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HEALTH CONSULTATION

VIKING CLEANERS FACILITY
PHOENIX, MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA


INTRODUCTION

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) requested the Arizona Department ofHealth Services (ADHS) to determine whether exposure to tetrachloroethylene (PCE) in the indoorair of a vacant dry cleaning facility and an attached convenience store posed a health threat toworkers renovating the former dry cleaners and the patrons and employees of the convenience store.


BACKGROUND

The former Viking Cleaners operated at 4029 North 32nd Street in Phoenix, Arizona, from 1954 until2000. The building houses two businesses, Viking Cleaners, which is currently vacant but underrenovation, and an attached convenience store that is currently in operation.

A source area investigation conducted by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality fromMarch 24 through 28, 2003, found that soil, soil gases, and groundwater beneath the former VikingCleaners facility are contaminated with tetrachloroethylene, a solvent often used in dry cleaningoperations. During the investigation, two soil borings were completed inside the Viking Cleanersfacility and one outside in an area adjacent to the building. The maximum concentration detected insoil gas from this boring was 220,000 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3) and 6,600 milligrams perkilogram (mg/kg) in soil. This boring also yielded 200,000 micrograms of tetrachloroethylene per liter(µg /l) in a groundwater sample collected 49 feet below ground surface (ADEQ, 2003).

A limited number of indoor air samples were subsequently collected and analyzed in April 2003, todetermine the extent of vapor migration into the former Viking Cleaners facility and convenience store. Tetrachloroethylene was found in both the former dry cleaning facility and in the convenience store.The Arizona Department of Health Services was asked to evaluate the limited number of indoor airsamples and to determine if the levels of the contaminant constituted a public health hazard.


HEALTH CONCERNS

Tetrachloroethylene is used by more than 80% of commercial dry cleaners (HSIA, 1999). Exposure to tetrachloroethylene can occur in the workplace or in the outdoor environmentfollowing releases to air, water, land, or groundwater. Tetrachloroethylene enters the body whenbreathed in with contaminated air or when consumed in contaminated food or water. Once in thebody, tetrachloroethylene can remain, stored in fat tissue (EPA, 2003). The Agency for ToxicSubstances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) reports that the health effects of breathing air ordrinking water containing low levels of tetrachloroethylene are not known. The Department ofHealth and Human Services (DHHS) has determined that tetrachloroethylene may reasonably beanticipated to be a carcinogen (ATSDR, 1997).

The Arizona Department of Health Services is aware that there are numerous situations,particularly in the Phoenix and Tucson metropolitan areas, of environmental contamination fromexisting or former dry cleaning facilities. This consultation may serve as the forerunner of futurepublic health evaluations of tetrachloroethylene contamination from dry cleaning facilities.


INDOOR AIR SAMPLING METHODS

Indoor air sampling was conducted on April 12 and 13, 2003 - a Saturday and Sunday - tominimize interference with renovation work being conducted at the dry cleaning facility. OneSumma canister was placed in the convenience store and three canisters were placed in the drycleaning facility. The Summa canisters valves were open on April 12, 2003. Approximately 24hours later, the valves were closed and the canisters transported to the contractor, SECOR, andthen to Precision Analytical Laboratories where the contents of the canisters were analyzed onApril 16, 2003 (ADEQ, 2003). This sampling method does not capture the possible fluctuationsin levels of vapors with different seasons or weather conditions.

The convenience store canister was placed on a table in a back storeroom. The canisters in theformer dry cleaning facility were placed on top of a metal plate covering the sump, in thebathroom, and in a corner. These three locations correspond to Samples 1, 2, 3, in Table 2.


DISCUSSION

Convenience Store Exposure

Employees of the convenience store attached to the former Viking Cleaners facility may beexposed to tetrachloroethylene vapors present in the store due to infiltration from the subsurface.Customers of the store may also be exposed to tetrachloroethylene vapors for short periods of time.

Table 1 displays the 24-hour average concentrations of tetrachloroethylene present in indoor air atthe convenience store adjacent to the former Viking Cleaners facility. The concentration is fromthe air sample collected inside the convenience store on April 12 and 13, 2003. Table 1 comparesthe concentration measured in the sample to chronic (long-term) comparison values (CVs)developed by ATSDR for contaminants in air. Chronic exposure comparison values were usedbecause it is possible that store employees may continue to work at the store for more than 1 year.

Comparison values are conservatively developed based on the most sensitive receptors. They arereference or screening values used in the public health assessment process to determine if thecontaminants are present in the environment at levels that warrant further evaluation. Theconclusion that a contaminant exceeds a comparison value does not mean that the contaminant willcause adverse health effects, but rather that there is a need for a more thorough, contaminant-specific investigation. Environmental concentrations below a comparison value are unlikely tocause adverse health effects regardless of exposure duration.

Table 1.

Tetrachloroethylene levels in the convenience store on April 12 and 13, 2003
Chemical

Concentration 24-hour average

ATSDR chronic exposure comparison value Does the concentration exceed the comparison value? Is the concentration at a level of health concern?
Tetrachloroethylene 108 µg/m3 271 µg/m3 No No

The concentration of tetrachloroethylene found in the one indoor air sample of the convenience store islower than the chronic exposure comparison value. This suggests that exposure, based on the limitedsampling. to indoor air at the convenience market does not pose a public health threat to storeemployees or customers.

