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ATSDR Press Room

Iowa Army Ammunition Plant Public Health Consultation

Des Moines County, Des Moines, Iowa

Monday, January 5, 2004

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 the final version of a public health consultation concerning the health effects from environmental releases of beryllium and depleted uranium at the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant (IAAP) in Middletown, Des Moines County, Iowa.

The health consultation finds that the environmental releases of beryllium and depleted uranium (DU) from the plant and from the Burlington Atomic Energy Commission Plant in Burlington, Iowa, are not at levels that would result in adverse human health effects to facility residents or to those living nearby.

The IAAP manufactured high-explosive components for nuclear weapons as well as performed the final assembly of the weapons during the years 1949-1975.

ATSDR will continue to review the results of current and proposed environmental investigations. If the investigation findings indicate that there are or have been pathways of human exposure to contaminants at levels of potential health concern, ATSDR will evaluate the new data and release its findings.

ATSDR recommends that future groundwater monitoring include sampling downgradient of the East and West Burn Pad and Firing Site areas to determine if DU contamination is present.

The federal agency also recommends that, if future investigations indicate that soil removal activities must be undertaken in areas of DU contamination, care should be taken to minimize the generation of dust and the potential re-suspension of DU particulates that can be inhaled.

For more information, community members can contact Environmental Health Scientist Katherine Hanks or Senior Health Physicist Paul Charp, toll free, at 1-888-422-8737. Regional Representative Shawn Blackshear also may be contacted at 913-551-1311. Callers should refer to the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant site in Middletown, Iowa.

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