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Vieques, Puerto Rico

Meeting Summary the 2009 Vieques Scientific Consultation

Note: The purpose of the 2009 meeting was to review and discuss studies that have been conducted for Vieques and generate recommendations for further work. During the two-day meeting, participants posed questions and made individual recommendations.

II. Process and Reporting

  1. Some participants noted that current and future clean-up actions are influenced by ATSDR’s previous recommendations to EPA and others.  They felt that the Agency should recognize and state the limitations of their work when issuing results and recommendations.  We should carefully consider the implications of the conclusions and state any uncertainties.
  2. Should the agency report the results as ranges as opposed to averages?  Is there “deception of averaging” that leads to obscuring high exposure levels?
  3. How do limitations impact report conclusions?
    • We need to clearly state the limitations of future work and ensure that these are reflected in the conclusions.
  4. Should the report reflect “levels of evidence” as opposed to confidence levels of evidence?

III. Additional Questions and Comments

  1. Review the Vieques Special Commission Report.
  2. Does the Agency have information about similar sites with high levels of contamination that are similar to Vieques?
  3. Does ATSDR have the burden to reconstruct contaminant levels at the site?  Some individuals suggested that the Agency look at real-time exposures and thoroughly evaluate the pathways.
  4. How do we account for the differences in hypertension rates between the two studies presented?
  5. Were repeat hair samples done on any of the study participants?

* Individual recommendations from the 2009 meeting were taken into consideration, and many of the issues are being addressed in the Summary Report.

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