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The purpose of this health consultation is to evaluate any known or potential human health hazards from the information currently available for James Day Paints. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) prepared this health consultation using site-specific information provided by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA). This document discusses all data known to exist for this facility.

James Day Paints (JDP) is an active facility in Carpentersville, Illinois, in eastern Kane County (Attachments 1 & 2). JDP began operations in 1965 and is a compounder of lacquers, stains, enamels, and removers. North and east of the site is the Kane County Fox River Shores Forest Preserve (also an abandoned waste site). The Fox River is approximately 100 feet west of JDP and is separated from the facility by a densely wooded area and a paved bicycle path owned by Kane County. South of the site is the Tri-County Ready Mix Company. The nearest home is 600 feet southeast of the facility. Before JDP began operations, the land was wooded and surrounded by an abandoned dump established in an old sand and gravel pit.

JDP occupies five acres of rectangularly shaped property and consists of a manufacturing building, a parking lot, loading areas, and two underground tank farms (Attachment 3). One underground tank farm along the south side of the building consists of 20 tanks and occupies one-half acre. The second underground tank farm has three tanks and is along the northwest corner of the building. According to IEPA records, JDP purchases a solvent mixture containing naphthalene, ketone, alcohol, and Lactane. The solvent is used to wash out mixing tanks. Waste solvent is returned to the vendor for recycling. Other wastes generated from the facility are sludges Exiting ATSDR Website from tank degreasers, research laboratory testing waste, research and development waste, powder from nuisance dust, and possible spills.

In May 1986, John Mathes and Associates began a study of the Carpentersville Waste site, south of JDP. The study involved taking background samples, including one groundwater sample, one sediment sample, and one leachate (from a natural spring) sample, west of JDP. The sampling results showed elevated levels of benzene, 1,2-dichloropropane, and methylene chloride. Based on these results, the study was expanded to include JDP.

JDP and other area facilities believed to be contributing to the environmental degradation of the area were added to the State Remedial Action Priorities List. According to a report prepared by Mittelhauser and Associates, samples from two groundwater monitoring wells hydraulically downgradient from JDP showed no degradation of water quality. However, natural spring samples showed the presence of benzene and 1,2-dichloropropane. JDP stated that 1,2-dichloropropane was never used in any of its processes and that JDP had not used benzene since the early 1970s. The company believed the contamination came from random dumping on adjacent properties. IEPA believed that the source of contamination may have come from leaking JDP tanks, although tests in 1987 indicated no tank seepage Exiting ATSDR Website was occurring [11]. It is possible that spills during chemical transfer or faulty lines between tanks could have allowed contamination to occur.

IEPA installed six additional groundwater monitoring wells on the site in early 1989 (Attachment 3). All wells were installed to draw from the Shallow Drift Aquifer near the surface. Three soil samples and five groundwater monitoring well samples were collected from the site soon after the wells were installed. Soil samples contained elevated levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including acetone, benzene, 1,2 dichloropropane, tetrachloroethane, and toluene. Groundwater samples also contained elevated levels of VOCs including acetone, benzene, 2-butanone, 1,2 dichloropropane, methylene chloride, toluene, and 1,1,1 trichloroethane.

The potential existed for migration of contaminated groundwater to private wells in the area and to the Fox River. Groundwater flow is believed to be in a southwesterly direction. The water table is shallow in this area, and IEPA believes most groundwater eventually reaches the Fox River. The river serves as a water supply for a community ten miles downstream and is used recreationally for fishing and boating.

In 1991 a spill of latex polymer occurred at JDP during unloading activities. Waste Management of Illinois was granted a permit to dispose of 50 cubic yards of contaminated sand. The site was added to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability System (CERCLIS) in July 1992.

In July 1994, IEPA collected additional on-site and off-site soil and groundwater samples (Tables 1 and 2). On-site sampling included four soil samples (X102-X104) and seven groundwater samples (G101-G107). Off-site (background) samples included a soil sample (X101) from a location several hundred feet east of the northern site boundary near Algonquin Road, and a groundwater sample (G501) from a Carpentersville municipal well (well #3) that was hydraulically upgradient and about 2,000 feet east of the site.

In March 1997, IDPH staff visited the facility and surrounding area. Metal debris (car parts, refrigerators, empty metal drums, etc.) was noted in the wooded area to the west between the facility and the bicycle path. The land generally sloped west, downhill from JDP and south. There was no fence in place to separate JDP from the wooded area adjacent to the bicycle path. The JDP parking area was graveled, but unpaved.


The maximum concentration of the contaminants in each media was compared with appropriate comparison values used to select contaminants for further evaluation for carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic health endpoints (Attachment 4). Chemicals with concentrations that exceeded comparison values or chemicals with concentrations greater than background for which no comparison value was available are identified as chemicals of interest. These chemicals are evaluated further for their potential to cause adverse health effects.


