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Oak Ridge Reservation

Community Concerns and Communications Work Group

Community Concerns and Communications Work Group

November 16, 2004 - Meeting Minutes


Attendance

ORRHES Members attending:
George Gartseff (Chair), Kowetha Davidson, Karen Galloway, Jeff Hill, David Johnson, and James Lewis

Public Members attending:
Lynne Roberson (phone)

ATSDR Staff attending:
Loretta Bush (phone), Bill Cibulas, Jack Hanley (phone), Marilyn Palmer, Bob Safay, Bill Taylor, and Maria Teran-MacIver (phone)

DOE Staff attending:
Tim Joseph

Others attending:
Janice Harper (professor at University of Tennessee, Knoxville)

TA Consulting, Inc. (contractor):
Amy Adkins

ERG Contractor:
Liz Bertelsen (phone)

Purpose

George Gartseff called the meeting to order shortly after 5:30 p.m. The purpose of the meeting was for ATSDR's Bob Safay to discuss his video documentary work for the Oak Ridge Y-12 Uranium Public Health Assessment (PHA).

George Gartseff explained that the CCCWG had met on November 9, 2004, to watch, review, and discuss a video produced by Bob Safay for the Ducktown community. The work group had a preliminary discussion about a videotape for the Oak Ridge community to assess what a potential product could be, what the product would do for the community, and the types of information that should be conveyed through the video.

Y-12 Uranium Video

Presenter: Bob Safay, ATSDR

Bob Safay had originally planned to come to the Oak Ridge area to obtain background footage and to conduct some interviews with community members, but he had placed this plan on hold until discussing the video process further with the work group. He had set up an interview with Dr. Stephen Redd from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, who had conducted the asthma study on children in Scarboro, but he canceled this as well for the time being.

Bob Safay wanted the group to understand that the video for the Ducktown community was only provided as an example of his work. The Ducktown community had requested this tape, and in fact, wrote the script. Mr. Safay worked with the community on the storyboard and filming of the video. The community had no health issues and a clean up operation was taking place. He added that the community enjoyed the video and a follow up video was anticipated this spring. In addition, the Regional Administrator for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region IV was involved and pleased with the video.

Bob Safay apologized if this example video did not meet the group's expectations. He had been asked for an example of his work, and provided the Ducktown video in response. Mr. Lewis believed that a video presenting health issues would have been more appropriate. Mr. Safay explained that ATSDR has never prepared a video at any site. This video was conducted for EPA and the Ducktown community. He said that Henry Falk, Director of the National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH)/ATSDR, thought that developing a video was a "good idea" for the Y-12 Uranium PHA. Mr. Safay explained that he worked on these videos on his own time and received no compensation for producing them.

Bob Safay presented the group with a script/storyboard for both a short version and an extended technical section of the Y-12 Uranium Video. He wanted the group to understand that this was basically a "set of notes." He said that "in concept," the script has to follow the PHA. He said that he can change parts that the group does not agree with, but emphasized that the "video has to follow and explain" the PHA because ATSDR would never approve the video if it included unrelated components.

Bob Safay and Jack Hanley had discussed how some community members were very interested in seeing all of the graphs, data, and other technical material, but that some individuals might only want to see the "nuts and bolts." Mr. Safay indicated that ERG has compiled about 36 graphs thus far that will be animated and move along with the video narration. Mr. Safay stated that ATSDR will offer the video in digital video disc (DVD) and video home system (VHS) formats. The DVD will contain three menus: 1) an introduction that contains a brief history of Oak Ridge, 2) an explanation of the PHA, and 3) a presentation of all of the data, graphs, and other detailed technical information. The VHS version, however, will not have the menus that are available on the DVD version.

Bob Safay added that anyone shown in the video would need to fill out a written release form because of legality issues. In addition, ATSDR has to obtain a "location release" for any buildings shot in the video.

Bob Safay said that ATSDR's mapping department is creating a map, which includes some of the major roads and rivers, and identifies the locations of Bradbury, Scarboro, Ten Mile, and other communities surrounding the Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR). The map will enable people to see the distances of these areas and their relationship to Oak Ridge. As the video narration says each community, the name will light up on the map.

Bob Safay explained various segments in the short version of the script/storyboard.

