Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options

Oak Ridge Reservation

Oak Ridge Reservation: Public Health Assessment Work Group

Historical Document

This Web site is provided by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) ONLY as an historical reference for the public health community. It is no longer being maintained and the data it contains may no longer be current and/or accurate.

Public Health Assessment Work Group

December 10, 2001 - Meeting Minutes


  1. Review of minutes of November 5, 2001, meeting - Pardue (10 min.)
  2. ATSDR screening for past exposures - Markiewicz (20 min.)
    Discussion of screening - PHAWG (40 min.)
  3. Radiation flow chart and screening - Charp (20 min)
  4. Letter to state regarding access to records of interviews - Pardue (10 min.)
  5. New data from Mangano - PHAWG (20 min.)
  6. Schedule of meetings for coming year - Pardue (10 min.)
  7. Other items - Pardue


Al Brooks
Paul Charp, ATSDR
Walter Coin
Kowetha Davidson
Bob Eklund
Karen Galloway
Linda Gass (phone)
Jack Hanley (phone)
David Johnson
Susan Kaplan
James Lewis
L.C. Manley
Karl Markiewicz, ATSDR
Bill Pardue
Barbara Sonnenburg
Harry Williams (phone)

L.C. Manley (a resident of the Scarboro community who grows a garden on his property each year) brought a letter he received from DOE in which they evaluated DOE radiation exposure to Mr. Manley and his family caused by consuming vegetables grown in his garden. Mr. Manley provided copies (Attachment 1) to everyone for their information, since soil sampling in this community continues to be a topic of concern.

Bill Pardue stated to the telephone participants that there will be handouts for tonight’s meeting. He did not know how to get those handouts to the people on the phone right now, and asked if it would be appropriate to wait until draft minutes of tonight’s meeting were distributed. Linda Gass said that she would like to get them a little sooner; she will be able to get to a fax to receive tonight’s handouts sometime during this week. Since having handouts in front of you is so indispensable to participating in meetings effectively, she requested that for future meetings handouts be faxed to her in advance of the meetings.

Bill Pardue called the meeting to order ~5:30 p.m. Attendees present and participants on the telephone introduced themselves.

1. Review of Draft Minutes of November 5, 2001, Meeting (Bill Pardue)

These Minutes had been previously distributed by e-mail. There was a motion (by L.C. Manley) and second (by Bob Eklund) to approve the Minutes of the 11/5/2001 PHAWG Meeting. Bill Pardue called for discussion. There was not any discussion that actually pertained to the minutes of this meeting. Bill Pardue asked for the vote to approve the minutes. All voted in favor, except Linda Gass because she hadn’t yet read them. Minutes were approved as written.

2. ATSDR Screening for Current (since 1990) Exposure (Presentation by Karl Markiewicz, ATSDR)

Karl first referenced the ATSDR Chemical Screening Process, a color diagram which was mailed by ATSDR in the packet of information prior to the 9/11/2001 ORRHES Meeting (Attachment 2).

In that very first line, we talk about - under Decision Diagram - chemicals detected in the environment. There’s been a lot of sampling conducted in Oak Ridge, as you’re well aware of. Based upon those investigations, we know whether something was detected or whether it was not. In one of the first steps in our Screening Process once we have detected compounds in a certain media (whether it’s soil, air, biota, which includes garden vegetables or fish, sediments) we run them through a screening process. We want to know if the concentrations are higher than Media-Specific Comparison Values. To explain a Media-Specific Comparison Value, look on the first page of the handout I gave you (Attachment 3). What is an EMEG? It’s an Environmental Media Evaluation Guide. When I spoke to the full Subcommittee (two or three meetings ago), I talked about the MRL (Minimum Risk Level) and Body Weight and some of the assumptions. The EMEG is just a basic formula where you have the Minimum Risk Level multiplied by the Body Weight and divided by the Ingestion Rate.

If you look on the very right-hand side of the Screening Process (on the flow diagram), this formula is based upon the maximum exposure conditions - you have the maximum concentrations detected, the maximum exposure duration which is 365 days/year, maximum duration, maximum exposure frequency, maximum bioavailability (which means we assume that whatever medium it’s in, it would be 100% bioavailable). That’s what that EMEG is based on. ATSDR has a table of EMEGs out there for soil. That’s what I’m going to be talking about today with boron. That’s the formula used to calculate the Soil EMEG. We’re assuming on this the Body Weight is 70 kg. The Ingestion Rates would vary depending on the media, the age of the person, or the exposure scenario one may have.

On the second page of the handout, I have the EMEG for boron in soil. If you remember the formula, the MRL (Minimum Risk Level), which is 0.01, times the Body Weight, which is 10. This particular MRL is for a child; that’s why we use 10 kg. The Ingestion Rate is 5000 mg of soil per day. The formula you have to convert per units. That’s why it’s in kilograms, which would be 0.005 kg so that the EMEG works out. That comes out to a part-per-million (ppm) concentration or a milligram-per-kilogram concentration of 20 ppm for boron in soil.

