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Investigations of the Starr Property began in 1989 following complaints to CT DEP about odors. Soils, waste, soil gas, ground water, domestic wells, surface water, sediments and air have beensampled during these investigations.

The following discussion and data tables present the contaminants identified for further evaluation.

Contaminants are presented by the media in which they were found. The contamination is alsobroken into on-site and off-site. The listed contaminant does not mean that it will cause adversehealth effects from exposures. The list indicates which contaminants will be discussed further inthe public health assessment. These contaminants were selected based upon the following factors:

  1. Comparison of on-site and off-site concentrations with public health assessment comparison values for noncarcinogenic and carcinogenic endpoints.
  2. Community health concerns.
  3. Concentrations of contaminants on and off site.
  4. Comparison of on-site and off-site concentrations.
  5. Field data quality, laboratory data quality and sample design.

We evaluate these contaminants in the subsequent sections of the public health assessment anddetermine whether exposure to them has public health significance.

Tables in Appendix E include the comparison values that were used to identify contaminants forfurther evaluation.



In August of 1989, CT DEP collected surface soil (0-2 inch depth) and waste samples in fivelocations within the areas of obvious contamination. All five samples were tested for semivolatileorganic compounds, four of the five samples were tested for metals and one of the five samples wastested for volatile organic compounds and cyanide. (See Appendix D, Sampling locations)

During the Remedial Investigation, soil and waste samples were collected at twenty locations. Samples were taken at varied depths including borings. These samples were analyzed for metals,semivolatile organic compounds, volatile organic compounds and cyanide. (See Appendix D,Sampling locations)

Tables 1 and 2 list the contaminants identified for further evaluation. Table 1 represents samplingof surface soil, 0-2 inches, and Table 2 represents sampling of soil and waste deeper than 2 inches.

Table 1.

Concentrations of Contaminants Identified for Further Evaluation Surface Soil 0-2 inch depths On-Site
cyanide (total)180-640
*PPM-parts per million
*ND-not detected
See Appendix E for complete table with comparison values

Table 2.

Concentrations of Contaminants Identified for Further Evaluation Subsurface Soil Deeper than 2 inchesOn-Site
cyanide (total)ND-582
cyanide (amenable)ND-502
*PPM-parts per million
*ND-not detected
See Appendix E for complete table with comparison values

Because the use of dirt bikes and all terrain vehicles has disrupted soils in areas of obviouscontamination, we looked at subsurface soil contamination as part of our exposure assessment. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, such as acenaphthene, fluorene, phenanthrene andbenzo(a)pyrene, were detected at higher concentrations in surface soils as was lead and totalcyanide. Arsenic was detected at higher concentrations in subsurface soil. There was no amenablecyanide detected in surface soil but it was detected in subsurface soil. Amenable cyanide is cyanidethat is available for reaction within the human body if exposure were to occur.

Soil Gas Survey

A soil gas survey was done on-site to screen for the presence of volatile organic compounds in thesubsurface soils and to determine whether coal gasification waste or other volatile organiccompounds were in soil and groundwater. On May 29, 1992, Malcolm Pirnie, Inc. surveyed a 200square foot area where obvious waste was present. Twenty-five samples were taken.

Volatile organic compounds were detected at very low levels in the southeastern corner of thesurvey area. These readings correlated with observable surface waste and did not indicate thatsubstantial amounts of buried organic wastes were present.

Ground Water Monitoring Wells

Eleven ground water monitoring wells were sampled during the Remedial Investigation. (SeeAppendix D, Well locations) Eight shallow overburden wells and three deep wells were sampledin two rounds. During these two sampling rounds, ground water was sampled for volatile organiccompounds, semivolatile compounds, metals and cyanide. Table 3 lists the contaminants identifiedfor further evaluation.

Table 3.

