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Health Assessment Team

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Presentation on theme: "Health Assessment Team"— Presentation transcript:

1 Donna Reservoir and Canal System “Superfund” Site Donna, Hidalgo County, Texas

2 Health Assessment Team
The assessment team conducts Public Health Assessments on hazardous waste sites following proposal to the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Priorities List (Superfund)

3 the team will: Identify human populations at risk
Health Assessor, Health Educator, Community Liaison the team will: Identify human populations at risk Reduce and prevent adverse human health conditions from toxic environmental exposures Educate communities on exposure prevention and pathways

4 Health Assessment The Health Assessment has 3 versions:
Technical – Reviewed by state & federal environmental agencies for their approval. Public Comment – Reviewed by the public. Comments from the public regarding the health assessment are received by DSHS. Final – document is finalized. Comments received are answered and incorporated into the document. Public comments can alter the final outcome.

5 Health Assessment Team
Map Key:      Proposed: 3    Final: 46    Deleted: 10


7 Background 1993 EPA was investigating neural tube defect cluster in the Valley area. A family gave EPA a tissue (fillet) sample from a fish supposedly caught in the Donna Canal. The fish had a concentration of 399 ppm PCB. The highest ever recorded in a fish. Investigations of reservoir & canal began as result.

8 Polychlorinated Biphenyl structure (209 possible combinations)

9 PCBs Withstand high heat – transformers and capacitors
Very stable - therefore persistent for long periods of time in the environment 98% of US Manufacture by Monsanto tradename – Aroclor Aroclor 1254 (12 C atoms, 54% Cl) generally the more chlorinated, the more toxic Other countries also produced PCBs. 1978 ban - US production & importation

10 Potential Health Effects
The most commonly observed long term health effects in people exposed to high levels of PCB’s are skin conditions such as acne and rashes Long term exposure may cause liver damage A pregnant woman who eats food contaminated with high levels of PCB’s can pass the chemicals to her unborn child and may cause the child to have slower mental development and difficulty learning Young children may also experience developmental health effects from eating contaminated fish Lipophilic – loves fatty tissue

11 Nature and Extent of Contamination
DSHS fish ban in place since February 1994 area covered by the ban includes the irrigation canal beginning at the Rio Grande and up to and including the reservoir fish contain PCB (polychlorinated biphenyl) possession of fish from the canal and reservoir can result in a fine up to $500

12 DSHS Fish Ban







19 Findings PCB (Aroclor 1254) found in fish tissue & suspended sediments
Fish (range: BDL – ppm mean: ppm) FDA limit: 2 ppm EPA limit: 1.4 ppm – state should consider action Suspended sediments (range: nd – ppm)

20 Exposure Pathways Public health hazard – ingestion of fish
No public health hazard - exposure pathway eliminated: surface water, drinking water, and bottom sediment – no PCBs air – no samples collected (low volatility high affinity for soil) No apparent public health hazard: suspended sediment - not significant exposure pathway (low probability of regular exposure) Public health hazard – ingestion of fish

21 Actions Planned EPA will continue removing fish
EPA seeking contaminant source DSHS Community Involvement DSHS Health Education

22 Health Education Example of pamphlet Door hanger
Attend local school functions Visit businesses (sporting goods, jiffy marts, etc.)

23 Community Involvement – public meetings

24 Health Assessment Team Contacts
Health Assessment and Toxicology Group Environmental & Injury Epidemiology & Toxicology Branch (800) Tom Ellerbee Environmental Specialist Tina Walker Health Educator Nancy Ingram Community Liaison

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