PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT
STRATFORD, FAIRFIELD COUNTY, CONNECTICUT
Raymark Industries, Inc. operated in Stratford, Connecticut from 1919-1989. The facilitymanufactured brakes, clutch parts, and other friction based products. A system of lagoons wereused in an effort to capture manufacturing waste. As these lagoons filled, they were dredged and waste material was used on and off-site as fill material.
The Raymark facility site posed a public health hazard to workers because of likely exposures tosoil containing many compounds including volatile organic compounds, lead, asbestos andpolychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Workers may also have been exposed to airborne asbestos. Workers were also likely exposed to a variety of compounds during manufacturing operationsthat likely required the handling of these materials and chemicals. Currently the facility is closed,site access is limited and much of the area is paved thereby reducing the potential for currentexposures to site contamination, however, the site poses a health threat to people who trespass atthe site. In addition, a health threat could exist at the site for workers or on-site personnel ifcurrent or future activities disturb contamination and precautions are not taken to preventexposures from occurring.
Off-site locations presented a public health hazard in the past. These included the Wooster JuniorHigh School/north playing field, Raybestos Memorial Field, Housatonic Boat Club, Short BeachPark, Wooster Park, Birds Eye Boat Ramp, Beacon Point Road, Spada Area/Commercialproperties, Morgan Francis property, Del Buono property, Stratford Marina, and Salce property. Workers and recreational users were likely exposed to lead, asbestos, and PCBs throughingestion, inhalation, and dermal contact with contaminated surface soil. Interim actions includingfencing, restricted access and covering have been taken at these locations to reduce the risk of anycurrent or future exposures. A permanent remedy has been completed at Wooster Junior HighSchool. Permanent remedies are being investigated for the other sites.
Some residential properties with surface soil contamination presented an imminent health threat inthe past. Residents were likely exposed to lead, asbestos, and PCBs through ingestion, inhalationand dermal contact with contaminated soils. No health threat currently exists at these properties. Interim measures were taken at all residential properties where waste was present prior to theexcavation and removal activities. Excavation and removal, planned for all residential propertieswith levels of contamination posing a health threat, has been completed at the majority of thehomes.
A public health threat currently exists for people who eat contaminated fish from Selby orBrewster Ponds. Elevated levels of PCBs were detected in American eels caught from SelbyPond. White catfish caught from Brewster Pond were found to have elevated levels of chlordane,a pesticide unrelated to Raymark waste. The Connecticut Department of Public Health (CTDPH) and the Stratford Health Department posted signs warning anglers about the contaminatedspecies.
In May 1993, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) issued a PublicHealth Advisory stating that an imminent public health hazard existed from past, present andpotential future exposures to Raymark waste containing lead, asbestos, and PCBs. Actions werequickly initiated to stop exposures, identify additional waste areas, and educate the public aboutadverse health effects associated with exposures. These activities involved the coordinated effortsof the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ATSDR, the Connecticut Department ofEnvironmental Protection (CT DEP), CT DPH, the Stratford Health Department and the town ofStratford.
Health outcome data including the results of a voluntary blood lead screening, cancer incidenceand birth defects data were reviewed. The voluntary blood lead screening program did notidentify a higher than expected number of elevated blood lead levels. These results can not beused to determine if people were exposed to Raymark waste or if Raymark waste affectedpeople's health because the participants did not represent all Stratford residents and exposure tothe waste had stopped at the majority of the locations. The cancer incidence rates in Stratfordbetween 1958 and 1991 did not vary significantly from State rates for most cancer sites studied. The rates of bladder cancer, mesothelioma and all cancer sites combined for persons less than age25 were higher in Stratford than the State. When the rates for all tumor sites combined, for allages, were looked at in five-year time periods, the rate of cancer increased slightly for Stratford incomparison to the State. No birth defect stood out as being excessive in Stratford for the years1983, 1985 and 1986. These are the only three years for which birth defects data is available. The findings of these investigations can be found in the Public Health Implications section of thisdocument.
ATSDR's Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP) has reviewed this Health Assessmentand has made the following recommendations regarding follow-up health activities. The paneldetermined that community health education should be continued. Future community healtheducation efforts should focus on informing the community on the health aspects of remedialactivities at the Raymark site and other off-site locations and the results of on-going healthstudies. The panel also determined that the collaborative efforts between ATSDR, CT DPH andthe Stratford Health Department should continue with these future educational efforts. The paneldetermined that the need for further follow up health activities should be considered once theresults of on-going studies are available for review.