Concentrations of Contaminants Identified for Further EvaluationGround Water Monitoring Wells On-Site
cyanide (total)ND-230
cyanide (amenable)ND-90
*PPB- parts per billion
*ND-not detected
See Appendix E for complete table with comparison values

Carbon disulfide was detected in one shallow well during the first round of sampling but was notdetected in that same well during the second round of sampling. Xylene and toluene were detectedin one shallow well during the second round of sampling. These contaminants were found at levelswell below comparison values. The results of the deep groundwater samples indicate that wastedisposal has not adversely affected deep groundwater quality.


Leachate was sampled during the Remedial Investigation at three locations. (See Appendix D,Sampling locations) These samples were analyzed for volatile organic compounds, semivolatile organic compounds, cyanide and metals. Table 4 lists the contaminants identified for further evaluation.

Table 4.

Concentrations of Contaminants Identified for Further Evaluation Leachate On-Site
cyanide (total)40-500
cyanide (amenable)ND-500
*PPB-parts per billion
*ND-not detected
See Appendix E for complete table with comparison values

Toluene, xylene and carbon disulfide were also detected in leachate at concentrations below levelsof health concern.

Sediment and Surface Water

In May 1990, CT DEP collected seven surface water samples and nine sediment samples on-site.(See Appendix D, Sampling locations) These samples were analyzed for volatile organiccompounds, semivolatile organic compounds, cyanide and metals. Table 5 and 6 list thecontaminants identified for further evaluation.

Table 5.

Concentration of Contaminants Identified for Further Evaluation Sediment On-Site
cyanide (total)0.04-270
cyanide (amenable)ND-240
*PPM-parts per million
*ND-not detected
See Appendix E for complete table with comparison values

Table 6.

Concentration of Contaminants Identified for Further Evaluation Surface Water On-Site
cyanide (total)ND-1.4
cyanide (amenable)ND-1.1
*PPM-parts per million
*ND-not detected
See Appendix E for complete table with comparison values

No volatile or semivolatile organic compounds were detected in surface water except fornaphthalene. Concentrations of volatile and semivolatile compounds were very low in sediments. The gullies and pond drain into a wetland area that feeds the Scantic River. Migration ofcontaminants from on-site surface water to off-site areas is possible.

Ambient Air

In October, 1990, CT DEP conducted one day of on-site air sampling at one upwind, twodownwind, and two on-site locations with obvious soil contamination. (See Appendix D, Samplinglocations) Sorbent tube samples were used during sampling events of thirty minutes each. Thesampling included volatile organic compounds, cyanide, and petroleum distillates.

In December, 1991, CT DEP conducted one day of air screening tests in areas where odors werestrong versus areas where odors were not evident. Nine test sites were sampled for phenol andhydrogen cyanide using detector tubes. There was only one positive sample of hydrogen cyanidehowever the detector tube had expired so the hydrogen cyanide concentration of 0.25 ppm wasapproximated. Hydrogen cyanide was not detected during any of the more thorough air samplingevents therefore the result of 0.25 ppm is considered only qualitatively.

On February 22 and 23, 1992, two days of air sampling was performed. Volatile organiccompounds, semivolatile organic compounds and hydrogen cyanide were sampled for. Three on-site locations were sampled for seven hour periods. (See Appendix D, Sampling locations) Thethree on-site sampling locations included areas of obvious soil contamination and a leachateoutbreak area. Toluene and styrene were the only two contaminants detected at concentrations wellbelow health comparison values.

In August, 1992, additional air sampling was conducted for one twenty-four hour period. Hightemperatures and low winds increased the likelihood of capturing a "worst case scenario" withrespect to pollutant off-gassing from the soil. Samples were tested for forty-three volatile organiccompounds and twenty polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. One on-site sample was taken in an areaof obvious soil contamination. Seven VOC's and five PAH's were detected at concentrations similarto background and well below levels of public health concern.

The characteristic almond-like odor of cyanide has been identified at the site, however air samplinghas not quantified cyanide either on-site or off-site.

