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ATSDR Press Room

ATSDR seeks public comments on Barite Hill/Nevada Goldfield health assessment


McCormick County, South Carolina

Monday, May 17, 2010

ATLANTA—People living near the Barite Hill/Nevada Goldfield site are not likely to be harmed by chemicals from Main Pit area of the site, a report from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has concluded. However, the agency cautions that more information is needed to determine whether trespassing on the site or eating fish from nearby waterways could cause harm.

ATSDR examined whether chemicals associated with past gold-mining activities at the site could harm the health of community members. They found that

  • Swimming in the Main Pit is unlikely to cause serious health problems. Even so, swimming in the pit is illegal and not recommended. Before the pit was treated in 2008, swimming there might have caused skin and eye irritation.
  • Residents near the site receive their drinking water from the public water supply which is routinely monitored to ensure that it meets federal drinking water standards. Private wells are not likely to have been impacted from site activities as there are no private wells located within two miles of the site.
  • People are unlikely to be exposed to harmful levels of metals from swimming in Hawe Creek or tributaries near the site.
  • Currently, not enough information exists to determine whether eating fish from Hawe Creek or nearby tributaries could cause harm. ATSDR recommends that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) collect information regarding fishing activities of the community.
  • Not enough information is available to know whether chemicals that may be present in the soil on the site could harm people who trespass on the site on foot or all-terrain vehicle. Many physical hazards exist on the site and trespassing is illegal.

ATSDR will continue to work with EPA to determine whether chemicals from this site may pose health concerns.

ATSDR is accepting public comments on the report from May 17, 2010 until July 12, 2010.

The public health assessment is available at http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/HAC/PHA/HCPHA.asp?State=SC

A copy of the document is also available for review at McCormick County Library, 201 Railroad Avenue, McCormick, SC 29835, phone 864-852-2821. You may also request a copy of the document by contacting the Lead Health Assessor, Annmarie DePasquale, at 770-488-0766.

Comments on the public health assessment must be made in writing. Comments received during the public comment period will appear in the final public health assessment. Comments (without the names of individuals who submitted them) and ATSDR's responses to these comments will appear in an appendix to the final public health assessment. Names of those who submit comments, however, will be subject to release in answer to requests made under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Send comments to: ATSDRRecordsCenter@cdc.gov, or mail to:

Attention: Rolanda Morrison
re: Barite Hill/Nevada Goldfield Site
ATSDR Records Center
4770 Buford Highway, NE (MS F-09)
Atlanta, GA 30341

For more information about the public health assessment, community members can contact Annmarie DePasquale, Environmental Health Scientist, at 770-488-0766 or LaFreta Dalton, Health Communication Specialist, at 770-488-0711.

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