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Federal Agency to Release Public Health Assessment for the
W.R. Grace & Company Site in Acton, Massachusetts


For Immediate Release: August 26, 2008

ATLANTA—The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is seeking public comments on the health assessment of the W.R. Grace and Company site located in Acton, Massachusetts.  The public health assessment (PHA) found that there is no apparent public health hazard in the drinking water in the municipal wells located near the former site of the W.R. Grace & Company.

After reviewing the limited historical data, ATSDR concluded that people who were supplied water by Assabet wells from 1970-1978 may have been exposed to groundwater containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  Although past exposure to the VOC trichloroethylene (TCE) between 1970 and 1978 may have slightly exceeded the current health guideline, adverse health effects are not likely.  In addition, the reviewed information does not show any cluster of cancer types that might be associated with the contaminants at the W.R. Grace site.  However, ATSDR did find that arsenic levels in the sediment and surface water at the site may pose a health hazard to those trespassing on the site.

ATSDR reached the following conclusions about the Assabet wells and the groundwater at the W.R. Grace site in Acton, Massachusetts:

ATSDR recommends:

Residents of Acton, MA are encouraged to read the public health assessment and make comments during the month-long public comment period.  A copy of the health assessment will be available on Wednesday, August 27 for review at the following libraries:

Acton Memorial Library
486 Main Street                                       
Acton, MA

West Acton Citizen’s Library
21 Windsor Avenue
Acton, MA

Sargent Memorial Library
427 Massachusetts Avenue
Boxborough, MA

ATSDR will accept comments on the public health assessment through September 30, 2008.  Comments on the health assessment must be made in writing.  All comments received during the public comment period will be logged into the ATSDR administrative record for the health assessment and will appear in the final health assessment.  Comments received (without the names of individuals who submitted them) and ATSDR’s responses to these comments will appear in an appendix to the final public health assessment.  Names of those who submit comments, however, will be subject to release in answer to requests made under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Mail comments to:

Records Center
Attn: W.R. Grace Site in Acton, MA
1600 Clifton Road, NE MS F-09
Atlanta, GA 30333

For more information about the public health assessment call Robert Knowles (770-488-3659), Loretta Asbury (770-488-0718) or William Sweet (617-918-1490).

ATSDR, a federal public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, evaluates the human health effects of exposure to hazardous substances.


Members of the news media can request an interview by calling the NCEH/ATSDR Office of Communication at 770-488-0700.

Back to ATSDR Home page

Updated August 26, 2008
For more information, contact ATSDR at:
770-488-0700 or e-mail (news media)

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