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As a part of the PHA process, ATSDR gathered information about health concerns voiced bymembers of the community. In gathering this information, ATSDR interviewed several membersof the local community, the local public health department, the state health department, and somemembers of the Restoration Advisory Board. In addition, ATSDR held two public availabilitysessions in October, 2001 to meet with individuals. The purpose of these discussions was toidentify the major areas of community concern about TEAD. The majority of the concernsexpressed were of a general nature regarding the quality of the environment and public health ofthe Tooele Valley. Some people believed that certain diseases occur at higher than expectedrates. These included multiple sclerosis, birth defects, respiratory problems (predominantlyasthma), Parkinson's disease, and cancer. Few residents were specifically concerned aboutexposures to contaminants released from TEAD. In general, these residents believe that TEAD isjust one of several sources of environmental pollution in Tooele Valley.

This section consists of three separate topic areas. The first identifies some of the specificquestions and health concerns presented to ATSDR by community members and the agency'sresponses based on information that we were able to gather to address those concerns. Thesecond topic area provides general information, in a question/answer format, to address TooeleCounty residents' request for information about multiple sclerosis and its frequency ofoccurrence. The last topic area provides general information, in a question/answer format, toaddress community concerns about potential exposure from TEAD's open burn and opendetonation (OB/OD) activities.

ATSDR met with representatives of the Tooele County Health Department during the site visitsin January 2001 and October 2001 to obtain information on previous public health reports relatedto Tooele City, Grantsville, and Tooele County residents. Additional data from the TooeleCounty Health Department were used to update the information presented below.

Comment 1: How do the numbers of cancer cases and other diseases in Tooele Countycompare to those in other counties?

Response: To obtain more specific information about the health status of residents of TooeleCounty, ATSDR used information from Community Health Status Reports by the U.S.Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources and Service Administration(HRSA). These reports provide information on a variety of public health indicators for most U.S.counties. The results for a selected county can be compared to the range of values measured forother U.S. counties of similar size, population composition, and density. ATSDR reviewed theTooele County report published in July 2000 (Health Resources and Service Administration,2000).

ATSDR compared selected health indicators for Tooele County with health data for all U.S.counties, using the median value for each indicator. We also looked at the range of healthindicator values for peer counties--that is, counties that were most similar in size, density, andpopulation composition to Tooele County. Table T1 shows the values of these health indicatorsfor Tooele Country, the ranges of values that apply to 80% of the peer counties (i.e., the range ofvalues that are not extreme), and the median values for all U.S. counties. Tooele County's valuescompared favorably with the median values, and with the ranges for the peer counties, for mostof the indicators.

To provide additional perspective ATSDR also reviewed general indicators of health for the stateof Utah. Utah had the third highest life expectancy in the nation in 1990, at 77.7 years(Governor's Office of Planning and Budget 2001). Between 1993 and 1997, the average lifeexpectancy for Tooele County residents was 76.1 years. The range for the peer counties duringthis time period was 73.7 to 76.9 years and the median life expectancy for all U.S. counties was75.4 years.

Several residents expressed concern about the incidence of cancer in Tooele City and Grantsville.ATSDR was not able to locate published reports comparing cancer incidence at the city or townlevel. Some information is available for the county, state, and national levels. Based on theavailable data collected from 1993 through 1997, the American Cancer Society estimated that theoverall cancer incidence rate for both men and women in Utah was the third lowest in the nation.In this study, Utah also ranked lowest in overall cancer mortality for both men and women(American Cancer Society 2001). Based on data from 1994 through 1998, the American CancerSociety estimated that the overall cancer incidence rate for men in Utah was the fifth lowest inthe nation--fourth lowest for women. This study also estimated that Utah had the lowest overallcancer mortality rate for both men and women (American Cancer Society 2002).

Historically, Utah has had the lowest overall cancer mortality rate; this has been attributed toUtah also having the lowest smoking rate of any state in national surveys (Utah Cancer Registry1996). Cancer incidence has increased across the United States and within Utah since 1985. Butthis is believed to be, at least in part, due to increased screening and improvements in medicaltechnology that lead to earlier detection. So while the age-adjusted incidence rates for the UnitedStates and Utah have increased from the early 1970s to the early 1990s, the age-adjustedmortality rates have remained essentially constant for both groups (Utah Cancer Registry 1996).