Bob Safay read segment 3, "But in 1942, under a veil of secrecy, the federal government built a city and three manufacturing plants on 60,000 acres of land. Thus, the city of Oak Ridge and the Oak Ridge Reservation were born." He noted that people do not speak in this manner, but that this provides him with something to flow in the script. He added that he would not be done until this committee approves the script in concept (not "word for word"). He was "not going to waste people's time being interviewed" if the group did not like the concept of the video.

Bob Safay said that segments 2, 3, and part of 4 discuss the establishment of the Oak Ridge community in the 1940s. Mr. Safay preferred to go directly into, "This is Oak Ridge, Tennessee" and skip these segments unless someone thought that they were necessary. Jack Hanley added that Tim Joseph covered these general points and provides this background information during his interview, which is presented in segments 5 and 6. Mr. Safay added that Dr. Joseph's interview also continues in segments 7, 8, and 9.

Bob Safay said that interviews with community members would take place in segments 10, 11, 12, and 13, which are indicated by italics. He did not want to interview too many people consecutively; instead, Mr. Safay preferred to move the interviews throughout the video. He said that they would obtain community concerns and he read a few questions from a recommended interview question list that he distributed to the CCCWG:

  1. What have been your concerns about uranium from the Y-12 plant, such as eating vegetables from the garden?
  2. What about concerns regarding other pollutants from Oak Ridge?
  3. What are some of the other community concerns?

Jack Hanley stated that segment 14 discusses agencies that have been involved with the ORR. Bob Safay said that segment 15 explains the site-related studies and sampling efforts conducted by the Tennessee Department of Health (TDOH), the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), the Florida A&M University, the US Department of Energy (DOE), and the EPA. Mr. Safay stated that the agency logos will pop up as they are mentioned in the narrative. He said that they would show footage of hands conducting sampling, which would look like they were sampling in the area, but that no historical landmarks would be in the background.

Bob Safay showed how segments 16 and 17 discussed having shots of children in Scarboro and doctor's visits, and segment 18 suggested showing children playing in Scarboro. Mr. Safay explained, however, that they would have to obtain a parent release from every child in order to use this type of footage, and therefore, the video would need to incorporate other material. Instead, Mr. Safay will use the footage from interviewing Dr. Stephen Redd for segments 16, 17, and 18. Segments 17 and 18 will also include the conclusions from the respiratory study.

Jack Hanley said that segment 22 discussed the establishment of the ORRHES. Bob Safay noted that he has historical footage of the subcommittee's 13-0 vote, but that he has to have everyone who was at the table sign a release form to use the footage in the video. Mr. Hanley added that segment 23 shows that the ORRHES is comprised of a diverse group of individuals who are residents of various communities around the ORR.

After segment 23, Bob Safay said that he was considering interviewing local people about why they became involved with the ORRHES. Up to this point, Mr. Safay said that the video will 1) provide the history of the community, 2) provide the history of the problem, and 3) lay out the basis for the PHA. Jack Hanley added that segment 26 discusses how ATSDR conducted an initial screening and developed an initial list of contaminants of concern (COCs).

Bob Safay explained that he considered the short version of the video script/storyboard to include two parts. He said that the first part ended after segment 33, which stated that, "This assessment was published and released to the community in early 2004." He said that all of the material up through segment 33 provided a history of Oak Ridge. He added that segment 34, which begins the second part of the short version, considers the main three questions that ATSDR evaluated:

  1. Was uranium released into the environment?
  2. If so, were people in nearby communities exposed to the uranium?
  3. Did exposures occur at levels that could cause health problems?

Bob Safay discussed segment 37 and said that this will point out the following:

  • We know that the Y-12 plant processed and stored enriched uranium.
  • We know that the Y-12 plant used enriched uranium to fabricate components for thermonuclear weapons.
  • We know that the Y-12 plant assembled and disassembled weapon components and disposed of waste materials.

Bob Safay explained that segment 41 begins a discussion on winds at the Y-12 plant. He said that he will use Tim Joseph's aerial shots for this segment, however, he hoped to obtain the original digital footage for better quality. Mr. Safay added that this will look at wind patterns, ridge lines, and other related topics. He would use animated arrows to show wind direction. Segments 42 through 44 will discuss the areas and communities that were identified as closest to the plant. Mr. Safay said that Scarboro will be discussed as the closest population to the Y-12 plant and related studies will be described.