The only chemical found in soil at levels greater than comparison values was beryllium. Beryllium was found in all on-site soil samples (X102-X1O5) at 0.41 to 1.3 parts per million (ppm), and in the background sample (X101) at 0.56 ppm. The average background surface soil concentration of beryllium in this part of the Illinois is 0.73 ppm [7]. Persons can be exposed to beryllium by ingestion or by breathing air containing the metal.

Ingesting food or liquid contaminated with beryllium have not shown adverse effects in humans since very little of the metal moves from the stomach and intestines into the bloodstream. However, studies have shown workers chronically exposed to air with less than 0.002 milligrams of beryllium per cubic meter of air has caused some persons to become chemically sensitive and develop "chronic beryllium disease" [3]. Symptoms of chronic beryllium disease include feeling weak, tired, and having breathing problems. The International Agency for Research on Cancer and USEPA list beryllium as a probable human carcinogen. Based on the highest concentration detected in soil, the estimated ingestion dose for beryllium would not be expected to cause adverse health effects. If exposure to beryllium in dusts from parking areas and loading docks at JDP were to occur, the inhaled dose would be very small and intermittent.


All chemicals detected in 1989 groundwater samples were less than comparison values. Water samples taken in 1994 from monitoring wells on the site and the Carpentersville municipal well #3 contained arsenic, iron, manganese, sodium, bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, and heptachlor epoxide as contaminants of interest (Table 3). No one drinks water from the site, and only iron exceeded comparison values in Carpentersville municipal well #3.

Arsenic was a contaminant of interest in one sample at 19.6 parts per billion (ppb). It may occur naturally because soil in this part of Illinois contains higher than average arsenic levels. The major route of exposure to arsenic is through ingestion. Oral exposure to arsenic has been linked to an increased incidence of skin cancer in humans [2]. If consumed, arsenic is not likely to cause adverse health effects at the levels detected. USEPA allows a maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 50 ppb for arsenic in drinking water.

Iron was found in all on-site groundwater samples and in the Carpentersville municipal well sample. Iron levels of 17,800 ppb and 2,850 ppb were found in G107 and the Carpentersville municipal well sample, respectively. USEPA has set an MCL of 1,000 ppb for iron. These levels are not likely to cause health problems, but can give water a bad taste, cause laundered clothes to have a rusty color, or leave dark stains in sinks [8]. Household water can be treated to reduce the iron concentration.

Manganese is a natural component of the environment and is usually found in small amounts in air, soil, and water. Manganese was detected above comparison values in all on-site groundwater samples (G103-G107). A small amount of manganese may be necessary for good health, but too much manganese may cause illness [6]. Scientists are not certain whether taking in too much manganese with food or liquid can cause illness. Usually the body absorbs only about 3% to 5% of ingested manganese. Based on the highest concentration detected in samples, the estimated ingestion dose for manganese would not be expected to cause adverse health effects.

A sodium concentration greater than 20,000 ppb in drinking water is not recommended for persons with high blood pressure or heart problems [9]. Sodium levels exceeded this level in six of seven on-site groundwater samples (G102-G107). The background water sample did not exceed the recommended level for sodium. Waste materials placed in old landfills near the JDP site, along with salt applied to streets to melt snow, may have contributed to elevated sodium levels. Household water can be treated to remove excess sodium.

Bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) was detected at concentrations above comparison values in five on-site groundwater samples (G103-G107). DEHP is a synthesized chemical added to plastics to make them flexible [4]. Finding DEHP near landfills where plastic products containing this chemical have been disposed is common. There is no evidence that DEHP causes cancer in humans; however, long-term exposure to high doses of DEHP has resulted in liver cancer in rats and mice. Other effects in rats and mice include decreased fertility, fetal abnormalities, and functional changes in the kidneys. Humans metabolize DEHP differently than rodents; therefore, health effects for humans may be very different. DEHP is listed as a probable human carcinogen. The estimated ingestion dose for DEHP, based on the highest detected concentration, would not be expected to cause adverse health effects.

Heptachlor epoxide (HE) is a pesticide and is a breakdown product of heptachlor [5]. Heptachlor is a component of the insecticide chlordane. HE dissolves in water and evaporates slowly. HE can be found in elevated concentrations near landfills and around homes treated for termites with chlordane. No reliable studies could be found that show harmful effects occur after a person ingests food or water containing HE. Studies of people who made or used HE found no serious health effects. USEPA classifies HE as a possible human carcinogen. HE was detected at concentrations above comparison values in two on-site groundwater samples; however, the estimated ingestion dose, based on the highest detected concentration, would not be expected to cause adverse health effects.

The physical hazards resulting from the metal debris (car parts, refrigerators, empty metal drums, etc.) in the wooded area between the facility and the bicycle path would be small because of the thick underbrush. Only a determined trespasser could make their way through the growth to get to this debris.