Things I really want to point out: first, don’t forget, it’s all based on maximum exposure scenarios. That kid is out there every day of the year eating 5000 mg of soil. What that’s considered, for soil ingestion, is abnormal behavior in a child (to consume 5000 mg) and they call that Pica-type behavior. So when you base it on Pica-type behavior in a child, you come up with 20 ppm. That would be the screening values we would use in the first line of screening coming through. For comparative purposes, or if you had an exposure scenario (on the next page of the handout) where you’re looking at an adult worker, again you have your MRL which is 0.01 times 70 kg. Then, as you note, the Ingestion Rate changes because we’re assuming that the adult would consume about 100 mg of soil per day, based on a worker-type exposure - not a worker in the sense of digging ditches and that, but just somebody who’s out in the environment that could have hand-to-mouth activity and may ingest some soil.

Walter Coin: How are you saying they ingest it?

Karl Markiewicz: It would be incidental ingestion - either it’s a real dusty environment and they may breathe it in and swallow it, or they may have it on their hands and may smoke a cigarette and have some soil on their fingers. It would just be incidental ingestion, accidental ingestion.

Walter Coin: So what you’re saying is that a child breathes twice as fast as an adult?

Karl Markiewicz: No, for the 5000 mg in a child, that type of behavior is considered like an abnormal behavior in a child where a child will actually eat the soil - they like the flavor of the soil, and there are certain children that just eat the soil. Based on soil studies, they’re saying those children could get 5000 mg.

Linda Gass: If they eat plants, they could get a little bit on plants, also.

Karl Markiewicz: Right, or vegetables out of a garden if somebody does not wash them, you could actually ingest soil.

Al Brooks: Is there something funny on your units on page 2 (of the handout) for IR?

Karl Markiewicz: : Page 2? The child?

Al Brooks: Referring to “mg (kg/day)”

Karl Markiewicz: : No, actually it’s 0.005 kg or 5000 mg. The actual Ingestion Rate is reported in kilograms per day. I just put that in because those are the units that would be in that formula.

Al Brooks: OK.

Karl Markiewicz: That’s why I converted the 5000 into 0.005 - to get it into kilograms per day.

Karl Markiewicz: Now on the next page, I also did a quick calculation. You can see that this is just a simple algebraic-type equation. I’m just substituting numbers in here and we’re getting different soil comparison values for boron. Again, we have the MRL of 0.01 times 15 kg, which would be an older child. And then instead of 5000 mg per day or the 100 mg per day, a general assumption for older children would be 200 mg per day, which be 0.002. The resulting EMEG would be 750 ppm.

So if you look at different exposure scenarios where you’re looking at different Body Weights or you’re looking at different Soil Ingestion Rates, you can see how the number goes from 20 ppm for a young child (10-kg child), to 750 ppm for an older child, to 7000 ppm for an adult.

Kowetha Davidson: You mentioned screening levels. Are you using this as your reference for . . . monitoring soil levels?

Karl Markiewicz: Of monitoring?

Kowetha Davidson: Yeah, of how you use the 20 ppm.

Karl Markiewicz: Right, the 20 ppm per week. When we get our data set of soil, we will screen that entire data set against that 20 ppm. Then if we have. . . in that flow diagram, on the second one, are they above the EMEG? If the answer is no, then it’s not a contaminant-of-concern. If the answer is yes, we drop down on that chart to the next level (are there completed or potential exposure pathways?). But that’s kind of the very first cut where we’re using really conservative number (20 ppm) and see if anything falls out.

Walter Coin: This boron, is that for the iodine levels that were released during that time period?

Karl Markiewicz: Well, this is any boron that may have been released at the site - actually, once we get into the data, I’ll show you that it’s naturally occurring in the background soils. So this is just the boron. I’m only looking at boron. I wanted to go through one compound so everybody kind of understands the process we go through. Then next time that we meet, I’d like to do a bulk of 10, 15, 20, or whatever people may feel comfortable with. I’d say “here’s a list of contaminants, this is how we went through the same screening process - did they pass of fail - how did they compare with the EMEGs?” Then that would take it into the next step on the chart. So, if we’re all familiar and comfortable with this process, then when I come back and do 20 or 50 or 100, everybody understands the process. If you have questions - arsenic will be one I’m sure we’ll get a lot of questions on, you can say “wait a minute, did it screen through or didn’t it.” We can spend more time on specific ones, but if we get this general process down, you’ll understand that’s just the way we look at it as we go through that chart.

Linda Gass: I’ve got a question. You said that the next time you might do maybe 10 or 15 or 20, then you said you might do 20, 50, or 100.

Karl Markiewicz: Right, it depends . . . that’s the beautiful thing about computers - I can put this on a spreadsheet, and I have all the environmental data there, I have my comparison values, and I can just do a simple YES/NO - did it pass or fail? Just a quick comparison. The process is what I’m outlining here, but it can be done electronically. So we can do 10 individually, or we can do 100 and just pick out 5 out of the 100. It’s going to be up to you. It really doesn’t matter to me because I have to do the work on all of them. So if I present 5 next time, that’s fine. If I do 100 next time, that’s fine as well. Some of them are going to be really easy. Some of them are just going to screen out because they’re below the EMEG. That’s kind of an easy one for us because it’s not a contaminant of concern. Arsenic is one because the comparison values are so low that naturally occurring background levels in soil actually would indicate that there would be a problem, based on that screening value, not based on the real world.

Jack Hanley: Karl, one thing that you my do, and just throw it out to the Work Group here, is to look at the metals at one time, and then maybe look at the volatiles, maybe look at different groups together - just an option.

Karl Markiewicz: Yeah, that’s a really good idea.

Bill Pardue: It may keep us from getting confused.

