASCO #5 and GASCO #6. PCBswere detected in surface soil at concentrations ranging from less than 5.0 ppm to 56.9 ppm insurface soil from GASCO #5 and from less than 5.0 ppm to 3.7 ppm in surface soil fromGASCO #6 [6]. Solutia has conducted remediation activities at the two Alabama Gas Company right-of-ways. Remediation activities included covering the contaminated soils at the two right-of-ways with geosynthetic liners [3].

Past, Present, and Potential Future Exposures (Area GASCO)

ADPH determined that current and potential future exposures are not likely since Solutia hascompleted remediation actions in the area. Future exposures are not likely if the remedy ismaintained, and future workers do not conduct excavation activities in the area. However, apotential pathway of exposure existed in the past for workers in Area GASCO to contaminatedsurface soil. The potential for past exposure to contaminated surface soil at Area GASCO isbelieved to be minimal. Alabama Gas Company workers do not work at the right-of-ways on aregular basis. They respond to service requests and work at the right-of-ways when new serviceis being installed or if a repair is to be made.

The potential for past exposure to contaminated surface soil at Area GASCO is believed to beminimal. Worker exposure, if any, to PCB-contaminated surface soil was likely to have beenbrief and infrequent. The most likely route of exposure to PCBs in Area GASCO would havebeen through incidental ingestion of surface soil. Such exposure would not be expected to result in adverse health effects.

Area MDN

Area MDN is the grass-covered median, with limited access, located southwest of Solutia onAlabama Highway 202 between First Avenue and Third Avenue. The median divides Highway202. Access to the median is not restricted. Four surface-soil samples were collected from the median. None of the samples detected PCBs above the minimum detection limit of 5 ppm [6].

Past, Present, and Potential Future Exposures (Area MDN)

The potential for exposure to contaminated surface soil at Area MDN is believed to be minimal. Worker exposure and exposure by neighboring adults or children, if any, to PCBs in surface soil at Area MDN would likely be brief and infrequent and is not expected to result in an increased risk of adverse health effects.

Area XE

Area XE is a commercial area northeast of Solutia located south of West Tenth Street betweenParkwin Avenue and Ferron Avenue, and includes the southwest corner of West Tenth Street andDuncan Avenue. Fill material from the West End Landfill may have been used in this area. Atotal of 61 surface-soil samples was collected from nine properties in Area XE. PCBs weredetected in surface soil at concentrations ranging from less than 5.0 ppm to 2810 ppm [6].

As of November 1999, Solutia has purchased all but one of the properties in Area XE. Five ofthe properties have primarily gravel and/or paved surfaces, and the remaining three propertieshave restricted access secured by a fence and/or gate [3]. No remediation activities have beenconducted at any of the properties. No businesses are in operation in the area. The one property that has not been purchased is partially paved and is no longer in operation.

Past, Present, and Potential Future Exposures (Area XE)

ADPH determined that a potential exposure pathway currently exists for trespassers to the oneproperty in Area XE that has not been remediated or secured. The potential for exposure tocontaminated surface soil at this property is believed to be minimal. Exposure, if any, bytrespassers to PCB-contaminated surface soils located at this property is likely to be brief andinfrequent. The most likely route of exposure to PCBs would be through incidental ingestion ofsurface soil. Such exposure would not be expected to result in an increased risk of adverse healtheffects for trespassers.

A potential exposure pathway existed in the past for workers in Area XE to PCB-contaminatedsurface soil. The potential for past exposure to contaminated surface soil at Area XE is believedto be minimal. Worker exposure, if any, to PCB-contaminated surface soil was likely to havebeen brief and infrequent. The most likely route of exposure to PCBs in Area XE would havebeen through incidental ingestion of surface soil. Such exposure would not be expected to result in an increased risk of adverse health effects for workers in Area XE.

Line A

Line A is the portion of the Northern Drainage Ditch located northeast of Solutia that flowsbetween the railroad tracks and Eleventh Street, beginning at Clydesdale Road and continuing toSnow Creek. The ditch is open for approximately 40 yards then flows through undergroundculverts. A total of 30 environmental samples was collected from the drainage ditch, 26sediment samples and 4 subsurface-soil samples (3 samples 12-15" deep and 1 sample 26-29"deep). PCBs were detected in sediment at concentrations ranging from less than 5.0 ppm to 450ppm and in subsurface soil at concentrations ranging from less than 5.0 ppm to 7.1 ppm [6]. Currently, Solutia is working with ADEM for closure of the ditch in 1999-2000.

Past, Present, and Potential Future Exposures (Line A)

While PCBs were detected in subsurface-soil samples in the area, it is unlikely that adults and/orchildren would come into contact with subsurface soil. No pathway of exposure exists to PCB-contaminated subsurface soil. Exposure to contaminants in soil and sediment usually occurs inthe top several inches (0-3 "). Even if adults or children are exposed to PCB-contaminatedsubsurface soil in Line A, no adverse health effects would be expected.

