PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT
PELHAM, HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, NEW HAMPSHIRE
The Gendron Junkyard site is located at the intersection of Hobbs Road and Simpson Mill Road inPelham, New Hampshire. It is a salvage yard where cars and scrap metal were shredded to reclaimmetal parts for scrap. Waste left over after the shredding and recycling processes (called autoshredding residue, or ASR) was stored on the site in a pile that eventually grew to be nearly 30 feethigh, weighed approximately 12,000 tons, and spilled out upon two neighboring properties.
In 1999, residents living near the Gendron Junkyard site asked the New Hampshire Department ofHealth and Human Services (DHHS) for assistance. In response, DHHS prepared a Public HealthAssessment for the site under its cooperative agreement with the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
What kind of chemical contamination has been found on the site?
The major source of contamination at the site was waste from shredded automobiles. This autoshredder waste, which contained high concentrations of PCBs and lead, was stored in a 12,000-tonpile. Contaminants from the waste seeped into the soil beneath the pile to depths as great as six feet.
Fluids and oils from demolished automobiles were apparently discharged to the ground, whichcontaminated the soil and shallow groundwater with organic chemicals. The movement ofgroundwater beneath the site has carried this contamination into Island Pond Brook. There is noevidence that the deep bedrock aquifer, which is used by nearby residences for drinking water, iscontaminated.
How might I be exposed to chemical contamination on the site?
There are three pathways by which people were likely exposed to contamination at the site:
- Working on the site and handling the waste material;
- Occasionally contacting the waste material onsite or on the neighboring properties; and
- Wading in sections of Island Pond Brook near the site.
Private wells near the Gendron Junkyard do not contain site contaminants at levels of healthconcern. There is no evidence that nearby residents were exposed to contaminants in dust or debrisblown off the site.
What health effects might result from exposure to chemical contamination at the site?
- Workers who handled the auto shredder waste were exposed to high concentrations of lead. Based on uptake models, it is likely that these workers had elevated blood lead levels as a result of the exposure.
- People who occasionally trespassed on the site or waded in the brook are not at risk for any adverse health effects.
Could exposures to chemical contamination at the site cause an increased rate of cancer in thecommunity?
No. The rates of cancer in the community are not elevated. The rates of 20 of the 23 cancer types inPelham were within their expected ranges for the period between 1993 and 1997. Colon cancer inmales, cervical cancer in females, and cancer of the oral cavity and pharynx in males were found tobe statistically elevated for Pelham as whole, but not within the community surrounding the site.
Why did DHHS test residents' blood for lead?
From August 1999 to October 1999, in response to reports of elevated lead concentrations in privatewells near the site, DHHS advised residents against drinking the water and conducted a blood-leadexposure investigation. The exposure investigation in 1999 consisted of testing the blood ofparticipating residents from homes where lead had been detected at concentrations greater than thedrinking water standard. All of the participants without an occupational history of lead exposure hadblood lead levels below the level of concern set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC). However, by October 2000, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services(DES) had determined that the wells were not contaminated with lead from the site. The originalreports of elevated lead appeared to be related to lead-alloy fixtures near the sampling locations, andwere not representative of the water residents were receiving at the tap after the pipes had beenflushed.
Is the site being cleaned up?
Yes. Between September 1998 and March 1999, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)removed the 12,000 ton pile of contaminated ASR waste from the site. During 1999 and 2000, EPAremoved another 5,600 tons of contaminated soils that had been beneath the waste pile. DES believesthat more cleanup is still necessary because soil and groundwater contamination onsite exceed statestandards. However, the plan for this cleanup has not yet been developed, pending litigation betweenthe site owner, DES, and EPA regarding recovery of cleanup costs to date and completion of thecleanup.
Where can I get more information?
The text and appendices of the Public Health Assessment contain more information about the healthissues discussed in this summary. To ask questions about this Public Health Assessment or to obtainextra copies of this document, please contact Phil Trowbridge in the DHHS Bureau of Health RiskAssessment at (603) 271-4664 or (800) 852-3345 ext. 4664 (toll-free in N.H.). You can also sendan email to the Bureau at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit its website athttp://www.dhhs.state.nh.us/bhra where the report is available online. Additional copies of thisPublic Health Assessment will be available at the Reference Desk at the Pelham Public Library at5 Main Street, Pelham, NH 03076 (603-635-7581).
If you would like more information on the site cleanup efforts, please contact Steve Croce of the Department of Environmental Services at (603) 271-3503.
In 1999, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) was asked byresidents living near the Gendron Junkyard site about the health effects that have been associatedwith the types of contaminants found at the site. Since there were multiple exposure pathways andcommunity concerns about cancer rates in the vicinity, DHHS decided that the best way to respondto the residents' request was to prepare a Public Health Assessment for the site.
A Public Health Assessment is a triage tool used to determine if any actions are needed to protectthe community surrounding a hazardous waste site, and to determine if follow-up health activities(e.g., health studies, medical surveillance) should be done. To achieve this goal, this assessmentcontains three types of evaluations: (1) the identification of pathways of exposure to sitecontaminants and an evaluation of their public health implications; (2) a summary of relevant andavailable health outcome data (i.e., cancer registry data); and (3) an evaluation of specific communityhealth concerns about the site.
DHHS completed this Public Health Assessment under its cooperative agreement with the U.S.Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). As mandated by Congress, ATSDRperforms Public Health Assessments at hazardous waste sites on the National Priorities List, or when petitioned by a citizen to evaluate a chemical release to the environment (55 FR 5136, 2/13/90).
The Gendron Junkyard site is located at the intersection of Hobbs Road and Simpson Mill Road inPelham, New Hampshire (see Intro Map in Appendix B). The 3.5 acre site is bound on the south byIsland Pond Brook and its associated wetlands. Hobbs Road passes by the site to the north. With theexception of the site, this area of Pelham is a thickly-settled residential neighborhood.
The Gendron Junkyard site is a salvage yard where cars and scrap metal were compressed and baled(from 1955 to 1974) and shredded (from 1974 to 1997) to reclaim metal parts for scrap. Waste leftover after the shredding and recycling processes (called auto shredding residue, or ASR) was storedon the site in a pile that eventually grew to be nearly 30 feet high, weighed approximately 12,000tons, and spilled out upon two neighboring properties [8,4]. Some portions of the waste pile wereplaced directly on the abutting parcels. There was a fence between the waste pile and some of theneighboring properties but it was broken in many places and waste material spilled through the gaps.
Glacial deposits of silts and sands cover the portion of Pelham where the site is located. The sandydeposits are relatively shallow beneath the site (5-30 feet deep). Groundwater in the sandy soilsbeneath the site flows south towards Island Pond Brook, where it flows into the brook. The watertable is close to the ground surface beneath the site .
Starting in October 1996, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) beganto investigate the Gendron Junkyard facility for violations of environmental laws. Subsequent testsdiscovered that the ASR waste contained elevated concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls(PCBs) and lead.
Between September 1998 and March 1999, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)removed the entire contaminated ASR pile from the site . In the summer and fall of 1999, EPAreturned to the site and removed contaminated soils that were beneath the ASR pile on theneighboring properties. Following this removal action, screening tests for lead and PCBs were usedto verify that the soils outside the Gendron property met residential soil standards [41,10].
All remaining soil contamination is apparently within the fence that surrounds the site. In 2000, EPAremoved the top layer of contaminated soils from some sections of the site and covered these areaswith clean fill. The owner continues to use the site as a salvage yard and scrap metal processingfacility despite ongoing litigation with the State.
Throughout the environmental investigations on the site, DHHS has provided advice to DES onquestions of human health risk, which is a primary role for DHHS under its mandate from RSA 125-H. DHHS staff have completed a lead exposure investigation, performed a site visit, and conductedoutreach activities with the community to learn about their health concerns. Highlights of DHHS involvement to date are provided below.
- May 11, 1999 - DHHS staff visited the site and met with concerned residents in the neighborhood.
- August 1999 to October 1999 - In response to reports of elevated lead concentrations in privatewells near the site, DHHS advised residents against drinking the water and conducted a blood-lead exposure investigation. The exposure investigation in 1999 consisted of testing the bloodof participating residents from homes where lead had been detected at concentrations greater thanthe drinking water standard. All of the participants without an occupational history of leadexposure had blood lead levels below the level of concern set by the Centers for Disease Controland Prevention (CDC) [6,7]. However, by October 2000, DES had determined that the wellswere not contaminated with lead from the site. The original reports of elevated lead appeared to be related to lead-alloy fixtures near the sampling locations, and were not representative of the water residents were receiving at the tap after the pipes had been flushed.
- June 2000 - DHHS staff went door-to-door to distribute an educational needs assessment surveyto the residents within one-quarter mile of the Gendron Junkyard site. The objective of the surveywas to gather community health concerns and questions regarding the site so that these could be addressed in the public health assessment.
- October 25, 2000 - DHHS held a public availability session at the Pelham Town Offices.Residents of the community were able to meet with DHHS staff, in a confidential setting, todiscuss their health concerns and questions regarding the Gendron Junkyard. DHHS advertisedthe availability session through local media and a mass mailing.
According to the U.S. Census, the population of Pelham in 1990 was 9,408 persons, with anapproximately even distribution of males (4,719) and females (4,689). Children less than 5 years oldand adults over 65 years old accounted for 14% of the population. The age distribution for thepopulation is summarized in the following table.
|Less than 5||715||7.6 %|
|5 to 17||2,032||21.6 %|
|18 to 64||6,054||64.3 %|
|65 to 84||575||6.1 %|
|85 and greater||32||0.3 %|
The total number of people living within one mile of the Gendron Junkyard Site is 1,386, which is14.7% of the town population. Overall, 89% of the town is rural and 11% is urban, as defined by theU.S. Census Bureau. For 90.8% of the Pelham population, the primary source of drinking water isa private well. The properties around the site are residential. The median household income inPelham in 1989 was $50,187.
More than half of the residents of the town have lived in their current homes for less than 10 years.The average number of years of residence is summarized below.
|Years Living in Home||Percent of Population|
|3 to 5||26 %|
|6 to 10||17 %|
|11 to 20||23 %|
|21 to 30||14 %|
|31 or greater||9 %|
However, DHHS' survey of the neighboring community revealed that 57% of the residents whoreturned the survey had lived in their current home between 21 and 40 years.