ATSDR and CT DPH recommend that efforts be taken to maintain all interim measures at siteswhere permanent remedies have not yet taken place. Furthermore, institutional controls need tobe established for areas where a permanent remediation is not possible. CT DPH and ATSDRwill continue to review post-excavation sampling results and any additional sampling data that aregenerated during the Stratford site investigations. CT DPH and ATSDR will continue to workwith the Stratford Health Department to provide timely information to the public as activities in Stratford continue.
Raymark Industries, Inc. is located at 75 East Main Street in Stratford, Fairfield County,Connecticut. The site covers approximately 33 acres and is owned by Raymark Industries, Inc.. It is bounded to the north by East Main Street, to the east by East Main Street and FerryBoulevard, to the south by Longbrook Avenue and Barnum Avenue, and to the west by an activerailroad corridor (See Appendix A-Site Map).
The buildings on site cover approximately 600,000 square feet and consist of formerly used office,production, and storage buildings. From 1919 until 1989, operations at the facility included theproduction of brakes, clutch parts, and other friction based products. During the manufacturingprocess, wastes generated included lead, asbestos, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), ignitableand corrosive wastes, solvents, liquid adhesives, phenolic resins, alcohol, caustic phenolicmixtures, and dioxins/furans (EPA Region I, Pollution Report and RCRA file Information).
Raymark routinely disposed of waste containing more than 60 different contaminants on thefacility property and at other locations in Stratford. From 1919 to July of 1984, Raymark used asystem of on-site lagoons in an effort to capture the waste lead and asbestos. Over this 65 yearperiod, these lagoon systems were located at numerous locations on the western and centralportions of the site. As the lagoons filled, they were often dredged and the material was used as fill in locations on-site and around Stratford.
The Environmental Protection Agency Region I (EPA) has been involved with investigations atthe Raymark Facility since 1984. In the fall of 1992, Raymark was ordered by EPA to stabilize itsfacility and the property; limit the potential for human contact to on-site contamination; and limitthe potential for release of hazardous substances and contaminants from the site.
The site is fenced to prohibit access by the general public. Some office space at the facility wasbeing used and the southern most building was being leased and used as a solid waste transferstation up until the summer of 1995.
Four lagoons on the site have been temporarily capped. These lagoons stopped receiving waste in1984. One of the lagoons remained uncapped until the fall of 1994. It served as a collectionbasin and final discharge point for the facility's storm water runoff system. This lagoon drainedinto Ferry Creek, which flows south and east one half mile to the Housatonic River. Excavatedwaste removed from residential properties is being stored at the site. The majority of this waste isbeing stored in a secured and covered dome area. Some waste is also being stored in one of thebuildings at the Raymark facility. In addition, contaminated soil has been placed in temporarypiles outside and are covered with dust suppression foam routinely.
As a result of the dredging of the on-site lagoons and disposal of waste material throughoutStratford, many areas of off-site contamination have been identified and investigated. Maps inAppendix D show the location of these areas.
Based on historical town records, fourteen known or suspected waste disposal areas in the townwere identified for evaluation. These areas included: Wooster Junior High School/playing fields;Raybestos Memorial Field; Morgan Francis Property on East Broadway; the SpadaProperty/commercial properties on Ferry Boulevard; Ferry Creek; the Housatonic Boat Club; ElmStreet Lot K; the Airport Clear Zone; Forth and Fifth Avenue; the landfill on Dorne Drive; ShortBeach Park; Lordship Boulevard; Honeyspot Road; and Beacon Point Road. Of the fourteenwaste disposal areas, eight were prioritized for evaluation. Schools, recreational areas andlocations easily accessed by the public were of greatest concern. The following is a description ofthe eight priority sites:
Wooster Junior High School: Wooster Junior High School is located on the corner of Freemanand Lincoln Streets. It is bordered by residential areas to the east and south. Wooster Park islocated to the north and west. Bruce Brook is located along the western and northern boundariesof the school property. Wooster Pond is located north of the school property. Prior to the mid 1960's, the area that is now the north playing field was a pond. During the mid tolate 1960's this area was filled.
Short Beach Park: Short Beach Park is located on Dorne Drive. The recreational areas includingtwo softball fields, a little league field, a soccer field and a nine hole golf course coverapproximately 50 acres. The area that is now known as Short Beach Park was a tidal wetland. Filling in this area began in the 1950's and 60's, and was actually part of the Dorne Drive landfillcurrently located across Dorne Drive. EPA Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)reports indicate that Raymark waste was used as fill in this area during 1976-1979. The golfcourse and soccer fields were completed in the 1980's.