A completed exposure pathway currently exists for adults and children to contaminated sedimentin Line A. The most likely route of exposure would be through incidental ingestion of PCB-contaminated sediment from normal hand-to-mouth behavior. However, the potential forexposure to contaminated sediment at Line A is believed to be minimal. It is unlikely that adultsor children walk or play in the ditch on a regular basis. Exposure by adults and/or children, ifany, to the PCB-contaminated sediment is likely to be brief and infrequent. It is unlikely thatadults or children would experience an increased risk of adverse health effects from incidental ingestion of sediment from Line A.

Community Health Concerns

Health concerns have been brought to ATSDR's attention through the public health assessmentprocess at the Solutia site. Through public meetings and interviews, community membersexpressed concerns about environmental conditions and potential health hazards at Solutia.

Following are several concerns, stated by community members, regarding contamination andhealth effects associated with the Solutia site.

  • Concern about consumption of fish from water bodies potentially affected by PCBs.

In August 1993, ADEM conducted a fish study in the Choccolocco Creek watershed. Tributariesincluded in the study were Choccolocco Creek, Jackson Creek, Hillabee Creek, Dry Branch,Snow Creek, and Coldwater Creek. PCBs were detected at concentrations above the Food andDrug Administrations tolerance level of 2 ppm in fish. In November 1993, the ADPH issued a"no consumption fish advisory" for all species of fish caught between the confluence of SnowCreek and Choccolocco Creek south of Oxford, downstream to where Choccolocco Creek flowsinto Lake Logan Martin. ADEM continues to sample these areas yearly. The fish advisory is still in effect.

  • Concern about drinking water potentially affected by PCBs.

It is important to note that contaminated groundwater only poses a public health hazard if it isconsumed. Residents of Anniston who are connected to a public water supply, or who have hadtheir wells tested, can be confident that their water meets the stringent standards of the SafeDrinking 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 thesecontaminants must not exceed their respective Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs). TheMCLs are enforceable drinking water regulations that are protective of public health. Should acontaminant, such as PCBs, be detected above its MCL, the supplier is required to switch to analternative drinking water source or to purify the contaminated water. Anniston public watersupplies are tested and they meet safe drinking water standards. Concerned residents ofAnniston who have not had their private drinking water wells tested can call the ADPH for help in identifying laboratories that test drinking water.


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 exposure during critical growth stages. ADPH is committed to evaluating their special interests at sites such as Solutia, as part of the ATSDR Child Health Initiative.

ADPH evaluated the likelihood that children living near the Solutia site may have been or may beexposed to contaminants at levels of health concern. ADPH identified several exposurepathways in which children may be or may have been exposed to PCBs at levels that could resultin an increased risk of adverse health effects. See the section titled EnvironmentalContamination, Pathways of Exposure, and Public Health Implications for the completediscussion of exposure pathways and the potential for adverse health effects.


CONCLUSIONS

  1. The concentrations of PCBs detected in surface-soil samples at the one property at Area D that has not been remediated and at the one property at Area B that has not been remediated pose a public health hazard because exposure to such concentrations could result in an increased risk of adverse health effects for children. Children could be exposed to PCBs through incidental ingestion of the contaminated surface soils or through deliberate ingestion of the soil (pica behavior).

  2. The concentrations of PCBs detected surface-soil samples in Area NP, B, C, and residential Area E posed a public health hazard to children in the past. Children could have been exposed to PCBs through incidental ingestion the contaminated surface soils or through deliberate ingestion of the soil (pica behavior). Such exposure could have resulted in an increased risk of adverse health effects for children.

  3. There is insufficient information from the data collected under the 1996 Consent Order to determine whether dust containing PCBs is present on floor surfaces or in the air of the home in Area B or of the home in Area D where the PCB-contaminated surface soils have not been remediated. Consequently, potential exposure pathways may also exist via inhalation or ingestion of PCB-contaminated indoor dust. (For more updated information, please refer to recent health consultations from ATSDR.)

  4. Additional data have been collected since the 1996 Consent Order, including additional environmental and biological data. These data may provide further insight into other routes of exposure and the potential for an increased risk of adverse health effects.

PUBLIC HEALTH ACTION PLAN

The purpose of the public health action plan (PHAP) is to ensure that this public healthassessment goes beyond presenting ADPH's conclusions and recommendations about publichealth issues at the Monsanto Company/Solutia Inc. Site. The PHAP describes actions that aredesigned to prevent exposure to hazardous substances at the site and reduce any harmful healtheffects.

Numerous PHAP activities occurred during the course of ADPH's investigation of the site. Forinstance, ADPH collected blood samples from adults and children living near the site inNovember 1995. In addition, ADPH and ATSDR have conducted educational activities duringseveral public meetings and public availability sessions to educate people about the hazards ofPCBs, about the remedial activities, and the results of several environmental sampling events andthe blood testing. ADPH has also been involved in reviewing activities conducted by MonsantoCompany/Solutia Inc. at the site to ensure that remedial activity is timely and protective of public health.

