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ATSDR Press Room

Public Health Assessment on Little Creek Naval Base available for comment

Virginia Beach County, Virginia Beach, Virginia

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is issuing for review and public comment a public health assessment (PHA) for the 2,147-acre U.S. Naval Amphibious Base (NAB) Little Creek on the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia Beach and Norfolk, Va.

The public comment period is from June 11 through July 11. This PHA evaluates the possible exposure of residents on the base and surrounding area to contaminants from NAB Little Creek. The PHA also addresses area residents' health concerns that might be associated with current and past releases of contaminants from NAB Little Creek.

ATSDR reviewed available data from many sources and consulted with various local, state and federal agencies to examine thoroughly current environmental conditions on and near the site. On the basis of this information, ATSDR draws the following key conclusions and makes the following recommendations in its public health assessment about several possible sources of contamination:


  • Surface soils at certain locations on NAB Little Creek were contaminated from past base operations. Most often, exposure has been prevented because soil contamination (such as metals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and semi-VOCs) occurs in areas of restricted access, is covered by grass or pavement or the contamination has been removed. Occasional contact with surface soil contaminants is not expected to pose a public health hazard for adults and children. ATSDR concluded that surface soil poses no apparent public health hazard.
  • Homes in the Turner Road Neighborhood area were built before 1978 and probably have lead-based paint.
  • Fishing and crabbing are not permitted at Little Creek Harbor because of security reasons and shellfishing also is restricted because of high bacteriological contamination. For the contaminants sampled (mercury, tributyltin and PCBs), ATSDR concluded that consumption of fish and shellfish from Little Creek Harbor is expected to pose no apparent public health hazard.


  • Homes built before 1978 in the NAB Little Creek area probably have lead-based paint. ATSDR believes it is prudent for families who live in or near the Turner Road Neighborhood area to be evaluating the potential that they and their children might be exposed to lead. Families in the neighborhood should also follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Virginia Department of Health (VDH) recommendations including screening for elevated blood-lead levels in potentially exposed children under the age of 6.
  • People in the NAB Little Creek area can best protect themselves from exposure to chemical and biological contaminants in fish and shellfish by adhering to the existing restrictions in the harbor.

The document will be available for review on June 11 at the following repositories:

Bayside Area Library
936 Independence Blvd.
Virginia Beach

Little Creek Library
7853 Tarpon Place

Central Library
4100 Virginia Beach Blvd.
Virginia Beach

NAB Little Creek Library
Building 3004, 8th St.

The public comment period for the public health assessment is from June 11 through July 11. Community members are encouraged to provide ATSDR with written comments, which must be received by July 11, 2003.

Mail comments to the following address:
Chief, Program Evaluation, Records and Information Services Branch
1600 Clifton Road, N.E., Mailstop E-60
Atlanta, GA 30333

Comments received, without the names of those who made them, and ATSDR's responses to the comments will be included in an appendix to the final public health assessment. Names of those who submit comments are subject to release to requests received under the Freedom of Information Act.

Community members seeking information on the procedures or content of the public comment version of the PHA may contact Charles Grosse at 1-888-422-8737. ATSDR Region III Representative Tom Stukas also may be contacted at 215-814-3142. Callers should refer to the Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek site in Virginia.

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