Based on the information reviewed, IDPH concludes that no apparent public health hazard exists from on-site contamination. Several chemicals were found above background levels, but none were found at levels that would cause adverse effects. None of the contaminants of interest are specifically linked to the processes at JDP.


At this time, IDPH has no follow-up recommendations.


Herb Dreier
Environmental Toxicologist
Illinois Department of Public Health


  1. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, ATSDR Public Health Assessment Guidance Manual.

  2. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, ATSDR Update Toxicological Profile for Arsenic, April 1993.

  3. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, ATSDR Toxicological Profile for Beryllium, April 1993.

  4. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, ATSDR Draft Update Toxicological Profile for Di(2-ethylhexyl)Phthalate, October 1991.

  5. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, ATSDR Toxicological Profile for Heptachlor/Heptachlor Epoxide, April 1993.

  6. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, ATSDR Toxicological Profile for Manganese, July 1992.

  7. Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, A Summary of Selected Background Conditions for Inorganics in Soil, August 1994.

  8. Illinois Department of Public Health, Commonly Found Substances in Drinking Water and Available Treatment, September 1994.

  9. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Drinking Water Regulations and Health Advisories, February 1996.

  10. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Comparison Values for Air, Drinking Water, and Soil.

  11. Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, CERCLA Integrated Site Assessment, December 1995.


Table 1.

1994 Soil Sample Locations
Sample Depth Location
X101 (background) 1-2 feet Near Algonquin Road, east of the Kane County Forest Preserve. Located 25 feet west of Algonquin Road and 50 feet south of creek bridge.
X102 0-14 inches Near bike trail west of facility. Located 88' NE of IEPA monitoring well and 20' E of bike trail.
X103 and X104 3-4 feet Near tank farm along north side of building. Located 22' east of well JD #3 and 17' north of northwest corner of facility.
X105 1.5-2 feet Near tank farm along south side of building. Located 8' east of well JD#1 and 13' south of warehouse.

Table 2.

1994 Groundwater sample locations
Sample G501 G101 G102 G103 G104 G105 G106 G107
Well Location Carpentersville Well #3 JD5* JD6 JD3 JD4 EPA Well EPA Well JD2
* See Attachment 3 for well locations

Table 3.

Chemicals of Interest in Groundwater in parts per billion (ppb) See Attachment 4 for definitions of comparison values
On the Site Off the Site
Chemical Name Frequency of Detection Maximum Concentration Frequency of Detection Maximum Concentration Comparison Value
Arsenic 1/7 19.6 1/1 3.0 10 EMEG (Adult)
Iron 7/7 17,800 1/1 2,850 1,000 MCL
Manganese 7/7 516 1/1 41.8 50 RMEG (Child)
Sodium 7/7 125,000 1/1 14,600 20,000 DWEL
Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate 5/7 220 0/1 3 CREG
Heptachlor epoxide 2/7 0.007-0.017 0/1 0.004 CREG


Location of James Day Paints
Attachment 1. Location of James Day Paints

Location of James Day Paints (Area Map)
Attachment 2. Location of James Day Paints (Area Map)

Site Map
Attachment 3. Site Map


Cancer Risk Evaluation Guides (CREGS) are calculated from USEPA cancer slope factors and are estimated contaminant concentrations based on one excess cancer in a million individuals exposed to a chemical over a lifetime (70 years). These are very conservative values designed to protect sensitive members of the population.

Drinking Water Equivalent Levels (DWELs) are USEPA guidelines that refer to lifetime exposure concentrations protective of adverse, non-cancer health effects, and they assume all exposure to contaminants are from drinking water sources.

Environmental Media Evaluation Guides (EMEG) are comparison values developed by ATSDR for chemicals that are relatively toxic, frequently encountered at National Priority List (NPL) sites, and present a potential for human exposure. They are derived to protect the most sensitive members of the populations (e.g., children), and are not cut-off levels, but rather comparison values. They do not consider carcinogenic effects, chemical interaction, multiple route exposure, or other media-specific routes of exposure, and are very conservative concentration values designed to protect the public.

Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) have been established by the USEPA and are the maximum permissible level of contaminants in water which are delivered to any user of a public water system. These standards are well below levels for which health effects have been observed. These are enforceable limits that public water supplies must meet. Some MCLs are not health based and are set for aesthetic reasons.

Reference Dose Media Evaluation Guides (RMEGs) are estimates of a daily oral exposure to a chemical that is unlikely to produce any non-carcinogenic adverse health effects over a lifetime. They are based on USEPA reference dose (RfDs) and are conservative values designed to protect sensitive members of the population.


This James Day Paints Health Consultation was prepared by the Illinois Department of Public Health under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). It is in accordance with approved methodology and procedures existing at the time the health consultation was begun.

Gail D. Godfrey
Technical Project Officer
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

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

Richard E. Gillig
Chief, State Programs Section
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

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