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ATSDR Press Room

ATSDR Finds Exposure to Contaminants at Naval Weapons Station Yorktown, Cheatham Annex, Will Not Cause Adverse Health Effects


Williamsburg County, Williamsburg, Virginia

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

On-base residents and visitors at Naval Weapons Station Yorktown, Cheatham Annex (CAX), in Williamsburg, Va., and residents of the neighboring community are not exposed to contaminants from on-base sites at levels that could cause adverse health effects, according to a report released by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

For the report, known as a public health assessment, ATSDR reviewed available information about the historical and current use of the site, environmental sampling, and remedial actions. The public health assessment finds that, although contaminants have been identified in many on-base locations, on-base residents, visitors and the members of the neighboring community are not exposed to contaminants at levels that could cause adverse health effects.

The agency notes that explosive materials or shells could still be buried at CAX. During World War I, much of the site was used as a shell loading plant and as an ordnance depot. After the war, the facilities and shells were decommissioned.

Because records from the time when the site was used as a shell-loading plant are incomplete, it is not known how some of the materials were taken out of service. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to seek information about past operations and disposal practices.

None of the U.S. Navy or EPA investigations conducted so far have identified ordnance that pose an explosion hazard.

ATSDR did identify some potential past exposures that cannot be completely evaluated because of insufficient data. These include:

  • past exposure to air emissions
  • past exposure to drinking water
  • past exposure to fish in Penniman Lake and Youth Pond

    The public health assessment was previously made available to the public for review and comment. The final version now being released includes the comments made by members of the public and ATSDR's responses to the comments.

    The public health assessment is available at

    Naval Weapons Station Yorktown Library
    Building 705
    Naval Weapons Station
    Yorktown, Va.

    Newport News City Public Library
    Grissom Branch
    366 DeShazor Drive
    Newport News, Va.

    The York County Public Library
    8500 George Washington Highway
    Yorktown, Va.

    Gloucester Public Library
    367 Main St.
    Gloucester, Va.

    Jamestown-Williamsburg Public Library
    515 Scotland St.
    Williamsburg, Va.

    For more information, community members can contact Environmental Health Scientist Sue Neurath or Health Communications Specialist Januett P. Smith-George, toll-free, at 1-888-422-8737. Regional Representative Tom Stukas also may be contacted at 215-814-3142. Callers should refer to the Naval Weapons Station Yorktown, Cheatham Annex, site in Williamsburg, Va.

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

    Established by Congress in 1980 under the Superfund law, ATSDR conducts public health assessments at each of the sites on the EPA National Priorities List, as well as other sites when petitioned. Headquartered in Atlanta, ATSDR is staffed by more than 400 health professionals including epidemiologists, physicians, toxicologists, engineers and public health educators.

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    Related PHA & HC For this Press Release


    Naval Weapons Station Yorktown
    Document Date: 9/1/2004 - PHA  [HTML]

    Navy Weapons Station Yorktown
    Document Date: 11/27/2000 - PHA  [HTML]

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    Related News Releases For Williamsburg County, Williamsburg, Virginia

     

    Public Health Assessment on the Navy Weapons Station Yorktown, Cheatham Annex site, Williamsburg, Va
    Release Date: Monday, July 26, 2004
    The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has issued for public review and comment through August 15 a public health assessment of the Navy Weapons Station Yorktown, Cheatham Annex site, in Williamsburg, Va.

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