Linda Gass: I think it would be a good idea when you present a group of them like that to give - I don’t know whether you’re planning to do this already - but to give some idea of where these things came from. Are you looking at actual things that were used on the Reservation?

Karl Markiewicz: Yes.

Linda Gass: When you look at the metals all at one time, are you going to discuss where they came from on the Reservation?

Karl Markiewicz: Yeah, with boron, you can see the difference between K-25, X-10, and Y-12, you can see based upon what was used at those particular units. You can see higher levels - I shouldn’t say higher levels because X-10 had the highest levels but the Y-12 had the most detections. So you can see based upon the processes at those units that they used more boron at Y-12. So yeah, we will talk about that.

Al Brooks: Where do the soil samples that you’re screening come from?

Karl Markiewicz: That will be on the map. When I throw this map up, it will all be there. I just wanted to walk through this process, and then we’ll get to the real soil.

Harry Williams: How were your sample sites selected?

Karl Markiewicz: Well, we have on-site samples and we also have background samples. You know there was a background soil investigation that was conducted, so we have multiple backgrounds, and we then we have 1306 on-site and 113 background samples in this data set right here that I’m presenting - just for boron. What I’m doing right now, we’re in the process of cross-referencing that just to make sure we have all the boron samples that were ever taken out there.

David Johnson & Susan Kaplan: How many was that again?

Karl Markiewicz: 113 background samples.

Walter Coin: With the high amount of lead in the soil in a lot of operations, would that have any effect on trying to figure this?

Karl Markiewicz: The difference between lead and boron?

Walter Coin: No, I mean would it have an effect on trying to read the radiation - the background radiation.

Karl Markiewicz: Well, this isn’t radioactivity; it’s just the inorganic boron.

Al Brooks: You say you have on-site samples. Do you mean at the production facilities?

Karl Markiewicz: And around, throughout all of Y-12. When I gave you the - it’s like detect and non-detect at Y-12.

Walter Coin: You said background. That’s why I asked that.

Karl Markiewicz: And we have background as well.

Al Brooks: I thought our study was with respect to public health, not occupational.

Karl Markiewicz: Right, these are all the soil samples that I have, both on-site and off-site.

Al Brooks: We’d better make it damn clear where these samples are coming from and what they represent, or the public is going to be confused between off-site and on-site.

Karl Markiewicz: Right.

Paul Charp: There’s another issue too, though, because typically when you say “the site,” and that would mean, for example, Y-12. But the way ATSDR may look at it is the site meaning the Superfund Site and the off-site environments that we’re looking at. So perhaps, Karl, we’d be better off to say when we talk about “the site,” to include both the actual site inside the DOE fence as well as the areas outside the fence such as Scarboro.

Al Brooks: There are uncontaminated areas inside the DOE fence.

Jack Hanley: Could I interject here? In the past, we have defined ‘on-site’ as the DOE fenced-in areas, and ‘off-site’ as areas off the Reservation. That’s how in the past we have defined it. That could change if there’s a need, and we could discuss that at length at another time, or we could have a presentation on the advantages and disadvantages. But in the past it has it has been ‘on-site’ as areas inside the fence, and ‘off-site’ as areas outside the fence.

Karl Markiewicz: The very first map that I handed out, it’s the whole Oak Ridge Reservation which is considered ‘on-site.’ But if you look at the detects vs non-detects on there, you can see that the preponderance of detects were in the on-site area.

Linda Gass: Jack, could I ask the source of the data (the 1300 on-site, and 113 background), could you tell me the source of the data?

Karl Markiewicz: For the boron in soils, I have a data package here in front of me that has a summary of the data and the values and the study that it came from. The very first one is K-25 K-1070-A Burial Ground, 1/31/1989. Throughout this, I can make you a copy of this.

Al Brooks: Again, we have to make this extremely clear that some of these samples come from known contaminated operational sites. They do not represent a public health problem by definition.

Karl Markiewicz: Right.

Al Brooks: Here we are - I can’t believe this. We’re a year into this thing, and we don’t have a clean-cut working definition of what we’re working on!

Susan Kaplan: Do you have data for off-site? If you look at our Mission, this is irrelevant.

Karl Markiewicz: No, if you look at the first map, outside of the ORR, those are every off-site sample that I could find so far - some of them are 14 or 15 miles away.

L.C. Manley: Non-detects?

Bill Pardue: Some are detects.

Karl Markiewicz: Some are detects, and some are non-detects.

Susan Kaplan: How many are actually off-site?

Karl Markiewicz: 113.

Susan Kaplan: So, those are all considered the background?

Karl Markiewicz: Yes, there were 113 samples collected in that background investigation.

Bob Eklund: Looking at these maps, I don’t see any in Anderson and Roane Counties that aren’t on-site. There are some in Morgan, some in Loudon, some in Knox. What about Roane and Anderson?

Susan Kaplan: Why did they focus on Morgan? Is that wind direction?

Bob Eklund: And none in Blount.

Karl Markiewicz: That was part of the background soil investigation.

L.C. Manley: You would want a site that you would feel like wouldn’t be contaminated.

Karl Markiewicz: Right, you would want one that was not contaminated, was geologically similar . . .

Susan Kaplan: (hard to hear) . . .you concerned about these areas . . .data in the areas of concern.

Walter Coin: That’s which way the wind was blowing . . .

Susan Kaplan: Is there a plan to get data out here where we are concerned?