In preparing this document, DHHS relied on the information provided in the referenced documents.Only data collected using appropriate sampling and laboratory methods were considered in thisanalysis. Data with demonstrated QA/QC problems were excluded from summary tables or exposurecalculations unless they provided unique and relevant information. DHHS has confidence in the datafor the site because most tests were performed by the EPA, DES, or DHHS laboratories. Moreover,most of the data for exposure point concentrations for completed exposure pathways were takendirectly from laboratory data sheets. Secondary source documents were only relied upon forbackground information on contamination at the site.
The health outcome data used in this evaluation were also checked for quality control purposes, andmeasures were taken to ensure that these data were appropriate.
An integral element of every public health assessment is a review of environmental contaminationon the site. In the following section, the results from environmental testing at the Gendron JunkyardSite are summarized for each different media (e.g., waste, groundwater, soils, etc.).
Concentrations of chemicals in each of the media have been compared to media-specific health-based comparison values to decide whether any of the compounds need further evaluation. Health-based comparison values are derived using information on the toxicity of the chemical and assumingfrequent opportunities for exposure to the contaminated media (e.g., a residential setting). For non-cancer toxicity, DHHS typically uses ATSDR's Minimal Risk Levels or EPA's Reference Doses,which are estimates of daily human exposure to a contaminant that is unlikely to cause adverse non-cancer health effects over a lifetime. Cancer risk comparison values are based on EPA's chemical-specific cancer slope factors and an estimated excess lifetime cancer risk of one in one million.Therefore, if the concentration of a chemical is less than its comparison value, it is unlikely thatexposure would result in adverse health effects, and further evaluation of exposures to that chemicalis not warranted. If the concentration of a chemical exceeds a comparison value, adverse healtheffects from exposure are not necessarily expected, but potential exposures to that chemical at thesite should be evaluated. As a result, the following summary of environmental data highlights thechemicals that have been found on the site at concentrations above health-based comparison values.In the Discussion section later in this document, the public health implications of exposures to thesecontaminants are evaluated in detail. Please see Appendix G for more information on healthcomparison values.
(A) Site Conceptual Model - An Overview of the Gendron Junkyard
A site conceptual model is a general description of the processes and the conditions that have beenobserved at a particular site. It is meant to provide the reader with an overview so that the detailedinformation provided in the following sections can be taken in context.
The major source of contamination at the site was waste from shredded automobiles. This autoshredder residue (ASR), which contained high concentrations of PCBs and lead, was left in a 12,000-ton pile that spilled out onto neighboring properties. Contaminants from the waste seeped into thesoil beneath the pile to depths as great as six feet.
Fluids and oils from demolished automobiles were apparently discharged to the ground, whichcontaminated the soil and shallow groundwater with organic chemicals. The movement ofgroundwater beneath the site has carried this contamination into the Island Pond Brook. There is noevidence that the deep bedrock aquifer, which is used by nearby residences for drinking water, iscontaminated.
(B) Auto Shredder Residue (ASR)
After the automobiles were shredded, ferrous metals (iron, steel) were separated from non-ferrousresidue (e.g., other metals, plastics), and sold as scrap metal. The non-ferrous auto-shredder residueor "fluff" was stored on the site in an uncovered pile that reached as high as 30 feet and weighed12,000 tons. Some of the non-ferrous residue was further differentiated into non-ferrous metals andother wastes.
The ASR waste has been tested several times for contaminants. DES tested two samples of ASR inOctober 1996 . In September and October 1997, contractors for Gendron Junkyard collected 8samples from the waste pile and 3 samples of the waste as it was being generated [8,1]. Finally, inDecember 1997, EPA collected 5 more samples of the fluff . As a result of these investigations,the waste has been tested for PCBs, metals, semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), and volatileorganic compounds (VOCs).
The compounds that have been found in the waste at concentrations greater than comparison valuesfor soil are summarized in Table 1. The contaminants of greatest concern are PCBs and lead, whichwere present in the waste at average concentrations of 62.4 and 3,247 milligrams per kilogram(mg/kg), respectively. Several other metals (cadmium, chromium, zinc, copper, antimony, andnickel) were also present in the waste above comparison values. This finding is consistent with astudy by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency on auto-shredding facilities that found lead,cadmium, chromium, zinc, and copper to be the major metals in ASR . While several phthalateswere detected in the waste, only di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) was above a comparison value.Finally, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a byproduct of combustion, were also detectedin the waste in a few samples. However, the highest total PAH concentration (9.21 mg/kg) was stillwithin the expected background range for urban soils in New England (less than 25 mg/kg) .
(1) Onsite Soils
Soils from beneath the ASR pile and on other portions of the site have been tested for contaminants.
The soil beneath the pile was tested for PCBs, lead, and cadmium using EPA's mobile fieldlaboratory during March and May 1999 (Table 2a) [3,5]. The results of the tests showed that the soilbeneath the pile was less contaminated than the waste material, but still exceeded regulatorystandards. The average concentrations of PCBs and lead in this soil were 12.1 and 759 mg/kg,respectively. Cadmium concentrations (11.9 mg/kg on average) also exceeded the comparison valuefor soil (10 mg/kg).
In January and February 2000, contractors for DES collected 14 samples of subsurface soils fromtest pits and borings across the site (Table 2b) . These samples were tested for PCBs, metals,VOCs, SVOCs, and total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH). PCBs, lead, and cadmium were the onlycompounds higher than comparison values or background concentrations for metals. Petroleumcontamination, particularly "BTEX" (i.e., benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes) andalkylbenzene compounds, was also detected but at concentrations below comparison values. Metalsand PCB concentrations were generally higher in the test pits than in the borings, indicating thatthere is more contamination in the surface soil than in the deeper layers.
In October 2000, three surface soil samples were taken from near the onsite scrap metal pile (Table2c) . The compounds greater than comparison values are listed in Table 2c. PCBs, cadmium, andlead were detected at similar or lower concentrations than have been found in other soil samples onthe site. In two of the samples, concentrations of arsenic were higher than background levels. Finally,one sample contained high concentrations of PAHs (154 mg/kg). However, the PAH contaminationdid not appear to be widespread, because the other two soil samples had very low PAHconcentrations. No data are available for the soils beneath the scrap metal pile onsite.
Based on the three sets of sampling data, onsite soils would be expected to contain approximately12 mg/kg of PCBs, 12 mg/kg of cadmium, and 750 mg/kg of lead on average. The concentrationsof these chemicals will be higher in some areas of the site, particularly those that were beneath theASR pile. Small areas with elevated arsenic or PAHs are also possible because these chemicals hadhigh concentrations in a few samples. However, widespread contamination with arsenic and PAHsis not evident.
In 2000, EPA removed a one-foot layer of contaminated soil in the footprint of the ASR pile onsiteand replaced it with clean fill. Therefore, some of the soil tested in the previous investigations is nolonger on the site. However, for the purposes of this report, we will assume that onsite soilcontamination has not changed. Many portions of the site have not been tested and could be ascontaminated as the soils that were excavated. Subsurface soil contamination likely extends as deepas six feet and the majority of these soils are still onsite.
(2) Off-Site Soils
In December 1997, EPA tested 12 soil samples from properties abutting the site (Table 3) . Thesesamples were collected outside the site boundary where the public had unrestricted access. PCBs,lead, cadmium, and antimony were detected in these samples at concentrations above comparisonvalues. PCBs and lead were found in all the samples collected near the edge of the waste pile.Cadmium and antimony were less common, and only found in one sample from an area that actuallycontained ASR waste. Soil samples from properties across the river from the site were notcontaminated with PCBs and contained only low concentrations of lead (less than the comparisonvalue). Therefore, the extent of offsite soil contamination was limited to the area near the ASR pileon the junkyard side of the river.
In 1999, EPA removed all the offsite soils containing PCBs or lead above residential standards inthe area where the ASR pile had spilled onto the neighboring properties. This required excavatingdown as far as six feet to layers of uncontaminated peat. According to a draft map prepared by EPA,samples of soil at the base of the excavation confirmed that all the contaminated soil had beenremoved [41,10]. For the remaining concentrations of PCBs and lead, the upper confidence limit ofthe mean was less than 0.5 and less than 120 mg/kg, respectively. Therefore, the soils at the baseof the excavation meet the residential soil standards of 1 mg/kg for PCBs and 400 mg/kg for lead.
The excavated area was not backfilled because the removal action restored the wetlands abutting thesite to their original grade. (The junkyard owner had filled in the wetlands to make room for theexpanding ASR pile.) However, EPA installed a combination clay-geotextile barrier over the bankof the excavation on the boundary between the Gendron property and the abutters. EPA alsodeposited a 6-12 inch layer of clean loam over some of the excavated areas in the wetlands .
Therefore, all the remaining soil contamination appears to be on the Gendron property and issurrounded by a fence. However, EPA's post-excavation documentation is still in draft format. Finalconclusions about the presence of off-site soil contamination should only be made after thisdocumentation has been reviewed and confirmed.
(D) Island Pond Brook Water and Sediments
Sediments in Island Pond Brook have been tested for contaminants during three investigations. First,in October 1997, DES collected two samples of sediment near the site, and one sample from an areaupstream . Second, EPA took four samples of the sediment near the site in December 1997. Third,in April 1999, EPA traversed the brook from the beaver dam downstream of the site to Gage HillRoad, collecting 11 sediment samples along the route . Through these investigations, thesediments of the brook have been tested for PCBs, metals, VOCs, SVOCs, pesticides, and cyanide.
PCBs were the only chemicals found in the sediments at concentrations higher than healthcomparison values for soil or background levels for metals (Table 4). In most of the samples (14 of19 samples), PCBs were not detected. The areas where PCBs were detected were near the formerASR pile. Sediments upstream and downstream of the site were not contaminated with PCBs.Among the 5 samples where PCBs were detected, the maximum concentration was 2.1 mg/kg.