ATSDR reviewed several reports prepared by state or county public health offices. The Utah'sHealthy People 2000 Health Status Indicators by Local Health District report (Bureau ofSurveillance and Analysis 1998) tabulates health statistics for the 12 health districts of Utah,including Tooele County. For 1994 through 1996, Tooele County had the highest rate of lungcancer deaths among all the health districts in Utah, although the rate was still significantly lowerthan the U.S. average. The Utah Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Local HealthDistrict Report, (Utah Department of Health 1999) indicated that Tooele County had the secondhighest percentage of residents who are current smokers, the second highest average number ofcigarettes smoked per day, and the lowest percentage of people trying to quit smoking. TheTooele County Department of Health considers smoking cessation and smoking preventioneducation for school children to be one of their primary objectives in improving public health(Myron Bateman, personal communication, January 2001).

Little definitive information exists on incidence rates of cancer for the cities and towns that makeup the majority of counties in the United States, including Tooele County. One exception is AReview of Cancer Rates in Grantsville, Utah (Utah Department of Health 1995a). According tothat source, 237 cancer cases were reported for Grantsville residents between 1973 and 1993. Theaverage age-adjusted incidence rate for Grantsville was 340.3 cancers per 100,000 people; forUtah the rate was 302.6 during the same time period. Forty different types of cancer werereported in Grantsville, and eighteen of those were reported three or more times. Five cancertypes accounted for approximately 50% of the total cancers: prostate (31 cases), colorectal (29cases), breast (25 cases), cervix (includes in situ) (18 cases), and lung/bronchial (15 cases). Thesefive cancers were also increasing statewide during this time period. Of the eighteen differenttypes of cancers reported three or more times in Grantsville, only two (cancer of the cervix andbrain/nervous system) occurred in significantly greater than expected numbers when comparedwith the state's rates for the entire 1973-1993 study period.

Years of research have identified a number of factors that have been associated with cancer.These include exposure to tobacco (use or second-hand smoke); a diet high in fat and low infruits, vegetables, and cereal grains; alcohol use; exposure to sunlight; and exposure to variousnatural and man-made chemicals ( Though epidemiologicalstudies suggest that smoking contributes to one-third of all cancer deaths and 85% of all lungcancer deaths in this country, it is generally not possible to isolate the cause of cancer in anindividual (; In general, the available datasuggest that cancer is no more prevalent in Tooele County than in the rest of Utah or the nation.

ATSDR also sought information on other illnesses, such as Parkinson's disease and somerespiratory ailments that have been identified as community concerns by ATSDR. Currently,insufficient data exist for descriptions or comparisons of these diseases' incidences at local, state,or national levels.

Table T2 shows the mortality rates of several common causes (as tracked by HRSA) for TooeleCounty. This table also shows the ranges and average values for the other Utah counties that hadreportable data, as well as the average value for all counties in the United States, for 1997. Table T3 shows the same information for each county in Utah.

Table T1.

Comparison of Selected Public Health Indicators for Tooele County and Other U.S. Countiesa
Public Health Indicator Tooele County Range Containing 80% of the Peer Counties Median Value for All U.S. Counties (1997)
Low birth weight
(< 2,500 grams)
Teen mothers
(< 18 years old)
Infant mortalityb
(deaths/1,000 live births)
Breast cancer deathsc26.515.2-32.128.6
Colon cancer deathsc21.813.5-23.221.6
Lung cancer deathsc41.424.5-62.558.1
Coronary heart diseasedeathsc123.8114.5-213.5216.0
Stroke deathsc49.343.8-67.362.0
Motor vehicle deathsc35.326.5-60.315.8
Suicide deathsc18.116.4-30.711.4

aData for 1993-1997 from National Center for Health Statistics, Vital Reporting System.
bThrough 12 months age.
cDeaths per 100,000 population, rate age-adjusted to year 2000 standard.

Table T2.

Comparison of Causes of Death for Tooele and Other Counties in Utah, as Identified by the Health Resources and Services Administration
  Breast Cancer Colon Cancer Lung Cancer Heart Disease Stroke
Tooele Countya26.521.841.4123.849.3
Number of Utahcounties with data1517212826
Range of values17.3-44.210.8-28.610.7-64.773.9-264.738.2-82.4

+/- standarddeviation











National valuesfor 1997a28.621.658.1216.062.0

aValues represent age-adjusted (Using 2000 U.S. Population as Standard) rates per 100,000 population.
From: Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). 2000.

Table T3.