Jack Hanley: Susan, for other contaminants that are very commonly found at Superfund Sites that EPA and the State and DOE have sampled, there are a number of samples right off the site like arsenic, cadmium, lead, those types of compounds, other frequently found compounds - those were all standard Superfund list of contaminants. Those were all sampled all around the facilities off-site, especially in the tributaries, rivers, and all that; so there is data that’s close stuff. With regards to boron, you’re using one as an example to show you the methodology we use to screen. The other contaminants that are traditionally found at Superfund sites, they are samples that are collected right off-site. As he goes through those in the future, we will be able to put those up and show you - he’s going to have little maps - isn’t that right, Karl?

Karl Markiewicz: Yes.

Jack Hanley: So we will have to make it very clear what is on-site and off-site. We’ll follow up on Al’s comment, and make that clear distinction. Tonight, it’s just the process that he goes through.

Karl Markiewicz: Now some of these areas if we look at those maps of Y-12, if I understand correctly, they’ve been turned into office use or workers are in there walking around - am I right.

Linda Gass: The CROET offices.

Bill Pardue: There are some people there. There is some public disagreement as to whether those places are safe.

Al Brooks: That is an occupational place. My understanding is that this committee would not be addressing occupational exposures.

Susan Kaplan: The problem we’ve got though is that they are leasing . . . for example, a lady makes some widget for grandmas or whatever - she’s on a contaminated site and may not know anything about . . .

Al Brooks: But this is an occupational problem . . .

Karl Markiewicz: No.

Susan Kaplan: No, because she’s a general member of the public who may not need to be or shouldn’t be on that site. That is a general . . .

Karl Markiewicz: We would assess that. The exposure scenario for somebody like that would be a worker-type scenario. The soil ingestion numbers are going to be there, and they’re not going to have any vegetable ingestion off of that area. It’s going to fall through just based upon their work habits. We have to look at that because that land is not under - I guess it still is under DOE control, but they allow people on there that aren’t specific Y-12 workers. Barbara had a question.

Barbara Sonnenburg: Thank you. I wonder why you picked the particular sites you did to do your background samples.

Karl Markiewicz: I didn’t select those sites, that was a background soil characterization study that was conducted, and I can get you the date. I didn’t select those. It was the people who went out there and did that study that selected the site.

Bill Pardue: Bob Craig, a member of this Work Group, I believe is one of the principal authors of this study. It might be a good idea to wait until next week when Bob is here to address him all the detailed questions, and restrict today’s presentation to the methodology.

Linda Gass: So this is a HAZRAP report?

Bill Pardue: No, it preceded HAZRAP I think, Linda. I think it goes back to the late 1980s or early 1990s.

Karl Markiewicz: Yes, 1992.

Bill Pardue: I’ve seen a copy of the report and it’s a 2- or 3-in.-thick document. I think it was actually prepared by Lockheed Martin staff at ORNL, I’m not sure.

Barbara Sonnenburg: I just wondered if they thought that those particular sites were so far away that there’s no chance of (contamination).

Al Brooks: The background samples were chosen very carefully to be uncontaminated areas in an attempt to collect undisturbed soil, according to the principal author.

Barbara Sonnenburg: How did they think that these two areas were uncontaminated? Does boron not go that far or what?

Al Brooks: Boron is throughout the universe.

Barbara Sonnenburg: Well, if it came from the Oak Ridge Reservation.

Al Brooks: Well, they were chosen certain geological strata. Other samples were chosen out of the northeast/southwest directions, as far away I understand as Kingston and even up to Norris.

Barbara Sonnenburg: But we don’t have records of those?

Karl Markiewicz: Yeah, but I’m only going through boron just to show the process of how we do our screening. Maybe I shouldn’t have picked boron, but I figured it would be an easy one.

Linda Gass: I don’t think it matters whether we start with boron or any of them, but I do want to clarify one thing. This presentation is from 1990 on. This is supposed to be screening for exposures after 1990, but when I asked the data that page 25 report is 1989. I’m a little confused.

Karl Markiewicz: . . . it was soil background. People are still being exposed to contaminants. In 1989 vs 1990, the levels that were found in the soil, those are what we’re going to use to address what we consider from 1990 on.

Harry Williams: Would there be a possibility of any increased releases from 1990 on due to decommissioning and decontamination of those buildings. Wouldn’t new soil samples with a more credible point in this 10-year history be called for?

Jack Hanley: That’s a good question. The database that we’re getting this information from is called OREIS (Oak Ridge Environmental Information System), and it has all the annual reports and all the review investigations and Superfund activity. It also has RCRA sampling in there. All this is from the 1990s. The study like he’s talking about like you said was in 1989. It’s right on the verge, so we wouldn’t want to just keep it out. If it’s good data, so we put it in there. But if there was boron that sampled in 1996 or 1997 due to some RCRA facility or Superfund activity, then it would be in that database. That’s a good question, and it would have been picked up in one of the other studies that have been included in the 1990s.

Linda Gass: There is one other very important thing in the 1990s. I believe about 1993 or 1994 is when the most concern was raised about the TOSCA Incinerator and PCBs.

Bill Pardue: If I’m not mistaken, I don’t think TOSCA really started operating until about 1995 or so.

Harry Williams: Oh, no . . .

Bill Pardue: On a full scale?

Harry Williams: Full scale? - maybe true, but TOSCA went on and off in 1987.

Al Brooks: That’s correct.