The water in the brook has only been tested once, which is inadequate to characterize theconcentrations of pollutants in surface water. In 1989, DES collected one water sample from thebrook and analyzed it for VOCs. None were detected .
In 1999, EPA discovered a buried pipe leading from the former baler building onsite towards thebrook. The pipe contained an oily sludge that was identified as primarily motor oil with lowerconcentrations of No. 2 fuel oil , as well as trace concentrations of PCBs. How this pipe was usedin the past is unclear. If this pipe had been used to discharge oils directly to the brook, as has beenalleged, contamination in the brook could have been greater in the past.
Beneath the site, there are two groundwater aquifers: the shallow overburden aquifer, consisting ofunconsolidated sands and silts, and the bedrock aquifer below it. Monitoring wells have beeninstalled in both aquifers to determine the nature and extent of groundwater pollution beneath thesite.
In April 1999, EPA installed five monitoring wells on the site. These wells were all set in theshallow overburden aquifer, and monitored groundwater in the range of 2-18 feet below groundsurface. Water samples from each well were tested for VOCs, SVOCs, pesticides, PCBs, dissolvedmetals, and cyanide. 
In January 2000, contractors for DES installed seven more monitoring wells on the site. One well(SH-1L) was installed to a depth of 31 feet below ground surface to collect water from the bottomof the shallow overburden aquifer. The other six wells were shallow. Water samples collected fromthese wells were tested for VOCs and dissolved metals. 
In March 2000, contactors for DES drilled two deep monitoring wells into the bedrock aquiferbeneath the site. These wells encountered bedrock after approximately 15 feet and then were drilledinto the bedrock to reach total depths of 141 and 201 feet below ground surface. Water samples fromthe bedrock aquifer were tested for VOCs and dissolved metals. 
The water samples collected from these wells show that contaminants from the site are in the shallowoverburden aquifer, but not the bedrock aquifer. In the bedrock aquifer, no compounds have beendetected above health comparison values.
The only VOC in the overburden aquifer that was consistently higher than comparison values wasbenzene, with an average concentration of 16.8 micrograms per liter (ug/L) (Table 5a). Benzene isa constituent of gasoline and other petroleum products. Vinyl chloride and chloroethane, both ofwhich are produced by the breakdown of other VOCs, were also detected in a few locations onsitewith maximum concentrations of 5 and 22 ug/L, respectively. Alkylbenzenes, a group of chemicalsassociated with petroleum products, were detected frequently but mostly at concentrations below thedrinking water standard. Finally, two semi-volatile organic chemicals, naphthalene and carbazolewere detected in few locations on the site. For alkylbenzenes, naphthalene, and carbazole, the onlyplace where the concentrations of these chemicals exceeded comparison values was in samples thathad a petroleum odor and brown discoloration (GW-02, GW-03).
Arsenic and manganese were the metals most often found in the groundwater above healthcomparison values (Table 5b). The concentration of arsenic was less than 25 ug/L in most samples,but was elevated in two samples from the southeast corner of the site (70.4 ug/L in GW-04 and 120ug/L in SH-4). The concentrations of manganese were more stable with average concentrations of2270 ug/L. Five other metals (antimony, cadmium, chromium, thallium, and vanadium) hadconcentrations greater than health comparison values in one or two of the groundwater samples. Thehighest concentration of lead in any of the groundwater samples from beneath the site was 5.4 ug/L,which is less than the drinking water standard (15 ug/L).
(F) Private Wells
DES has tested residential water supply wells near the site in order to characterize the nature andextent of contamination (Table 6). Since 1997, a total of 25private wells in the area have been testedfor VOCs and metals, or sometimes just for lead.
In 1999, DES reported elevated concentrations of lead in 14 private wells in the vicinity of the site.DHHS issued advisories against using water from these wells for drinking or cooking, andimplemented a blood lead testing program to determine the residents' exposure to lead [6,7].Simultaneously, DES began to provide bottled water to residences that did not have treatmentsystems capable of removing lead. However, by October 2000, DES had determined that the wellswere not contaminated with lead from the site. The original reports of elevated lead appeared to berelated to lead-alloy fixtures near the sampling locations, and were not representative of the waterresidents were receiving at the tap after the pipes had been flushed. The high concentrations of leadwere not repeated in subsequent tests at the tap. Moreover, tests of the groundwater beneath theGendron Junkyard site did not find lead contamination. Therefore, the residents of these 14 homeswere not actually exposed to lead from the site in their drinking water despite the concerns createdby the original tests. In October 2000, DES ceased to supply the residents of the affected homes withbottled water.
Arsenic was the only other metal besides lead that exceeded a health comparison value in tests ofthe private wells. In some private wells in the area, arsenic was detected at low concentrations in tapwater samples (<1 to 13 ug/L). The new (adopted in January 2001) drinking water standard forarsenic is 10 ug/L.
The arsenic detected in these private wells does not appear to be related to the site. First, there is noevidence of widespread contamination of the onsite soils or waste with arsenic. The biodegradationof waste and organic matter in wetland sediments may have caused an elevated arsenic concentrationin two shallow wells in the southeast corner of the site. However, the average concentration ofarsenic beneath the rest of the site was 14 ug/L. Third, arsenic was not detected in the bedrockmonitoring wells onsite. Finally, low concentrations of arsenic were detected in private wells bothclose to and far from the site.
Arsenic is present in groundwater throughout New Hampshire, especially in bedrock aquifers. TheU.S. Geological Survey found that, in the area stretching between Central Massachusetts and CentralMaine (including Pelham), approximately one-in-ten bedrock wells contained arsenic atconcentrations greater than 10 ug/L, the new drinking water standard . The proportion of wellsnot meeting the proposed standard may be even higher in Pelham because Peters et al. (1999)identified Pelham as one of eight towns in New Hampshire with a higher potential for arsenicoccurrence .
In one home (32 Balcom Road), tetrachloroethene that was detected at 15 and 5.7 ug/L. This levelis higher than the drinking water standard for tetrachloroethene (5 ug/L). DHHS has recommendedthat the residents of the house served by this well should not use their well water for drinking orcooking until the source of this chemical is determined and remediated. This house is far away fromthe Gendron property so this contamination is not likely to be related to the site. DES checked theproperties near this house for obvious sources of VOCs and found none. The surrounding area isresidential; therefore, the source of contamination at this house is uncertain. No other VOCs weredetected in private wells at concentrations greater than health comparison values.
Some of the residents near the site used shallow dug wells for drinking water in the past. These wellswere also tested by DES and did not contain any contaminants above drinking water standards.
(G) Physical Hazards
Currently, there is a large (15-20 feet high) scrap metal pile on the site. The metal in this pile hassharp edges and is a physical hazard. In the past, the auto-shredder and heavy machinery operatingonsite would have been a physical hazard.
Environmental contamination cannot affect a person's health unless he or she comes into contactwith it. Likewise, human contact with environmental contamination is only possible when acompleted exposure pathway exists. A completed exposure pathway exists when all of the followingfive elements are present: (1) a source of contamination; (2) transport through an environmentalmedium; (3) a point of exposure; (4) a route of human exposure; and (5) an exposed population. Forthe Gendron Junkyard, the four completed exposure pathways are listed in the following table.
|Source||Environmental Transport and Media||Exposure Point||Exposure Route||Exposed Population||Time Frame||Status|
|ASR Waste||Waste and contaminated surface soil||Onsite, and near the waste pile||Ingestion |
|Workers onsite||Past |
|ASR Waste||Waste and contaminated surface soil||Onsite, and near the waste pile||Ingestion |
|Trespassers Neighbors||Past |
|ASR Waste||Waste |
|Island Pond Brook||Ingestion |
|People using Island Pond Brook for recreation||Past |
|ASR Waste||Naturally-occurring arsenic in private wells||Tap water||Ingestion||Residents with private wells in the Pelham area||Past |
In the following sections, each of these completed pathways of exposure will be outlined in moredetail. The public health implications of the exposures will be evaluated in the Discussion section.
(1) Onsite Worker Pathway
People who handled waste material onsite in the past would have been exposed to chemicals in thewaste. Due to the properties of the chemicals, most of the exposure would have occurred fromingesting small amounts of soil and waste on the worker's hands. Some of the chemicals could alsobe absorbed through the skin. Cars were shredded on the site between 1974 and 1997. The pile ofauto shredder waste was removed in 1999 but onsite soils are still contaminated. People whoworked on the site but did not handle the waste (e.g., office workers) would not have been exposedto contaminants.
(2) Trespasser-Neighbor Pathway
Residents reported that teenagers used to trespass on the site and play in the ASR waste pile andother places on the site. Some of the neighbors could also have contacted contaminated wastematerial that was piled on portions of their land. The trespassers and neighbors would have beenexposed to chemicals in the waste material in the same manner as the workers. However, they wouldhave been exposed much less frequently and for shorter durations. The entire ASR waste pile as wellas all the soil contamination on the neighboring properties have been removed. The site is currentlysurrounded by a fence. However, it is still possible for people to break into the site where they mightbe exposed to contaminants in the soil.
(3) Island Pond Brook Sediments Pathway
The Island Pond Brook is in the backyard of the residences near the site. It is also where wastes fromthe site were allegedly dumped and where contaminated groundwater discharges. Therefore, childrenor adults periodically wading in the brook or wetlands could have been exposed to contaminants thataccumulated in the sediments. The route of exposure would have been ingestion of small amountsof sediment that stuck to a person's hands and, to a lesser extent, absorption of chemicals throughbare skin. The sediment in the stream has been tested several times since 1997. Before 1997, whenwastes were allegedly dumped directly in the river, the contamination may have been greater.
(4) Private Well Pathway: Naturally-Occurring Arsenic
Although not site-related, some residents with private wells are being exposed to naturally-occurringarsenic in the groundwater, which tends to be elevated in the Pelham area.