Vacant Lot/End of 4th/5th Avenue: This vacant lot is located at the end of 4th Avenue in theLordship part of Stratford. The vacant lot covers approximately three acres and is surrounded byresidential properties. A pond is located on the vacant parcel. It is believed that Raymark wastewas used as fill in this area during the 1960's. A portion of this area is considered a tidal wetlandby the DEP.
Spada Area/Commercial Properties on Ferry Boulevard: This area is located along FerryBoulevard and is bisected by Ferry Creek. The eastern portion of Ferry Boulevard betweenWillow Avenue and Broad Street was at one time owned by Ernest Spada, a business developer,prior to its subdivision and development, thus the name Spada Properties. Commercial propertiesincluding Magic Mart, the Blue Goose Restaurant, Shopping Center, Housatonic Marina, DanPerkin's Subaru, Veras Motors, Turnpike Spirits, and Ink Master are all located along the easternside of Ferry Boulevard. Ferry Creek is located behind these commercial properties andresidential properties are located on the opposite side of the creek. Prior to the mid 1960's thisarea was a tidal wetland but during the mid 1960's and early 1970's this area was filled. Residential properties on Housatonic Avenue and Willow Street were developed prior to the mid1960's.
Morgan Francis Area: This area is located on East Broadway where it branches off from FerryBoulevard. It is believed that waste was disposed in this area from approximately 1970-76. FerryCreek borders this area to the east. A small tool shop is located on the property. A residentialarea is located to the north and west.
Lot K/Elm Street: This is an occupied private residence located on Elm Street.
Housatonic Boat Club: The Housatonic Boat Club is a private yacht club located between ShoreRoad and the Housatonic River. It is believed that the original shore line was located near what isnow Shore Road. During the late 1960's and 70's fill was used to build up the area where theBoat Club is now located.
Raybestos Memorial Field and some adjacent properties: This field is located adjacent to theRaymark facility and covers approximately 13 acres. The area was used as a disposal site forRaymark waste as early as the 1940's through the 1980's. In the late 1970's clean fill was used tocover the disposal area. In 1989, asbestos materials were observed on the surface during an EPAsite inspection. Under EPA orders, the area beyond the outfield was capped and fenced in 1992.
In addition to the eight priority areas, investigations were initiated at the remaining six areas andresidential, recreational, and commercial properties located near and within the priority areas. This included the investigation of approximately 25 commercial areas, approximately tenrecreational and municipal areas, and approximately 350 residential properties.
In response to concerns expressed by the public in May 1993, EPA also sampled day carefacilities, parks, greens, and schools regardless of their proximity to a known waste area.
In 1989 the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) provided EPA withhealth consultations for the Raymark facility property, and for 12 areas of known asbestos wastedisposal. These sites were evaluated for asbestos only. ATSDR concluded that the Raymarkfacility, Raymark Memorial Field, Stratford Square Shopping Center, Morgan Francis property,and the Spada property posed a potential health threat and recommended remedial action forairborne asbestos. ATSDR recommended monitoring and sampling programs for the HousatonicBoat Club, Beacon Point Road, Stratford Landfill, Short Beach Park, Fourth and Fifth Avenue,Honey Spot Road Extension and Wooster Junior High School Playing Field.
In February of 1992, ATSDR provided a health consultation for the Raymark facility, at therequest of EPA. ATSDR concluded that the site posed a public health threat because of asbestosand PCBs.
ATSDR provided a health consultation in August 1992 regarding the removal activities beingdone by EPA at the Raymark Memorial Ball Field. ATSDR recommended that soil samples becollected at 0-3 inches and analyzed for lead and PCBs. In September 1992, ATSDR reviewedsurface soil data for the ball field and concluded that the PCB levels did not pose a health threat because of restricted site access and the proposed covering of the area of concern.
In February 1993 the town of Stratford petitioned ATSDR for a Public Health Assessment toevaluate the human exposure risks posed by the presence of asbestos containing material atseveral locations within the town. This petition was accepted.
During this same month, EPA Region I requested that ATSDR evaluate dioxin analyses from soilsamples collected on the Raymark facility property and to assess the potential health hazard. Theresults of on-going investigations at the Raymark facility revealed the presence of dioxin andfurans beneath the surface in some areas. ATSDR concluded that the dioxin and furans at the sitedid not pose an imminent health threat because the surface was covered, there was restrictedaccess to the site, and because it was an industrial setting. However, this finding promptedadditional investigations of off-site areas in Stratford.