Following these segments, segments 49 to 55 will look at the different potential exposure pathways for Scarboro residents, such as breathing dust and playing in the water. In this portion of the video, Bob Safay wants to show interviews of people who garden and may have concerns about vegetables, people who farm and may have concerns about their cattle, people who eat fish out of the river and may have concerns about the fish, and other possible interviewees. Segment 56 will state that ATSDR evaluated these pathways and that "residents of Scarboro have been exposed to uranium released from the Y-12 plant." Segment 57 will provide ATSDR's conclusion and an answer to the question, "Did exposures occur at levels that could cause health problems." Mr. Safay said that the answer is "no."

Bob Safay said that segment 58 goes back into the past exposures, with past uranium releases that occurred between 1944 and 1995. He had a shot of Jackson Square for the current exposures (1995 and 2002), but was in the process of trying to obtain a historical shot of the square for the past exposures.

Bob Safay directed the group to segment 59, which discusses the Task 6 Report. This segment will include B-roll shots of scientists working with computers, documents, and books. He thought that this would probably be filmed at ATSDR's headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. He said that the bold font indicated information that would be presented in charts or graphs. Segment 65 would include more interviews with scientists.

Bob Safay explained that segment 70 would show that several different agencies have been involved and that many studies have been conducted. This segment would include a collage of newspaper clippings, reports, and other visuals. Segment 74, which will be the final segment in the short version, would provide the phone numbers for the Oak Ridge Field Office and ATSDR's headquarters' toll-free number.

Bob Safay explained that the extended technical section of the Y-12 Uranium Video was more technical than the short version. He said that this will include the history and background, but will mostly consist of narration with graphs, data, and maps.

Bob Safay had mentioned at the last ORRHES meeting that he would show his progress and obtain ideas while he can still make changes. Mr. Safay said that he needed them to accept the storyboard and that he could show them additional parts of the video as more sections are completed. During his last trip, he obtained background footage, signs of plant facilities, community shots, shots of ORRHES members, and filler shots. He wants to provide them with a product that they can use as soon as possible. Mr. Safay explained that videos are a method to convey clear and consistent messages to communities. Mr. Safay asked if there was a consensus for him to move forward with this video. George Gartseff said he thought that Bob should definitely continue.

Discussion

Jeff Hill asked why it was decided that a video would be a beneficial tool. Bob Safay believed that community members had asked Henry Falk if ATSDR could try other communication strategies (e.g., video, television). Jack Hanley added that people (including ORRHES members) have asked ATSDR to use different communication tools to reach the public over the years. Mr. Hanley said that other options were discussed with the previous work group, and at the last June 2004 meeting that Tom Sinks attended. He said that they discussed the issue of using different media tools and a community member suggested producing a video, which some ORRHES members believed was a "good idea." Mr. Hanley discovered that Mr. Safay produced videos, and they began working on the project in the summer of 2004.

Jeff Hill asked who the target audience was for the video. Bob Safay replied that this community was the target audience. He added that James Lewis had expressed wanting something unique for the community. Mr. Safay added that it will be clear that this video is about Oak Ridge, the ORR, and the community.

Jeff Hill asked if the video would be available to anyone. Bob Safay indicated that this would be available to the public and that the benefit of a video as opposed to a PHA was that one color-copied PHA costs about $160. Whereas, 1,000 copies of a video could be obtained for $0.77 a copy. Jack Hanley added that a video is also a more effective communication tool to reach a broader audience.

David Johnson asked if they had to obtain a "blanket release" for buildings in the city of Oak Ridge. Bob Safay said that the location release did not include schools and other buildings that require individual permission.

James Lewis said that prior to and when he was the chairman of the former Communications Outreach Work Group (COWG), he had spent a lot of time in Scarboro trying to address the community members' issues. He said that Tim Joseph had looked at their efforts and developed a video on a "shoestring budget." Mr. Lewis learned a lot from this exercise. He thought that if someone with the proper expertise could have brought the video to the "next level," then they could have developed a better product that would explain their efforts in the community. In addition, Mr. Lewis had looked at a copy of a video that Jerry Pereira was in. Mr. Lewis thought this had verbalized that they were "doing a lot," but that the agency did not appear to be doing a lot here.