Actions Planned

  1. ATSDR, in conjunction with ADPH, will evaluate any additional environmental sampling data collected since the 1996 Consent Order.

  2. ATSDR, in conjunction with ADPH, is currently evaluating biological data andenvironmental data provided by a local environmental group to determine to determinethe extent of contamination and if other pathways of exposure to PCBs may exist in theAnniston area. ATSDR has asked for public comment on a health consultationconcerning this data.

  3. ATSDR, in conjunction with ADPH, will continue to provide environmental healtheducation for local public health officials, the local medical community and local citizens to assist the community in assessing possible adverse health outcomes associated with exposures to PCBs.

  4. ADPH, in conjunction with ATSDR, will share this public health assessment with ADEMand EPA so that those making site management decisions are aware of the public healthissues identified herein.

Actions Recommended

  1. Prevent further exposure to PCBs by restricting access to the PCB-contaminated surfacesoils, by conducting remedial actions according to EPA regulations at the remainingcontaminated properties in Areas B and D, and by ensuring that the remedies already inplace are maintained.

  2. ADPH and ATSDR should conduct follow up activities designed to fill data gaps thatcurrently hinder the local medical community and local citizens from assessing andmitigating possible adverse health outcomes associated with exposures to PCBs.

  3. ADPH and ATSDR should obtain additional input from the West Anniston community toensure that follow up activities designed to address site-related public health issues are conducted in a manner that is relevant and acceptable to the community.

PREPARER OF REPORT

Yvonne Barnett
Epidemiologist II
Alabama Department of Public Health


REFERENCES

  1. Alabama Department of Public Health. Health consultation for the Monsanto CompanySite, Anniston, Calhoun County, Alabama, 1996.

  2. Golder Associates, Inc. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) FacilityInvestigation and Confirmatory Sampling (RFI/CS) Workplan for the MonsantoCompany's Anniston, Alabama Facility, 1997.

  3. Personal Communication. Alan Faust, Manager of Remedial Projects, EnvironmentalSafety and Health, Solutia, Inc.. July 12, 1999.

  4. Alabama Department of Public Health. Cobbtown/Sweet Valley Community PCBExposure Investigation for the Monsanto Company Site, Anniston, Calhoun County,Alabama, 1996.

  5. Alabama Department of Environmental Management. Consent Order No. 96-054-CHW:In the matter of: Monsanto Company, Anniston, Calhoun County, Alabama. March 8,1996.

  6. Golder Associates, Inc.. Data File: Summary of Sampling Locations, Descriptions and Results, Off-Site Areas for the Monsanto Company, Anniston, Calhoun County,Alabama.

  7. Letter, From: Michael R. Foresman, Director, Remedial Projects, Monsanto Company. To: John A. Poole, Jr., Chief, Land Division, Alabama Department of EnvironmentalManagement. Date: February 20, 1997.

  8. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Public Health Assessment for USAAnniston Army Depot, Bynum, Calhoun County, Alabama. Atlanta: U.S. Department ofHealth and Human Services, Public Health Service, January 12, 1999.

  9. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile forpolchlorinated biphenyls. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,Public Health Service, September 1997.

  10. Safe S. Toxicology, structure-function relationship, and human and environmental healthimpacts of polychlorinated biphenyls: progress and problems. Environmental HealthPerspectives 100:259-268, 1993.

  11. Bertazzi PA, Riboldi L, Pesatori A, Radice L, Zocchetti. Cancer mortality of capacitor manufacturing workers. American Journal of Industrial Medicine 11:165-176, 1987.

  12. Kimbrough RD, Doemland ML, LeVois ME. Mortality in male and female capacitorworkers exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls. Journal of Environmental Medicine41:161-171, 1999.

  13. Rothman N, Cantor KP, Blair A, Bush D, Brock JW, Helzlsouer K, Zham SH, NeedhamLL, Pearson GR, Hoover RN, Comstock GW, Strickland PT. A nested case-control studyof non-Hodgkin lymphoma and serum organochlorine residues. Lancet 350:240-244,1997.

  14. Cogliano VJ. Assessing the cancer risk from environmental PCBs. Environmental Health Perspectives 106:317-23, 1998.

  15. Ries LAG, Kosary CL, Hankey BF, Miller BA, Harras A, Edwards BK (eds). SEERCancer Statistics Review, 1973-1994, National Cancer Institute. NIH Pub. No. 97-2789.Bethesda, MD, 1997.

CERTIFICATION

This Solutia Inc./Monsanto Company Public Health Assessment was prepared by the AlabamaDepartment of Public Health under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for ToxicSubstances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). It is in accordance with approved methodology andprocedures existing at the time the public health assessment was begun.

Alan W. Yarbrough
Technical Project Officer
State Programs Section
Superfund Site Assessment Branch (SSAB)
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation (DHAC)
ATSDR


The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation, ATSDR, has reviewed this health consultation, and concurs with its findings.

Richard Gillig
Chief, State Programs Section,SSAB, DHAC, ATSDR


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