How is ATSDR Involved in This Site
In 2000, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) prepared a public health assessment of IBSP published by ATSDR. This project was conducted under a cooperative agreement between IDPH and ATSDR. In the health assessment, IDPH recommended that warning signs and flyers be posted to alert the public about the possible presence of asbestos materials on the beach, periodic beach inspections be conducted, and any asbestos-contaminated materials found be removed.
In June 2005, the Great Lakes Center for Excellence in Environmental Health at the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) School of Public Health asked the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to comment on their draft report, Illinois Beach State Park (IBSP): Determination of Asbestos Contamination in Beach Nourishment Sand, Final Report [PDF - 501 KB]. The UIC researchers evaluated the levels of asbestos in various beach areas at IBSP, comparing the results to other beaches on the southwestern shoreline of Lake Michigan. Results of this study found statistically elevated levels of asbestos structures in the sand in IBSP North unit sand relative to background levels at other beaches; however, the estimated levels of asbestos exposure were below the risk levels used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a threshold for taking protective action. Overall, ATSDR scientists agreed with the conclusions of the UIC study’s risk assessment; however, ATSDR reviewers felt that there were some uncertainties in the study’s exposure assessment. Accordingly, ATSDR recommended activity-based sampling to confirm UIC findings.
IDNR requested ATSDR’s support in planning an activity-based sampling effort at IBSP. This investigation presented an opportunity for ATSDR to work collaboratively with the IDNR and the IDPH to help address the issues raised by ATSDR’s review of the UIC report. ATSDR released this report in October 2007.
A review of ATSDR’s exposure investigation report by the EPA Technical Review Workgroup for Asbestos acknowledged that the range of potential exposures had been properly evaluated. However, the workgroup recommended additional sampling using a scenario that may reflect intensive recreational activities, as a way to better characterize actual exposures. EPA conducted this sampling in early September 2007 and asked ATSDR to help evaluate the sampling results. ATSDR anticipates releasing this evaluation before summer 2008.