James Lewis believed that if a video was developed correctly, then it would be a beneficial tool. However, Mr. Lewis felt that the PHA did not identify what he considers to be health issues and concerns among the community members. He thought that if the video did not capture these in its efforts, then ATSDR would have difficulty reaching the public. He will suggest people for ATSDR to interview who have lived in the area for as long as 15 to 20 years and can lay out the issues.

James Lewis brought up a community member who had told Henry Falk that the "Dose Reconstruction has been worked on for 14 years" and while they are "still dragging their feet a whole generation will have passed before the agencies come together and say if it's safe to live here." Mr. Lewis thought that this was an "excellent" comment. Mr. Lewis said that people want to see a historical perspective, and he wanted a video that laid out the key issues so that community members can relate to the issues, grasp the issues, and possibly read the PHA. Jack Hanley added that DOE had used short and long versions of a video developed in 1995/1996 to describe East Fork Poplar Creek (EFPC). Mr. Hanley believed that the EFPC video had been an effective communication tool.

Jeff Hill stated that other people are impacted besides just those living in Oak Ridge. Bob Safay explained that the video will include communities around the ORR, including Ten Mile, Bradbury, Scarboro, and Oak Ridge. Jack Hanley added that Knoxville and Maryville would also be included. Mr. Hanley noted that Oak Ridge is the primarily impacted area as this video particularly focuses on uranium releases from the Y-12 plant.

James Lewis heard Bob Safay indicate that he would interview people with health concerns. He said that often they do not see interviews with people who are concerned about death rates and have lost people close to them. Mr. Safay asked if this was addressed in the PHA or in the upcoming Cancer Incidence Assessment. Jack Hanley said that this information is presented in both documents. Mr. Hanley said that the PHA contains issues regarding people becoming sick and community concerns specific to Y-12 uranium releases. He said that about 35 community concerns are addressed in the PHA, and in addition, the PHA details why a health outcome data evaluation is infeasible. Mr. Lewis thought that ATSDR needed to interview community members "who have lost loved ones" and have "raised issues." Mr. Safay said that he could interview these individuals, but he emphasized that he cannot say why the person died.

George Gartseff asked how ATSDR would select people to appear on screen. Bob Safay said that Marilyn Palmer and Jack Hanley had recommended some individuals, and additional people were recommended to him during his last visit to Oak Ridge. Mr. Hanley said that they would need to obtain a broad variety and could edit and abstract certain information. He added that they may videotape 8 or 10 people, but that they may only use a small portion of the interviews depending on the video structure.

Jack Hanley asked if it would be appropriate to have individual community members discuss their concerns and issues during the early sections of the video, such as after mentioning the legacy that exists in segment 9. Bob Safay thought that this would be appropriate because it is where they would discuss vegetables from gardens. Kowetha Davidson suggested that as people present their issues and concerns, the video should segue to the part of the PHA that deals with these particular concerns and issues. Mr. Hanley asked Dr. Davidson if she thought that they should place these issues and concerns throughout the video where the related PHA discussion occurs. Dr. Davidson thought that this would be better than having people back-to-back and that it might make the video more interesting to watch.

James Lewis asked if there would or would not be historical landmarks depicted while people were sampling in the video. Bob Safay said that there will be, but that he is using this footage for now. Tim Joseph explained that he was in the process of trying to obtain a lot of sampling footage that was videotaped by DOE. He said that the tape had been moved to an unknown location, but that if the tape was found they would use actual clips from the Florida A&M University sampling. Dr. Joseph added that he could have people "mock sample" if they do not locate the original footage.

Jack Hanley asked if it would be appropriate to have shots of the Scarboro Community Center in addition to Dr. Stephen Redd's discussion about the health study in Scarboro for segment 16. Bob Safay thought that they could film this as previously mentioned by Mr. Hanley—by talking with the woman who runs the day care center.