In May 1993, ATSDR reviewed screening results from the eight priority areas and issued a PublicHealth Advisory that concluded that an imminent public health hazard existed from past, presentand potential future exposures to Raymark waste containing asbestos, lead, PCBs and otherpossible contaminants. In addition, ATSDR determined that a potential public health hazard mayhave existed due to indoor exposure. Asbestos, lead, PCBs and other possible Raymark wastecontaminants may have been tracked inside residences via clothing, shoes and pets. ATSDR alsoconcluded that the consumption of seafood caught in or near Ferry Creek may pose a healththreat if Raymark waste contaminants were present at levels of health concern. ATSDR madethe following recommendations in the May 1993 Public Health Advisory:
- Dissociate the public from areas where exposure to Raymark waste at levels of health concern can occur.
- Continue surface soil (0-3 inches) sampling/screening efforts for asbestos, lead, and PCBs in residential yards adjacent to areas where waste has been identified on or near the ground surface. If contaminants are found at levels of health concern, implement measures to cease exposure.
- Continue efforts to identify other locations where Raymark waste was used as fill material and conduct appropriate sampling and mitigation if necessary.
- Sample interiors of homes adjacent to areas of exposed waste and/or where yard-soil screening results indicate contaminants at levels of health concern for free asbestos fibers, lead,and PCBs. If contaminants are found at levels of health concern, implement measures to ceaseexposure.
- Conduct sediment sampling of Ferry Creek and its junction with the Housatonic River and seafood sampling to determine if site-related contaminants are present at levels of health concern. The sampling plan should be a cooperative effort among all agencies involved to ensure that the results can be used for public health and regulatory/enforcement purposes.
- Conduct an area well survey to ensure that groundwater is not in use for potable purposes. If private wells are found, ensure that well users are not exposed to site-related contaminants at levels of health concern.
- Establish controls to require soil sampling and analyses in areas of Stratford where Raymark waste material may have been placed prior to conducting any invasive activities (e.g. water lineinstallation, sewage line installation, maintenance of buried line, construction, grading) toavoid health hazards to workers or others by bringing buried waste material to the ground surface. If necessary, all regulations for worker protection and hazardous material handling and disposal should be followed.
- Consider the Raymark Property and other locations where Raymark waste is present at levels of health concern for inclusion on the EPA National Priorities List, and/or other statutory or regulatory authorities as appropriate to characterize the areas of concern and take necessary action (See Appendix B-Public Health Advisory, May 1993).
In September 1993, ATSDR and the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH)recommended a number of follow-up health activities. These recommendations were made afterthe review of environmental contamination at residential properties and were reviewed byATSDR's Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP). These recommendations included:
- A community health investigation should be done utilizing different exposure categories to examine either biomarkers of exposure or adverse health effects for different parts of the community. A biomarker is a test of human tissue, blood, or urine that can give some information about exposure to a chemical.
- Cohorts of individuals who may have had higher exposure to the waste should be considered for more extensive follow-up.
- Cases of elevated blood lead screening results should be compared to environmental sampling conducted to date.
- Health education efforts in areas of higher exposure to the waste should be continued and expanded.
- Further evaluation of cancer incidence data should be considered and should include: cancer among persons less than 25 years of age; cancer trends during the past 30 years; lung cancer cases; and mesothelioma cases.
- Further evaluation of available health outcome data (such as data concerning birth defects) should be considered.
After the issuance of the May 1993 Public Health Advisory, EPA, DEP, ATSDR and the CTDPH and the Stratford Health Department expanded investigations and activities in Stratford. Emphasis was placed on the identification of new sites and the timely implementation of strategies to cease exposure and protect public health.
The environmental agencies took the lead on site investigations, environmental sampling andcontrol measures to stop exposure. The health agencies reviewed sampling data, providedinformation regarding the public health implications of each area, and evaluated health outcomedata.
In addition to these activities, public communication and education efforts were initiated. ATSDR provided for an on-site coordinator located within the Stratford Health Department toassist in maintaining effective lines of communication between the various agencies and the public,organize community wide informational and educational programs including meetings and factsheets, and respond to incoming inquiries from the public.
A Medical Advisory Group was established to assist with specific medical questions posed byindividuals in Stratford. In addition, this group assisted with outreach to health care professionalsabout the environmental contamination issues in Stratford.
An Interagency Communication Plan was developed to assist in the effective coordination andcommunication between the various agencies providing support in Stratford (See AppendixC-The Interagency Communication Plan).