Comparison of Selected Causes of Death From the Health Resources and Services Administration Database
County Population Life Expectancy
Death Rate From All Causes
Death Rate by Selected Causes
(deaths per 100,000 population)
Breast Cancer Colon Cancer Lung Cancer Heart Disease Stroke Motor Vehicle Injury
Beaver 5861 76.6 859.9     44.5 229.3 55.2 32.6
Box Elder 41102 77.2 818.6 17.3 15.3 21.7 158.5 80.3 22.9
Cache 84818 79.8 646.8 19.6 12.4 10.7 117.8 53.8 14.7
Carbon 20932 78.2 912 22.8 28.6 38.7 188 58.7 26.9
Daggett 754 75.2 665.9       211.6    
Davis 226062 78.8 793.2 28.8 15.6 28.3 156.4 82.4 13.2
Duchesne 14442 75.2 995.4 28.6 20.5 24.5 212.5 56.4 40.4
Emery 10875 75.4 855.4   15.7 29.6 166.2 53 33.4
Garfield 4205 76.4 720.7     24.9 194 62 46.5
Grand 8118 75.4 850.6 44.2 24.9 64.7 143.6 49.8 34.6
Iron 27747 77.9 782.7 32.2 10.8 25.8 156.7 38.2 26.7
Juab 7248 76.6 838.1 31.4 18 27 193.5 54.9 24.9
Kane 5828 76.4 761.9     21.5 174.3 58.9 23.8
Millard 12320 76.6 859.4 30 10.9 20.9 215.3 62.4 19.1
Morgan 6905 78.1 726.7       191.7 45.1  
Piute 1391 75.4 902.3       248.1 82.3  
Rich 1816 79.8 750.1       102.2    
Salt Lake 839896 77.2 817.6 24.1 16.7 26.7 140.4 61.6 16.5
San Juan 13688 76.4 690.6     19.6 152.7 43.8 62
Sanpete 20893 76.6 786.7 34.6 18 24 175.4 51.7 20.4
Summit 25752 78.1 593.4       73.9 47.8 23.2
Sevier 18064 76.6 819.6   21.5 24.6 187.9 75.2 16.7
Tooele 31410 76.1 900.9 26.5 21.8 41.4 123.8 49.3 35.3
Uintah 25513 75.2 925.8 32.1 12.8 31.7 170.8 56.5 39.3
Wasatch 12788 78.2 895.4       144 61 36.9
Washington 78614 78.7 716.2 29.3 14.8 27.4 128.4 58 21
Wayne 2368 75.4 865.1       264.7 77.3  
Weber 181596 76.9 816.1 25.2 17.3 25.7 165.4 72.2 16
National Values for 1997 75.4 923.2 28.6 21.6 58.1 216.0 62.0 15.8

Comment 2: How does the number of birth defects occurring in Tooele County compare to the numbers for other counties?

Response: The Utah Birth Defects Registry Report: Activities and 1995 Cases (Utah Department of Health 1997b) provided birth statistics for Utah by county. In 1995, 518 Tooele County women gave birth in Utah. Of those, there were three cases of neural tube defects, one case of oral-facial cleft, and one case of trisomy reported. For this 1-year reporting period, the incidence of neural tube defects was higher for Tooele County than the state of Utah and the rate of occurrence of both oral-facial cleft and trisomy were among the lowest in the state. Unfortunately, there is little information about the prevalence of these types of birth defects for most counties in the United States.

Comment 3: I live near Rush Valley and get my drinking water from my private well, as do my neighbors. My neighbor raises horses and says she needs to give them special medicine to ensure that they do not have miscarriages. What is in our water that could make horses miscarry and will it affect me?

Response: There is no information describing the water quality for private wells in Tooele County that we can review. We can tell that private residential wells in Rush Valley would not be affected by groundwater contaminants from TEAD. Groundwater flow in Tooele Valley generally has a northward component, and contaminated groundwater beneath TEAD would not impact Rush Valley.