James Lewis was concerned that they have videos that represent the current conditions in the community, but that people were also interested in the historical perspective. He questioned the time span related to emission releases during the Y-12 plant's operations. He asked how ATSDR planned to show this time line of emissions and when incidents occurred. Jack Hanley noted that they had a diagram from the PHA that was modified for the video and will be presented in the extended technical section of the video. Mr. Hanley said that this would provide details of the release estimates.

James Lewis thought that they needed to present a broad overview of the operating history of the Y-12 plant for the general public, which indicated the dates when releases occurred. Bob Safay said that they present the past uranium releases from 1944 to 1995. Jack Hanley directed the group to segment 30 in the short version. He said that this discussed the PHAs that ATSDR would conduct and the contaminants that would be evaluated by plant (e.g., Y-12, K-25). Mr. Hanley said that they could add in the primary years of releases into this segment. Mr. Lewis said that people remember large accidents that have occurred and that they need to relate to the community by going through the key items that people recall (e.g., accidents, emissions). Mr. Hanley stated that if ATSDR developed other videos (depending on funding and other factors), then they could point out the main releases, when the releases occurred, and any accidents that took place in regard to each individual PHA. David Johnson said that the time periods evaluated by ATSDR in the PHA are provided in segment 58 of the short version.

Tim Joseph asked if Bob Safay had historical photographs to use for segment 37. Jack Hanley said that they have historical photographs of the Y-12 plant. Kowetha Davidson said that it would be better to use photos of the plant than photos of the Y-12 smoke stack because people would think that uranium is being released out of the stack. Mr. Safay said that he and Mr. Hanley went through DOE's photograph archives and were awaiting clearance. Dr. Joseph said that he was working on getting the photographs cleared.

James Lewis asked if ATSDR was going to interview area physicians to see if they read the PHA, and if so, to obtain their comments about the document. He wanted to know if ATSDR had received any input from area physicians because he thought "it would be nice" if they could include this in the video. Tim Joseph pointed out that ATSDR does not want to put any physicians in embarrassing situations. Mr. Lewis said that if ATSDR wanted to establish credibility in the community, then it would help if area physicians had reviewed the PHA or read Dr. Stephen Redd's findings. Bob Safay agreed with Dr. Joseph. He said that most physicians do not have the time to read this document, however, they might have enough time to watch a 15-minute video on the PHA.

James Lewis stated that they had a committee when Henry Falk was there, and one of the committee members was a physician who had reviewed Dr. Redd's study. Mr. Lewis thought that having this physician on the committee provided further credit to ATSDR's efforts and thought that people needed to see some "buy-in" from the medical community. Bob Safay had discussed meeting with some of the physicians in the hospital that was used for the study, but learned that the exams occurred in Knoxville—not in a local hospital or with local physicians. Jack Hanley indicated that they had thought about interviewing the Regional Director of the TDOH, which was an option. Mr. Hanley was unsure how many physicians had read and/or received the CDC/NCEH study. If the physicians were willing, Mr. Safay wanted to interview those who worked with the children.

Tim Joseph said that he had someone who could take Bob Safay in a plane over Y-12 to obtain aerial photographs. Jack Hanley replied that they would like to do this.

Jeff Hill asked about segment 65 as it indicates that Scarboro residents are receiving a radiation dose that is well below natural background levels. Mr. Hill said that as a layman, he would think that this meant that Scarboro residents were receiving less radiation than the general population. Bob Safay noted that this was a good point and that the wording should be changed.

Jeff Hill asked about segment 67, which stated that, "ATSDR has determined that exposure to uranium from the Y-12 plant is not high enough to warrant any additional health testing." Mr. Hill said that ATSDR needed to convey that this statement referred to uranium releases from the Y-12 plant "by itself" and indicate that this is not discussing synergistic effects.

Kowetha Davidson asked what would happen when the Oak Ridge Field Office closes, but the telephone number was provided in all of the videos. Bob Safay said that they could change them, and added that he thought it would be better for community members if they called the field office rather than ATSDR's headquarters.