Since the issuance of the Public Health Advisory in May 1993, numerous activities have takenplace to protect the public from exposure to contamination, to evaluate health outcome data andto communicate potential health risks to the public. The following provides an overview of theseactivities. Many of these actions were recommendations from the May 1993 Public HealthAdvisory and the September 1993 ATSDR and CT DPH recommendations.
As surface soil data became available, data were submitted by EPA and DEP to ATSDR and CTDPH. Health determinations were made for each property and submitted to EPA and DEP forappropriate action. A Health Implication Statement (HIS) was issued for each property. The HISoutlined the health determination and any recommendations for reducing exposures. Fourclassifications were used to characterize the sites. These classifications were: Imminent Health Hazard; Health Hazard; Potential Health Hazard; and No Apparent Health Hazard. Thesedeterminations were made based on the level of the contamination, the extent of thecontamination and where the contamination was located on the property.
Wooster Middle School: In April 1993 a fence was constructed around the area of contaminationand the north playing field was closed to the public. In the summer of 1993 a soil, gravel andgeo-textile cover was placed over the North playing field for reinforcement and separation. Thiscover is at least 18 inches thick and blankets approximately nine acres. A permanent remedy wascompleted in the fall of 1995. This involved the excavation and removal of the contamination aswell as landscaping and restoration of the fields.
Short Beach Park: In May 1993, access to the contaminated areas was restricted with the use ofsigns and snow fences. In the fall of 1993, a soil, gravel and geo-textile cover was placed onapproximately three acres of the baseball/soccer field area. This cover is at least 12 inches thick. A fence was constructed around the covered area. A similar cover was placed in the area of thepaddle ball courts. The permanent remedy at this site consists of a final cap of up to 3 feet ofsand, gravel and topsoil placed over the existing cover.
Morgan Francis Property: A fence was installed around the perimeter of the Morgan Francisproperty to restrict access to the site. The gravel parking lot and sidewalk along East Broadwaywas paved with approximately four inches of asphalt.
Blue Goose Restaurant: During early 1994, a fence was placed along Ferry Creek and the back of this property to restrict access.
Shopping Center: A fence was installed along the eastern portion of the property to block accessto Ferry Creek. Geo-textile and wood chips were placed over exposed soil in landscaped areas inthe front of the property. Along the border between the Shopping Center and HousatonicMarina, exposed soil was covered with geo-textile and crushed stone.
Housatonic Marina: Geo-textile and wood chips were placed in the front of the property wherethere was exposed soil. A fence was already present to block access to Ferry Creek.
Dan Perkin's Subaru: Exposed soil in the front of the property along Ferry Boulevard was paved. A fence was placed next to the swale on the southern edge of the property. A fence alreadyexisted to block access to Ferry Creek. Geo-textile and wood chips were placed over exposedsoil near the fences and on the parking lot islands.
Vacant Lot/4th/5th Avenue Area: In June 1993, a localized area of contamination was coveredwith clean fill. Residents living in the area have been advised to stay off this area, signs are postedto warn of environmental contamination. EPA placed additional temporary cover on this area in1994. A permanent remedy was completed in the fall of 1995.
Lot K/Elm Street: Residents at this location were advised on reducing exposure to the waste. Aremoval action occurred at this location which involved the excavation of contaminated soil andremoval back to Raymark.
Housatonic Boat Club: In May 1993, the town restricted the use of Shore Road. By November1993, six inches of gravel had been placed over contamination in the boat storage area. A grassinfield near the club had been paved and new cover and seed had been established closest to theclub house. Crushed stone was used to cover areas along the east side of Shore Road and thelandscaped island near the boat club entrance had been covered. In October 1994 fabric andcompost was used along the west side of Shore Road. At this time the Town reopened ShoreRoad to all traffic.
Raybestos Memorial Field: The field has been closed to restrict access to the general public. Thearea outside of the ballfield has been capped by EPA.
In addition to the eight priority sites, additional sites were identified during sampling of adjacentproperties. As these new sites were identified, interim actions were taken to prevent anyadditional exposures from occurring. These actions focused primarily on covering and fencing. Interim measures were selected based primarily on land use, site access, and extent ofcontamination.
A Health Implication Statement (HIS) was issued for every residential property evaluated. The HIS outlined the health determination made for the specific property which includedrecommendations for further investigation and recommendations for reducing exposure, ifnecessary, until interim and/or permanent measures could be taken. For all residential propertiesclassified as a Health Hazard, or Imminent Health Hazard, a representative from the healthagencies and the environmental agencies, hand delivered the sampling data and the HIS andanswered questions from the residents. Interim measures were taken at all of these properties to stop exposure. These measures included, temporary fencing, covering, and restricted land use (i.e. no gardening, no landscaping, no digging.)
