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ATSDR classifies this site as an indeterminate public health hazard, because of the lack of adequate soil gas data. This category is used for sites in which data are insufficient with regard to the extent of exposure or toxicologic properties at estimated exposure levels, or both.

While current surface soil investigations revealed limited contamination at levels not associated with the acute and chronic health problems reported by the petitioner and other community members, further evaluation of surface soil would be warranted if soils were to be excavated or otherwise disturbed in the future.

Current soil contamination is unlikely to cause any adverse health effects. While soil vegetation on the site, at the time of the health assessment, limited the potential for dust migration and surface soil exposure, past exposures were unknown.


  1. Conduct additional soil gas sampling to determine whether an explosive hazard exists.
  2. Monitor methane gas levels periodically on site and in houses located in the vicinity of the site. Install methane controls on site as needed.
  3. Re-evaluate surface soil if soils are excavated or otherwise disturbed in the future.


Completed Activities

  1. Scoping Visit Completed on May 28, 1997. ATSDR staff met with Winchester Board of Health and MADEP representatives to discuss the site. ATSDR conducted a site visit, met with property owners, and later met with the petitioner and other concerned residents.
  2. Petitioned (Medical) Health Consultation Finalized and released by ATSDR on December 4, 1997. Addressed petitioner's specific medical concern regarding an optical disorder with a possible link to hazardous chemicals in ambient air coming from the dumpsite.
  3. Petitioned Public Health Consultation Finalized and released by ATSDR on March 1, 1997. Addressed petitioner's concerns over the possibility of contaminated groundwater, ambient air, and soil coming from the Rock Avenue Dumpsite
  4. Surface Soil Samples EPA conducted additional surface soil sampling in May 1999.

Future Activities

  1. Public Health Assessment Address any public comments received on the public health assessment and prepare a final release to the public.
  2. Soil Gas Monitoring Reportedly, EPA has repeatedly requested permission from the nearby resident living closest to the dumpsite to provide periodic methane monitoring in the basement level of the residence. This request has been denied by the residence owner. If methane monitoring cannot be accomplished, and the conditions of the site remain unchanged, no further action is planned at this site.


ATSDR provided an opportunity in the final draft stage of this document for the general public to comment on Agency findings or proposed activities from November 26, 1999 through December 27, 1999. The purposes of this activity were to: (1) provide the public, particularly area residents associated with a site, the opportunity to comment on the public health findings in the public health assessment; (2) evaluate whether the community health concerns have been adequately addressed; and (3) provide ATSDR with additional information. Comments received during the public comment period are addressed in Appendix D.


Prepared by:

Theresa I. Kilgus, M.P.H.
Environmental Health Scientist
Petitions Response Section
Exposure Investigations and Consultations Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

David A. Fowler, Ph.D.
Environmental Health Scientist
Health Consultations Section
Exposure Investigations and Consultations Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

Reviewed by:

Suzanne Simon
Regional Representative, Region I
Office of Regional Operations
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry


  1. Memo from petitioner to Barry Johnson, dated March 21, 1996, requesting an investigation into health concerns.

  2. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Petitioned Health Consultation, Rock Avenue 21-E Dumpsite, Winchester, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. February 26, 1999.

  3. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Removal Program Preliminary Assessment Site Investigation Report, Rock Avenue Site, Winchester, Massachusetts. July 1999.

  4. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Site Sampling Activities at a Rock Avenue Residential Property, Rock Avenue Site File. Winchester, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. July 13, 1999.

  5. US Census Bureau, TIGER/Line Files, 1990 (Winchester, Massachusetts), prepared by the Bureau of Census, US Census Bureau, Washington, DC, 1996.

  6. Jones KC, Stratford JA, Waterhouse KS, et al. 1989. Increase in the polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbon content of an agricultural soil over the last century. Environ Sci Technol. 23:95-101.

  7. Toxicological Profile for Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons. August 1995. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

  8. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Provisional guidance for quantitative risk assessment of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Environmental Criteria and Assessment Office. Cincinnati, OH. Final Draft. ECAO-CIN-842. March 1993.

  9. Nisbet ICT, LaGoy PK. 1992. Toxic equivalency factors (TEFs) for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Reg Toxicol Pharmacol 16:290-300.

  10. Kao JK, Patterson FK, Hall J. 1985. Skin penetration and metabolism of topically applied chemicals in six mammalian species, including man: An in vitro study with benzo(a)pyrene and testosterone. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 81:502-516.

  11. Hazardous Substances Data Bank. National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland, (Internet), MICROMEDEX, Englewood, Colorado (last revision 02/01/99).

  12. Edwards NT. 1983. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the terrestrial environment - a review. J Environ Qual 12:427-441.

  13. Meditext. Hall AH & Rumack BH (Eds): TOMES ® System. MICROMEDEX, Englewood, Colorado (Internet), (last update 08/96). Hazardous Substances Data Bank (R).

  14. Sims RC, Overcash MR. 1983. Fate of polynuclear aromatic compounds (PNAs) in soil-plant systems. Res Rev 88:1-68.

  15. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Interim guidance on including child health issues in Division of Health Assessment and Consultation Documents. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, July 1998.

  16. EPA. Soil Screening Guidance: User's Guide. Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. Washington, DC. 9355.4-23. July 1996.

  17. Dermal Exposure Assessment: Principles and Applications USEPA 1992. Office of Research and Development. Cincinnati, Ohio. EPA/600/8-91/011B. Interim Report.

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