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This health consultation was prepared at the request of Washington State University (WSU) toevaluate the results of a drinking water well sample collected on October 23, 2002. The samplewas collected as part of a periodic testing regime at the WSU Long Beach Research andExtension Unit (WSU facility).1 The WSU facility is located 3/4 mile east of Highway 103, at2907 Pioneer Road, in Long Beach, Washington. WSU requested that DOH evaluate the testresults to determine whether the levels of chemicals detected are of public health concern.

The WSU facility was founded in 1924. Originally known as the Cranberry-BlueberryExperiment Station of the State College of Washington, it currently serves as a cranberryresearch and extension facility, south Pacific County extension office, and a broad-basedecosystem research and education facility. The Pacific Coast Cranberry Research Foundation wasformed to purchase the WSU facility, owned and operated by Washington State University. TheCranberry Research Foundation is a nonprofit foundation organized to promote cranberryresearch in the northwest. WSU continues to support the personnel, while growers join togetherin farming the bogs.2

WSU maintains a small office and laboratory on the property. The property consists of cranberrybogs, an office/laboratory building, a museum/warehouse/barn complex, three formergreenhouses, a mobile home, and smaller outlying storage buildings. It is currently bordered tothe west, south, and north by residential properties, and to the east by a former "dump" area. Land use in the area is mixed agricultural and residential. The local topography is characterizedby north/south trending ridges and swales due to the successional deposit of sand dunes.3

With Ecology oversight, in the 1990s, WSU conducted an Independent Remedial Action whichincluded a thorough site investigation. Well testing is ongoing, and conducted approximatelytwice per year. According to WSU, the October 2002 chemical detections are the first detectionssince 1997.1

Results of previous sampling

DOH previously prepared a health consultation evaluating the results of 1997 testing ofnumerous offsite residential drinking water wells near the WSU facility, as well as the facility'sdrinking water well. Low levels of two pesticides, lead, and diesel-range hydrocarbons weredetected in one or both of the offsite wells, while a low level of one pesticide was detected in theWSU facility drinking water well. The levels of these chemicals were determined not to pose ahealth hazard.3

Recent sampling results

The most recent (October 2002) water sample was analyzed by EPA Method 8081A fororganochlorine pesticides. Two pesticides were detected, aldrin and delta-BHC.4 Test results andhealth comparison values are listed in Table 1, below.

Table 1.

Chemicals detected in the WSU Long Beach Research and Extension Unit drinking water well Long Beach, Washington October 2002 (units are in parts per billion {ppb})
Chemical Concentration
(in ppb)
Qualifier ATSDR health comparison value
ATSDR health comparison value
aldrin 0.0007 J+ 0.002 0.3
delta-BHC 0.0005 J+ 0.006* 80*

* No ATSDR comparison value available for delta-BHC. Alpha-BHC is used as a surrogate.
** Florida state drinking water guidelines for delta-BHC.5
+ The analyte was positively identified, but the associated numerical value is only an estimate.


Health Comparison Value: A concentration of a chemical in soil, air or water that, if exceeded, requires further evaluation as a contaminant of potential health concern.  Concentration(s) below comparison values indicate that exposure(s) are unlikely to pose a health hazard.As shown in Table 1, the detected pesticides (aldrin and delta-BHC) do not exceed theirrespective health comparison values and as a result do not pose a public health hazard. Thehealth comparison values presented inTable 1 represent the concentration inwater of each detected pesticide that, ifexceeded, would have required furtherevaluation as a contaminant of potentialhealth concern. However, concentrationsbelow these comparison values indicatethat exposure is unlikely to pose a healthhazard, and therefore, required no furtherevaluation. These comparison values werederived assuming that a child or adultwould drink two liters of water per day for 70 years. This assumption is likely to be anoverestimate of exposure, and as a result, protective of public health.


ATSDR recognizes that infants and children may be more vulnerable to exposures than adultswhen faced with contamination of air, water, soil, or food.5 This vulnerability is a result of thefollowing factors:

  • Children are more likely to play outdoors and bring food into contaminated areas.

  • Children are shorter and their breathing zone is closer to the ground, resulting in a greaterlikelihood to breathe dust, soil, and heavy vapors.

  • Children are smaller and receive higher doses of chemical exposure per body weight.

  • Children's developing body systems are more vulnerable to toxic exposures, especially during critical growth stages in which permanent damage may be incurred.

The detected levels of chemicals were below their respective child and adult health comparisonvalues and do not pose a health hazard to exposed infants or children.


  1. Testing conducted on the WSU facility's drinking water well in October 2002 revealedlow levels of two organochlorine pesticides, aldrin and delta-BHC.

  2. The levels of these chemicals were below their respective health comparison values andpose no apparent public health hazard to exposed individuals.


Because the recent pesticide detections in the WSU facility's drinking water well,periodic testing of this well should continue.


  1. DOH is available to evaluate the results of subsequent drinking water samples collected from the WSU facility's drinking water well.

  2. A copy of this health consultation will be provided to WSU Long Beach facility staff.


Paul Marchant
Washington State Department of Health
Office of Environmental Health Assessments
Site Assessment Section

Designated Reviewer

Robert Duff, Manager
Site Assessment Section
Office of Environmental Health Assessments
Washington State Department of Health

ATSDR Technical Project Officer

Debra Gable
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry


  1. Personal communication with Craig Root, WSU Environmental Health & SafetyStatewide. December 2002.

  2. Pacific Coast Cranberry Research Foundation website.

  3. Washington State Department of Health. Health Consultation: WSU Cranberry Researchand Extension Center, Long Beach, Washington. April 1999.

  4. Severn Trent Laboratories, Inc. Results of organochlorine pesticide analysis: Residentialwell, Cranberry Research Unit, Long Beach, Washington. November 4, 2002.

  5. Hazardous Substances Data Bank, National Library of Medicine. January 2003.

  6. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Interim guidance on including childhealth issues in Division of Health Assessment and Consultation Documents. Atlanta: USDepartment of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, July 1998.


This Health Consultation was prepared by the Washington State Department of Health under acooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Itis in accordance with approved methodology and procedures existing at the time the health consultation was begun.

Debra Gable
Technical Project Officer,

The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation, ATSDR, has reviewed this public health consultation and concurs with the findings.

Roberta Erlwein
Section Chief,

Table of Contents The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 4770 Buford Hwy NE, Atlanta, GA 30341
Contact CDC: 800-232-4636 / TTY: 888-232-6348

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