Table 7 lists the contaminants identified for further evaluation detected in ambient air. The tableincludes contaminants detected during all of the ambient air sampling events. The sampling dateindicates the date that the highest concentrations was detected.

Table 7.

Concentration of Contaminants Identified for Further Evaluation Ambient Air On-Site
*PPB-parts per billion
*ND-not detected
See Appendix E for complete table with comparison values


Soil Gas Survey

Two phases of soil gas surveys were done in the residential areas northwest of the site in Septemberof 1992 by Malcolm Pirnie, Inc. Phase one screened for the presence of volatile organic compoundsand phase two was done to determine whether any volatile organic compounds detected were fromburied waste.

Results of the soil gas survey indicate that while low levels of non-methane volatile organiccompounds were detected in the residential soil gas survey, they are not related to coal gasificationwastes and are likely due to background.

Sediment and Surface Water

Off-site surface water and sediment samples were taken in the Scantic River in September 1989 bythe CT DEP and during the Remedial Investigation. CT DEP sampling in 1989 included threesampling locations, one upstream, one downstream and one adjacent to the site. (See Appendix D,Sampling locations) Sampling during the Remedial Investigation included ten locations. (SeeAppendix D, Sampling locations) Tables 8 and 9 list the contaminants identified for further evaluation.

Table 8.

Concentration of Contaminants Identified for Further Evaluation Sediment Off-Site
cyanide (total)ND-10
cyanide (amenable)ND-7.7
*PPM-parts per million
*ND-not detected
See Appendix E for complete table with comparison values

Table 9.

Concentration of Contaminants Identified for Further Evaluation Surface Water Off-Site
cyanide (total)ND-.21
cyanide (amenable)ND-0.03
*PPM-parts per million
*ND-not detected
See Appendix E for complete table with screening values

The highest concentrations of contaminants were found in samples adjacent to or down stream fromthe site indicating that migration of contaminants through surface water is occurring.

Ambient Air

During the February 22 and 23, 1992, air sampling event, four off-site sampling locations werelocated in the residential area. (See Appendix D, Sampling locations) Odors were present duringthese sampling events. Toluene and styrene were detected at two of the four homes. The highestconcentrations of toluene and styrene, were well below levels of health concern.

Four off-site sampling locations were monitored during the August 1992 sampling event whichoccurred over one twenty-four hour period. Ten volatile organic compounds and five polycyclicaromatic hydrocarbons were detected in the residential areas. Four of the volatile organiccompounds detected in the residential areas were not detected in the on-site sample. Drivewaysealing was occurring in the residential neighborhood during the testing. This could explain thelevels of PAHs found in residential areas and not on-site. Table 10 lists the contaminants identifiedfor further evaluation in the off-site ambient air sampling.

Table 10.

Concentration of Contaminants Identified for Further Evaluation Ambient Air Off-Site
*PPB-parts per billion
*ND-not detected
See Appendix E for complete table with comparison values

Private Wells

Private wells approximately 2,000 feet south of the site in East Windsor were sampled on severaloccasions in 1989 and 1990 by CT DEP.

In August of 1989 five homes on Melrose Place were sampled for physical parameters,hydrocarbons, organohalides, heavy metals and cyanide. During this sampling, no organics orhydrocarbons were detected in any of the five wells. Low concentrations of cyanide were detectedin three of the wells, the highest concentration was 0.03 ppm. The Action Level for cyanide inwater is 0.20 ppm.

In September of 1989, four homes on Yosky Road were sampled for physical parameters,hydrocarbons, organohalides, semivolatile organics, heavy metals and cyanide. During thissampling, trace concentrations of 1,1,1-trichloroethane (<1ppb) were detected in all four wells. Twowells also had trace levels of silver (0.008 ppm).

In October of 1989, three homes on Melrose, previously sampled during the August 1989 samplingand one home on Yosky, previously sampled in September of 1989 were again sampled. Nocyanide or volatile organic compounds were detected in confirmatory sampling. All otherparameters were well within acceptable water quality parameters.