Potential exposure pathways are routes along which exposure could be possible except that one ormore of the five critical elements is missing. In some cases, this means that the exposure is notpossible now but may be possible if conditions change in the future. In other cases, an exposure maybe possible but cannot be confirmed because data are not available. The potential exposure pathwaysthat exist at the Gendron Junkyard are summarized in the following table.
|Source||Environmental Transport and Media||Exposure Point||Exposure Route||Exposed Population||Time Frame||Status|
|ASR Waste||Waste |
|People living onsite||Future||Potential|
|ASR Waste||Waste |
|Tap water||Ingestion |
|Residents of homes within the groundwater plume||Future||Potential|
|ASR Waste||Waste |
|Island Pond Brook||Ingestion||People eating fish caught from Island Pond Brook||Past |
|ASR Waste||Waste |
|Island Pond Brook||Ingestion |
|People using Island Pond Brook for recreation||Past |
(1) Future Residential Development Pathway
The site is zoned residential (with a variance for non-residential junkyard activities) and issurrounded by residentially zoned properties. If the site were redeveloped as a residential property,the future residents would be exposed to chemicals still present in the soils. Unless an alternativewater supply were established, the drinking water source for the new residence would be contaminated with VOCs.
(2) Private Well Pathway: Site-Related Contamination
All the private wells near the site have been tested and none contain site contaminants at levels ofhealth concern. Most of the wells in the area are bedrock wells and, as discussed in the precedingsection, the bedrock aquifer has not been affected by the contamination at the junkyard. However,in the future, groundwater contamination may spread and impact some of these wells. DHHSrecommends that wells around the site be tested regularly until the groundwater plume has beencontrolled and a groundwater management permit is issued for the site.
(3) Fish Consumption Pathway
When PCBs are discharged to a river or lake, they tend to accumulate in the fatty tissues of fish.People who eat these fish would be exposed to PCBs. The fish from Island Pond Brook have notbeen tested for PCBs so it is uncertain whether this pathway is of concern. Therefore, DHHSrecommends testing fish from Island Pond Brook for PCBs.
(4) Surface Water Pathway
People wading in Island Pond Brook would contact not just sediments but also surface water. Thewater in the brook was not contaminated with VOCs when it was tested in 1989. However, this wasthe only time the water was tested. More data are needed to assess this potential pathway. Therefore,DHHS recommends regular testing of surface water quality until contaminated groundwater ceasesto be discharged to the brook.
|Source||Environmental Transport and Media||Exposure Point||Exposure Route||Exposed Population||Time Frame||Status|
|ASR Waste||Waste |
|Ambient air near the site||Inhalation||Residents near the site||Past |
(1) Air Deposition Pathway
Many residents were concerned that dust blowing off the site could have contaminated theneighboring properties. There is no evidence that this has occurred. If contaminated dust particleswere picked up by the wind, they would eventually settle to the ground and accumulate in the soil.Therefore, the extent of soil contamination would be a good measure of the area affected by airbornedust. The only areas where contaminated soil has been found were beneath or close to the edge ofthe former ASR waste pile. These areas have already been excavated by EPA. Therefore, exposures by this pathway are highly unlikely.
Based on the review of environmental data and conditions at the site, there are four completedpathways and several potential pathways by which people could be or could have been exposed tochemicals from the site. In the following sections, the public health implications of these exposureswill be discussed. In Section A, the actual or potential exposures to these chemicals will be evaluatedusing estimates of exposure and the toxicological and epidemiological data available for thesechemicals. As part of the ATSDR Child Health Initiative, the susceptibility of young children to thechemical exposures will be a large component of the toxicological and epidemiological review. InSection B, data on cancer diagnoses for the Town of Pelham will be presented. Finally, healthquestions from the community are answered in Section C. The combination of these differentevaluations provides the weight of evidence to support DHHS' determinations regarding publichealth hazards associated with exposures.
In this subsection, we discuss the known adverse health effects that have been associated with thetypes of exposures that are or were possible at this site. To understand how adverse health effectscould be caused by a specific chemical, it is helpful to review factors related to how the bodyprocesses such a chemical. Those factors include the exposure concentration (how much), theduration of exposure (how long), the route of exposure (breathing, eating, drinking, and/or skincontact), and the multiplicity of exposure (combinations of contaminants). Once exposure occurs,a person's individual characteristics such as age, gender, diet, general health, lifestyle, and genetics,influence how the body absorbs, distributes, metabolizes, and excretes the chemical. Together thesefactors determine the potential health effects that can be caused by the chemical.
To evaluate potential health effects, ATSDR has developed Minimal Risk Levels (MRLs) forcontaminants commonly found at hazardous waste sites. The MRL is an estimate of daily humanexposure to a contaminant that is likely to be without a measurable risk of adverse, non-cancerouseffects. MRLs are developed for oral and inhalation exposure routes, and for duration of exposure(acute: 14 days or fewer; intermediate: 15-364 days; chronic: 365 days or more). Acute MRLs aretypically higher than chronic MRLs because of the shorter duration of exposure.
ATSDR publishes MRLs in its series of chemical-specific documents called Toxicological Profiles- documents that describe health effects, environmental transport, human exposure, and regulatorystatus of a chemical. The preparers of this Public Health Assessment have reviewed the profiles forthe contaminants of concern at the site.
We may also use EPA's chemical specific Reference Doses (RfDs) and Reference Concentrations(RfCs) to determine if non-cancer health effects are possible. RfDs, which are analogous toATSDR's MRLs, are estimates of daily human exposure to a contaminant that is unlikely to resultin adverse non-cancer health effects over a lifetime. For chemicals that are considered to be known,probable, or possible human carcinogens, DHHS uses EPA's chemical-specific cancer potencyvalues to determine a theoretical estimate of excess lifetime cancer risk associated with exposure tothe contaminant.
In the following subsections, the four completed pathways of exposure are evaluated in detail. Thefifth subsection is a discussion of the potential effects that would occur if the site were redevelopedinto a residential property in the future.
(1) Onsite Worker Pathway
PCBs and lead are the two main contaminants to which workers would have been exposed whilehandling the ASR waste. Under typical work conditions, exposures to the other contaminants in thewaste would have been less than levels thought to be without risk of adverse affects (e.g., MinimalRisk Levels from ATSDR or Reference Doses from EPA). People who worked at the junkyard butdid not regularly handle the waste or work near the waste pile would not have been exposed tocontaminants.
PCBs are a group of synthetic organic chemicals consisting of 209 individual chlorinated biphenylcompounds (known as congeners) with varying harmful effects . There are no natural sourcesof PCBs in the environment, and production in the United States ceased in 1977 . PCBs are goodinsulators and do not burn easily. Consequently, commercial mixtures of PCBs were used ascoolants and lubricants in electrical capacitors and transformers. The toxic properties of variousPCB-containing commercial products depend on the specific congeners present. At the GendronJunkyard site, the PCBs that have been detected match the pattern found in the commercial mixturesknown as Aroclor 1242, 1248, 1254, and 1260. The PCB congeners in these mixtures are highlychlorinated and, therefore, accumulate in the environment and are more toxic than less chlorinatedPCB congeners.
PCBs accumulate in the fatty tissues of the body where they can remain for years. All Americanshave some PCBs in their bodies because small amounts of PCBs are present in food of animal origin(e.g., meat and dairy products). The latest estimate of typical dietary exposure was 0.0005-0.0012microgram per kilogram per day (ug/kg-d) for the period between 1982-1984 (the most recent dataavailable) .
The health effects that have been most clearly demonstrated following exposure to PCBs are (1)decreased immunological function; (2) changes in skin, hair, or nails; and (3) impaired fetaldevelopment. PCBs may also play a role in endocrine modulation and the development of cancer,but these relationships are less clear .
ATSDR has established a Minimal Risk Level for PCBs of 0.02 ug/kg-d (Aroclor 1254). This levelis based on a study in which monkeys were exposed to 5 ug/kg-d of PCBs and then exhibiteddecreased function of their immune system. Another study with monkeys observed changes infingernails and toenails following exposure at 5 ug/kg-d. Finally, when pregnant monkeys wereexposed to 5 ug/kg-d preceding and throughout gestation, their offspring had enlarged tarsal glands,nail lesions, and gum recession. For all three conditions, 5 ug/kg-d was the lowest exposure thatcaused the effect. The Minimal Risk Level was set 250 times below 5 ug/kg-d because ofuncertainty in the data and potential differences in sensitivity between humans and monkeys.However, humans are probably less, not more, sensitive to these effects. Workers in the electricindustry have been exposed to 70-140 ug/kg-d for years without evidence of impaired health .
The average concentration of PCBs in the waste material was 62.4 mg/kg. Therefore, the averageestimated exposure to PCBs from handling the waste would have been approximately 0.1 ug/kg-d.This is five times higher than the Minimum Risk Level (0.02 ug/kg-d) but still 50 times less than theexposure that produced effects in monkeys. Moreover, the estimated exposure is approximately1000 times less than exposures for workers in the electric industry. Consequently, immunological,dermal, or developmental effects are not likely for workers on the site or their offspring.
In addition to the three most likely effects, PCBs have been identified as possible endocrinemodulators. Endocrine modulation is when a foreign chemical either mimics or blocks the body'snormal hormones . Evidence from animal studies shows that PCBs can damage the thyroid glandand reduce the levels of thyroid hormones at exposures as low as 90 ug/kg-d . The physiologicalimplications of this effect might be interference in growth and development due to a hypothyroidcondition . There is no indication that exposures to PCBs at the Gendron Junkyard wouldproduce this effect. The average exposure for workers on the site was 900 times less than theexposure shown to cause the effect.
Studies of humans have found no conclusive evidence that PCBs can cause cancer. However,animals studies have shown that PCBs can produce liver tumors . The more chlorinated PCBs,such as those found at the Gendron Junkyard site, tend to be more carcinogenic in animals. Basedon the estimated exposure and EPA's highest estimates of PCB cancer potency, the risks for workersof developing this type of cancer would be very low.
Therefore, in light of the available evidence on PCB toxicity, DHHS does not believe that workerswho handled waste on the site will experience any adverse health effects from PCB exposures.
At least half of all the lead consumed worldwide goes into producing lead-acid batteries for cars andother applications . Lead is also found in solder, paint, old gas tanks, and road dirt. By shreddingautomobiles, the operators of the junkyard produced ASR waste containing lead at an averageconcentration of 3,247 mg/kg. In contrast, the background concentration of lead in New Hampshiresoils is 54 mg/kg .
