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Oak Ridge Reservation

Oak Ridge Reservation: Public Health Assessment Work Group

Historical Document

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Public Health Assessment Work Group

May 7, 2001 - Meeting Minutes


  1. Development of a PHA (Public Health Assessment) Working Group Mission Statement
  2. Advise the subcommittee on recommendations to be made to ATSDR and ORRHES (Oak Ridge Reservation of Health Effects Subcommittee)
  3. To conduct [101] Informational/Educational activities pertinent to the PHA
  4. Supply input to other work groups


ORRHES members attending:

Public members attending:

Bill Pardue, Chair

Debbie Cook

Kowetha Davidson, Chair, ORRHES

Doug Cook

Al Brooks

Timothy Joseph (DOE)

Bob Craig

Jean Shaakir-Ali

Bob Eklund

ATSDR staff attending:

David Johnson

Jack Hanley

Susan Kaplan

Lucy Peipins (phone)

James Lewis

Bill Murray

LC Manley

Christine Carbajo, scribe


The meeting started at 5:30 with around 15 people in attendance.

Dr. Lucy Peipins of ATSDR was on the teleconference. She went over a handout that she had made in outlining the basic Epidemiology. She emphasized the importance of the third section of the outline, dealing with the fundamentals of environmental epidemiology. Lucy talked about interpretation of results and other factors that might affect the outcome. She plans to come to Oak Ridge at a future meeting, perhaps the next meeting in June. Lucy wants to make a presentation consisting of PowerPoint, overheads, and other visuals, making it easily understood for the general public.

The Cooks, a couple who attended the meeting, were concerned about a high incidence of cancer appearing in a small area near where they lived. They were wondering what was needed to get a study started. In response to that question, studies are already taking place in several areas, even if not in that specific location. Extensive data collection would need to take place involving the exposure, dosages, outcome, etc.

Jack Hanley presented the approach to be taken to develop the public health assessment (PHA). The purpose of the PHA is to compile and evaluate the dose reconstruction reports and other studies to determine the exposure of off-site populations to hazardous substances from the Oak Ridge reservation. Two handouts were distributed, outlining possible options for the process. A tentative schedule was included, sketching out possible dates for certain data/materials to be collected. A few goals, in regard to what should be accomplished each month, were also planned out. A committee member also provided a flowchart with a list of the contaminants and the dates that certain parts of the plan would be carried out on each.

Some additional points that were brought up:

  • PHAs are required at Superfund Sites.

  • In the PHA process, current studies are categorized from 1990-present.

  • PHA (Public Health Assessment) identifies people exposed and their level of exposure. This is called exposure assessment, which tells when, where, and the amount. This does not cover very much of the health outcomes. This is the first step to be taken when a study is being considered.

  • PH Study (Public Health Study) takes the exposure data and health outcome data and tries to find a correlation between them. "Study" in this sense is a very specific term and should not be taken lightly. It should not be confused with "investigations" such as the one at Watts Bar.

  • There are 6 initial contaminants of concern (which include iodine-131, mercury, uranium, radionuclides in White Oak Creek, polychlorinated biphenyls, fluorine/fluoride), although there may be others.

  • Research and other sources will be looked at by many notable researchers and scientists (i.e.: Dr. Owen Hoffman of SENES-Oak Ridge).

  • A white paper describing various areas of background information involving the release of some toxic contaminants several decades ago in Oak Ridge is being developed by a committee member.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:30 PM.

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