In October of 1990 a deep and shallow well on Yosky were sampled. The resident complainedabout a sheen on water drawn from the shallow well. Acetone (220 ppb), toluene (370 ppb) andmethyl ethyl ketone (470 ppb) were detected in the shallow well. Nothing was found above healthcomparison values in the deep well.

In November of 1990, two additional homes on Yosky were sampled. These homes were on eitherside of the property with the shallow and deep wells. Nothing was found above health comparisonvalues in either of the wells.


Environmental data was collected at the Starr property by CT DEP and Malcolm Pirnie, Inc.. TheQA/QC procedures outlined as part of the Remedial Investigation Work Plan were reviewed andappeared to be satisfactory. QA/QC procedures for a variety of sampling activities conducted byCT DEP were not reviewed. Some data from these sampling events is questionable. Air samplingconducted by CT DEP in December of 1991 utilized sorbent tubes for hydrogen cyanide withexpired dates. These results were approximated. In addition, one private well sample was high inacetone and methyl ethyl ketone suggesting laboratory contamination.


No physical hazards were identified.


In this section we evaluate whether residents were, are, or could be exposed to contamination on thesite or migrating from the site. In order for an exposure to be complete five elements must bepresent: a source of contamination, transport through an environmental medium, a point ofexposure, a route of human exposure and an exposed population. A potential exposure pathwayexists if one of the five elements is missing but could exist. An exposure pathway can be eliminatedif at least one of the elements is missing and will never be present.


Soil Pathway

Soil contamination has resulted from historic waste disposal practices. Past, present and futureexposures are possible from contamination of surface and subsurface soils on-site. People whotrespass on the site maybe exposed to contamination in the soil through incidental ingestion,inhalation of soil particles, and dermal contact. Individuals who ride dirt bikes and all-terrainvehicles are at greatest risk due to the disruption of the soil during these activities. The exposed,unvegetated areas on site are the most likely exposure points and also represent the areas where themost significant soil contamination was found. Surface and subsurface soils have beencontaminated with naphthalene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and some metals including lead,arsenic and cyanide.

Ambient Air Pathway

Past, present and future exposures are possible from contamination of the ambient air. Inhalationof contaminants in the air may occur on-site and in nearby residential areas. Volatile organiccompounds have been detected in the air both on-site and in the residential neighborhoods. Odorshave also been evident in these areas. On-site activities including dirt bike riding in areas of obvioussoil contamination, may cause soil contaminants to become airborne and dispersed into residentialareas.

Ground Water Pathway -Private Wells

Past, present and future exposures to contaminated water are possible for residents drinking waterfrom private wells on the Enfield, East Windsor line, south of the Starr property. Lowconcentrations of cyanide have been found in several private wells. In addition, acetone, toluene,and methyl ethyl ketone were detected in one shallow well. These results are questionable,however, due to possible laboratory contamination.

Surface Water and Sediment

Past, present and future exposure to contaminated sediment and surface water may occur forindividuals who trespass on the site or recreate in the down stream areas of the Scantic River. Trespassers on the site may come in direct contact with leachate, surface water and sediment whileengaging in recreational activities including dirt bike riding. Dermal contact with site contaminantsis possible. Leachate, surface water and sediments have been contaminated with cyanide, benzene,naphthalene and arsenic.

The most significant contamination of sediments and surface water was found on-site, however,cyanide and arsenic were detected in off-site samples. This is likely the result of contaminanttransport in surface water from the site to the Scantic River.


A. Toxicological Evaluation

In this section, we discuss the adverse health effects that could occur in people exposed to sitecontaminants. To understand the health effects that might be caused by a specific chemical, it ishelpful to review factors related to how the human body processes such a chemical. Those factorsinclude the exposure concentration (how much), the duration of exposure (how long), the route ofexposure (breathing, eating and drinking, or skin contact), and the multiplicity of exposure(environmental media, routes of exposure, and combinations of contaminants). Once exposureoccurs, a person's individual characteristics such as age, sex, diet, general health, lifestyle, andgenetics, influence how the body absorbs, distributes, metabolizes, and excretes the chemical. Together those factors determine health effects that exposed people might have.

