Air pathway Overall, ATSDR found that the
of commercial, industrial, and domestic wastes.
residents of Vieques may have been exposed to
During the 1970s, people began building homes
on the site and moving to the landfill. More than
training exercises, but that these exposures are far
200 homes have been built at the site.
lower than levels known to be associated with ad-
The EPA Caribbean Division asked PRDOH to
verse health effects. As a result, ATSDR concluded
evaluate data obtained in its assessment of the site
that the air exposure pathway at Vieques presents
and to determine whether exposures to the concen-
no apparent public health hazard.
trations of dioxin detected could result in adverse
ATSDR's public comment release of the air path-
health effects for community members in the area.
way public health assessment included several rec-
The primary objective of the investigation was to
ommendations for further air sampling at Vieques.
evaluate the extent of surface and subsurface soil
Because the Navy officially ceased its training
exercises on May 1, 2003, ATSDR believes these
the adjoining wooded areas. PRDOH prepared this
sampling studies are no longer necessary. ATSDR
also recommended that residents using rainfall col-
lection systems for a drinking water supply read the
In a health consultation released in April 2004,
documents in the records repositories about good
PRDOH concluded that no public health hazard ex-
sanitation practices for harvesting rain water. These
ists at the site. However, one sampling point in an
practices will help ensure that water obtained from
adjacent wooded area slightly exceeded the action
these systems is safe to drink and relatively free of
sure is minimal, community members stated that
ATSDR plans to review cancer registry information
people go to the wooded area for fruits and veg-
and data gathered by the Puerto Rico Department
etables. Considering the maximum concentration of
of Health (PRDOH). This review will consider the
dioxin detected in the wooded area, adverse health
data documented in ATSDR's public health assess-
effects are not likely.
ments and will evaluate the general health status of
The health consultation concluded that community
the communities on Vieques. ATSDR's review will
members should receive health education about di-
follow the official release of PRDOH's review of
oxin as it relates to this site and to the wooded area
the cancer registries, but it is not known when this
adjacent to the site.
will occur. ATSDR also prepared a brief summary
PRDOH is working on health consultations to ad-
of environmental health issues for Vieques.
Pesticide Warehouse III--PRDOH is preparing
Juncos Landfill--In 1999, the community asked
a public health assessment for the Pesticide Ware-
ATSDR to investigate this older NPL site with re-
house III site in Manati.
gard to possible mercury exposure. A public health
A health consultation is a written or oral response
assessment and two health consultations previ-
from ATSDR to a specific request for information about
ously were conducted at the site. During fall 1999,
health risks related to a specific site, chemical release,
ATSDR conducted an exposure investigation to
or hazardous material. A health consultation is a more
determine whether people living beside the land-
limited response than a public health assessment.
fill were being exposed to mercury. Indoor air and
Fifteen health consultations have been conducted at
urine samples were obtained; results indicated no
the following nine sites in Puerto Rico, including the
mercury exposures were occurring. ATSDR, in col-
following recent examples.
laboration with EPA, is compiling data to prepare a
Vega Baja Solid Waste Disposal--The Vega Baja
public health assessment for this site.
Solid Waste Disposal site is an inactive, unlined,
Health Education and Community Activities
and uncapped solid waste disposal facility in
the Rio Abajo Ward area of the town of Vega
Baja. The landfill operated from approximately
agreement program since 2001. Under this program,
PRDOH has received funding and technical assistance
1948 to 1979 for the dumping and open-burning