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Public health assessment; Los Alamos National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy, Los Alamos, Los Alamos County, New Mexico, EPA facility ID: NM0890010515
  • Published Date:
    September 8, 2006
Filetype[PDF-3.50 MB]


Details:
  • Corporate Authors:
    United States, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry., Division of Health Assessment and Consultation., Site and Radiological Assessment Branch.
  • Description:
    For this PHA, ATSDR reviewed monitoring data gathered from 1980 to 2001, which may report information about long-lived contamination resulting from releases that occurred before 1980 as well as information about releases occurring after 1980. Data on LANL from before 1980 is currently being gathered through a document retrieval process conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Environmental Health. After completion of the document retrieval process, ATSDR will determine if additional actions need to be taken to evaluate past potential exposures (pre-1980) and determine follow-up action. ATSDR's purpose was to assess possible exposures to chemical contaminants and radionuclides in groundwater, surface soil, surface water and sediment, air, and biota. ATSDR reviewed past (i.e., post-1980), current, and potential future exposure situations. This review provided the basis Los Alamos National Laboratory Public Health Assessment for ATSDR's determination that no harmful exposures are occurring or are not expected to occur in the future because of chemical or radioactive contamination detected in groundwater, surface soil, surface water and sediment, air, or biota. This conclusion is based on a review of data available at the time of the assessment. Conclusions, particularly those regarding future exposures, may change if conditions change. The following is a summary of the conclusion for each potential exposure pathway. The public is not ingesting contaminants at levels of concern, either in the community or in LANL water supply. Groundwater from the deep aquifer provides the majority of the public drinking water for the Los Alamos community and for LANL. Regular monitoring of the water supply identified fluoride, sodium, perchlorate, 10 metals, and gross alpha at maximum concentrations greater than ATSDR health-based comparison values (CVs) for drinking water. To evaluate the possible adverse health effects of consuming groundwater, ATSDR estimated doses associated with daily consumption of drinking water containing the maximum detected concentrations of the above-referenced chemicals. ATSDR applied assumptions to overestimate doses and be protective of public health in essentially all situations. ATSDR identified no doses at levels of concern. Those following a low-sodium diet, however, should be aware of the elevated levels of sodium found during monitoring and should consult with their health care providers to monitor properly their sodium intake. We also note that under the Safe Drinking Water Act, water suppliers regularly monitor the water supply to ensure its safety. Accidental ingestion of surface soil containing site contamination is not expected to result in adverse human health effects. On-site monitoring from 1980 to 2001 identified only arsenic, cesium-137, plutonium-238, and strontium-90 at concentrations above CVs. Assuming the maximum detected concentrations found within restricted areas of LANL could also be present in residential yards, ATSDR estimated exposure doses that were both below health-based standards and below the doses identified in the scientific literature as causing adverse health effects. Exposure to surface water and sediment contaminants during recreational use of the canyons surrounding LANL is possible, but is not expected to result in adverse human health effects. Hunters, hikers, and bikers now use canyons that were historically used for waste disposal. Monitoring from 1980 to 2001 identified contaminants above CVs in surface water (bis(2ethylhexyl)phthalate, methylene chloride, 15 inorganics, gross alpha, and total uranium) and sediment (benz(a)anthracene, benzo(a)pyrene, arsenic, iron, manganese, americium-241, cesium137, plutonium 239/240, and strontium-90). ATSDR estimated potential exposure doses using assumptions about how often, how long, and how much exposure to contaminants could occur. This exposure evaluation, a review of site data, and observations of site conditions allowed ATSDR to conclude that potential contact with surface water and sediment during recreation is not expected to result in adverse health effects. Inhalation of contaminants is not expected to result in adverse health effects. Monitoring for airborne contaminants at on site, at perimeter, and at regional air-monitoring stations detected no Adverse health effects are not expected from the consumption and use of locally harvested or grown foods. Monitoring between 1980 and 2001 included sampling a number of different biota (i.e., the plants and animals of a particular region). In the various biota sampled, researchers found polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), 16 metals, 21 pesticides, and 23 radionuclides. No CVs are available for biota; thus ATSDR estimated exposure doses using assumptions regarding daily consumption or use of local foods. Using protective assumptions about how often and how long exposures occur and how much of a contaminant might be ingested, together with a review of the scientific literature, led ATSDR to conclude that consumption of locally harvested and locally grown foods is not expected to result in adverse human health effects. contaminants at concentrations above health-based CVs.

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