Permanent remediation of residential properties, directed by EPA, has focused on excavation andremoval. As of October 1995, removal activities have occurred at approximately 45 residentialproperties. ATSDR and CT DPH have reviewed post excavation sampling of soil and issued PostExcavation HIS. In all cases, the post excavation sampling has cleared the properties of currenthealth threats. For a few properties where waste had to be left in place, a future land-usenotification system will be developed by the town to ensure protection of public health. Futureproperty owners will be instructed not to breach the area(s) where waste remains. In some caseswaste had to be left in place because excavation would have compromised the structural integrityof the foundation; or because of the presence of the utility line; or because the height of the watertable made digging difficult.
The CT DPH and the Stratford Health Department issued warnings, posted signs and wrote factsheets regarding fish contamination identified in Selby and Brewster Ponds. See Appendix E forthe press release and fact sheets.
The Stratford Health Department offered free blood lead screening clinics from June throughAugust of 1993. Residents concerned about exposure to lead could receive a blood lead test. Any confirmed blood lead level of 10 ug/dL or greater was followed up the Stratford HealthDepartment. When possible, sources of lead in the persons environment were identified andrecommendations were made to reduce exposure.
A study to investigate the health status of Stratford residents living in homes evaluated for thepresence of Raymark waste in surface soil is underway. The University of Connecticut (UCONN)has been awarded funding from ATSDR to evaluate biomarkers of exposure in groups ofindividuals with varying degrees of risk associated with exposure to Raymark contaminants.
All persons living on residential properties where surface soil samples were taken have been askedto participate. All participants are asked to complete a questionnaire to determine general healthstatus; have a brief medical examination; give a blood sample for lead, PCB, lipid and blood countanalysis; and have a chest x-ray if over the age of 18. These data will be evaluated and comparedacross exposure categories defined by levels of contamination found in surface soil at theresidence. The presence of a dose-response relationship will be explored for each of thebiomarkers of exposure and exposure categories.
Public works employees were offered an opportunity to participate in a medical evaluation giventheir potential past exposure to Raymark waste at town-owned properties. These exposures mayhave occurred during maintenance of parks, roads, and school grounds. The medical evaluationincluded blood lead measurement, a medical and occupational history, and a physical examination. Efforts focused on detecting symptoms or conditions that may be related to exposure to lead,asbestos, or PCBs. Participation was voluntary and open to all current employees of the PublicWorks department with the exception of office staff who have no history of working in the fieldduring their tenure with the department. Evaluation of this data has not been completed.
ATSDR has funded CT DPH to use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology orcomputerized mapping to conduct a study of birth weight and selected types of cancer in relationto living near waste sites in Stratford, CT.
GIS will be used to locate the address as listed on the birth certificate for births occurring toStratford residents between 1983 to 1992. These locations can then be used to assignenvironmental scores based on distance from the nearest hazardous waste location in the town. The distance from the waste, and other variables as listed on the birth certificate will be analyzedto determine if living near waste is predictive of birth weight.
Cancer cases diagnosed to Stratford residents will also be studied using GIS. Bladder cancer,mesothelioma, all tumors in individuals less than 25 years of age and testicular cancer wereselected for further study because of citizen concern for that tumor site or because preliminaryanalysis indicated that the incidence in Stratford was higher than what would be expected basedon State of Connecticut rates. The following provides a list of the tumors that will be investigatedfurther based on earlier reviews of the tumor data.
- Approximately 331 bladder cancer cases diagnosed between the years 1968 to 1991;
- Sixteen mesothelioma cases diagnosed between the years 1958 to 1991;
- Approximately 98 tumors (all tumor sites combined) occurring to individuals who are under the age of 25 that were diagnosed between the years 1968 to 1991.
- Approximately 23 testicular cancer cases diagnosed between the years 1968 to 1991.
These follow-up GIS studies will not be able to prove that the waste caused any disease, but theywill help evaluate whether or not there was an association with living near the waste anddecreased birth weight or increased risk of cancer.
Stratford and CT DPH were selected by ATSDR to participate in a demonstration project withOak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to explore the use of GIS in the health assessmentprocess. GIS provides a way to analyze data in relation to its geographic location. Populationdata were gathered from the 1990 Census; information on natural resources and roadways wasobtained from the DEP; environmental sampling data were obtained from EPA; and health datawere gathered by the Stratford Health Department and CT DPH.
