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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Historical Document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

August 6, 2001 - Meeting Minutes


  1. Review and approval of minutes of last meeting - Bill Pardue
  2. Epi 102 course at September ORRHES meeting - Bill Pardue
  3. Recommendation for process flow chart - Bill Pardue
  4. Stop work request on I-131 PHA - Linda Gass
  5. Recommendation to adopt central values from dose reconstruction in the public health assessment - Work Group
  6. Discussion on I-131 (come prepared with questions, issues, concerns, recommendations, etc.) - Bill Pardue
  7. ATSDR Public Health Assessment Process - Michael Grayson


ORRHES Members attending: Bill Pardue, Chair, Al Brooks, Bob Craig, Bob Eklund, David Johnson, Susan Kaplan, James Lewis, Pete Malmquist (phone), Kowetha Davidson, Chairperson, ORRHES.

Public members attending: Linda Gass.

Press attending: Paul Parson, OakRidger.

ATSDR staff attending: Michael Grayson, Bill Murray, Karl Markiewicz (phone).


The meeting was called to order by the Chair at 5:45 pm.

  • Minutes for the July 19, 2001, meeting were distributed. There was discussion about the accuracy of the minutes and the format that the WG wished to use. A motion was made and approved unanimously to adopt the minutes as written.

  • Epidemiology 102 course - The WG discussed the issue of the Mangano epidemiology study and how the WG could work with Lucy Peipins, ATSDR, to critique the study. A motion was passed unanimously to schedule a meeting with Lucy Peipins to critique an epidemiology article with the WG and videotape the session. The WG will then make a recommendation to ORRHES to accept or reject the Mangano report.

  • PHA process flow sheet - A motion was passed unanimously to submit the recommendation for the process flow sheet to ORRHES. The recommendation to be transmitted is as follows:
    "The Public Health Assessment Work Group (PHAWG), in conjunction with ATSDR, has developed a Process Flow Sheet for the public health assessment being done of the Oak Ridge Reservation by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. The chart shows the flow of work for each contaminant of concern (COC) on this activity in three stages and six phases from information retrieval to final report. The PHAWG has approved this sheet and recommends its adoption by the Oak Ridge Reservation Health Effects Subcommittee (ORRHES)."

  • Request from Ms. Linda Gass - Ms. Gass has not been able to obtain several references in the I-131 dose reconstruction report. She made a motion "That ORRHES postpone discussion and framing decisions on the I-131 dose reconstruction until the Tennessee Department of Health allows access to the references listed in the I-131 Oak Ridge dose reconstruction. The motion was defeated (1 yes [Gass], 7 no [Lewis, Kaplan, Pardue, Brooks, Malmquist, Eklund, Craig], 1 abstain [Johnson]). [See attachment for email from Ms. Gass]

  • Use of central values in PHA - There was a discussion on adopting the use of central values in the PHA since the dose reconstruction is based on modeling and not real people. The estimates used in the dose reconstruction are subjective estimates. Concerns were raised about sick people, that thyroid cancer is more common than realized, and synergistic effects. A motion was made to adopt the central values in the PHA. A second motion was introduced to postpone action on that motion until ATSDR can have an outside expert discuss this issue with ORRHES. This motion passed unanimously.

  • I-131 issues - ACTION ITEM - James Lewis and Al Brooks were given the responsibility to develop a process to document issues on I-131.

  • ATSDR PHA process - Michael Grayson reiterated the process for the PHA:

    • Determine usability of the Oak Ridge Dose Reconstruction - completed by ATSDR

    • Use dose estimates to assess the potential health effects

    • Determine if follow-up public health activities are needed

    The Agency is focusing on the latter two tasks since the technical reviewers concluded that the dose reconstruction could be used for public health issues.

Ms. Gass stated that the WG defeated her motion because it would delay work on the PHA. She commented that postponing action on adopting central values will also delay the PHA.

Al Brooks distributed articles on cancer clusters.

Bill Pardue told the WG that they should meet twice a month to get the work completed. The WG agreed to meet on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month until further notice. The next PHA WG meeting is scheduled for Monday, August 20, 2001, from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm at the Oak Ridge Field Office.

The meeting adjourned at 9:15 pm.


-----Original Message-----
From: Linda Gass []
Sent: Thursday, August 23, 2001 10:52 AM
Subject: My request to PHAWG on 6 Aug 01

To Bill Murray and Public Health Assessment Work Group of ORRHES:
Please attach this email format of the handwritten request I read on 6 Aug 01 at the PHAWG meeting to any discussion of my request and to the Minutes of that meeting. Linda Gass

Your characterization of my request as a "stop work request" was inaccurate, overbroad, and counterproductive. My request is that ORRHES postpone further DISCUSSION and framing questions on Iodine-131. ATSDR and its contractors have ongoing activities apart from ORRHES which are unaffected by my request.

Much of the integrity of the 10-volume Oak Ridge Dose Reconstruction (ORDR) report rests on how the authors used their sources. I wish to check references which are public documents owned by Tennessee Department of Health (TDH), most of which physically reside under the control of DOE at OSTI (Office of Scientific and Technical Information) in Oak Ridge. I have tried for months to get access to them. In particular, interviews done in January [and early] 1995 with employees and former employees who had first-hand knowledge of operations, patterns, and practices are extremely important. As Dr. Al Brooks emphasized at last week's meeting (30 July 2001), these are not available in open literature.

My request is reasonable and much more circumspect than a "stop work request." Thanks to the members of ORRHES for considering my request.

I have also tried for months to get all 10 volumes of the report. The Appendices, volumes 1A, 2A, and 4A are missing from my set. I had asked you, Bill, and others (non-ATSDR) numerous times. Fortunately, an ATSDR person immediately responded to my written request and gave me volume 1A at the 30 July meeting. I am very grateful. Bill, will you try to obtain volumes 2A and 4A for me? Thank you. Linda Gass

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