ATSDR did gather some basic information about the causes of horse miscarriage and potential treatment or prevention methods. Equine herpesvirus infection 1 (EHV-1) may be a likely explanation for what is causing the high number of miscarriages. EHV-1 is also known as equine rhinopneumonitis and equine abortion virus. It is a relatively common, highly contagious virus found all over the world. Most commonly EHV-1 causes respiratory disease and abortions in adult horses. Symptoms in an adult horse can be mild and barely noticeable. If a pregnant mare becomes infected with the virus, though, it can enter the body of the foal (i.e., baby horse) and damage internal organs, especially the liver and kidneys. This typically results in the death and subsequent abortion of the foal. If the infection occurs near full term, it may result in a stillbirth or delivery of a sickly foal that does not survive long. There is no specific treatment other than attempting to relieve symptoms to make the horse comfortable. Vaccination has proven to be an effective preventive measure. It is commonly recommended that all horses be vaccinated several times a year and that pregnant mares be vaccinated at 5, 7, and 9 months of gestation.

None of the information reviewed suggested that this virus could affect humans or be spread by contaminants in the groundwater. These Web sites provide information about the effect of EHV-1 on horses:

Comment 4: I rely on my own private well for my domestic water use, including drinking water. How can I be sure my water is safe to drink?

Response: To drill a well in the county, one must have a permit from the Tooele County Health Department. The permitting process includes providing a map, drawn to scale, showing the proposed well location is over 100 feet from any pollution source. The well must be drilled and prepared by a permitted driller. After the well is completed, it is sampled for a variety of metals, inorganic chemicals, and bacterial contaminants. Sampling can also be performed for VOCs, at the well owner's request. Contact the Tooele County Health Department for more information and a schedule of fees. ATSDR recommends that private drinking water wells be resampled periodically to ensure that the water quality has not degraded over time. The resampling rates depend on a variety of factors, including the initial water quality, the number of other wells in the general area, and the land use in the vicinity of the well.

EPA is a good source of additional information. Its publication Drinking Water From Household Wells (available at suggests drinking water wells be tested annually for total coliform bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids, and pH levels. Other analytes can be included if they are suspected to be a problem. The Tooele County Health Department can help with sample collection, shipment to the laboratory, and interpretation of results. Fees for these services vary.

Comment 5: Is the air quality in Tooele County hazardous to my health?

Response: No. Although limited monitoring data are available for the Tooele Valley, the air monitoring site is in Grantsville and monitoring results indicate that the air quality meets EPA's NAAQS standards for all of the analytes tested. The Utah DEQ, Division of Air Quality (DAQ), established an air monitoring station at 90 South Park Street in Grantsville on April 27, 1993. Air monitoring has been conducted at various times for PM10, PM2.5, SO2, Cl2, and HCl. Tables T4 and T5 compare the measured results for PM10, PM2.5, and SO2 with the applicable NAAQS. The monitoring conducted at Grantsville indicates that that portion of Tooele County meets all of the NAAQS standards except for SO2. This failure to meet the SO2 standard was believed to be due to local smelter operations.

DAQ selected the monitoring location, and the pollutant(s) to be monitored, based on emission inventory and air pollution dispersion modeling results. DAQ monitored HCl and Cl2 at the same Grantsville monitoring station to identify if Grantsville residents were exposed to hazardous levels of HCl or Cl2 released by Magnesium Corporation of America (MagCorp) operations. Those monitoring efforts are described in the Utah Department of Health's April 1997 Health Assessment MagCorp Chlorine and Hydrogen Chloride Gas Emissions, Grantsville, Utah report (Utah Department of Health 1997a). Table T6 compares the measured results for the monitoring of HCl and Cl2 to available standards. Because the air monitoring data for Tooele County are limited, ATSDR also looked at the emission inventories for both Tooele and Salt Lake Counties. Table T7 compares the 1996 emission inventories for these counties.

During the monitoring periods, the measured level only exceeded the standard once. Anecdotally, that occurrence was attributed to a nearby road repair project. These data indicate that the air quality in Grantsville is not unhealthy.

Table T4.

Comparison of Airborne Particulate Matter Measured in Grantsville to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards
Pollutant Year Annual Average
Highest 24-Hour Average
Second-Highest 24-Hour Average
NAAQS Annual Mean
NAAQS 24-Hour Average

aNAAQS for PM2.5 are presented for information. A 1999 federal court ruling blocks implementation of these standards.

Data available from

g/m3: micrograms per cubic meter
NAAQS: National Ambient Air Quality Standards
PM10: particles less than 10 microns in diameter
PM2.5: particles less than 2.5 microns in diameter

Table T5.