To evaluate health effects, ATSDR has developed Minimal Risk Levels (MRLs) for contaminantscommonly found at hazardous waste sites. The MRL is an estimate of daily human exposure to acontaminant below which non-cancer, adverse health effects are unlikely. MRLs are developed fororal and inhalation exposure routes, and for duration of exposure (acute: 14 days or fewer;intermediate: 15-364 days; chronic: 365 days or more).

Minimal Risk Levels are compared to human exposure doses. Exposure doses are calculated bymaking certain assumptions about contaminant concentration, duration of exposure and route ofexposure based on site characteristics and human activities at the site. It is not always possible tocalculate an exposure dose due to lack of information. Where possible, exposure doses have beencalculated and reported in the following discussion of specific contaminants.

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. Preparers of this public health assessment have reviewed those profiles for thecontaminants of concern at this site.


Arsenic was detected in soil (86 ppm), sediments (6.8 ppm) and ground water monitoring wells (31ppb).

People may be exposed to arsenic in soil and sediment through dermal contact, inhalation of soil thatmay become airborne during site activities and incidental ingestion.

Dermal exposure to inorganic and organic arsenicals have not been studied extensively. Noquantitative data on dermal exposure to organic arsenicals were located. Some studies of workersexposed to arsenic dust report that inorganic arsenic can cause contact dermatitis. Studies suggestthat direct contact is of concern at high exposure doses but do not suggest a problem at lowerexposure doses. It is not likely that dermal exposure to the arsenic at concentration found at the sitewould cause contact dermatitis. No studies were found regarding neurological, developmental,reproductive, genotoxic, or cancer effects following dermal exposure to arsenic.

Workers who inhaled inorganic arsenic dusts in air experienced irritation of the nose and throat. These minor effects were absent at exposure levels around 0.1 - 1 mg/m3. No studies of respiratoryeffects following exposure to organic arsenic were found in humans. Other occupational studies ofworkers exposed to arsenic dusts indicate that arsenic dust can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrheaat high concentrations.

Inhalation exposure to inorganic arsenic dust increases the risk of lung cancer. We do not know theconcentrations that dirt bike riders may be exposed to, however, we do not feel that this type ofincidental exposure is likely to significantly increase the risk of lung cancer in these individuals.

No adverse health effects would be expected from incidental ingestion of arsenic at theconcentrations found at the site. Exposure doses of .000017 mg/kg/day for adults and .00049mg/kg/day for children were calculated using conservative assumptions about exposure. TheMinimal Risk Level established by ATSDR for ingestion is .0003 mg/kg/day.


Benzene has been detected in leachate and ambient air both on-site and off-site.

Benzene was detected in on-site leachate at 43 ppb. Dermal exposure to leachate may occur totrespassers on-site. Benzene is slightly irritating to the skin and acts by defatting the keratin layerof the skin. Skin irritation is unlikely to occur in persons who may come in contact with thebenzene in leachate at 43 ppb. Absorption of benzene through the skin is minimal.

Benzene was detected in ambient air samples. The highest concentration detected on-site was 7 ppband the highest concentration detected off-site was 0.5 ppb. People are exposed to benzene on adaily basis primarily from benzene in the air. Background levels of benzene in the air range from2.89-20 ppb. Chronic inhalation exposures to benzene have been studied in humans whoseoccupations include benzene exposure. Workers exposed to less than 1 ppm or 1,000 ppb for oneto twenty-one years showed no changes in erythrocytes, leukocytes, thrombocytes, hemoglobin, orhematocrit. Benzene does cause leukemia. Studies documenting an increased risk of leukemia frombenzene exposure involve benzene concentrations in the parts per million range, significantly higherthan was found at the Starr property.


