Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options

ATSDR Press Room

ATSDR Releases Final Report on Vieques


Vieques County, Vieques, Puerto Rico

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

View page in Spanish (Español)

Following a thorough review of environmental, biological, and health data from the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) released its final report today.

ATSDR published four reports between 2001 and 2003 that included recommendations from its earlier investigation of whether past activities of the U.S. Navy had exposed Vieques residents to harmful levels of chemicals. In 2009 the agency began updating its original findings in response to requests from Congress and others.

The review considered

  • information about chemicals in air, water, soil, plants, and marine seafood;
  • laboratory test results that measured the amount of certain chemicals in residents’ bodies; and
  • reports about health conditions, new cancer cases, and deaths.

ATSDR received comments from the public on this report from December 8, 2011 to March 8, 2012. All comments were considered and addressed and are included in Appendix D of the report. The comments did not change ATSDR’s overall findings and recommendations.

Key Findings

  • ATSDR’s review of both new and previous data did not find a relationship between military activities and the health of the island’s residents.
  • Some residents of Vieques could be exposed to harmful levels of mercury from eating fish, if they frequently eat more than the recommended amounts. The investigation found that most Vieques reef fish contain low to moderate amounts of mercury. The mercury levels are similar to those in marine fish from other parts of the ocean. Mercury is found commonly in fish and is likely from regional environmental sources and not from past military activities.
  • Because fish offer many nutritional benefits, women and young children should include in their diets fish or shellfish that are low in mercury, such as reef-caught snapper and parrotfish. ATSDR recommends that pregnant women or women planning to become pregnant eat up to 12 ounces of fish weekly and children younger than age 7 eat up to 4 ounces of fish weekly.
  • Data indicate that there could be more people with cancer or that have died from cancer in Vieques when compared to the rest of Puerto Rico. However, limitations on the health outcome data make these findings uncertain and difficult to interpret.

To support improvements in health, ATSDR recommends that scientists and environmental and public health agencies:

  • educate the Vieques community about choosing types of fish known to be low in mercury;
  • conduct a survey about residents’ fish consumption and other nutritional habits;
  • consider a targeted human biomonitoring investigation;
  • explore options for monitoring and tracking the number of people on Vieques with asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other chronic diseases.

To view the report visit: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/sites/vieques/index.html

Copies of the report have also been placed at two locations:

Biblioteca Electrónica of Vieques
Calle Carlos LeBrun 449
Vieques, Puerto Rico 00765

Vieques Conservation and Historical Trust
Calle Flamboyan 138
Vieques, Puerto Rico 00765

For more information about ATSDR’s work in Vieques visit http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/sites/vieques or call 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636).

###

ATSDR, a federal public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, evaluates the potential for adverse human health effects due to exposure to hazardous substances in the environment.

Top of Page


Related Web Site(s)


ATSDR Vieques Bombing Range Site Information
ATSDR Vieques Bombing Range Site Information

Top of Page


Related PHA & HC For this Press Release


Isla De Vieques
-An Evaluation of Environmental, Biological, and Health Data from the Island of Vieques, Puerto Rico
Document Date: 3/19/2013 - PHA  [PDF - 4956 KB]

Isla De Vieques
-Una evaluación de los datos ambientales, biológicos y de salud de la Isla de Vieques
Document Date: 3/19/2013 - PHA  [PDF - 4055 KB]

Isla de Vieques
-Land Crab Evaluation
Document Date: 2/22/2006 - HC  [PDF - 230 KB]

Isla de Vieques
-Evaluación de los Cangrejos Terrestres
Document Date: 2/22/2006 - HC  [PDF - 319 KB]

Isla de Vieques
-Air Pathway Evaluation
Document Date: 8/26/2003 - PHA  [HTML]

Isla de Vieques
-Fish and Shellfish Evaluation
Document Date: 6/27/2003 - PHA  [HTML]

Isla De Vieques
-Soil Pathway Evaluation
Document Date: 2/7/2003 - PHA  [HTML]

Isla De Vieques
-Evaluación de la Vía del Suelo
Document Date: 2/7/2003 - PHA  [HTML]