Comparison of Sulfur Dioxide Air Monitoring Results From Grantsville to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards
Year Highest 24-Hour Average
Second-Highest 24-Hour Average
NAAQS 24-Hour Average
Highest 3-Hour Average
Second-Highest 3-Hour Average
NAAQS 3-Hour Average

Data available from

NAAQS: National Ambient Air Quality Standards

ppm: parts per million

Table T6.

Comparison of Hydrogen Chloride and Chlorine Gas Air Monitoring Results From Grantsville to the Health-Based Screening Values Identified by the Utah Department of Healtha
Compound Start of Monitoring End of Monitoring Average Value Highest Value Odor Threshold Screening Valuea
HydrogenchlorideApril 19931995<.0013 parts permillion.014 parts permillion.77 parts permillion1.0 parts permillion
ChlorinegasDecember1996March 1997~.003 parts permillion.022 parts permillion.31 parts permillion.5 parts permillion

aHealth-Based Screening Values were identified by the Utah Department of Health as a result of their literature survey. They are reported in Health Assessment MagCorp Chlorine and Hydrogen Chloride Gas Emissions, Grantsville, Utah (Utah Department of Health 1997a). The data in this table come from the same document.

Table T7.

Comparison of Tooele and Salt Lake Counties Emission Inventories for 1996
  Tooele County Salt Lake County
Total PM10 emissions (tons per year) 5,740 34,118
Total SO2 emissions (tons per year) 277 4,922
Total NOx emissions (tons per year) 5,819 41,833
Total VOC emissions (tons per year) 21,105 56,149
Total CO emissions (tons per year) 36,468 261,499

Source: Utah Department of Environmental Quality 1996.

CO: carbon monoxide
NOx: nitrogen oxides
PM10: particles less than 10 microns in diameter
SO2: sulfur dioxide
VOC: volatile organic compound

Multiple Sclerosis: Questions and Answers

What is multiple sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neurological disorder that affects the central nervous system (CNS), including the brain and spinal cord. Surrounding and protecting the nerve fibers of the CNS is a fatty tissue called myelin, which helps nerve fibers conduct electrical impulses. MS is characterized by inflammation and damage to myelin in multiple areas, leaving scar tissue. When myelin is destroyed or damaged, the ability of the nerves to conduct electrical impulses to and from the brain is disrupted, producing the various symptoms of MS.

What are the symptoms of multiple sclerosis?

Symptoms of multiple sclerosis are highly variable and include fatigue; tingling; numbness; painful sensations; blurred or double vision; muscle weakness; impaired balance; spasticity; tremor; changes in bladder, bowel, and sexual function; cognitive changes such as forgetfulness or difficulty concentrating; speech and swallowing problems; and mood swings. Symptoms can come and go, appear in any combination, and be mild, moderate, or severe. Some people experience only a few of these symptoms while others experience many more.

Is multiple sclerosis a rare disease? How many people are affected with multiple sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis was among the first diseases to be scientifically described. Autopsies in 1838 clearly show what we now recognize as MS. Current estimates suggests it affects approximately 200,000 to 400,000 persons in the United States--350,000 persons is a common estimate (Curtis Noonan, MS Active Source, msn Health, personal correspondence, 2002).

Multiple sclerosis predominantly affects Caucasians and is two to three times more prevalent in women than men. Typically it strikes people between the ages of 20 and 40. Worldwide, MS occurs more frequently in the higher latitudes than in the lower latitudes closer to the equator. In the United States, MS also occurs more frequently in the northern regions (Curtis Noonan, personal correspondence, 2002). The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Health Interview Survey data suggest that for the western region of the United States (a large region that includes Utah), the prevalence of MS was 139 cases per 100,000 for women and 56 cases per 100,000 for men (Noonan et al. 2002).

How many cases of multiple sclerosis are there in Tooele County?

Currently there are no established federal- or state-sponsored MS disease registries. Therefore there are no accurate estimates of the number of MS cases for Tooele County, and there are no accurate estimates for other counties to compare against estimates for Tooele County.

How do you get multiple sclerosis? Is it contagious?

The specific causes of MS are unknown. Some research suggests that it is caused by a combination of environmental exposures, viral infections, immunologic factors, or a genetic predisposition to autoimmune disease. However, no definitive causal relationship has been identified to date.

Although some researchers suspect that viral infections play a role in the onset of MS, there is no evidence to suggest that MS in either infectious or contagious. If a virus or viruses are involved, they are believed to only affect people with a genetic predisposition to develop MS.

What specific environmental factors are associated with Multiple Sclerosis disease clusters?

