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Assessment of Arsenic in Creek Sediment at Four Residences in Spring Valley, Washington, DC

March 2, 2000

To: Harry Harbold
      EPA, Region III
      Federal Facilities Section 3HS13
      1650 Arch St
      Philadelphia, PA 19103

I am writing in response to your request that the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) evaluate the public health significance of arsenic in creek sediments. You asked about four sediment samples taken from four residences on Glenbrook Road, near American University. The levels of arsenic in these samples were 4.0, 9.5, 9.6, and 9.7 ppm. We considered that children have ready access to the creek, and that a child might play in this creek every day. For this exposure scenario, ATSDR has derived a “comparison value” for arsenic of 20 ppm. A comparison value is a concentration in soils and sediments at which no adverse health effects are expected to occur. For arsenic, this level is based upon epidemiological studies of humans, including children, who were inadvertently exposed to arsenic. No adverse health effects were observed in these people at a dose which is higher than would occur from the creek sediments at this site. For this reason, no adverse health effects are expected to result from this exposure.


Dana Abouelnasr, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist

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