Shortly after exposure, lead travels in the blood to the soft tissues, such as the liver, kidneys, lungs,brain, spleen, muscles, and heart. After several weeks, most of the lead moves into bones and teeth. In adults, 94% of the total amount of lead in the body is contained in the bones and teeth. About73% of the lead in children's bodies is stored in their bones .
Lead has been shown to affect virtually every organ and/or system in both humans and animals. Themost sensitive target organ of lead appears to be the nervous system (particularly in children) .The critical effect is a delay in the development of the brain and cognitive functions. Children lessthan 6 years old or developing fetuses are most susceptible to this effect because their brains havenot fully developed. Lead can cross the placental barrier between mother and developing fetus. Consequently, if a pregnant woman is exposed to lead, the developing fetus will be exposed also.
A person's blood lead level (BLL) is currently the most accurate predictor of adverse health effectsfrom lead exposure. Permanent brain damage can occur at BLLs as low as 100-120 micrograms oflead per deciliter of blood (ug/dL) . At lower BLLs (40-60 ug/dL) adults may have overtneurological signs and symptoms and impairment on neurobehavioral tests . Decreasedneurobehavioral performance among aging subjects has been observed at BLL as low as 5 ug/dL[35,36]. A recent study also showed that adult workers that were exposed to lead in the pastexperienced symptoms of aging more rapidly than controls .
The CDC has established that 10 ug/dL is a blood lead level of concern for childhood lead poisoningprevention . Adults are less sensitive to the effects of lead than children , yet 10 ug/dL canstill be used as a level of concern for adults without occupational exposures to lead. The NationalInstitute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and Occupational Safety and HealthAdministration (OSHA) recommend that adults who are exposed to lead at work have blood leadlevels less than 25 ug/dL, and require an average BLL less than 50 ug/dL [32, 29 CFR 1910.1025].Since lead is a common and pervasive contaminant, a small amount of lead is present in the bloodof all people. For example, the geometric mean BLL for the general population was 2.3 ug/dL in1991-1994 .
To estimate lead exposures for workers handling waste at the Gendron Junkyard, DHHS used theAdult Lead Model from EPA's Technical Review Workgroup for Lead . This model estimatesthe BLL for an adult based on the type and frequency of contact with lead-contaminated material.
The Adult Lead Model predicts that workers handling the waste had a 93% probability of havingBLLs greater than 10 ug/dL, a 45% probability of BLLs greater than 25 ug/dL, and a 10% probabilityof BLLs greater than 50 ug/dL. These results indicate that the workers exposures were likely to bebelow levels that would cause overt signs of neurological damage, but above levels at which moresubtle decreases in cognitive abilities have been observed. There was a high probability that theworkers had BLLs greater than the recommended level from NIOSH. However, actualmeasurements of workers BLLs were not available to confirm these predictions.
Therefore, workers who handled the waste material on the site in the past were likely to haveelevated blood lead levels and may have experienced subtle neurological effects as a result. If anywomen of childbearing age worked with the waste, these exposures may have affected thedevelopment of children conceived after they began working at the junkyard.
(2) Trespasser-Neighbor Pathway
Children who trespassed on the site or neighbors who contacted waste on their properties would havebeen exposed to multiple contaminants in the waste material. However, exposures to lead wouldhave been the most significant. Exposures to the other compounds from infrequent contact with thewaste (i.e., 40 days per year) would have been below levels health concern (e.g., Minimal RiskLevels or Reference Doses).
The Adult Lead Model from EPA was used to estimate the BLL for trespassers or neighbors whoinfrequently contacted the lead-contaminated waste (3,247 mg/kg on average). The model predictedthat these people would have only a 5% probability of a BLL greater than the CDC level of concern(10 ug/dL). Therefore, it is highly unlikely that neighborhood children or adults had elevated bloodlead levels as a result of trespassing on the site or contacting waste on their properties.
There are no current exposures to the waste material. The entire ASR waste pile as well as all thesoil contamination on the neighboring properties have been removed. The site is currentlysurrounded by a fence. However, it is still possible for people to break into the site where they mightbe exposed to contaminants in the soil. The average lead concentration that was detected in the onsitesurface soils was 759 mg/kg, approximately 25% of its concentration in the waste material.Moreover, the most-heavily contaminated soils were removed by EPA in 2000. Therefore, if childrenoccasionally break through the fence and get on the site now, they would not be at risk for elevatedBLL.
In 1999, all of the participants in DHHS' lead exposure investigation without an occupational historyof lead exposure had blood lead levels below the level of concern set by the Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention (CDC). People living near the site, including some adolescent children whomight trespass on the site, were part of this investigation. Therefore, data from the blood leadinvestigation are consistent with predictions that occasionally trespassing on the site would not resultin elevated blood lead levels.
Nonetheless, DHHS recommends that the site remain fenced to prevent trespassing until the sitecleanup is complete.
(3) Island Pond Brook Sediments Pathway
PCBs are the only chemical that was detected in sediments from Island Pond Brook at concentrationsabove health comparison values. The maximum concentration detected was 2.1 mg/kg, but thecontamination appears to be limited to a small area adjacent to the site. Infrequent contact with thesecontaminated sediments (i.e., 40 days per year) would not result in exposures greater than theMinimal Risk Level for PCBs. Therefore, infrequent contact with the sediments in the stream shouldnot affect a person's health.
In the past, concentrations of contaminants in the stream may have been higher than the currentmeasurements. However, data on past conditions are unknown and DHHS cannot draw conclusionsabout whether past exposures might have resulted in health effects.
(4) Private Well Pathway: Naturally-Occurring Arsenic
Currently, private wells around the Gendron Junkyard do not contain site contaminants at levels ofhealth concern. Most of the wells in the area are bedrock wells, and the bedrock aquifer has not beenaffected by the contamination at the junkyard. However, naturally-occurring arsenic has beendetected in some of the private wells near the site, which is a concern for the residents. Therefore,exposures to arsenic in drinking water were evaluated even though this chemical is not related to thesite.
Arsenic occurs naturally in the earth's crust at an average concentration of 2-5 mg/kg . In theenvironment, inorganic arsenic can be present in two different valence states (+III, +V) and as partof several different minerals. Arsenic can also be a component of organic (i.e., carbon-containing)molecules, but arsenic in this form is much less toxic than inorganic arsenic.
The main routes by which people are exposed to arsenic are ingestion of contaminated drinkingwater, soil, or food. Only a small amount of arsenic will pass through human skin, so this route ofexposure is usually not of concern .
Inorganic arsenic has been recognized as a human poison since ancient times, and large oral doses(above 60,000 parts-per-billion in food or water) can produce death . If a person is exposed tolower concentrations of arsenic over a long period of time, the most characteristic effect is a patternof skin changes. These include darkening of the skin and the appearance of small warts on thepalms, soles, and torso .
ATSDR has derived a Minimal Risk Level of 0.0003 milligrams per kilogram per day (mg/kg-d) foreffects on the skin. In the study that is the basis of this value, no skin effects were observed forpeople exposed to 0.0008 mg/kg-d. People exposed to 0.014 mg/kg-d experienced discoloration(hyperpigmentation) and keratosis (benign lesions) of the skin. At exposures as high as 0.038-0.065mg/kg-d, the incidence of dermal lesions was increased.
The highest concentration of arsenic in a tap water sample from private wells near the site was 13ug/L. Continuous exposure to this water would result in an approximate exposure of 0.0004 mg/kg-d for adults and 0.001 mg/kg-d for young children. Although higher than the Minimal Risk Level,these exposures are equivalent to those that did not cause effects in the study population. Skindiscoloration effects began to be observed only for exposures 10 times greater than these.
The National Toxicology Program considers arsenic to be a known human carcinogen . Forpeople exposed through drinking water or food, the main carcinogenic effect is an increased risk ofskin cancer. Recent studies indicate ingestion of arsenic also increases the risk of some internaltumors, mainly of liver, bladder, kidney, and lung . Using EPA's cancer potency factor forarsenic, long-term exposures to 13 ug/L in drinking water would result in a low increased risk ofcancer.
Therefore, exposures to naturally-occurring arsenic in private wells are unlikely to cause non-cancerous effects on the skin, but would present a low theoretical risk of cancer, particularly skincancer. DHHS recommends that homeowners in the area test their private wells for arsenic and othernatural contaminants (e.g., radon, which is prevalent in the Pelham area). If the results are greaterthan existing or proposed drinking water standards, homeowners should consider installing effectivetreatment systems to reduce their risks from exposure to these contaminants.
(5) Future Residential Development Pathway
The site is zoned residential (with a variance for some non-residential junkyard activities), therefore,one option for reuse is residential development. If the site were not remediated, future residentswould be exposed to PCBs and lead at concentrations greater than residential standards or guidelines.Specifically, using the available data for lead in soils, the EPA's Integrated Exposure UptakeBioKinetic (IEUBK) Model for Lead in Children predicts that a young child living on the site wouldhave a 38% probability of a BLL exceeding the CDC level of concern (10 ug/dL). This is probablyan overestimate of exposure because EPA removed the most-contaminated soils from the site in2000. However, many portions of the site have not been tested and high concentrations ofcontaminants may still be present.
Therefore, use of the site as a residence would put the future residents at risk for adverse healtheffects from lead exposure. Future residents on the site would also be exposed to PCBs in soil greaterthan residential standards, and VOCs from the shallow aquifer if an alternative water supply werenot established.
A health outcome data review is used to determine the general status of a community's health. Theobjective is to determine if the rates of disease in a community are higher than expected rates for thatcommunity using data for the state as a comparison.
The health outcome evaluation for the Gendron Junkyard Site is based on an analysis of availablecancer data from the New Hampshire State Cancer Registry (NHSCR). The NHSCR maintainsstatistics regarding twenty-three types of cancer in New Hampshire. Cancer information for Pelham,NH, was requested for all 23 types of cancer diagnosed during the most recent five-year time periodfor which data are available (1993 through 1997). This request was fulfilled from the Bureau ofHealth Statistics and Data Management, which maintains a close working relationship with theNHSCR. The five-year time period is commonly used in the evaluation of cancer trends in acommunity .