George Gartseff liked the concept of the video. He was concerned, however, about maintaining a representative amount of non-expert interviews in the video after segment 32 in the short version. Bob Safay said that they will have interviews from residents and others after this segment. Jack Hanley indicated that all of the italicized portions showed when an interview would take place (e.g., segment 45). Mr. Gartseff thought that this would be a beneficial place to incorporate Kowetha Davidson's idea of bringing in community concerns. Mr. Safay said that he wanted to integrate this part into the third section because people will need a break from listening to him as the narrator. Mr. Safay added that he had wanted to have different scientists speaking on the video, but that it was suggested that he use his own voice for consistency.

David Johnson asked Bob Safay how long it took him to develop a 10-minute video. Mr. Safay said that in a "good situation" after the filming and script were completed, it would take him about 5 hours for each minute of video. Mr. Johnson would provide music next week that Mr. Safay could hopefully use for the video.

At the beginning of the history section, Kowetha Davidson suggested asking people from Scarboro how long they have lived in the community (for example, "I have lived here for 30 years."). She thought that the number of years that people have lived in the community should be in the historical part of the video, but that their concerns should be presented later in the video. Using this method, the video would show the number of years that people with these concerns have lived in the community. Bob Safay said that this was a good point because people who have lived in the area for several years will have different concerns than people who just moved to the area or lived in the area for a short period of time.

George Gartseff asked how ATSDR would select interviewees. Bob Safay said that he wanted to interview the ORRHES member (LC Manley) who often gardens. He also wanted to speak with anyone who has lived here all his or her life and has concerns about fishing. He said that any interviewees had to agree to be interviewed and sign release forms. Mr. Gartseff asked if Mr. Safay wanted nominees. Mr. Safay suggested that the work group members send names of people to Jack Hanley or Marilyn Palmer because they will know them and can contact them to see of their interest. He suggested that they use the script as their guide. If there is someone raising cows or chickens and has concerns, then he wants to meet and talk with them.

James Lewis thought that they should not assume that physicians would not volunteer their time and not eliminate the possibility that they could interview physicians. Bob Safay was interested in talking with the local physicians who conducted the physicals. Mr. Safay asked where the physicals were conducted. Jack Hanley thought that these were conducted at Children's Hospital, but Mr. Lewis thought that the physicals took place at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. Mr. Safay said that Dr. Stephen Redd would know. Mr. Safay would like to shoot background footage of the hospital, but would need to obtain permission.

George Gartseff asked if there was a "desired time frame" for obtaining the interviews. Bob Safay explained that he had planned on beginning this week, but then thought that he should cancel them until he had the work group's approval to continue with the outline and concept.

James Lewis said that different factions exist in every community. He said that for ATSDR to fit the community's needs, the agency needed to target a cross-section of the community to not reduce credibility. Bob Safay said that Mr. Lewis had spoken with him about focusing on different communities because people in each community (e.g., Ten Mile vs. Scarboro) may have completely different issues. Mr. Lewis was referring to the particular issues with the Y-12 Uranium PHA, and indicating that ATSDR will need balance in its efforts to address the different sides that exist within a community.

Kowetha Davidson thought that they had the "perfect opportunity to recommend people so that they can get the balance" for ATSDR. Bob Safay requested that the work group members talk with any potential interviewees before providing their names. He noted that it would also be helpful if someone could introduce him to the interviewee.

Karen Galloway thought that this was "wonderful" and she was "glad we're doing it." She recognized that they had to deal with a variety of issues and handle different views in order to develop a "quality product." She believed that this video would be a good tool for communicating their work to the community because she still thought that the public was unaware of who they are and their efforts.

James Lewis said that when Bob Safay goes into these communities, he may find himself in a "strange situation." Mr. Lewis has lived in the area for about 27 years and has heard numerous issues over this time period, many of which he said were not published or captured in the PHA. He stated that ATSDR may find that it did not respond to certain concerns and may find that the agency loses credibility if these concerns are not addressed. Mr. Lewis added that he thought this video was a "great idea" because it packaged the message in a manner that the community could understand. However, he said that the community may find weaknesses in ATSDR's concept because it is not "focusing on key issues." Mr. Lewis believed that ATSDR was not addressing the issues at a level that he considered appropriate.

Additional Comments

Loretta Bush notified the CCCWG that she would be out of town from November 17–28, 2004. She would not have access to e-mail or voice mail during this time period, but she would return to the office on November 29, 2004.

George Gartseff adjourned the meeting at 7:25 pm.


 
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