Evaluating vapor intrusion pathways : guidance for ATSDR’s Division of Community Health investigations
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Evaluating vapor intrusion pathways : guidance for ATSDR’s Division of Community Health investigations

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      This document focuses on how the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) health assessors can evaluate the public health implications of vapor intrusion.* It is a technical supplement to the January 2005 ATSDR Public Health Assessment Guidance Manual [ATSDR 2005a]. The migration of vapor-forming† chemicals and gases from any subsurface source into indoor air is known as vapor intrusion. Figure 1 summarizes the vapor intrusion pathway. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) toxicity data indicate that risks from inhaling some chemicals far outweigh the risks of exposure via ingestion [EPA 1996]. Chemicals contaminating groundwater and soil might also off-gas and migrate into the air of homes and commercial buildings. Volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) and other vapor-forming contaminants are commonly released into the environment from hazardous waste sites. Since the 1980s, vapor intrusion has been the subject of increasing research and scientific discussion. EPA recently published updated and enhanced guidelines for assessing and mitigating vapor intrusion at contaminated sites subject to a federal statute [EPA 2015]. Many federal [DOD 2009; USN 2011a,b,c] and state health and environmental agencies have also issued guidelines and fact sheets for their respective programs. Most state guidelines appear to be consistent with the approach recommended by EPA. A list of state guidance documents is available from Envirogroup [Envirogroup 2016], and a compilation of information from the states is provided by the Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials [ASTSWMO 2009]. Under the auspices of the Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC), scientists and engineers from numerous state and federal agencies and environmental companies prepared a comprehensive vapor intrusion guidance document: Vapor Intrusion: A Practical Guideline [ITRC 2007]. It includes discussion on approaches to investigate and address vapor intrusion issues. Although written to assist regulatory agencies, ATSDR and its cooperative agreement programs (referred to as just ATSDR here-after) are encouraged to use these references. svi_guidance_508.pdf
    • Content Notes:
      Acronym List -- Introduction -- What are the potential health risks from the vapor intrusion pathway? -- When should a vapor intrusion pathway be evaluated? -- Why is it so difficult to assess the public health hazard posed by the vapor intrusion pathway? -- What is the best approach for a public health evaluation of the vapor intrusion pathway? -- Public health evaluation. -- Vapor intrusion evaluation process outline -- References -- Appendix A. Vapor Intrusion Health Assessment Checklist -- Appendix B. Information for Evaluating Variability -- Appendix C. Chemicals for Vapor Intrusion Assessment -- Appendix D. Sample Template Table for Media-Specific Screening of Vapor Intrusion Data -- Appendix E. Special Considerations for Evaluating Petroleum Vapor Intrusion.
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