Once the data was received, a descriptive epidemiological analysis was conducted using theStandardized Morbidity Ratio technique (SMR). A detailed discussion of this technique is availablein Appendix C. The data were reviewed, for each type of cancer reported in Pelham, according togender and age (0-14, 15-24, 25-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79,80-84, and 85+ years). This process enabled us to review the observed number of specific cancercases, per cancer type, in Pelham and compare that value to the expected number of cancer casesbased on average rates for the State of New Hampshire.
Following this analysis, any cancers that were found to be statistically elevated for Pelham wereevaluated using a risk ratio (RR) analysis. The RR for a type of cancer evaluates the incidence ofcancer among an exposed group as compared to the incidence in a non-exposed group. This analysisis only appropriate if there is a biologically plausible association between the cancer type and thechemical exposure. The exposed and the non-exposed groups, for the purposes of this analysis, werearbitrarily defined as residents living inside and outside of a one-half mile (2,640 feet) radius,respectively, of the Gendron Site. These groupings were selected based on the localized nature ofthe contamination as well as neighboring residents' concerns about potential exposure to sitecontaminants. Although this determination of the exposed group is crude, it is unbiased in that thesample population considered the exposed group is based on an arbitrary circle drawn around theGendron Site as opposed to a specifically designated area. Further explanation of the RR technique is provided in Appendix C.
DHHS relies heavily on the quality of the NHSCR cancer data to conduct descriptiveepidemiological analysis for both the SMR and RR calculations. There were no independentinterviews of persons living in Pelham and no medical record reviews; therefore these analyses aresubject to random misclassification. It should also be noted that the SMR and RR analysesperformed are descriptive in nature and should not be confused with an in-depth epidemiologicalstudy. However, while these methods have limitations, they satisfy the objective of the healthoutcome data review in that they can determine whether or not potential health impacts around thesite would warrant further investigation.
The findings from our descriptive epidemiological analyses are illustrated in Table 7 titled, "CancerIncidence in Pelham, New Hampshire (1993-1997)". The data is presented, by gender, in tabularform with the heading of each column describing the type of cancer, the expected number of casesfor that particular type of cancer, followed by the observed number of cases for that specific cancer.A Standardized Morbidity Ratio (SMR) and 95% confidence interval (statistical tests) have beencalculated for each type of cancer. Any types of cancer that have been omitted from the table, havebeen excluded due to a value of less than 4 observed cases over the five-year time period(1993-1997). This is done to conform to the Bureau of Health Statistics and Data Management'sprotocol on confidentiality in the release of cancer data. Finally, the bottom of the table shows riskratios and corresponding confidence intervals that have been calculated for all cancers in Pelham andany cancers that were found to be elevated using the SMR calculation.
After completing the SMR calculations, it was found that the rates for all cancer types except threewere within the expected range at a 95% confidence interval. The cancer types that were found tobe statistically elevated in Pelham between 1993-1997 were colon cancer in males (SMR 2.04),cervical cancer in females (SMR 2.9) and cancer of the oral cavity & pharynx in males (SMR 3.17).However, after conducting a risk ratio analysis, it was found that there was no statistically significantdifference in overall colon cancer rates between those people living within the one-half mile radiusof the Gendron Site and the population in the rest of Pelham. Risk ratio analyses were not completedfor cervical cancer and cancer of the oral cavity and pharynx because no cases were observed withinthe one-half mile radius.
(i) Colon Cancer
The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be 93,800 new cases of colon cancer in 2000with an estimated 47,700 deaths . Nationally, the trends for both incidence and mortality havebeen decreasing for several decades. In the case of incidence, although it is unknown for certain, ithas been hypothesized that the decrease could be due to an increase in screening followed byremoval of diseased polyps . The likely reason for a decline in the overall number of deaths fromcolon cancer is that of therapeutic efficacy, although this has not been documented. In NewHampshire, the trend in rates of colon cancer is similar to that seen nationally. In HillsboroughCounty the rate of colon cancer is 34.1 cases per 100,000 as compared to the overall state rate of 33.8cases per 100,000 for the years of 1993 through 1997 . This may be related to the fact thatHillsborough County has the highest number of health care service providers in the state ,therefore increasing the number of people screened.
Known risk factors for this disease are family history of colon cancer or polyps in the colon, andpersonal history of inflammatory bowel disease. Other possible risk factors include, physicalinactivity and poor nutritional habits . The main symptoms of colon cancer are blood in the stoolor rectum and/or a noticeable change in bowel movements .
Five-year relative survival rates for persons diagnosed in the early stages of colon cancer areapproximately 90%, however only one third of all colon cancers are diagnosed at this point. It isrecommended by the American Cancer Society that both men and women should have one of thescreening tests for colon cancer beginning at the age of 50 .
For the early detection of colon cancer, we suggest regular screening by a health care professionalfor individuals who are considered at increased risk based on the risk factors discussed above. Forthe general public, we support the recommendations of the American Cancer Society for initial coloncancer screening as recommended by a health care professional for all people starting at age 50 yearsand over. Further information about colon cancer can be obtained through a physician.
(ii) Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer is the second most common type of cancer among females worldwide . In 2000,it is estimated that approximately 12,800 new cases of cervical cancer will be diagnosed in theUnited States, with 100 of those being diagnosed in New Hampshire . There wereapproximately, 4,800 deaths nationally in 1999. In New Hampshire, the rate of cervical cancer overthe period of 1993-1997 is 8 cases per 100,000. Nationally, the Surveillance Epidemiology and EndResults (SEER) program data for cervical cancer over the period of 1973-1997 indicates that forwhite females, the age-adjusted rate is 7.1 cases per 100,000 . In New Hampshire, over theperiod of 1987-1997 there were 660 new cases of cervical cancer reported . During that sameperiod 6 cases (or <1% of the New Hampshire total) were reported in Pelham.
Cervical cancer is a slow growing type of cancer, which begins in the tissues of the cervix. Thereare typically no physical symptoms associated with cervical cancer until late stage disease, howeverthere are medical tests that can be performed to determine the presence of the cancerous cells in thecervix . The most common of these tests are pelvic exams and Pap Tests, which are completedin a clinic setting by a health care provider. Risk factors for cervical cancer include: infection withcertain types of the human papillomavirus; a sexually transmitted disease, women who have firstintercourse at an early age, multiple sexual partners, or women whose sexual partners have hadmultiple sexual partners. Additional risk factors include cigarette smoking and low socioeconomicstatus. [17,23]
The five-year survival rate for invasive cervical cancer is 70% however for those cases of cervicalcancer detected in situ (confined to original tissues) the survival rate approaches 100%. Over the pastseveral decades, the incidence of cervical carcinoma has continued to decrease while survival rateshave increased. This has been attributed to more frequent use of Pap screening, which detects earlystages of the disease when it is most curable .
For the early detection of cervical cancer, we suggest regular screening by a health care professionalfor individuals who are considered at increased risk based on the risk factors discussed above. Forthe general public, we support the recommendations of the American Cancer Society that all womenhave a routine Pap test done by a health care professional as part of a pelvic exam. This test shouldbe performed annually with a pelvic exam in women who are, or have been, sexually active, or whohave reached age 18.
In New Hampshire, the Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program located in theDepartment of Health and Human Services can provide further resources, educational informationand outreach programs related to cervical cancer (1-800-852-3345 ext. 4931). Also, the STD/HIVPrevention Bureau within the DHHS can provide information on all STD/HIV clinics in the Stateof New Hampshire. This bureau can be reached at (603) 271-4502.
(iii) Cancer of the Oral Cavity and Pharynx
It is estimated, by the American Cancer Society, that in 2000 there will be 30,200 new cases ofcancer of the oral cavity and pharynx . Incidence rates of these types of cancer are twice as highin males as compared to females and are most common in individuals who are 40 years of age andolder. This trend is also seen in New Hampshire with a rate of 14.1 cases per 100,000 in males andonly 5.8 cases per 100,000 in females with a dramatic increase in rates beginning in those age 40years and over . In Pelham, similar to the state-wide trend, the excess cases are seen in males.However, there were no cases of this cancer within the one-half mile radius around the Gendron Site.
This type of cancer affects any part of the oral cavity, lip, salivary gland, mouth or throat. The majorrisk factors associated with the onset of this disease are use of tobacco products and excessivealcohol consumption. These two risk factors, when they are combined, multiply the risk for thisdisease and account for approximately 75% of all cases on oral cancer in the United States .Symptoms include: a lump in the lip, mouth, or gums, a sore in the mouth that doesn't heal, andbleeding or pain in the mouth. Another sign of a cancer of the mouth or gums is when dentures nolonger fit well . Often, these types of cancer are found by a dentist when examining the teeth.
Mortality from cancer of the oral cavity and pharynx has been decreasing over the past two decades,with an expected 7,800 deaths nationally . The five-year relative survival rate is 53%, with halfof all cases diagnosed in the late stage of disease [17,22]. Unfortunately, there has been no screeningtool developed for the early detection of this type of cancer, therefore prevention is the best way toreduce incidence of the disease.
Cancer of the oral cavity and pharynx is largely preventable through the elimination of the use oftobacco and only moderate use of alcoholic beverages. We also suggest regular dental care in whicha dentist could examine the mouth and oral cavity for abnormalities.
Further information about cancer of the oral cavity and pharynx can be obtained through a physician.However, DHHS suggests smoking cessation programs for the prevention of this type of cancer sincethe primary risk factor is the use of tobacco. The Tobacco Prevention Program at the Department ofHealth and Human Services (603) 271-6892 can provide information regarding the various types ofprograms that are currently available.
(4) Summary of Health Outcome Data Review
- The rates of 20 out of 23 cancer types in Pelham, New Hampshire between 1993 and 1997 were within their expected ranges at the 95% confidence level.
- Colon cancer in males (SMR 2.04) was found to be statistically elevated for Pelham.However, after conducting a RR analysis, it was found that there was no statisticallysignificant difference between people living within a one-half mile radius of the Gendron Site and the rest of the population of Pelham.
- The rates for cervical cancer and cancer of the oral cavity and pharynx were statistically elevated for the town of Pelham but no cases were detected within the one-half mile radius around the site over the period of 1993-1997.