Isla de Vieques
-Edible Fish
Document Date: 5/14/2002 - EI  [PDF - 1751 KB]

Isla de Vieques
-Public Health Assessment
Document Date: 10/16/2001 - PHA  [HTML]

Isla de Vieques
-Fact Sheet
Document Date: 10/16/2001 - PHA  [HTML]

Isla de Vieques
-Hoja Informativa
Document Date: 10/16/2001 - PHA  [HTML]

Isla de Vieques
-Evaluación de Salud Pública
Document Date: 10/16/2001 - PHA  [HTML]

Top of Page


Related News Releases For Vieques County, Vieques, Puerto Rico

 

La ATSDR publica informe final sobre Vieques
Release Date: Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Basado en una revisión minuciosa de los datos ambientales, biológicos y de salud de la isla de Vieques, Puerto Rico, la Agencia para Sustancias Tóxicas y el Registro de Enfermedades (ATSDR por sus siglas en inglés) publicó hoy su informe final.

Federal Agency to Change its Early Conclusions on Environmental Assessment in Vieques
Release Date: Friday, November 13, 2009
ATLANTA - The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has signaled its intent to modify some of its earlier conclusions about health risks to residents of the Island of Vieques. The decision was shared during a meeting with scientists from Puerto Rico and followed a thorough review of ATSDR public health assessments finalized in 2003 and other environmental studies of the island conducted in the intervening years. ATSDR's re-examination of the data comes as part of a "fresh look" the federal public health agency pledged to island residents and Congress.

Agencia Federal Cambiará sus Primeras Conclusiones en la Evaluación Ambiental de Vieques
Release Date: Friday, November 13, 2009
ATLANTA-La Agencia para Sustancias Tóxicas y el Registro de Enfermedades (ATSDR por sus siglas en inglés) ha señalado su intento de modificar algunas de sus primeras conclusiones sobre los riesgos de salud de los residentes de la Isla Vieques. La decisión fue compartida durante una reunión con científicos de Puerto Rico después de una revisión comprensiva de las evaluaciones de salud pública que la ATSDR finalizó en el 2003 y otros estudios ambientales de la isla elaborados en los años siguientes. La reexaminación de los datos forma parte de la “mirada fresca” que la agencia de salud pública prometió a los residentes de la isla y al Congreso.

ATSDR Releases Final Health Assessment on Air Pathway for the Isla de Vieques Bombing Range Site, Vieques, Puerto Rico.
Release Date: Monday, September 15, 2003
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, today released a final public health assessment (PHA) that investigated the air pathway for possible contaminants from the U.S. Navy's bombing range site on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico. The PHA finds that exposure to air contaminants potentially released from Navy property on Vieques poses no apparent health hazard.

ATSDR Releases Public Comment Version of Focused Public Health Assessment on Fish and Shellfish for Vieques Bombing Range Site, Vieques, Puerto Rico
Release Date: Wednesday, November 27, 2002
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is releasing today for public comment a focused public health assessment (PHA) on fish and shellfish in Vieques, Puerto Rico.

ATSDR Announces The Availability Of The Draft Version Of Its Focused Public Health Assessment, Soil Pathway Evaluation, for Isla de Vieques, Puerto Rico
Release Date: Friday, October 26, 2001
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announced today the availability of the draft version of its Focused Public Health Assessment, Soil Pathway Evaluation, for Isla de Vieques, Puerto Rico.

Ponce School of Medicine and ATSDR Releases The Summary Report for the Vieques Heart Study Expert Panel Review
Release Date: Tuesday, October 23, 2001
The Ponce School of Medicine and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a public health agency of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, today jointly are releasing the Summary Report for the Vieques Heart Study Expert Panel Review.

Top of Page

Contact Us:
  • Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
    4770 Buford Hwy NE
    Atlanta, GA 30341
  • 800-CDC-INFO
    (800-232-4636)
    TTY: (888) 232-6348
    Contact CDC-INFO
  • New Hours of Operation
    8am-8pm ET/Monday-Friday
    Closed Holidays
USA.gov: The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 4770 Buford Hwy NE, Atlanta, GA 30341
Contact CDC: 800-232-4636 / TTY: 888-232-6348

A-Z Index

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z
  27. #