What did the CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) find in their 2009 Public Health Assessment?

Per the requirements of the Comprehensive Emergency Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund), ATSDR completed a public health assessment (PHA) on the area of Fort Detrick proposed to be placed on the US EPA’s National Priority List for long-term cleanup. ATSDR’s report on the Fort Detrick Area B Groundwater evaluated estimated exposures to the maximum measured TCE and PCE concentrations found in private drinking water wells around the Area B site. ATSDR concluded that these exposures were unlikely to produce any harmful health effects, including cancer. ATSDR’s Public Health Assessment estimated the TCE and PCE exposure doses to residents of those houses by using the maximum measured concentrations of the chemicals in 1992 (when potable use of the wells ceased). Evaluation of these contaminants and estimated ingestion doses of TCE and PCE for children and adults lead to the following conclusions: a) "Harmful effects are unlikely for users of the contaminated private wells based on maximum measured concentrations of PCE and TCE (cancer and non-cancer health effects). b) Residences with contaminated wells are currently being provided with alternate water. Current exposure to VOCs at these locations is limited to incidental use of the wells for irrigation or other outside uses. These exposures are unlikely to result in any harmful health effects. The full ATSDR report can be found here: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/HAC/pha/FtDetrickAreaBGroundwater/FortDetrickPHAFinal12-09-2009.pdf

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1. What did the CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) find in their 2009 Public Health Assessment?
2. Who is responsible for collecting information about cancer?
3. What is a cancer “cluster?”
4. How are cancer cluster concerns investigated in Maryland?
5. What is the relationship between cancer and environmental exposures?
6. What are the cancer rates in Frederick?
7. What was the scope of the preliminary cancer cluster investigation by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH)?
8. Why was 2000 the earliest year of analysis in the preliminary report of the initial cancer cluster investigation?
9. What were the preliminary findings of the DHMH cancer data analysis?
10. Is the risk of non-cancer health conditions being assessed?
11. If significant excess cancers are found in a specific geographic area within the county, then what?
12. Who can I talk to for more information?