ATSDR Public Health Assessment – Status Update

On August 26, 2008 the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, (ATSDR), held a public meeting in Acton on their Public Comment Release, ATSDR Public Health Assessment of the WR Grace Superfund Site in Acton, MA. Appendix G of this report is an Assessment of Cancer Incidence in Acton and Concord Census Tract 3612: 1982-2000 by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

At the August 2008 meeting they provided copies of the report, asked for verbal public comment and stated that there would be a public comment period until September 30, 2008 for written comments on the report. At the written request of the Town of Acton, Acton Water District and ACES, as well as state Senator Pamela Resor, ATSDR extended this public comment period to October 30, 2008. As of December 2010, ATSDR has not responded to the 2008 public comments it received, nor issued a final version of their Public Health Assessment.

*Click here to view the entire 2008 ATSDR Report.

Pages of interest include: (Note: Pages below are the actual page numbers of the report, not the “pdf” page numbers.)

Main Report Pgs. iv-v; Summary

Pgs. 1-2; Background; Site Description and History

Pgs. 23-24; Health Outcome Data: Summarizes Cancer incidence data for Acton; 1982-2000 for 6 selected cancer types; includes higher than expected occurrence of Central Nervous System (CNS) and brain cancer from 1982 to 2000, that was statistically significant during 1982-1987.

Pgs. 24-28; Community Health Concerns: Includes ATSDR’s responses to questions from a public meeting held in Acton, Oct. 28, 2003.

Pgs. 28-29; Conclusions

Pgs 29-30; Recommendations & Public Action Plan

Pgs 31-64; Responses to Comments Received: Provides ATSDR responses to public comment received to earlier drafts of the report, including questions submitted by ACES.

Pg. 122; Appendix G; Health Consultation, Assessment of Cancer Incidence in Acton and Concord Census Tract 3612: 1982-2000

Appendix G. Pgs. 1-2; Background & Objectives

Appendix G. Pgs. 8-14; Results of Cancer Incidence Analysis

Appendix G. Pgs. 10-11 Brain and Central Nervous System (CNS) Cancer; Higher incidences than expected in Acton from 1982 to 2000, Higher rate was statistically significant during 1982-1987. See discussion on pgs. 17-20.

Appendix G. Pgs. 12-13: Leukemia; Statistically significant elevation in leukemia during 1988-1993 in the Concord Census Tract that includes the WR Grace Superfund Site. See discussion on pgs. 22-24.

Appendix G. Pgs. 28-30: Analysis of Geographic Distribution of Cancer Incidence

Appendix G. Pgs. 30-32: Discussion

Appendix G. Pgs. 32-33: Limitations

Appendix G. Pg. 33: Conclusions

Appendix G. Pgs. 65-81 Risk Factor Information for Selected Cancer Types

Also see: ACES comments on ATSDR Health Study; Oct. 2008 to view ACES Oct. 30, 2008 comments on the August 2008 ATSDR Public Release Public Health Assessment
The full August 2008 ATSDR report can be viewed on the Town of Acton website, under Health Department, at: http://www.acton-ma.gov/DocumentView.aspx?DID=153
A summary of the report is at: http://www.acton-ma.gov/DocumentView.aspx?DID=152
*Note that the summary does not mention the statistically significant incidences of CNS and brain cancer, and leukemia found in certain time periods or census tracts in the area, nor the MA Department of Public Health’s comments on those incidences. (See Appendix G of the report.)*
Chronology of Current ATSDR Report:

October 2003—ATSDR Public Meeting in Acton Town Hall to gather concerns from the community. ATSDR planned to release a completed study in 2004.

August 2005—ATSDR provided copies of a draft study to the Town of Acton, Acton Water District and ACES. The Town of Acton and ACES submitted comments on the draft.

August 26, 2008—ATSDR held a public meeting at the ABRHS cafeteria to present results from the ATSDR Public Health Assessment. MA Department of Public Health officials also presented their “public health consultation” results: Assessment of Cancer Incidence in Acton and Concord Census Tract 3612: 1982-2000. The ATSDR report was made available to the public at the end of the public meeting. MA DPH results are included in the ATSDR document as Appendix G. Public comments were due by September 30, 2008.

September 10, 2008— The Town of Acton, Acton Water District and ACES sent a joint letter to ATSDR requesting a minimum of a 30-day extension of the public comment period. Senator Pam Resor sent a separate letter also making this request.

By October 28, 2010—Public comments from ACES and others are received by ATSDR, per comment period extension by ATSDR.

December 2010—status: ATSDR has not responded to the 2008 public comments it received, nor issued a final version of their Public Health Assessment.

Leave a Reply