No proven association or direct causative link has been established between environmental exposures and cases of MS. An environmental component, viral or otherwise, is suspected because of changing MS risk observed among some migrant populations, incomplete occurrence of the disease among identical (or monozygotic) twins, and the fact that the disease is not evenly distributed geographically.

What is ATSDR doing to study multiple sclerosis?

ATSDR recently collaborated with the Texas Department of Health on a retrospective cohort study of MS cases from a community living next to a metal smelter. The number of MS cases in the community was two times higher than expected. Recommendations of this study included conducting a national multi-site case-control study to better determine if metals exposure could be a possible cause of MS. In 2002, ATSDR partnered with several state and local health departments, as well as academic researchers, in Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, Ohio, Oregon, and Texas to investigate MS in some of the communities concerned about this condition. These efforts will help develop procedures and data collection instruments for case ascertainment and verification in other communities concerned about MS.

You can obtain more information about these efforts by contacting the ATSDR Information Center toll-free at 1-888-42-ATSDR or 1-888-422-8737, or by email at

Where can I get additional information about multiple sclerosis?

There are several resources available for those who are interested in learning more about MS. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society provides comprehensive Internet-based resources including useful facts about the disease, historical background information, current research initiatives, most current treatments, and more. The Society's Web address is

The Utah State Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, located in Salt Lake City, can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-527-8116. They provide a variety of informational, physical therapy, and support programs and events. Their Web address is

Much of the general information presented in this section is based on summary articles presented in the following Web sites:

(Search on "multiple sclerosis" for current news articles and related Web sites)

Questions and Answers About ATSDR's Review of Community Exposure From TEAD Open Burn/Open Detonation Activities

The following questions and answers summarize the basic community concerns regarding exposure to chemicals released during OB/OD operations.

Have any tests been done to find out what chemicals are released into the environment from these activities?

Yes. The Army has performed several different tests designed to:

  • Identify the chemicals released into the environment during OB/OD operations;
  • Measure the quantity of chemicals released;
  • Measure the amount of chemicals in the plume immediately after detonation; and
  • Measure the amount of chemicals deposited into the surrounding areas.

What kind of information is available from these tests?

The Army bang-box tests identify the major contaminants released by OB/OD operations and roughly quantifies the mass released based on the net explosive weight of the munitions. Environmental sampling at TEAD and other sites confirms the identity of the major contaminants in the plume under most OB/OD operating conditions, and that off-base soil has likely not been contaminated by TEAD OB/OD activities. Air modeling simulations predict that OB/OD operations could affect the 24-hour ambient air quality for a few days each year, but for the majority of the year OB/OD operations are not expected to produce ambient air concentrations above the NAAQS. Air monitoring results in Grantsville confirm that the air quality there is within the NAAQS standards and does not appear to be affected by OB/OD operations.

What are the major constituents released in OB/OD plumes at TEAD?

Water vapor and CO2 are the major by-products of the combustion of all types of materials containing carbon and hydrogen. According to the reports reviewed, the other chemicals released into the plume in the greatest amounts are PM10, CO, nitric oxide (NO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and total non-methane hydrocarbons.

Should I be concerned about being exposed to contaminants in the OB/OD plume?

No. It is unlikely that local residents will be exposed to hazardous contaminants in the plume because the potential exposure is somewhat intermittent (typically less than 90 days per year) and the measured PM10 data from Grantsville indicate that OB/OD operations do not influence the PM10 concentrations there. Additionally, the PM10 samples obtained between and 1 mile from the OB/OD range at TEAD indicate that concentrations of metals in the PM10 are much lower than the comparison values and soil samples collected from TEAD property indicate that the metal concentrations are within the range that would be acceptable for residential use. Soil concentrations in Grantsville and other surrounding communities are not expected to be elevated due to OB/OD operations.

What about the cumulative effect caused by 40 years of OB/OD activities? Could the total exposure affect our health?

Several years ago TEAD began to reduce the amount of explosives detonated in each pit to the current levels. Air sampling data are not available for the time period when larger amounts of explosives were used, so it is not possible to estimate the actual concentration of PM10 or other constituents in the air. However, the soil sampling results (samples obtained from TEAD property representing near, downwind, and background soil compared to the OB/OD activity) indicate that TEAD soil does not contain high levels of metals that could result in adverse health effects. This suggests that the chemicals released during the OB/OD operations are not accumulating in the soil.