All of these data elements were assigned geographic locations for use in analysis and mapgeneration. ORNL collaborated with CT DPH on the information gathered, and for mapgeneration. The GIS was found to be very useful in several areas:
1) mapping the location of the Raymark waste;
2) identification of natural resources and possible exposure pathways;
3) enumeration and identification of sensitive populations; and
4) evaluating health outcome data.
According to the 1990 census, the Town of Stratford has a population of 49,389. There are 3442children less than age six in the town. Approximately 12% of the population are minorities. Approximately 3.5% of the total population live below the poverty level.
GIS was used to further evaluate sensitive populations around known waste sites. Sensitivepopulations are groups of people recognized as being more sensitive to exposure to environmentalcontamination. These populations include children and pregnant women. By mappingenvironmental contamination and census data, the populations closest to the waste areas werebetter identified. Maps in Appendix D represent population densities in Stratford and around theeight known waste areas. Table 1 describes the populations living within a quarter mile of theRaymark facility and eight priority areas. Minority populations are listed to help evaluateenvironmental equity issues.
|SITE||TOTALPOPULATIONWITHIN 1/4 MILE||CHILDREN LESSTHAN AGE SIXWITHIN 1/4 MILE||MINORITYPOPULATIONWITHIN 1/4 MILE|
|WOOSTER JR HIGH SCHOOL||4150 (8.4%)*||281 (6.8%)**||176 (4.2%)**|
|RAYMARKFACILITY||3310 (6.7%)||276 (8.3%)||168 (5.1%)|
|HOUSATONICBOAT CLUB||2951 (6.0%)||225 (7.6%)||315 (10.7%)|
|SPADAPROPERTIES||1673 (3.4%)||115 (6.9%)||111 (6.6%)|
|MORGANFRANCIS||1963 (4.0%)||140 (7.1%)||180 (9.2%)|
|SHORT BEACHPARK||1349 (2.7%)||85 (6.3%)||69 (5.1%)|
|1385 (2.8%)||86 (6.2%)||58 (4.2%)|
|LOT K/ELM ST||3454 (7.0%)||318 (9.2%)||1179 (34.1%)|
|RAYBESTOSMEMORIALFIELD||2940 (6.0%)||252 (8.6%)||152 (5.2%)|
*Percentages reported as percent of total population.
**Percentages reported as percent of total population living within a quarter mile of the site.
Children living near known waste areas are of particular concern. Children are most likely to beexposed to contamination in soil due to their increased hand to mouth activity. In addition,children are, in general, more susceptible to the adverse effects associated with exposure toenvironmental contamination. This is because children are still growing and developing and thebody's mechanisms for processing and excreting toxic substances are not as developed.
People living, playing or working in the known waste areas are at greatest risk of exposure to contamination. A more detailed description of the populations most likely to be exposed ispresented in the Exposure Pathways section.
GIS was also used to help identify land use and natural resources near the known waste sites. Bymapping areas of known contamination, sensitive areas including ponds and rivers could be easilyidentified. In addition, GIS easily characterized land use around the known waste areas.Land use in and around the known waste areas includes residential, commercial, industrial and recreational.
The town of Stratford has 19 day care facilities, 13 public schools and 16 parks and greens.
Stratford is bordered to the south by Long Island Sound and to the East by the Housatonic River. There are 5 ponds in Stratford. A profile of fishing in these different water bodies was evaluatedand can be found in Appendix E. Subsistence fishing does occur in a number of water bodies inStratford. The species primarily fished is the American eel. Swimming, boating and fishing occurin Long Island Sound.
Potable water in Stratford is provided by Bridgeport Hydraulic Company from the Trap FallsReservoir located in Shelton, CT. A private well water survey was conducted by the CT DEP todetermine if anyone was using a private well for potable purposes within areas potentially affectedby Raymark waste. Only 15 private wells were identified. A summary of this can be found inAppendix F.
Because lead was a primary component of the waste, one of the recommendations of the PublicHealth Advisory was to conduct blood lead testing among Stratford residents. As describedpreviously, the Stratford Health Department instituted free, voluntary blood lead testing inconjunction with the CT DPH. The purpose of the blood lead screening program was to: 1)identify cases of lead poisoning so that further investigation could occur to identify probablesources of lead, 2) provide a tool to evaluate the association between known lead risk factors andlead poisoning and 3) target prevention activities. Eleven clinics were offered for blood leadscreening between June and August of 1993.