Bill Pardue: Okay, thank you. I stand corrected. Another thing that will probably complicate all of this is that - Harry, I agree with you in that there are quite likely some releases that went on with the decontamination and decommissioning. But by the same token, 1990 pretty well coincides with the time that the Cold War was over and Y-12 cut way back on their operations, and K-25 went out of operation in the mid-1980s. I don’t know how we’d ever sort that all out; it’s a complicated situation.

Harry Williams: Then we’re going to have to get complicated with it.

Bill Pardue: May be!

Kowetha Davidson: Is this continuous monitoring that’s going on? Do we have data for other than 1989 for this, or did they cancel the full battery of chemicals?

Karl Markiewicz: Right, for the soils, I pulled every boron soil sample in that time frame that we had in our database. And as I said, we’re going back and checking and making sure we have everything for soil boron. Now the sediments aren’t in there. We have data for sediments as well, but this is only soil.

Walter Coin: I think they did a sampling of boron at the TVA Plant at that time. I don’t know whether it was in the later 1980s or what. They did do some boron sampling at TVA. And that’s about the time they started putting scrubbers in.

Linda Gass: I’m sorry, I can’t hear that last person. Who’s speaking.

Walter Coin: My name is Walter Coin.

Linda Gass: Okay, thank you, Walter. If you could just speak up a little bit, I’d appreciate hearing you just a little louder. Thank you.

Karl Markiewicz: He was saying that he thought that TVA actually had done some boron sampling.

James Lewis: What is your primary source of boron?

Karl Markiewicz: Boron is used in different processes in the plants. Paul, do you have specifics on that?

Paul Charp: For general use, it’s used in reactor technology. It’s a neutron absorber.

Al Brooks: It’s used throughout industry, rather widely.

Paul Charp: Borax, isn’t borax a boron product?

Al Brooks: Yes.

Paul Charp: Borax is a water softener.

Karl Markiewicz: It has a lot of uses, but I think it was as an absorber that they used it at the plants.

Al Brooks: It’s also used to wash out your eyes.

Karl Markiewicz: It has a lot of uses, pharmaceutical as well as industrial.

Al Brooks: I’m curious why they chose those plants (?? - couldn’t hear well).

Kowetha Davidson: Did they do aspeciation? You don’t know what form boron was in - could have been boric acid. Is that possible?

Karl Markiewicz: Well, I mean that could be a possibility, but when you go into background samples, they did not specify, it was just boron - total boron.

Kowetha Davidson: But . . . boric acid doesn’t break down into anything else . . .

Karl Markiewicz: Yeah, some people use boric acid for cockroaches . . .

Barbara Sonnenburg: Are there records of other tests elsewhere in Oak Ridge or Anderson and Knox Counties that you just haven’t written down?

Karl Markiewicz: Soil studies?

Barbara Sonnenburg: Yeah.

Al Brooks: Yes.

Karl Markiewicz: I’m sure there are. Again, this is the stuff we have electronically in our database vs. what may be in a hard copy somewhere else. I’m putting that together to make sure we have a comprehensive review of all that’s out there.

Barbara Sonnenburg: I think we’d like to see in the area around there but not really on the Facility. And if they’re available, could you add them to . . .

Karl Markiewicz: Oh, definitely, yeah.

Kowetha Davidson: Have you had cases or instances in which you have - I’m sure you do - where you look at levels on-site versus levels from soil samples off-site. Compare the levels because you would expect the levels on-site to be higher than those off-site. And if you don’t have samples for chemical off-site, you could use those on-site. And if you screen those on-site samples and find no problem, then you should expect there not to be a problem off-site because higher concentrations are going to be at the source.

Paul Charp: Well, not necessarily, because if it’s released from a stack, then depending on the stack height, you might have higher concentrations further away than up close.

Bill Pardue: Could I interrupt for just a second? We’ve got a decision I think the group ought to make. If we continue to ask a lot of questions, we’re not going to get through this presentation tonight. Is it better to go through the presentation, then ask questions afterwards? I have no real preference.

Linda Gass: I would like to know the source of information and he did say that ATSDR has a database. Just for future reference, may I see that database and see the report it came from?

Karl Markiewicz: You mean the hard copy of it?

Linda Gass: Yes.

Karl Markiewicz: Yeah, definitely.

Susan Kaplan: Is it on-line?

Karl Markiewicz: No. The system that our electronic data is in is called HAZDAT and it’s a very cumbersome system.

Linda Gass: I’ve used very cumbersome systems before and I wouldn’t mind using a cumbersome system. I’d just like to see the data.

Karl Markiewicz: I can definitely show you hard copies of the data. Definitely.

Paul Charp: Karl, is that is FFIMS or HAZDAT?

Karl Markiewicz: FFIMS - you’re right - it’s FFIMS.

Paul Charp: Our information management system is called FFIMS. It stands for Federal Facilities Information Management System. And to my knowledge, that has no connection to the outside world. The way those folks get the data is that the facility that owns the data transmits it to us via the internet. Then the FFIMS people taken the data, import it into the fields that we define, along with the data dictionary that the originating site has. Then from that point, we manipulate the data. So the actual data that Karl is talking about is DOE data they have collected from their Oak Ridge Environmental Information System.

Al Brooks: Which is on-line. You can get at it.

Linda Gass: Have you done that before, Al?

Al Brooks: I have looked at it a little bit, but I have never done a great deal with it.

James Lewis: Linda indicates hard copies. Define hard copies.