Residents of nearby communities are not expected to experience any type of adverse health effect resulting from contact with the soil in their yards or neighborhoods due to OB/OD operations. The potential exposure to chemicals in the plume as a result of the higher amounts of explosive materials used in the past is indeterminate.

What if people decide to build homes near the southwest corner of TEAD?

This evaluation was directed to the areas that are currently used as residential property. ATSDR recommends that if land adjacent to the southwest corner of TEAD is to be considered for residential use, environmental data and OB/OD operational practices be re-evaluated to ensure that the proposed land use is appropriate.


ATSDR recognizes that infants and children may be more sensitive than adults to environmental exposure in communities faced with contamination of their water, soil, air, or food. This sensitivity is a result of the following factors: 1) children are more likely to be exposed to certain media like soil when they play outdoors; 2) children are shorter and therefore may be more likely to breathe dust, soil, and vapors close to the ground; and 3) children are smaller than adults and therefore may receive a higher dose of chemical exposure relative to their body weight. Children also can sustain permanent damage if exposed to toxic substances during critical growth stages. ATSDR is committed to evaluating children's special interests at sites such as Tooele Army Depot as part of its Children's Health Considerations.

ATSDR evaluated the likelihood that children living at or near TEAD may have been or are currently being exposed to contaminants at levels of health concern. TEAD does not have any on-site housing and children are generally not allowed on TEAD. There are no day care centers on site and none are expected in the future. There is one school, the Tooele Alternative High School, located at TEAD. This school has approximately 42 full-time and 100 part-time students and includes 9th through 12th grades. ATSDR did not identify any situations at TEAD in which children were likely to have been exposed to contaminants at levels that pose a health concern. The parents of children who lived in the rental units with lead-based paint were informed by the rental management company about the potential that lead-based paint was in their homes and received information about how they could protect their children. ATSDR also did not identify any situations where children living off site near TEAD would have been or are currently being exposed to site-related contaminants, either through soil, drinking water, surface water, or air.


ATSDR's review of available information indicates that people residing near TEAD have not been, and are not now being, exposed to site-related contaminants at levels that could result in adverse health effects. After evaluating available environmental information, ATSDR has drawn the following conclusions regarding media- and site-specific exposures:

  • Exposure to contaminants in groundwater from on-site drinking-water wells poses nopast or current public health hazard. Currently two wells are used as potable watersources at TEAD. These wells are located in the deep alluvial aquifer and are upgradientof any sources of contamination. Site-related VOCs have not been detected in either ofthese wells. TEAD follows a schedule approved by the State of Utah's DEQ, Division ofDrinking Water, for testing drinking water. A source-protection plan for drinking waterhas been developed for each well, and all monitoring results have met both state andfederal standards for safe drinking water.

  • Exposure to contaminants in groundwater from off-site municipal or private wells poses no past or current public health hazard. Most groundwater within 1 mile of TEAD is used for livestock or irrigation. The city of Grantsville operates a municipal well approximately 2,000 feet from the TEAD northwest boundary, but this well is approximately 4 miles west of the closest TCE-contaminated groundwater monitoring well.

  • Exposure to contaminants in groundwater from off-site municipal or private wells posesno apparent future public health hazard. The northeast boundary groundwater plumecontinues to migrate off site. Installation of only low-production domestic wells ispermitted near TEAD. All other water rights must be transferred from already existingsources. If, in the future, private domestic wells are installed downgradient of the TCEplume, these groundwater sources could result in individuals being exposed to low levelsof VOCs. Current exposures from the northeast boundary TCE plume are not expectedbecause, according to Tooele City representatives, residents near the northeast boundaryof TEAD are connected to the Tooele City municipal water supply; and all municipalwells meet state and federal safe drinking water standards. Private wells located within 1mile of the northeast corner or north-central boundary of TEAD may be affected bythe TCE plume; water quality is appropriate for irrigation, stock watering, andindustrial uses.

  • Exposures to air contaminants from open burning/open detonation activities at TEAD donot pose a public health hazard for residents living in close proximity to the depot. TheOB/OD unit has been in operation since the 1940s and continues today on a reducedschedule. OB/OD activities, such as munitions detonation and propellant burning, areconducted under a controlled environment and specific meteorologic conditions. EPA-criteria pollutants that have been measured at an air monitoring station located inGrantsville have not exceeded their respective standards. TEAD has evaluated concernsregarding OB/OD operations and has taken measures to reduce both the noise impact andparticulate emissions from OB/OD activities.