The CT DPH used the Connecticut Tumor Registry to gather data on the occurrence of lung,testicular and breast cancer; and non Hodgkin's Lymphoma, mesothelioma, leukemia, and softtissue sarcoma. It is required by Connecticut law that all tumors diagnosed to Connecticutresidents be reported to the CT DPH Tumor Registry. This is a population based registry thatparticipates in the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program and tabulatesstatistics on cancer incidence for the National Cancer Institute. The Tumor Registry has been inexistence since 1935. The Tumor Registry collects data from reporting physicians, and also hasan active surveillance program which reviews hospital records to ensure complete reporting oftumors. The Tumor Registry also has cooperative agreements with neighboring states so thattumors diagnosed in these states are reported to the Connecticut Tumor Registry.
Age specific cancer incidence rates were generated for Connecticut and Stratford for the 34 year period 1958-1991.
The number and rate of birth defects in Stratford and the State were evaluated using data from theConnecticut Birth Defects Surveillance Program (CBDSP). Birth defects data for 1983, 1985,and 1986 were reviewed to compare the rates of specific birth defects in Stratford withConnecticut rates. These three years are the only years for which data is available. The CBDSPused information gathered from the birth certificates, death certificates, and hospital dischargedata.
A summary of these studies can be found in the Health Outcome Data Evaluation section.
In response to the issuance of the Public Health Advisory, citizens in Stratford raised a number ofconcerns regarding health issues and environmental activities in town. In an effort to identifycommunity concerns and respond to citizen concerns, a number of different initiatives have beenexplored. The following summarizes these efforts and the corresponding Appendices provide anoverview of the questions raised by the citizens and the responses.
On May 27, 1993, a public meeting was held to present the findings and conclusions of theATSDR Public Health Advisory. More than 400 citizens of Stratford attended this meeting. Many, but not all, citizens had the opportunity to ask questions. Representatives from ATSDR,EPA, DEP, CT DPH, the Medical Advisory Committee, and the town were present. In an effortto respond to all the concerns raised by those in attendance, citizens wrote their questions onindex cards. Responses to these questions were prepared by the appropriate agencies and wereprinted in a local newspaper. A listing of the questions can be found in Appendix G.
As the environmental investigations progressed, a series of neighborhood forums were held. These meetings were organized in neighborhoods directly affected by the investigations and theactivities surrounding those investigations. These meetings were smaller and provided a betterforum in which to address the immediate concerns of those impacted. Representatives from thetown, health and environmental agencies attended. The following is a listing of the neighborhoodforums held to date:
8/19/93-4th/5th Avenue Area
8/26/93-Wooster School Area
9/1/93-Wooster School Area/Medical Issues
9/7/93 Elm Street Area
9/9/93-Morgan Francis Area
9/28/93-Clinton, Patterson Area
10/21/93-4th/5th Avenue Area
8/16/94-Sidney Street Area
9/20/94-Willow Street Area
12/10/94-Main Street Area
1/12/95-Elm Street Area
1/31/95-Stratford Avenue Area
4/8/95-Raymark Industries, Inc.
4/11/95-Raymark Industries, Inc.
6/8/95-Wooster School Area
9/13/95-Raymark Industries, Inc.
Appendix H includes fact sheets that were provided at these forums.
Data Package Delivery
For all properties where contamination was identified at levels of concern, data packages werehand delivered by representatives from the health and environmental agencies. During this time,sampling data were reviewed, the health determination was reported and residents and/or ownersof the property were provided with an opportunity to ask questions. During this time, a numberof citizen's concerns were responded to on an individual basis.
Citizen Advisory Council
In June 1993, the Stratford Citizens Advisory Council (SCAC) was established. The StratfordHealth Department and the CT DPH encouraged the development of this citizens group andassisted in its formation. Eventually SCAC became an independent group. Membership in SCACis voluntary and there is a current membership of approximately 14. The group established anumber of goals including the dissemination of factual information to the public about hazardouswaste in town, ensuring that the agencies involved made Stratford a top priority, seeking outcommunity concerns and input about the sites and the work being done and communicating this tothe various agencies and assisting with community education. SCAC issued newsletters anddisseminated them throughout town. Representatives from the environmental and health agencieswere often invited to present updates and respond to the group's questions.
In June 1993, the town, EPA, DEP, ATSDR and CT DPH developed a newsletter to provide thecommunity with information about environmental contamination and the effects on people'shealth. Newsletters were originally sent to all residents of Stratford and eventually a mailing listwas developed. Six issues have been published (See Appendix I-Stratford EnvironmentalUpdate).