Exposures to Current Renovation Workers

Trade workers currently renovating the portion of the building formerly occupied by VikingCleaners may also be exposed to tetrachloroethylene inside the facility due to infiltration of vaporsfrom the subsurface. Tetrachloroethylene concentrations are higher in the former dry cleaningfacility than in the convenience store.

Table 2 displays the 24-hour average concentrations of tetrachloroethylene present in the threeindoor air samples collected from the former dry cleaning facility on April 12 and 13, 2003. Althoughthree samples were collected, the levels might not reflect seasonal or weather-related fluctuations inlevels. Tetrachloroethylene concentration ranged from 884 µg/m3 to 1,292 µg/m3, with an overallaverage concentration of 1,065 µg/m3 (1.065 mg/m3). Sample 1 was taken from the sump, Sample 2from the bathroom, and Sample 3 was taken from a corner of the building.

Table 2 compares the sample concentrations to the intermediate (short-term) comparison values,developed by ATSDR for contaminants in air, to determine whether the measured concentrationswarrant additional review. The intermediate exposure comparison value is a chemicalconcentration in air below which adverse health effects are unlikely to occur for short-termexposures (2 weeks to 1 year), as is the case for the current renovation workers.

As a reminder, comparison values are not used to determine the specific adverse health effectsfrom exposure; rather, they are used to determine if there is the need for a more thorough,contaminant-specific investigation.

Table 2.

Tetrachloroethylene levels in the former Viking Cleaners April 12 and 13, 2003
  Concentration 24-hour average ATSDR intermediate exposure comparison value Does the concentration exceed the comparison value? Is the concentration at a level of health concern?
    1,356 µg/m3    
Sample 1 884 µg/m3   No No
Sample 2 1,020 µg/m3   No No
Sample 3 1,292 µg/m3   No No

The concentrations of tetrachloroethylene found in the indoor air of the former Viking Cleaners arelower than the intermediate exposure comparison value. This suggests that exposure to indoor air atthe former dry cleaning facility currently under renovation does not pose a public health threat to tradeworkers. The maximum concentration of tetrachloroethylene measured in the former dry cleaningfacility (1,292 µg/m3) is also substantially lower than the American Conference of GovernmentalIndustrial Hygenists 8-hour time weighted average (8-Hour TWA) recommended exposure limit of 170,000 µg/m3 (170 mg/m3).


CHILD HEALTH CONSIDERATIONS

ATSDR and ADHS recognize that the unique vulnerabilities of infants and children demand specialemphasis in communities faced with contaminants in air. The developing body systems of children cansustain permanent damage if toxic exposures occur during critical growth stages. ATSDR comparisonvalues, which were used to evaluate exposures to tetrachloroethylene, specifically consider the unique vulnerabilities of infants and children.


CONCLUSIONS

  • The levels, based on the limited data available, of tetrachloroethylene found in indoor air in the convenience store attached to the former Viking Cleaners facility pose no public health hazard to employees and customers.

  • The indoor air in the former Viking Cleaners facility under renovation currently poses no public health hazard to workers. However, if future business activities change, a follow-up environmental investigation should be conducted to ensure that the facility does not pose a public health hazard.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Any environmental remediation of the contaminated soils beneath the former Viking Cleaners facilityshould include a detailed health and safety plan that protects the employees of the convenience store.

A follow-up environmental investigation and public health consultation should be conducted at theformer Viking Cleaners facility after renovation activities are completed if the facility will be used for future business activities.


PUBLIC HEALTH ACTION PLAN

The ADHS will work with the ADEQ to ensure that an environmental investigation and followup health consultation are conducted if the former Viking Cleaners facility is used for future business activities.


REFERENCES

(ADEQ) Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. 2003. Field data sheet and precisionanalytical laboratories reports. April 16, 2003.

(ATSDR) Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. 1997. ToxFAQs fortetrachloroethylene (PERC). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available fromURL: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts18.html. Last accessed June 23, 2003.

(EPA) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2003. Compliance assistance for dry cleaners. Available from URL: http://www.epa.gov/region02/capp/dryclean.htm. Last accessed June 4, 2003.

(HSIA) Halogenated Solvents Industry Alliance, Inc. 1999. Perchloroethylene, White Paper. Available from URL: http://www.hsia.org/white_papers/perc%20wp.htm. Last accessed June 4, 2003.


PREPARERS OF REPORT

Will Humble, Chief
Office of Environmental Health
Arizona Department of Health Services

William Nelson, Regional Representative
Office of the Assistant Administrator
Office of Regional Operations, Region IX
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

Gail Godfrey, Technical Project Officer
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Superfund Site Assessment Branch, State Programs Section
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry


CERTIFICATION

This Viking Cleaners Facility Health Consultation was prepared by the Arizona Department ofHealth Services under cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and DiseaseRegistry. It is in accordance with approved methodology and procedures existing at the time the health consultation was begun.

Gail D. Godfrey
Technical Project Officer, SPS, SSAB, DHAC


The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation, ATSDR, has reviewed this healthconsultation and concurs with the findings.

Roberta Erlwein
Chief, SSAB, DHAC


Table of Contents

  
 
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