  • Since 1993, local residents have not been exposed to contaminants from the OB/ODoperations that would be expected to cause adverse health effects. Before 1990,detonations were permitted at TEAD that were as much as 7 times greater (by weight)than those currently allowed. No air monitoring was conducted in Grantsville at that time.Therefore, ATSDR considers the public health hazard category to be indeterminate for exposures in Grantsville to past air contaminants from OD operations before 1990.

  • Exposures to OEW at the agricultural area immediately adjacent to the OB/OD areaduring farming was a past, and is a current, public health hazard. ATSDR reevaluatedthe potential public health hazards associated with OEW on the agricultural property. Theland continues to be used for farming, and the property has not been completely clearedof OEW. According to TEAD officials, the OB/OD process has been modified to preventadditional OEW materials from entering any portion of this property. In addition theproperty has been included in the Military Munitions Response Progam to remove OEWfrom the uncleared sections. However, existing OEW that has not been removed is apublic health hazard because the potential for detonation, however remote, fromcontinued farming could possibly result in a health impact. ATSDR recommends that the uncleared portion of the land not be farmed until clearance actions are complete.

  • Exposures from lead-contaminated soil at the skeet range does not pose a public health hazard. Soil within the skeet range was contaminated with lead, however, access to this area was restricted and opportunities for exposure were generally very limited. Remediation of this area was completed in the fall of 2002. Following approval by DEQ, the area will be available for residential use.


The public health action plan (PHAP) for Tooele Army Depot contains a description of actions to be taken by ATSDR and other government agencies at and in the vicinity of the site upon completion of this PHA. The PHAP is designed to ensure that this PHA not only identifies public health hazards, but provides a plan of action designed to mitigate and prevent adverse human health effects resulting from exposure to hazardous substances in the environment. The plan includes a commitment on the part of ATSDR to follow up and ensure that the plan is implemented. The public health actions completed and ongoing or planned are as follows:

Actions Completed

  1. In July 1991, TEAD installed a groundwater extraction system at the north (central) depot boundary using air stripping and an injection well system for returning groundwater back to the aquifer.

  2. As a result of the decision to realign TEAD under the Defense Closure and RealignmentAct of 1990, the Tooele Reuse Committee released the Tooele Army Depot Conversionand Reuse Plan in 1995.

  3. A Utah Department of Environmental Quality contractor was allowed access to the Bolinder well beginning in April 1997 and five rounds of water samples were collected and analyzed to determine the extent of off-site plume migration.

  4. TEAD implemented a policy to reduce the maximum weight of materials that could be detonated in the OB/OD area. The maximum amount detonated during any single event is currently 750 pounds net explosive weight per pit. This maximum weight limit for explosive materials has been in place since 1996. Between 1992 and 1996 the maximum amount detonated allowed for any single event was lowered to 1,500 pounds net explosive weight from a previously allowed maximum weight of 3,000 pounds net explosive weight.

  5. ATSDR completed and released a health consultation in February 1999 that evaluatedoff-site ordnance and explosive waste (OEW) on a privately owned active agriculturalcrop area.

  6. TEAD installed 11 new off-site monitoring wells during the winter and spring of 2001 to delineate the extent of the northeast boundary TCE groundwater plume.

Actions Ongoing or Planned

  1. TEAD continues to monitor on- and off-site groundwater to better characterize the extent of the TCE plumes.

  2. Utah DEQ and Tooele City are working to ensure that if well #2 is used to meet domestic water needs, the water quality monitoring program will be protective of public health.

  3. The remaining OEW on the private farm property adjacent to the OB/OD area will be cleared as a result of the properties inclusion in the Military Munitions Response Program.


Susan Neurath, Ph.D.
Environmental Health Scientist
Federal Facilities Assessment Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

Len Young, M.S.
Eastern Research Group


Diane Jackson
Environmental Health Scientist
Federal Facilities Assessment Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

Gary Campbell, Ph.D.
Environmental Health Scientist
Federal Facilities Assessment Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation


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Department of the Army. 1997. TEAD drinking water analysis results for lead and copper. February 26, 1997.

Department of the Army. 1998a. TEAD drinking water analysis results for lead and copper testing for systems 23022. January 21, 1998.

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Additional Web Sites Consulted for this PHA

Next Section     Table of Contents The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
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