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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Historical Document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

September 16, 2002 - Meeting Minutes


ORRHES Members attending:

Bob Craig (Work Group Chair), Kowetha Davidson (ORRHES Chair), David Johnson, James Lewis, LC Manley, and Barbara Sonnenburg (phone)

Public Members attending:

Gordon Blaylock, Al Brooks,Linda Gass

ATSDR Staff attending:

Jack Hanley (phone), and Bill Murray


  1. Previous meeting minutes (07/01/02, 07/15/02 and 08/08/02)

  2. ATSDR project plan

  3. New business

Purpose: Bob Craig called the PHAWG meeting to order and attendance was noted for the record.

1.) Draft minutes of the PHAWG meetings on July 1, 2002, July 15, 2002, and August 5, 2002 - A motion was made and seconded to adopt the draft minutes as written. The motion passed with four (4) yes votes and one (1) abstention.

2.) Status of ATSDR project plan - Jack Hanley said that no changes had been made that he knew of since the last ORRHES meeting (August 27, 2002). Bob Craig remarked that more detail was needed and that it must be done in a stepwise fashion. Al Brooks said that the Gantt chart and the project description need to be consistent. Jack Hanley has not seen any project description.

Bob Craig said that the Gantt chart can be presented at the next ORRHES meeting (October 22, 2002) in an hour and it would be beneficial to do so. Al Brooks asked why the plan has taken two (2) years if it’s easy. Bob Craig suggested breaking the plan up into small items, but Al Brooks insisted that more than an hour is needed to present it.

James Lewis agrees with both Bob Craig and Al Brooks. He was looking at the process in the PHAWG Guidance Manual. Considering iodine 131 (I-131), he wonders where ATSDR is on, and how long will it take to complete, the I-131 public health assessment (PHA). If Paul Charp needs six (6) more months to look at the new I-131 data, can this task be accelerated and where is it on Paul Charp’s list of priorities? Al Brooks suggested that if it will take that long, ATSDR should work on another contaminant of concern (COC) in the meantime.

Jack Hanley said Paul Charp is working half-time on Oak Ridge but needs some help. Karl Markiewicz is spending one-third of his time on Oak Ridge issues (present screening), and Jack Hanley is working on mercury.

Parenthetically, Al Brooks remarked that there was an article in the Oak Ridger newspaper that the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) identified East Fork Poplar as the most contaminated creek in Tennessee. LC Manley remarked that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will not present the results of the sampling in Scarboro until November. James Lewis surmised that they do not have a project plan.

Bob Craig said that if I-131 is delayed, ATSDR should shift emphasis onto other COCs.

James Lewis made a motion that ATSDR’s Project Manager should look at I-131, establish an end date considering the new data on X-10 (Oak Ridge National Laboratory), and bring it to the PHAWG. Al Brooks does not think that is feasible. Rather, if I-131 is delayed, work on other COCs. There is not enough information on the I-131.

Kowetha Davidson said two other issues are being worked on - screening and mercury. Bob Craig and Al Brooks agreed that a decision on completing I-131 can not be made now. James Lewis withdrew his motion.

Al Brooks presented a motion: “If ATSDR determines that there is an unavoidable delay in completion of the I-131 evaluation, that one or more COCs be expedited and presented before the I-131 PHA.”

The rationale for putting I-131 first (most complex) and the reason for delays in completing the I-131 PHA (new data) were mentioned. The present Gantt chart is based on old information. The deliverables for the various COCs should drive the scheduling of ORRHES meetings. Linda Gass objected to a conditional motion but no change was made.

The motion was passed with seven (7) yes votes and one (1) abstention.

A concern was raised about mercury but the decision on selecting the order in which COCs are addressed lies with ATSDR.

Al Brooks made a motion: “The PHAWG requests a copy of a detailed Gantt chart from ATSDR as soon as possible.”

There was discussion about the screening for both past exposures and current exposures. The process and data for past exposures have been presented to, and approved by, ORRHES. The process for has been presented for current exposures but the findings have not. The process will be presented by type of medium at future meetings. Since the Gantt chart will change and have to be adjusted, the current chart is needed.

The motion was passed unanimously.

James Lewis made a motion: “That the detailed Gantt chart reflect the steps contained in ORRHES’s approved flow sheet.”

The motion was passed unanimously.

Bob Craig said the project plan discussion was completed and the next item is new business.

3.) New business - Concern was expressed about stirring up the pot again about mercury.

The PHAWG recommendation on adding doses to the thyroid from I-131 releases at the Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR) and the Nevada Test Site (NTS) was not passed by ORRHES. The ORRHES did not return the recommendation to the PHAWG for further action and more work on this issue is not required. However, in the discussion some additional questions were raised:

  • does ORRHES want a recommendation on this issue?
  • will the new data on I-131 have any effect on adding doses?
  • how and where were the new data obtained (monitoring method)?
  • do the new data include fallout from the NTS

Concern was expressed about the consequences of not adding the ORR and NTS doses on the credibility of the PHA. However, if the new monitoring data already include the fallout component from NTS, care must be taken not to add the component from NTS into the thyroid dose twice.

Kowetha Davidson requested a monthly update on the project plan. Jack Hanley said that Jerry Pereira would provide that.

The next PHAWG meeting will be at the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s DOE Oversight Office on Emory Valley Road.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:05 p.m.

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