Karl Markiewicz: A printed-out summation of the data where it would have the detected concentration, the detection limits, the year of the study, the title of the report. It would just be a summary. We can put different fields in the different columns, but . . .

Al Brooks: This includes the data from the OREIS system?

Karl Markiewicz: Yes.

Al Brooks: This is your working file - your spreadsheet file?

Karl Markiewicz: Yes.

Bill Pardue: Would that be suitable, Linda?

Linda Gass: Yes, I’d like to see that. Thank you.

Bill Pardue: Karl’s nodding.

Al Brooks: What program do you use for your spreadsheet?

Karl Markiewicz: I use Excel, but a guy I work with - a lot of people are using Access. But I like Excel.

Al Brooks: You can go from Excel to Access.

Karl Markiewicz: Yeah, you can go either way.

Paul Charp: Access is a database manager; Excel is numeric.

Al Brooks: Right, but you can go from an Excel file to an Access file.

Paul Charp: Right, they’re both Microsoft products, so they import and export very easily.

Al Brooks: Could you supply it (the database) to people in an Excel format?

Karl Markiewicz: Sure. One thing we want to do is make sure that the data quality/control issues is. When we get the data, the first time we get it, we go through it data point by data point and make sure the data is true. It should be okay if it’s electronically brought into it, but we have found mistakes.

Al Brooks: They’re called caveats.

Karl Markiewicz: Yeah, in the data set, so that would be my one hesitation in transferring it electronically. As long as the QA/QC procedures are through it, I don’t have a problem. But again, we found mistakes in the DOE data that they’ve sent to us.

Al Brooks: How big is it.

Karl Markiewicz: It’s pretty big. What I’ll do is I’ll ask for specific contaminants. I’ll say ‘download everything for boron in soil, or boron in sediment, or boron in water, or boron in biota.’ And so I get parcels of it. The whole database - it’s pretty big.

Al Brooks: Your Excel file . . .

Karl Markiewicz: Oh, I don’t even remember how big it is. For boron in soil, it’s not that big.

Paul Charp: We could either put it on a floppy, or, if necessary, we could put it on a CD.

Karl Markiewicz: It should fit on a floppy - the boron in soil.

Linda Gass: Well, the first thing I would like to see is the sources of DOE report that it came from. Is DOE putting it out with the ASER, or is it coming from the contractors, and when? Then I would like to see who did the original field work - was it IT (Corporation) or who did the original field work?

Al Brooks: Then I would suggest you look at the OREIS database and see what their references are.

Karl Markiewicz: Yeah, I can provide the titles from those documents and you can look in their database on-line and backtrack it through. I can help as much as I can on that. A lot of the electronic data that we have - we have boxes of hard copies too - and that’s how we do a lot of cross-referencing and checking, but those folders are pretty big.

Karen Galloway: Al, what database (OR . . .)?

Al Brooks: That’s the OREIS (the Oak Ridge Environmental Information System). I can’t give you the URL for it - I’ve got it at home.

Karl Markiewicz: If you just type in OREIS on Google, it’ll throw it up there for you.

Al Brooks: It’s not hard to find, it may be a little hard to understand at times, but not hard to find.

Bill Pardue: Okay, Linda, did that satisfy your needs for now?

Linda Gass: Thank you - yes.

Bill Pardue: We have one more.

Walter Coin: A lot of those soil samples they took for Anderson County landed up in the garbage can. Because I seen a lot of those sample cans in the Dempster-Dumpster. They took a lot of water samples and everything else - they landed up in the trash can down there in Marlow. That’s how well they sample.

Bill Pardue: Okay. Karl, do you want to head on through your process?

Karl Markiewicz: Okay, I think we’re on the sheet that has Boron written on the top.

Linda Gass: Well, just a minute. If I heard correctly, there was a question about sampling and about some samples not actually being used - that some of them might end up in a trash can. I would like to hear a little bit more about that at a later date.

Karl Markiewicz: If that’s in a written record somewhere, we can look at that. But if they were thrown away, it’s doubtful they were analyzed and so we wouldn’t have any analytical data on those.

Linda Gass: Well, I think we’re getting to the crux of the whole matter. The written record does not always have the complete information, and there are individuals who have eye-witness accounts of things. I think if there’s someone in Marlow, the chances are that that person may not want to go public. My experience is, most of the time, people don’t want to go public with something like that. But if there is some reasonable credence to samples being discarded, I think that that comment should not be totally ignored. It was just totally ignored. And I personally am commenting that that sort of information, anecdotal but if it’s first-hand observation, that those sorts of information sources need to be taken seriously.

Al Brooks: How would we follow up on it, Linda? We don’t know who to talk to in Marlow. We don’t know when it occurred.

Susan Kaplan: If we had the Community Concerns Form, we could document it.

Bill Pardue: Yes.

James Lewis: Let’s go through the sequence of this. Walter brought up a comment, so Walter may know the source of that. If we ask Walter to take a Comment Sheet and maybe fill that out and identify that from the source, if Walter would do that . . .

Susan Kaplan: . . . if we had our form finished.

Linda Gass: Well, I think that’s a very excellent idea, James, and that’s why I know I went to these COWG meetings . . .

Al Brooks: . . . we could try the ‘universal form’ - a blank sheet of paper.