- The primary risk factors for colon, cervical and cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx are diet, exposure to the human papillomavirus, and tobacco and alcohol use, respectively.
- Therefore, the elevated rates are not likely to be related to exposure from site contaminants.
When performing any public health assessment, DHHS gathers health concerns from people livingin the vicinity of the site. The health concerns that people express are then used to direct the focusof the public health assessment so that questions from the community are answered. At the GendronJunkyard, DHHS accomplished this task through three activities:
- On June 13, 2000, DHHS staff went door-to-door to distribute an educational needs assessment survey to the residents within one-quarter mile of the Gendron Junkyard site.
- On October 25, 2000, DHHS held a public availability session at the Pelham Town Hall.Residents of the community were able to meet with DHHS staff, in a confidential setting, todiscuss their health concerns and questions regarding the Gendron Junkyard. The publicavailability session was advertised through local media and a mass mailing.
- DHHS staff watched a videotaped recording of a public meeting at the Pelham Town Hall from1999 in which the Gendron Junkyard was discussed. Community members voiced their concerns publicly, and those comments that were health-related were added to those obtained from the survey and availability session.
Based on responses from the written survey and the availability session, the key findings of the community outreach program were:
- A larger percentage of residents are interested in the Gendron Junkyard site than was previously thought.
- Currently, most residents receive site information through newspapers and the local cable station.
- Most residents would prefer to receive site information through the mail.
- Nearly all of the survey respondents expressed a desire for information on contaminants found on-site, health effects and the routes of exposure.
- Few respondents were able to correctly identify the site contaminants.
- Almost half of the respondents were unsure as to whether the site could affect their health.
- Slightly over 2/3 of respondents are "very interested" in the site.
- Half of the respondents have lived in their homes between 20-40 years.
- Respondents were mainly concerned with:
- The health effects of exposure to site contaminants for themselves, their families, and their pets;
- Extent of the contamination.
- Whether or not they have been exposed to site contaminants.
- Relicensing of operations at the Gendron Junkyard.
- Current activities regarding site clean up.
- Legal issues, such as market devaluation of homes, tenant/property owner rights, etc.
A public health assessment always discusses: (1) the site contaminants and possible exposure routes;(2) the extent of contamination; and (3) the adverse health effects that have been associated withexposures to the types of chemicals present. These subjects were presented earlier in the PublicHealth Implications of Exposure Section.
The following is a list of the other questions from the written survey, availability session, andvideotaped proceedings of the town meeting. Since residents' health concerns shared in either thesurvey or availability session are considered confidential, all comments have been paraphrased toprotect the identity of the resident. Please see Appendix D for more information on DHHS' outreachactivities in the community near the Gendron Junkyard.
(1) Health Concerns
1. Can breast, lung or prostate cancer be caused from contact with site contaminants?
PCBs have been identified as possible environmental modulators. Endocrine modulation isthought to be involved with the induction of breast, testicular, and prostrate cancers . However, effects on the endocrine system are not likely to result from the exposures thatoccurred at the Gendron Junkyard site. Lung cancer has not been associated with exposureto PCBs or lead by the oral route [27,28]. In the Town of Pelham, the rates for these threecancer types were within their expected ranges for the period 1993-1997.
2. Is the neighborhood safe for my children?
Yes. The only way children in the neighborhood could be exposed to site contamination nowis if they were to break through the site fence and play on the site. Even if someone (e.g., anadolescent) were to do this, infrequent exposures to the contamination onsite would notresult in adverse health effects. Drinking water wells have been tested several times and donot contain site contamination at levels of health concern.
3a. When will it be safe to drink our water without worrying about the lead content, etc.?
3b. Is our drinking water contaminated?
3c. I am concerned about other contaminants in the water, such as arsenic, and why DES has stopped providing bottled water.
The drinking water wells are not contaminated with lead from the site. DHHS has reviewedthe data and agrees with DES' conclusion that the original reports of high lead were notrepresentative of the water people were receiving at their taps after the pipes had beenflushed. The only other contaminant of concern in the drinking water wells is naturally-occurring arsenic. DHHS recommends that homeowners in the area test their private wellsfor arsenic and other natural contaminants (e.g., radon). If the results are greater thanexisting or proposed drinking water standards, homeowners should consider installingeffective treatment systems to reduce their risks from exposure to these contaminants.
4. I am concerned about the stress of knowing about living near a hazardous waste site.
DHHS hopes that this Public Health Assessment will reduce the neighbors' stress byproviding clear answers on the extent of contamination and the potential for health effectsfrom exposure.
5a. Could breathing in processing dust from the site (while it was in operation) affect my children later in life?
5b. Is the air around the site contaminated?
5c. Did mixing and stirring of the fluff pile cause contamination to be released from the site?
5d. Are contaminants from the site being blown into the surrounding neighborhood?
No. Based on the soil sampling data, dust from the site did not carry contaminants very farfrom the ASR waste pile. Therefore, exposures to airborne dust from the site were highlyunlikely.
6. What effects could the remaining chemicals on the site have on someone who comes in contact with them?
Under current conditions, residents would only be exposed to contamination if they were tobreak through the fence and trespass on the site. Even if someone (e.g., an adolescent) wereto do this, infrequent exposures to the contamination onsite would not result in adversehealth effects.
7. If cancer is caused by PCB exposure, how long would it take for symptoms to appear and can it be linked specifically to exposure by air dust or other?
There is no evidence that nearby residents were exposed to contaminants, including PCBs,in dust or debris blown off the site. Moreover, occasional exposures to PCBs in thesediments of Island Pond Brook or in onsite soils are not expected to result in adverse healtheffects.
Cancer has a latency period between 20 and 40 years following exposure. Cancer is a multi-step process in which several (between 4-7) distinct genetic events must occur for theinitiation and development of disease to occur. A carcinogen, such as exposure to anenvironmental contaminant, can cause one or more of these genetic changes. However, thismay or may not complete the necessary genetic events that must occur in order for cancer tofully develop. Each type of cancer has a number of risk factors ranging from genetics to dietto chemical exposures. Therefore, the development of a tumor cannot be specifically linkedto a certain chemical or type of exposure.
8. Could exposure to site contaminants cause the development of a cholesteatoma?
Cholesteatoma is a benign growth of skin cells in the middle ear. If left untreated, the growthwill erode through bone, and could carry infection to the brain. The National Library ofMedicine's MEDLINE database does not contain any reports of relationships betweencholesteatoma and chemical exposures. One article noted an association between acquiredcholesteatoma and patients with allergies, particularly allergies to the house dust mite .
9. Could contact with site contaminants in the brook have caused skin rashes or illness?
No. PCBs have been shown to cause a specific type of skin disorder (chloracne). However,exposure to PCBs in sediments of the brook would have been well below those necessary tocause this or any other effect.
10. Could contact with site contaminants cause spinal meningitis?
Spinal meningitis is an infectious disease. Therefore, it would not be caused by exposuresto chemicals. The National Library of Medicine's MEDLINE database does not contain anyreports of relationships between meningitis and PCBs or lead.
11. Is well water safe for bathing/showering?
Yes. Naturally-occurring arsenic is the only chemical that is higher than health comparisonvalues in private wells near the site. Very little arsenic passes through the skin so the wateris safe for bathing or showering .
12. We are concerned that there may be elevated rates of cancer in this community.
The rates of cancer in the community are not elevated. The rates of 20 of the 23 cancer typesin Pelham were within their expected ranges for the period between 1993 and 1997. Coloncancer in males, cervical cancer in females, and cancer of the oral cavity and pharynx inmales were found to be statistically elevated for Pelham as whole, but not within thecommunity surrounding the site. The primary risk factors for colon, cervical and cancers ofthe oral cavity and pharynx are diet, exposure to the human papillomavirus, and tobacco andalcohol use, respectively.
13. Is high blood pressure related to lead exposure? How much lead exposure is needed to affect blood pressure?
A number of studies have found a small, but consistent association, between lead andhypertension (high blood pressure). However, there is controversy about the cause andsignificance of this association . Two recent studies illustrate the controversy. In a studyof 728 men between 20 and 82 years old, Staessen et al.  did not observe a consistentassociation between blood lead levels less than 30 ug/dL and hypertension. In contrast, Huet al.  noticed a relationship between hypertension in 1171 participants in the VeteransAdministration Normative Aging Study and long-term lead accumulation, as reflected bylevels of lead in bone. Assuming that a relationship exists, lead exposure would be just oneof many risk factors for hypertension, such as age, sex, genetics, lifestyle, sodium intake,excessive alcohol intake, obesity, and stress .
14. Could children be affected by exposures during the first years of life?
Very young children are particularly susceptible to the effects of PCBs and lead. Fortunately,children of this age were not exposed to site contaminants. Only junkyard workers, peoplewho contacted the waste material, or people who waded in the brook had opportunities forexposure to site contaminants.
15. Would there be any effects for teens who used to occasionally (less than 10 times) play on the site?
No. Even for children who played on the site as much as 40 times per year, it is unlikely thatthey would have elevated blood lead levels. Exposures to PCBs and other contaminantswould also have been below levels of health concern.
16. How reliable are data from the NH State Cancer Registry?
The New Hampshire State Cancer Registry's (NHSCR) data quality is directly related to thecompleteness and accuracy of the information that is reported to it. The NHSCR relies onthe mandated reporting of incident (new) cancer cases, which are received from acute carehospitals, Veterans Administration hospitals, physicians, and private pathology laboratoriesthroughout the state. The NHSCR also has agreements with several other states(Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and Florida) toreceive data for residents living in New Hampshire.
It is estimated that the data contained within the NHSCR is at least 91% of the true cancerincidence in New Hampshire for any given year. The NHSCR further notes that the balanceof the cases can be accounted for in delayed reports from out of state hospitals andincomplete medical records that are received.
The NHSCR employs a series of protocols to ensure that information is reported correctlyand that, if possible, missing information is obtained. For more detailed informationregarding the practices of the New Hampshire State Cancer Registry, please see the websiteat: http://nhscr.hitchcock.org/ or contact them directly at (603) 650-3427.
