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ATSDR Press Room

Updated: ATSDR Releases Final Public Health Consultation for Rio Rancho, New Mexico


Rio Rancho, New Mexico

Friday, August 28, 2015

Original Release: August 13, 2015

Updated: August 28, 2015, See Editorial Note below

ATLANTA – The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has released its final public health consultation of the Intel Corporation site in Rio Rancho, New Mexico (NM). ATSDR evaluated available outdoor air quality data, and at the community’s request, assessed pulmonary disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and environmental odors in the Rio Rancho and Corrales communities.

ATSDR’s evaluation found that:

  • Volatile organic compound and acid aerosol data were insufficient to determine if exposure to these compounds could harm people's health. Effective administration and compliance of a valid air permit is the best method to ensure air emissions are below levels of health concerns.
  • The measured levels of carbon monoxide in the outdoor air were below the levels that would cause health effects and met federal air quality standards.
  • Crystalline silica emissions testing from and long-term ambient particulate monitoring near the Intel New-Mexico facility do not indicate that the health of community members is at risk.
  • Some environmental odors may be related to the Intel-New Mexico plant air emissions. Other sources may include the crematorium near the northeast side of the Intel-New Mexico facility. Some people are more sensitive to environmental odors than others. They may react negatively to environmental odors even at low concentrations. For information on environmental odors and what to do about them, people can visit ATSDR’s Environmental Odors website.
  • New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) did not find a cluster of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) – the scaring of lung tissue. NMDOH reviewed IPF cases in the Corrales, New Mexico area in 2011.
  • An increased rate of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in the Rio Rancho/Corrales area cannot be determined at this time. An ALS prevalence rate (number of people with the disease) has not been fully established and sufficient reporting data are not available to calculate state and local ALS rates. New Mexico residents who have been diagnosed with ALS are encouraged to participate in ATSDR’s National ALS Registry.

“ATSDR found that elevated levels of particulate matter in air due to dust storms and wild land fires may pose a public health hazard to the Rio Rancho and Corrales communities during infrequent high wind conditions”, said Peter Kowalski, ATSDR Environmental Health Scientist. “Persons with respiratory disease are most vulnerable to elevated levels of particulate air pollution.”

“Area residents, particularly sensitive groups, can take action to avoid exposure to unhealthy air from dust storms and wild land fires by for example using the EPA Air Quality Index or the City of Albuquerque’s Air Quality Index to see when is best time to be outdoors”, Kowalski added. For more information about particulate pollution and actions to reduce exposure to unhealthy air, people can visit CDC’s Air Quality website.

ATSDR recommends Intel-New Mexico minimize air emissions from its various facility operations where feasible, and continue working with the community, including the Community Environmental Working Group and New Mexico Environment Department to improve air quality.

A draft of the report was available for public comment from February 2, 2009 through April 3, 2009. The comments received during the public comment period as well as ATSDR responses are included in an appendix of the report.

ATSDR’s report is available at http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/HAC/pha/Intel/Intel-New%20Mexico_HC_Final_08-13-2015_508.pdf.

A copy of the report has also been placed at the Corrales Community Library, 84 West La Entrada Road in Corrales and the Rio Rancho Library, 950 Pinetree Road, SE in Rio Rancho.

ATSDR will host a public meeting on September 2, 2015 from 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at the Old San Ysidro Church in Corrales where staff will discuss the report and answer questions from the community. ATSDR staff will be available to answer questions from the media on September 2 prior to the public meeting from 5:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

For more information about ATSDR’s work at the Intel-New Mexico site, call 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) or email CDCinfo@cdc.gov.

###

ATSDR, a federal public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, evaluates the potential for adverse human health effects due to exposure to hazardous substances in the environment.

Editorial Note: This media announcement was updated to:

  • clarify the scope of ATSDR’s work in the community. “ATSDR evaluated available outdoor air quality data, and at the community’s request, assessed pulmonary disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and environmental odors in the Rio Rancho and Corrales communities.”
  • include the conclusion “Volatile organic compound and acid aerosol data were insufficient to determine if exposure to these compounds could harm people's health. Effective administration and compliance of a valid air permit is the best method to ensure air emissions are below levels of health concerns.”
  • clarify the infrequency of high wind conditions by stating “…dust storms and wild land fires may pose a public health hazard to the Rio Rancho and Corrales communities during infrequent high wind conditions.”

Note that these details were included in the Review of Air Quality Data Health Consultation released on August 13, 2015.

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Related News Releases For Rio Rancho, New Mexico, USA

 

Public Comment Sought for the Intel, New Mexico ATSDR Health Consultation
Release Date: Monday, February 2, 2009
The federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) concludes that for most of the chemicals measured in the outdoor air, the available air monitoring data are not adequate to evaluate fully the potential public health consequences of the Intel-New-Mexico air emissions. ATSDR recommends several public health actions including exploring the possibility of conducting additional sampling and monitoring to characterize residential exposures, physician health education, and reduction of air emissions where feasible. ATSDR is issuing the health consultation for public comment on February 2, 2009. Public comments will be accepted through April 3, 2009.

Federal Agency to Discuss Progress of Health Consultations for Intel Corporation Plant in Rio Rancho, NM at Public Meeting on November 7
Release Date: Thursday, November 1, 2007
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) will hold a public meeting to discuss the progress of two health consultations at the Intel Corporation plant in Rio Rancho.

ATSDR to Gather Community Health Concerns About Air Emissions From the Intel Plant
Release Date: Monday, August 1, 2005
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) will hold public availability sessions on Aug. 9 and 10, to hear community members' health concerns related to air emissions from the Intel Plant in Rio Rancho, NM. ATSDR will address this information in the upcoming public health consultation.

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