A community petition asking ATSDR to evaluate groundwater contamination in the north Whatcom County/
Bertrand Creek area was addressed cooperatively by ATSDR and WCAP. Sampling of indoor air by ATSDR
validated concerns raised about exposure to volatiles released during showering. This information was incorporated
by the WCAP into the health assessment resulting in remedial efforts that included distribution of shower filters as an
interim measure to reduce inhalation exposure.
A health consultation is a written or oral response from ATSDR to a specific request for information about health
risks related to a specific site, chemical release, or hazardous material. It is a more limited response than a public health
assessment. To date, 155 documented health consultations have been conducted at 102 sites in Washington.
Health consultations allow ATSDR and WCAP to quickly address a myriad of sites and issues form across the state.
Recent health consultations have evaluated exposure
in groundwater, indoor air, fish/shellfish, and
ambient air. A health consultation documenting community concerns about exposures at the Georgia-Pacific pulp
and paper mill in Camus resulted in a recommendation for detailed evaluation of potential exposures. Philip
Services, Cadet Manufacturing and Eastside Cleaners are all sites where the pathway of concern is inhalation of
volatiles migrating from groundwater
to indoor air. Health consultations for these sites highlighted the importance
this exposure pathway. As a result, WCAP is formulating a protocol that will evaluate the necessity of indoor air
at sites with volatiles
in groundwater. The Spokane River health consultations evaluated lead and PCBs
fish leading to consumption advisory primarily based PCBs.
An exposure investigation is the collection and analysis of site-specific data to determine if populations have been
exposed to hazardous substances. Biologic sampling, personal monitoring, related environmental assessment, and expo-
sure-dose reconstruction are used to collect this information.
Blood, breast milk and indoor dust samples were collected and analyzed for organochlorines at the Able Pest
Control site providing residents and regulatory agencies with important exposure information. Blood lead samples
taken from workers at the Les' Radiator Shop indicated excessive exposure of one worker living near the shop.
Geoduck samples will be collected and analyzed for dioxin near the Rayonier Mill pulp and paper mill located in
Port Angeles. Samples will be collected from the usual and accustomed fishing grounds of the Lower Elwha
Klallam Tribe, which may support subsistence level consumption. Indoor air samples were taken from homes and
businesses at both the Eastside Cleaners and Philip Services where concerns were raised over the potential migration
of volatiles from groundwater into indoor air.
Educating Health Professionals and Community Activities
The cooperative agreement program includes the support
of educational activities for physicians and other health profes-
sionals and communities concerning human exposure
to hazardous substances
in the environment. Under the cooperative
agreement, the Washington State Department of Health has received funding as well as technical assistance leading to
the development of 83 different educational tools. More than 31,000 copies have been distributed. Twelve different fact
sheets related to environmental health issues have been developed and distributed since January 2000. Additionally, more
than 3,000 Washington citizens have attended 154 public meetings or training sessions.
Extensive outreach is planned for Asian and Pacific Islander immigrants who consume seafood contaminated with
polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from the Lower Duwamish Waterway Superfund site. The communities impacted
by the site will receive a presentation on seafood safety issues, along with illustrated fact sheets in six languages, and a
"hands-on" seafood cleaning and cooking demonstration through a partnership with the University of Washington.
ATSDR has been involved in a variety of other health education and promotion activities in Washington. These activities
include: Migrant Clinicians Network, Hanford Nuclear Reservation, National Workshop to Establish an Environmental
Safety Net for Children, and the Southpark site in King County.
Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU)
In collaboration with the Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics (AOEC), ATSDR developed PEHSUs
throughout the nation as a resource for pediatricians, other health care providers, federal staff, and the public. These units
help reduce environmental health threats to children, improve access to pediatric environmental medicine expertise, and
strengthen public prevention capacity. A PEHSU was established at Harborview Medical Center in 1998. The unit
provides consultations and clinical services, along with education for health care providers and the public.