17. Were employees of the junkyard exposed to contaminants? What about people who just worked in the office and occasionally walked in the junkyard?
People who worked with the waste would have been exposed to contaminants. However,people who worked at the junkyard but did not regularly handle the waste or work near thewaste pile would not have been exposed at levels of health concern.
18. Are there medical tests available to determine if a person has been exposed to PCBs?
Yes. There are tests to find out if PCBs are in the blood, body fat, and breast milk. Bloodtests are the easiest, safest, and probably the best method for detecting recent exposures tolarge amounts of PCBs. These tests are not routine clinical tests, but they can detect PCBsin people exposed to them in the environment or at work. All people in industrializedcountries have some PCBs in their bodies. If tests show that PCBs are higher than normalenvironmental levels, this will indicate exposure to high levels of PCBs. However, themeasurements cannot determine the exact exposure or type of PCBs or how long theexposure lasted .
19. Could exposures to site contaminants exacerbate respiratory diseases?
No. There is no evidence that PCBs or lead adversely affect the respiratory system [27,28].Moreover, exposures at the site were mainly through swallowing, not breathing,contaminated material.
20. Can lead exposure cause dementia?
Lead has not been associated with dementia per se. However, lead exposures have beenshown to cause a decrease in neurobehavioral performance among aging subjects [35-37].
(2) Nature and Extent of Contamination
1a. Have PCB's been found in the brook, and what does this mean? Why have they not been remediated?
1b. What, if any, contaminants have been found in the wetlands abutting the junkyard?
PCBs have been found in one section of the brook and adjoining wetlands at lowconcentrations. Exposure to these low concentrations would not affect a person's health. The remedial plan for the site, including the wetlands and brook, has not yet beenestablished.
2. How far is the groundwater contaminated? We would like to install a well on our property.
The groundwater is only known to be contaminated beneath the Gendron property. It ispossible that the portion of the neighboring properties that was formerly beneath the ASRpile could be affected as well. The plume of contaminated water is not expected to spreadbecause it is bound by Island Pond Brook. However, before installing a well, we recommendthat you contact DES and your local health officer regarding the status of the groundwatermanagement zone around the Gendron Junkyard and local drilling permits, respectively.
3a. What effect does the high spring water have? Could contaminants be washed closer to my well and surrounding land area?
3b. Would water table fluctuations affect the groundwater quality in private wells near the site? Could it affect surface water or swampy areas?
This is unlikely. Contaminated groundwater from the site is bound by Island Pond Brook,where it is diluted with clean water and carried downstream. If the water table were raisedduring a wet season, this would continue to occur.
4. What effect could the remaining debris in and around a pipe coming from the site cause?
A pipe coming from the site was found to contain an oily sludge that was identified asprimarily motor oil with lower concentrations of No. 2 fuel oil  and trace concentrationsof PCBs. If this pipe was formerly used to discharge oils directly to the brook, as has beenalleged, contamination in the brook would have been greater in the past. It is unclearwhether the pipe was used for this purpose.
5. Has all the contaminated soil been removed from neighboring properties?
In 1999, EPA removed all the offsite soils containing PCBs or lead above residentialstandards in the area where the ASR pile had spilled onto the neighboring properties. Thisrequired excavating down as far as six feet to layers of uncontaminated peat. According toa draft map prepared by EPA, samples of soil at the base of the excavation confirmed thatall the contaminated soil had been removed [41,10]. For the remaining concentrations ofPCBs and lead, the average (specifically, the upper confidence limit of the mean) was lessthan 0.5 and less than 120 mg/kg, respectively. Therefore, the soils at the base of theexcavation meet the residential soil standards of 1 mg/kg for PCBs and 400 mg/kg for lead.
Therefore, all the remaining soil contamination appears to be on the Gendron property andis surrounded by a fence. However, EPA's post-excavation documentation is still in draftformat. Final conclusions about the presence of off-site soil contamination should only bemade after this documentation has been reviewed and confirmed. DHHS will review the finalpost-excavation documentation from EPA, when it is available, to confirm that allcontamination greater than residential standards was in fact removed from the neighboring properties.
(3) Future Exposures
1. How will the remaining site contaminants in the soil affect us in the future? Will they affect the water?
Oils and other petroleum products in the soil will continue to leach VOCs into thegroundwater. PCBs and lead tend to bind strongly to soil particles and, therefore, areunlikely to be carried into the groundwater.
2. How will the site be monitored or controlled to prevent future exposures?
The monitoring program will be part of a remedial action plan for the site, which has not yetbeen developed. DHHS recommends continued testing of drinking water wells. We alsorecommend that surface water and fish in Island Pond Brook be tested for site contaminantsbecause there are currently insufficient data on these media.
3. Will the site be cleaned up? We do not want to fear the contamination any more. This is a residential area.
One of the conclusions of the Site Investigation by DES contractors was that a remedialaction plan was necessary to address exceedances of state regulatory standards forcontaminants in both soil and groundwater. Unless determined otherwise by pendinglitigation, the site owner is responsible for the site cleanup, with oversight by DES. Thecleanup will include a groundwater management permit and may involve deed restrictions,depending on the approved remedial action plan.
4a. Will the junkyard be able to resume operation, given the fact that it is so close to water?
4b. We do not feel that a junkyard belongs in a residential area. Will it be allowed to continue operation here?
4c. Will the site be closed down by the State or Town?
The zoning for the Gendron property is a local decision. The town has already suspendedthe owner's junkyard license, but this decision has been appealed to the New HampshireSupreme Court. Other decisions on land use will be made by local officials. We recommendthat you contact the town officials with these concerns.
5. Will someone ever pay for the site to be cleaned up to "residential" standards since the EPA has only cleaned it up to "commercial" standards?
DES believes that additional cleanup of the site is necessary and is negotiating with the siteowner towards that goal.
(4) Concerns about Pets and Plants
1. Could ingesting contaminated water have caused tumors or bladder, lung, or kidney cancer in dogs and cats which frequently drank from the brook?
Unfortunately, we do not have the expertise to answer this question. For the purposes of thisPublic Health Assessment and consistent with our mandate, DHHS must focus on humanhealth issues. In many cases, humans and animals react to chemical exposures in differentways, so this evaluation of human health risks is not necessarily relevant to pets.
(5) Length of Process
1. Why is the cleanup taking so long?
From our experience at hazardous waste sites across the state, the cleanup at the GendronJunkyard site is moving relatively fast. The site was first investigated in 1996, 12,000 tonsof waste were removed in 1999, 5,600 tons of contaminated soils were removed in 1999-2000, and a Site Investigation was performed in 2000. Litigation between the site owner,DES, and EPA is pending and one of the issues to be resolved is completion of the sitecleanup.
(6) Legal Issues
1. How will the lead contamination in the water affect the salability of my home?
Currently, private wells near the Gendron Junkyard do not contain site contamination atlevels of health concern. However, proximity to a hazardous waste site undoubtedly can havean effect on property values. Often these effects are temporary. The exact effect depends onthe real estate market and specifics of the property.
2. What disclosure requirements are there for real estate transactions near hazardous waste sites?
You should contact a licensed real estate agency or the New Hampshire Real EstateCommission at 271-2701 for information on notification/disclosure requirements.
3. Who will enforce deed restrictions and controls over the future use of the site?
Deed restrictions may be part of a remedial plan for the site, but that plan has not yet beendeveloped.
(7) Private Well Testing Program
1a. Will we have another follow-up water test? Our water still emits a strong odor from time to time.
1b. Is there a need for more testing of private wells near the site?
1c. If I have a private well, what should it be tested for, and how often?
DHHS recommends that private wells around the site be tested regularly until a groundwatermanagement permit is issued. Residents can test their own water using the DES Laboratoryin Concord or a local certified laboratory. DES has prepared a fact sheet describing howprivate wells owners should test their water ("Suggested Water Quality Testing for PrivateWells", WD-WSEB-2-1). It is available online athttp://www.des.state.nh.us/factsheets/ws/ws-2-1.htm or by calling the Water SupplyEngineering Bureau at (603) 271-2513.
2a. Have the private wells been tested for solvents? My well water sometimes has odors?
2b. Have the drinking water wells near the site been tested for MTBE or other chemicals besides lead?
Yes. The wells have been tested for VOCs (which includes many solvents and MTBE), lead,and other metals.
3. How was it determined which houses had their wells tested?
DES selected wells for testing based on proximity to the site. In a few cases, DES testedwells farther away from the site at the request of the homeowner.
1. Has there been any study of the old town dump under the power lines between Gage Hill Road and Windham Road?
DES has worked on a number of landfills in Pelham. To determine if this particular landfillwas investigated, please contact DES' Solid Waste Management Bureau at 271-2925.
2. How will the information in the Public Health Assessment be used? Will town officials be given a copy?
The information is used to generate a Public Health Action Plan and to makerecommendations to DES and EPA on ways to protect the public for exposures. Townofficials have been kept informed of our progress on the report and will receive the finalcopy.
3. Does DHHS operate independently of the Attorney General and DES?
4. How much power does DHHS have to implement its recommendations?
DHHS does not have any regulatory authority but the Department's recommendations aretypically adopted.
5. Why was DHHS not involved with the BFI Landfill?
DHHS was involved at the BFI (Rocketenetz) Landfill. In the past, we reviewed test resultsfor drinking water wells and advised homeowners on health risks.
6. Were we exposed to any hazardous chemicals from the BFI Landfill in the air or water? There was often a strong smell coming from the landfill, and we are concerned about air pollution. Also, several homes were taken off of their private wells due to contamination. Were these people exposed to anything dangerous that could affect their health?
Residents near the Gendron Junkyard were not exposed to contaminants from the BFI landfillin air or water. The landfill is one-half mile away from the junkyard. The drinking waterwells for several homes next to the BFI landfill became contaminated with VOCs. Therefore, these homes were provided with an alternative water supply. For moreinformation about the BFI landfill, please contact the DES project manager, Becky Lawrence,at 271-3503.
7. Can runoff from the BFI Landfill reach the community near the Gendron site?
No. Runoff from the BFI landfill flows into Golden Brook which joins Island Pond Brook downstream of the Gendron Junkyard vicinity.