Amenable cyanide has been detected in subsurface soil (502 ppm), ground water monitoring wells(90 ppb), private wells (.03ppm), leachate (500 ppb), sediment (240 ppm) and surface water (1.1ppm). Amenable cyanide is the more appropriate measure of cyanide toxicity.

People who trespass on the site may be exposed to cyanide through dermal contact with soil,sediment and surface water containing cyanide. Dermal exposure may also occur for people whoare involved in recreation activities in and near the Scantic River. Incidental ingestion andinhalation exposure to cyanide may occur for people involved in dirt bike riding on-site. Privatewell users are exposed to cyanide through ingestion of water containing cyanide.

No studies were found regarding hematological, musculoskeletal or hepatic effects in humans oranimals following dermal exposure to cyanide. Some cyanide compounds such as potassiumcyanide have a corrosive effect on the skin which allows them to penetrate the skin rapidly. Sodiumcyanide dust is reported to be irritating to the eyes. Skin irritation may also occur from contact withcyanide dust. Information regarding dermal exposure in the occupational setting identifiedsignificant neurological effects at concentrations much higher than was found at the site.

We cannot evaluate the exposure that may result from inhalation of soil dust generated during dirtbike riding. Respiratory changes are common in humans exposed to cyanide. Nasal irritation hasbeen reported in humans exposed to 16 ppm cyanide for 6-8 minutes. No effects were reported afterexposure to 8 ppm. Cardiovascular effects have been observed in persons accidentally poisonedwith cyanide. Abdominal spasms have been reported after acute poisonings as well.

Exposure doses for adults and children were calculated assuming 0.03 ppm cyanide in water, aningestion rate of 2 liter per day for adults and 1 liter per day for children. These exposure doses arewell below the EPA Reference Dose of 0.02 mg/kg/day. No adverse health effects would beexpected from drinking water containing cyanide at 0.03 ppm.


Lead was detected in surface soil and ground water monitoring wells above screening values. Theconcentration of lead in soil was 1200 ppm and the highest concentration in ground water was 50 ppb.

People who trespass at the site may be exposed to lead in soil through dermal contact, incidentalingestion and inhalation of soil dust.

Lead is not easily absorbed through the skin. No studies were found regarding adverse health effectsfollowing dermal exposure.

Ingestion and inhalation exposure to low levels of lead for long periods of time can cause loweredI.Q. and brain damage in children. It is unlikely that the concentrations of lead at the site wouldsignificantly change blood lead levels of people exposed. This assumes that both inhalationexposures and ingestion exposures are intermittent and incidental, like exposures that would occurduring dirt biking activities.


Naphthalene was detected on-site in soil (2,700 ppm), leachate (70 ppb) and surface water (57 ppb).

People who trespass on-site may be exposed to naphthalene through dermal contact and throughinhalation of soil dust containing naphthalene.

There are very few studies describing dermal effects in humans or animals caused by exposures tonaphthalene. No studies were found regarding respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, ormusculoskeletal effects in humans following dermal exposure. Jaundice was observed in infantsexposed to naphthalene treated diapers. Naphthalene is a mild dermal irritant when directly appliedto shaven skin of rabbits at 500 ppm for four hour duration. These effects were reversible withinseven days after exposure. No studies were located regarding dermal effects in humans afterexposure to naphthalene. It is not known whether the concentrations of naphthalene found at thesite would cause skin irritation to people exposed to it.

Little information is available on the effects of breathing naphthalene on human health. Exposureto naphthalene in the home, primarily due to mothballs has been associated with headache, nausea,vomiting, abdominal pain, malaise, confusion, anemia, jaundice, and renal disease. Naphthalenewas not detected during the air sampling events, however, naphthalene could become airborneduring on-site activities including dirt biking. We do not know what concentrations people may beexposed to in air during these activities.

No adverse health effects would be expected from incidental ingestion of naphthalene at theconcentrations found at the site. Exposure doses were calculated for adults, .000055 mg/kg/day, andchildren, .015 mg/kg/day using conservative assumptions about soil ingestion.

