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ATSDR MEDIA ANNOUNCEMENT
Public Comments Sought on Public Health Assessment on the former Chanute Air Force Base
Public comments accepted through July 28, 2008
For Immediate Release: June 27, 2008
ATLANTA - The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is seeking public comments on the public health assessment for the former Chanute Air Force Base Site. The purpose of the public health assessment is to find out if people are being or may have been exposed to hazardous substances from the former base and to determine if the exposure might affect their health.
In the public health assessment, ATSDR concluded that:
Engaging in recreational activities (e.g., swimming or picnicking) at Heritage Lake and consuming fish from Heritage Lake do not pose a public health hazard. People who do eat fish from Heritage Lake, especially children and pregnant women, should not eat more than one 8-ounce portion per week to ensure that they are not ingesting mercury at levels that may be unsafe. A fish consumption advisory is in place.
Engaging in recreational activities at Salt Fork Creek and consuming fish from the Creek do not pose a public health hazard. Contaminants in surface soil are not at levels likely to cause adverse health effects. Human contact with surface soil does not pose a public health hazard under current residential and recreational reuse plans. Surplus materials associated with a military surplus business in the southeast corner of CAFB could present a physical hazard to trespassers. ATSDR recommends that business owners prevent trespasser contact with surplus materials. Agricultural crops such as alfalfa, corn, and soybeans are not known to readily accumulate contaminants that have been detected in soils at CAFB. However, as a prudent public health practice, ATSDR recommends thoroughly washing all fruits and vegetables before eating them. Water from irrigation wells used for farm crops is pumped from deep aquifers and is not expected to be impacted by site-related contaminants. Vapors coming up into indoor air from contaminated groundwater do not pose a public health hazard for people who work in former base buildings. Private off-base wells are not currently being impacted by trichloroethylene (TCE) groundwater plumes beneath CAFB. However, ATSDR recommends the Air Force continue periodic monitoring of plumes to ensure that contaminants do not migrate off site. The past quality of CAFB drinking water was not compromised by base-related activities since drinking water wells are in deep, confined aquifers. However, ATSDR identified chemicals in residential drinking water wells not related to past military activities at the former base. Elevated levels of sodium detected in private well water may be a health concern for people on sodium restricted diets. Additionally, ATSDR found elevated levels of arsenic in one residential well that may be a health concern for long term residents who drink well water over the course of a lifetime. ATSDR is working with the Illinois Department of Health to inform residents of the chemicals in the private well and to suggest ways to reduce their exposure.
The public is encouraged to read the public health assessment and make comments during the month-long public comment period. A copy of the public health assessment is located at:
Rantoul Public Library
106 West Flessner Avenue
Rantoul, Illinois 61866
(217) 893-3955 ext. 22
ATSDR will accept comments on the public health assessment through July 28, 2008. Comments on the public health consultation must be made in writing. Comments received during the public comment period will be logged in to the ATSDR administrative record for this public health assessment. Comments received (without the names of individuals who submitted them) and ATSDR’s responses to the comments, will appear in 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, ATSDR
ATTN: Former Chanute Air Force Base
1600 Clifton Road, N.E. MS F-09
Atlanta, GA 30333
For more information about the public health assessment, call Carole Hossom, Environmental Health Scientist, at 770-488-0725 or call 1-800-CDC-INFO.
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.
Updated June 27, 2008
For more information, contact ATSDR at:
770-488-0700 or e-mail (news media)
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