Linda Gass: I know James has gone to a great deal of trouble to try to capture these concerns that are being brought up. And one of the things that I have been saying is . . this is an example of . . . to me, this is suppressing information. If somebody brings up a concern and they know that in a certain area that soil samples were discarded, then at least that needs to be captured in I would say James Lewis’s form or however that evolved to this point since the form was done originally. It should go in the database of concerns. Don’t you agree, James Lewis?

James Lewis: I think all concerns that are raised in all public meetings should be kept. I have no problem with that. Now, we need a process to follow that and what actions, and right now, the only thing that I can do is suggest is that Walter raised the issue and Walter should try to come and present us with some additional information associated with that. Now what happens after that point after we get back in here - you know, we’ll have to look at that.

Kowetha Davidson: What I’d have to say is that what we’d have to have would be some type of documentation for this because without documentation, . . .

Walter Coin: All I can say is that I seen it, it happened . . .

David Johnson: You saw it first-hand?

Walter Coin: First-hand, it was in the garbage can. There were soil samples, there were water samples. Now the question is, did they do something wrong where they had to throw them away? That’s unknown. But those samples were in the garbage can.

Bill Pardue: When was this, Walter?

Walter Coin: Oh, God, it’s been a while. It was back in that rush when they were doing all those sampling up through the creeks and everything. So it’s hard to say. But they could have made a mistake and had to go back on their job to do it right, or what - I don’t know.

Karl Markiewicz: We have captured it in the Minutes, here. And then we’ll just make sure we follow on that make sure that it comes through as a Community Concern. And if anyone else can provide other information, that would be great.

Barbara Sonnenburg: Was it a general procedure to take the sample, get the results from it, and then discard it?

Karl Markiewicz: No, no. There are hold times. Anytime you take an environmental sample, you have to, under regulations, you have to keep it stored for a certain amount of time just in case your results come out and somebody questions them, you can split that sample and they can resample it. Now there are hold times on samples - maybe 6 months for soil samples - and once it goes beyond that 6 months, they can discard them. But typically, they don’t throw them just in a common receptacle.

Barbara Sonnenburg: I was going to say that maybe these that he saw had been analyzed and the year had gone by, and they threw them away.

Al Brooks: These occurred in Marlow. That says the samples were not even . . .

Walter Coin: They were in a Dempster-Dumpster in Marlow.

Linda Gass: I couldn’t hear that last comment.

Al Brooks: It was a Dempster-Dumpster in Marlow. What were the description, Walter, of the samples?

Walter Coin: Some of them were soil, some of them were water.

James Lewis: One question - was it related to boron, which is what he was talking about?

Linda Gass: I don’t think it matters whether it’s related to boron. The comment was totally ignored. This is an example of the public coming, they bring up a concern, and they are treated in a way that I don’t think they feel welcome to come back many times. Only somebody very, very, very persistent will keep on and on and on and on. Because I think that that comment, the minute that it was stated, it was totally ignored, and you skip on over and go on and change the subject. And I don’t think that’s appropriate, so I don’t think it matters whether it’s boron. I think that the fact that you have a concern brought forth - it should be documented and go into the Concerns Database, and then go ahead to the presentation. That’s all I want to say. Thank you.

James Lewis: I didn’t want to imply we were forgetting it. But for this effort here, I guess what I’m saying is that would go into the database and we’ll document it. But for this effort here I was just asking was it related to boron. We’re not saying we’re going to forget the issue you raised. I just wanted to know if he knew if it was related to boron.

Linda Gass: Okay, you know as well as I do that Walter Coin or no person could possibly know if a soil sample in there was taken in order to be verifying boron, or what they were looking for.

James Lewis: I don’t know what Walter knows, I just asked a question.


Karl Markiewicz: Linda, and everyone else on the phone, they’re talking right now about (while we were flipping the tape over) where Marlow is actually located.

Harry Williams: Marlow is directly north of Oak Ridge.

Paul Charp: We found it - we got it. Thank you.

Al Brooks: I would suggest that the Working Group request as much documentation as Walter can give us: the date, place, and description of the samples. And if it’s enough to follow up on, somebody should follow up on it.

Bill Pardue: Absolutely.

Linda Gass: I agree.

Bill Pardue: If we’re all agreed on that, and I think we are . . . is it agreeable that we go ahead with the presentation. I think that’s what was on the schedule.

Al Brooks: What he has said isn’t enough to follow up on. We don’t know where the dumpster is/was, we don’t know when it happened - whether it happened a year ago or 20 years ago), and there’s no way to follow up on the information that Walter has now presented.

Susan Kaplan: We will follow up on it.

Karl Markiewicz: Okay, back to boron. The next slide - you know I talked about the MRL and I put this slide in here so that people could see (it has boron at the very top) basically the derivation of this intermediate oral MRL. There are just lines of information on there. It was taken from a rad study. There was a LOAEL (Lowest Observed Adverse Effect Level) in the rad study was 13.6 mg boron/kg/day. When they’re developing these MRLs, they put Uncertainty Factors in, or Modifying Factors. They used a factor of 10 (so you divide it by 10) because you’re going from a LOAEL vs. a NOAEL (No Observed Adverse Effect Level). If it was a NOAEL instead of a LOAEL, they wouldn’t have taken 10, but because it was a LOAEL, they did 10. They did another 10, so that’s 10 times 10, which is 100 total for extrapolation from animals to humans. So when you have an animal study and you’re going to use it in assessing human health, they throw a Safety Factor in of 10. Then ATSDR threw another Safety Factor in for human variability because people react differently to different things. We have genetic predispositions to things, and our genetic makeup is different. So, the final line on there shows the 13.9 - it should be 13.6 - divided by 1000 (10 x 10 x 10). That gives you 0.0139 and they round off for the MRL to 0.01. So that’s the derivation of that MRL. Just keep in mind that we’re 3 orders of magnitude from the lowest effect seen in a rat.

