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3/27/2008 - CDC / ATSDR Response to Stan and Candy from Frank J. Bove, Sc.D Senior Epidemiologist Division of Health Studies Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

Dear Folks I have tried to register on your website from my work computer but have been unable to do so. So I am sending this email to your organization to clear up the issues that have arisen from CDC's response to Stan and Candy Little's email to CDC. First of all, I did not see CDC's response, nor did I see Stan and Candy's email to CDC, until this morning when I received a copy of both emails from Stan. So I want to apologize for the CDC-INFO response to Stan and Candy's email. It was incorrect because it failed to mention that PCE levels at Tarawa Terrace were high and of grave health concern, and it failed to mention that the Hadnot Point system had extremely high levels of TCE and DCE and that these levels also are of grave health concern. We are working with CDC-INFO to make sure these errors don't happen again. CDC-INFO should have mentioned that PCE (also known as tetrachloroethylene or perchloroethylene) was measured at the tap in Tarawa Terrace at levels as high as 215 ppb. Since the current standard ("MCL") is 5 ppb, 215 ppb is 43 times the current standard. There is considerable scientific uncertainty concerning what level of PCE can be harmful either to the fetus, the child, or the adult, but the levels of PCE at Tarawa Terrace are among the highest found in any public water system in the U.S. and certainly are of health concern. For adult diseases, the duration of exposure is also an important factor. However, for childhood diseases, including birth defects and childhood cancers, even a very short exposure duration (a few days to a few weeks) at a critical time during pregnancy could be sufficient to cause a birth defect or childhood cancer. At our website, we have a table with the estimated average levels for each month of PCE (as well as TCE, DCE, and vinyl chloride) that was at the tap at each home in Tarawa Terrace, based on our modeling of the Tarawa Terrace system: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/sites/lejeune/docs/WTP%20Concetrations_Table.pdf The TCE, DCE, and vinyl chloride in the Tarawa Terrace system were entirely due to degradation (or breakdown) of the PCE in the groundwater over time. TCE, DCE and vinyl chloride were not used in the dry cleaning operation, and there was no other source of contamination to the Tarawa Terrace system except ABC cleaners. The levels of TCE and vinyl chloride that we estimated in the Tarawa Terrace system are not high although they do exceed the current drinking water standards for TCE (5 ppb) and vinyl chloride (2 ppb). We estimated a maximum of 22 ppb for DCE (the MCL is 100 pbb), 7 ppb for TCE, and 12 ppb for vinyl chloride. There is considerable scientific uncertainty concerning whether these levels of TCE, DCE and vinyl chloride are harmful. Currently we are modeling the Hadnot Point water system. We intend to produce a similar table for this water system by the middle of next year. It will take this long because the situation at Hadnot Point is much more complex than was the case at Tarawa Terrace. At Tarawa Terrace, there was one source of contamination, ABC Cleaners, and one major contaminant, PCE (used in the dry cleaning process). On the other hand, at Hadnot Point, there were several sources of contamination (up to 16 sites), several different major contaminants (e.g., TCE, PCE, DCE, benzene), and many more drinking water wells than Tarawa Terrace. The Hadnot Point system served most of the bachelors quarters (i.e., the barracks on mainside), and the family housing units at Hospital Point. Before June 1972, Hadnot Point also served family housing units at Berkeley Manor, Midway Park, and Paradise Point. After June 1972, these units were served by uncontaminated water from the Holcomb Boulevard plant. Watkins Village, built in the late 1970s, was also served by the Holcomb Boulevard plant. The maximum level of TCE detected in the Hadnot Point drinking water (i.e., from tap samples) was measured at 1,400 ppb. That is the highest level of TCE I have ever seen in a tap sample in a public water system anywhere in the U.S.. For comparison, the maximumn level of TCE measured in the contaminated public wells in Woburn MA was 267 ppb. The maximum level of DCE measured in the Hadnot Point drinking water (tap samples), 407 ppb, is also the highest I have ever seen in a public water system in the U.S. Obviously, these are contaminant levels of grave health concern. Again, I want to apologize for the CDC-INFO response. I have alerted their staff to make sure this does not happen again. Sincerely Frank J. Bove, Sc.D Senior Epidemiologist Division of Health Studies Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)/CDC Mailstop F-57 4770 Buford Highway NE Atlanta, GA 30341-3717 (770) 488-3809 (770) 488-7187 fax fbove@cdc.gov Room 03/021 Building 106

 
 

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