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ATSDR Press Room

Quantico MCB Health Assessment in Virginia

Prince William County, Quantico, Virginia

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

ATLANTA - The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, today released for public review and comment a public health assessment (PHA) addressing contaminants at the Marine Corps Combat Development Command (MCB Quantico) site in Quantico, Va.

MCB Quantico is an active base covering approximately 60,000 acres. It is located 35 miles south of Washington, D.C., and 75 miles north of Richmond, Va. Since the base was permanently established in 1918, it has been used to train U.S. Marine Corps and Federal Bureau of Investigation personnel, as well as for the research, development and testing of military equipment.

This PHA presents ATSDR's evaluation of three exposure situations identified at MCB Quantico:

Potential exposure to lead in surface soil of the Former Rifle Range (FRR): The FRR was used from the mid-1930s through the mid-1960s. As a result of activities, lead and other site-related contaminants have impacted surface and subsurface soil. The FRR is fenced, restricting access and potential exposure. Furthermore, most of the area is vegetated, reducing the exposure potential in situations where trespassers may gain access to the site. A removal action, scheduled to take place during 2004, will further eliminate potential sources of exposure at the FRR. ATSDR concludes that lead in soil at the FRR is not a past, current or future health hazard.

Potential exposure to lead-based paint in family housing: Most of MCB Quantico's current on-base housing was built before 1978 and contains lead-based paint. Many units' exteriors have painted surfaces that are deteriorating, with loose and peeling paint visible. Childhood blood lead screening in children is routinely conducted and a lead-screening program has been in place since 1994. There have been no cases of lead poisoning (blood lead levels above the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's action level of 10 micrograms per deciliter) identified in children living on-base, indicating that children are not being exposed to hazardous levels of lead.

A public-private venture is replacing many of the existing older housing units, removing lead-based paint. Although exposure is possible, blood lead screening results indicate that there currently appears to be no hazardous exposure to lead in base housing. Future hazards will be eliminated as new housing is constructed. ATSDR was not able to locate past information on blood lead levels, and therefore is unable to determine the extent of past exposure to lead in base housing.

Contamination in the Quantico Embayment area: The largest source of contamination identified is the Old Landfill. This inactive landfill is a 24-acre site located on the banks of the Potomac River. MCB Quantico has been listed on the Environmental Protection Agency's National Priorities List because of contamination associated with the Old Landfill. Contaminants, most notably PCBs and pesticides (i.e., DDT and associated metabolites), from the Old Landfill have migrated to the Quantico Embayment, an inlet of the Potomac River, resulting in contamination of sediment, fish and shellfish.

ATSDR released a health consultation in February 1996 to evaluate potential public health concerns associated with exposure to PCBs and DDT from consuming fish from contaminated parts of the Quantico Embayment of the Potomac River. ATSDR concluded that consumption of fish and shellfish from the Quantico Embayment does not pose a health concern for the general public.

ATSDR believes that local consumption of most edible fish from the Quantico Embayment does not pose a public health hazard for people who recreationally fish and occasionally consume their catch. People who eat carp and channel catfish from the Quantico Embayment should limit consumption of these two species to three or four meals per year.

ATSDR also evaluated the potential for people who hunt at MCB Quantico to be exposed to site-related contaminants in game animals. The base supports a large and diverse wildlife population (e.g., ducks, geese, deer and turkey). However, only small portions of the base contain contaminants that would be likely to accumulate in wildlife. Additionally, there is no evidence that hunters at MCB Quantico rely on game meat for anything more than an occasional meal. Therefore, ATSDR believes that it is very unlikely that consumption of most species of wildlife at MCB Quantico would pose a public health hazard.

The public health assessment will be available for review and comment from March 26 through April 30, 2004, at the following repositories:

John Musante Porter Memorial Library
Reference Section
2001 Parway Blvd.
Stafford, VA 22554

Chinn Park Regional Library
Management & Government Information Center
13065 Chinn Park Drive
Prince William, VA 22193-5073

Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Branch Commander
NREA Branch, B406
3250 Catlin Ave.
Quantico, VA 22134-5001

Comments on the public health assessment must be made in writing. Mail comments to

Chief, Program Evaluation, Records and Information Services Branch
1600 Clifton Road, N.E. (MS E-60)
Atlanta, GA 30333

Comments received during this public comment period will be logged in to ATSDR's administrative record for this health assessment. Comments received, without the names of individuals who submitted them, and ATSDR's responses to the comments will appear in an appendix to the final public health assessment. Names of those who submit comments, however, will be subject to release to requests made under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.

For more information, community members can contact Toxicologist Scott Sudweeks or Community Involvement Specialist Januett Smith-George, toll free, at 1-888-422-8737. Regional Representative Tom Stukas also may be contacted at 215-814-3142.

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Related News Releases For Prince William County, Quantico, Virginia


Marine Corps Combat Development Command Site Health Assessment in Virginia
Release Date: Monday, July 19, 2004
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has released the final version of its public health assessment of the U.S. Marine Corps Combat Development Command site in Quantico, Va. (MCCDC Quantico). Regarding identified exposure situations at MCCDC Quantico, ATSDR has not identified any past, current or future public health hazards associated with site-related contaminants at MCCDC Quantico. ATSDR classifies these exposure situations as no apparent public health hazard.

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