Al Brooks: Are rats known to be unusually sensitive, as a species, to boron?

Karl Markiewicz: I wouldn’t say unusually sensitive, but it was the most sensitive species with a good study, so that’s why the rat was chosen.

Kowetha Davidson: I was just going to throw in that humans are always considered to be the most sensitive, whether that’s true or not. And that’s not always the case.

Al Brooks: Humans are considered the most sensitive species compared to the other most sensitive species by at least a factor of 10 or more, under which circumstances they should be named homofragilous, and they wouldn’t last 3 generations.

Susan Kaplan: Tell me again what LOAEL is and where this number came from. It’s not on any of our other sheets.

Karl Markiewicz: LOAEL is the Lowest Observed Adverse Effect Level.

Kowetha Davidson: Karl, if I may explain. Generally what they do in these studies is - these studies are reported in __________, and what you do is look at the different doses at which the substance is given to the animals in the study. The ideal study would be one in which you would have one dose from which there is no effect, another dose from which there are some effects, and a higher dose from which there are definite effects. In this particular study, there was no dose from which there were no effects. So they used the lowest (they called it observed adverse effect level) and because they didn’t have that next level down, you assume that it’s 10 fold lower.

Susan Kaplan: This is generally used on rats?

Kowetha Davidson & Karl Markiewicz: Mice, rats, dogs - animals of whatever species.

Karl Markiewicz: This particular study is by Heindel et al., 1991. That’s the one that was selected to derive this MRL.

Al Brooks: If you used this procedure on penicillin in guinea pigs, you would have thrown out penicillin.

Karl Markiewicz: Do we want to make a side-step into this LOAEL/NOAEL animal/human . . . I see one head shaking NO. I see two NOs.

Bill Pardue: I think we should get through the presentation. If we want to go into detail, we can schedule another session.

Karl Markiewicz: Okay.

Walter Coin: (transcriber couldn’t hear well) . . . does it get lost in the body - does it get absorbed pretty quick?

Karl Markiewicz: I think the half-life of boric acid - I’m trying to remember now from reading - I want to say it’s 8 hours in a human. I’m think it was 8 hours in a human study that had human volunteers. I actually may have it page-marked.

Walter Coin: So it’s pretty quick then, just to get rid of it out of the system.

Karl Markiewicz: Yeah, I can get that information for you if you want that - half-life in humans. OK, the next page of that handout, I know there were some questions raised from community members about women - why are you using 70 kg? Why not 60 kg or 50 kg? This next one is calculating an EMEG using a 60-kg person, which . . . it’s the next page - that page right there.

Bill Pardue: We don’t have it in our packets.

Karl Markiewicz: Oh, well, it’s the same formula - the only thing we changed was the Body Weight. Instead of 7000 ppm in soil which was the 70-kg person, it’s 6000 ppm in soil when you go to a 60-kg person . . . [Copies of the rest of Karl’s handout (Attachment 3) being made and distributed.]

Al Brooks: What are you using? You describe several levels to screen by - one for infants, one for men, one for women, etc. What one are you assuming for your actual calculations?

Karl Markiewicz: What do you mean by actual calculations?

Al Brooks: Are you screening on the adult level or the infant level, or . . . .

Karl Markiewicz: The initial screening is on that most sensitive sub-population, so we’re using the infant, a 10-kg child, for the initial screening.

Al Brooks: We’ve got some 10-kg children now that . . .

Karl Markiewicz: 10-kg children eating 5000 mg of soil per day for 365 days per year! But what I’m trying to show is how conservative and how protective that is. If it passes that screen and it’s not greater than that 20 ppm, it’s not a problem.

Dave Johnson: So you’re saying mud pies.

Karl Markiewicz: Yes. So that’s our first screening that we have - the actual value that we find in the soil, and we compare it to that number. Now I agree with you; it’s not realistic to what’s going on out there, but as a first step, you can eliminate a bunch of samples that way. Out of 1306 samples we had, over 480 of them were over 20 ppm. So you’ve eliminated over half of them just based on that 20 ppm.

Bob Eklund: I have a hearing problem. It would be easier to hear if there weren’t other conversations going on other than the speaker.

Karl Markiewicz: But you’re right, Al. It is very health-protective, conservative assumptions for that initial screen. But as we walk through that chart, are they above the EMEG - yes/no, then as you’re stepping down to get to the Public Health Implication Phase, you’re refining that approach further and further. We’re looking at more realistic exposure scenarios as you move down this chart getting to the Public Health Implication Phase of the Health Assessment.

next >

Contact Us:
  • Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
    4770 Buford Hwy NE
    Atlanta, GA 30341-3717 USA
  • 800-CDC-INFO
    TTY: (888) 232-6348
    Email CDC-INFO
  • New Hours of Operation
    8am-8pm ET/Monday-Friday
    Closed Holidays The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 4770 Buford Hwy NE, Atlanta, GA 30341
Contact CDC: 800-232-4636 / TTY: 888-232-6348

A-Z Index

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z
  27. #