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH's) were detected in on-site soils and waste. Benzo(a)pyrene, the most toxic of the PAH's was detected at concentrations as high as 53 ppm. Persons who trespass on-site, particularly those who engage in dirt-biking, may be exposed to PAH'sthrough dermal contact and inhalation and incidental ingestion of soil particles.

Dermal exposure to a group of PAH's can cause skin disorders. Humans who received 120 dermalapplications of 10,000 ppm benzo(a)pyrene over four months experienced reversible and apparentlybenign skin reactions. Adverse skin reactions in persons exposed to the PAH's in soil at the site arenot likely.

Inhalation exposure to PAH's at the site may be possible due to activities at the site that could stirup and allow these contaminants to become airborne. No PAH's in air were detected during on-siteor off-site sampling however, these sampling events did not occur when dirt bike riding on-site wasoccurring. No studies have been located regarding inhalation exposure to PAH's and systemic,immunological, neurological, developmental, reproductive or genotoxic effects due to inhalationexposure to PAH's.

Epidemiological studies have shown increased death due to lung cancer in humans exposed to coke-oven emissions, roofing tar emissions, and cigarette smoke which all contain PAH's. Exposure fromthese activities are significantly higher and the duration longer than would occur at the site.

No adverse health effects would be expected from incidental ingestion of benzo (a) pyrene at theconcentrations found at the site. Exposure doses were calculated for adults, .000011 mg/kg/day, andchildren, .00031 mg/kg/day using conservative assumptions about soil ingestion. The MRL foringestion of benzo (a) pyrene is .01 mg/kg/day.


Tetrachloroethylene was detected in ambient air in an off-site sample at 5.5 ppb. Intermittentexposure to tetrachloroethylene through inhalation may be occurring for residents in the nearbyneighborhoods and trespassers on-site. At 5.5 ppb, the highest concentration detected at the site,no adverse health effects would be expected. ATSDR has set an Environmental Media EvaluationGuide of 9 ppb for inhalation of tetrachloroethylene for exposures lasting longer than 14 days butless than one year.

B. Health Outcome Data

Tumor incidence data was evaluated in an effort to address citizen concerns about cancer in theneighborhood around the Starr property. While this type of analysis may generate clues regardingthe association between environmental exposures and disease outcomes, it must be stressed that suchan association is not sufficient to establish a causal link. Many other factors may also contribute tothe onset of disease, including diet, tobacco use, family history, age, race, occupation andsocioeconomic factors.

Information on the total number of cancer cases in Connecticut and in Enfield was obtained fromthe CT DHS Tumor Registry. Since 1935 it has been required by law that all tumors diagnosed inConnecticut residents be reported to the Tumor Registry. Age specific cancer incidence rates weregenerated for Connecticut and Enfield for 1979-1988 by dividing the number of cases identifiedduring the period in an age group by the population in that age group according to 1985 populationstatistics. We looked specifically at brain cancer and leukemia, the cancers of concern to citizens.

The standard incidence ratio (SIR) is an overall summary measure of the cancer risk. The SIR iscalculated by multiplying the Connecticut cancer incidence rates by the population of the town toestimate an "expected" number of cancers in each age group. The actual (or observed) number ofcases identified by the Tumor Registry are divided by the expected number to obtain the SIR. Whenthe SIR is less than one the risk of cancer is less than expected. This method allows for theinclusion of age as a risk factor in the analysis. Age is important to consider because generallyspeaking the risk of cancer varies with age.

Table 11 presents the standard incidence ratios for brain cancer and leukemia for Enfield.

Table 11.

Standard Incidence Ratio of Selected Tumor Sites Enfield, CT 1979-1988 1985 Population, 41,700
BRAIN46 = 1.056
LEUKEMIA30 = 0.77

* Confidence Interval: the range of values within which one can be 95% confident that the SIR isthe true valued and has not occurred by chance.

