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The Rosedale area consists of a mixed residential/industrial area in southeast Baltimore County, due east from Baltimore City (Figure 1). The area contains a high concentration of industries, dumpsites, former landfills, garbage incineration plants, and highways. The community was concerned that air contamination from many different industrial areas (Figure 2) may be causing their health problems. The community was also concerned about a perceived high incidence of cancer, prevalence of respiratory diseases, learning disabilities, and their drinking water. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) prepared this health consultation to address the community concerns.

In May 1992, ATSDR received a petition to arrange for an environmental health risk survey of the Rosedale area. ATSDR staff conducted a scoping visit on September 10 and 11, 1992 and met with the petitioner, community members, and members of the Southeast Association for the Environment (SAFE). As part of the scoping visit, ATSDR staff met with the community and gathered information and community concerns. At that time, the community listed thirteen (13) industries in the area that they felt were causing their health problems. ATSDR staff also identified some residences on Philadelphia Avenue with private drinking water wells.

According to the 1990 U.S. Government census data [1], approximately 64,859 people live in the Rosedale area. The demographics structure consists of a distribution of 69% white, 28% black, and 3% other races of the total population. Children, age 6 and younger make up 10.43%, and adults aged 65 and older make up 15.40% of the total population (Figure 1).

In February 1993, ATSDR discussed the petition with the Cooperative Agreement partner of the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE). At that time, the MDE agreed to begin studies to evaluate health outcome data for cancer mortality and respiratory diseases in the Rosedale area and develop a community assistance panel to discuss community concerns and health information.

ATSDR released the Rosedale Health Consultation for public comment from August 3, 1998 through September 6, 1998. The public comment period was intended to give the public and interested parties an opportunity to review and provide additional comments and/or concerns pertaining to the Rosedale/Southeast Baltimore health consultation. The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry received comments during the public comment period and incorporated the responses into the document.

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