The results of this analysis indicate that there was no overall increase of brain cancer or leukemiaoccurring in Enfield during the time period. We were only able to look at town statistics and couldnot look specifically at the area around the site. In addition, this type of study does not identifycause effect relationships between exposure and outcome. These issues limit the value of a negativestudy. We do believe that there is little biological plausibility of these cancers being caused by thesite because exposure to carcinogens at levels and durations likely to cause cancer have not beendocumented at this site.


We have addressed each of the community health concern as follows:

  1. What is causing the odors at the site and can this make us sick?
  2. The odors at the site have been described in two different ways, almond-like and coal tar-like. Cyanide has a characteristic almond-like odor. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons maycause coal tar-like odors. Sampling events both on-site and off-site during periods whenodors were strong have not identified cyanide or PAHs at levels of health concern. Hydrogen cyanide has an odor threshold of 0.58 ppm in air. (4) It is possible that thesecompounds can be smelled at levels lower than would cause an adverse health effect. Peoplenear the site have complained about headaches when odors from the site are present. Basedon the information about site contaminants and the concentrations of these contaminants inambient air, we cannot explain why headaches are occurring from a toxicological standpoint. Investigations at similar sites with coal tar wastes have also identified strong odors however,aggressive air monitoring has not been successful in identifying or quantifying the causativeagent(s).

  3. Should we be concerned about a pregnancy and the adverse effects the site might pose?
  4. Ambient air sampling in the residential areas have not identified contaminants at concentrations likely to cause adverse health effects in residents, children, or pregnant women. Therefore, we do not feel pregnant women are at risk. Odors from the site have raiseda number of concerns and may be contributing to headaches. Sampling data has not quantifiedlevels of contamination likely to cause these headaches.

  5. There are some cancers in the neighborhood, are these cancers caused by the site?
  6. After hearing concerns about brain cancer and leukemia in the neighborhoods surrounding theStarr property, we looked at cancer occurrence in Enfield. We did not find that brain cancer orleukemia were occurring at a greater rate than we would expect. The analysis used to look atcancer do have limitations. These studies do not identify cause effect relationshipsbetween exposure and outcomes. In addition, we were only able to look at town statistics andcould not break that down to areas specifically surrounding the site. We do believe however thatthese tumors were not likely caused by exposure to the site. There is little known exposureoccurring to carcinogens and the latency period for many tumors are longer than the potentialexposure from site contamination. (The residential areas were developed in 1987.)

  7. Are the contaminants that were found on the site also on our properties?
  8. Environmental sampling as well as historical information regarding past disposal practices atthe site suggest that contamination is localized. The northern and southern gullies that borderthe site appear to have prohibited the dumping of waste in areas that later were developed intoresidential areas. In addition, soil gas sampling in residential areas did not reveal thepresence of waste. Migration of site contaminants seems to be restricted to surface water andair emissions.

  9. Dirt bike riders stir up dust, is this harmful to people living in the nearby neighborhoods?
  10. Ambient air sampling on-site and off-site have not been conducted during periods of dirt bike riding or invasive site activities. It is possible that dust generated during these activities couldreach the nearest residential areas. We do not have enough information to assess the levels ofcontamination that might become airborne during these activities. We have considered therisk to dirt bike riders in a qualitative manner in the Toxicological Implication Section and feelthe risk to people in the residential areas would be significantly lower. However, we stronglyrecommend that dirt bike riding and other on-site activities be prohibited.

  11. Headaches seem to occur when odors from the site are evident, is it possible that the odors are causing headaches?
  12. Ambient air sampling both on-site and in the residential neighborhoods have not identified contamination in the air at concentrations likely to cause adverse health effects. Some of thecontaminants found at the site have very low odor thresholds which means you can smell themat concentrations lower than the levels in which harmful health effects might occur. It ispossible that exposure to coal tar products may play a role in citizen complaints of headachethrough an odor-mediated mechanism.

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  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z
  27. #