For more information, contact:

For immediate release: October 14, 1997


(ATLANTA) -- The
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a federal public health agency, is evaluating the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) site in Upton, New York.

ATSDR has prepared a public health consultation, dated September 29, 1997, concerning the BNL groundwater contamination. An ATSDR health consultation provides advice and recommendations on specific, health-related questions associated with actual or potential human health exposure to hazardous substances or other associated human health hazards.

One of ATSDR's recommendations to the Department of Energy (DOE) was to investigate the occurrence of radium-226 in monitoring wells. Previous DOE sampling of monitoring wells had indicated the presence of radium-226. However, the validity of that data set was in question. In response to the recommendation, DOE has resampled the wells, in which radium-226 was previously reported, and analyzed the samples by a more specific method for radium-226. Based on these new data, ATSDR has concluded that radium-226 is below the drinking water standard of 3 pCi/L (picocuries per liter). ATSDR is preparing an addendum to the health consultation that will address this issue.

ATSDR concludes that the results of private residential well sampling in the vicinity of the BNL site indicate that the levels of individual volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and radionuclides are not sufficient to produce adverse health effects. ATSDR will continue to analyze results from ongoing and future sampling to determine whether any future levels of contamination present a public health hazard.

The document and addendum will be available for public review and comment by October 16, 1997 at the following repositories:

Longwood Public Library
800 Middle Country Road
Middle Island, NY 11953
(516) 924-6400

Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library
301 William Floyd Parkway
Shirley, NY 11967
(516) 399-1511

BNL Research Library
Building 477A
Brookhaven Avenue
Upton, NY 11973
(516) 344-3483

U.S. EPA Region II Library
Administrative Records Room
290 Broadway
New York, NY 10007
(212) 637-4296

The public comment period for the public health consultation will run October 16, 1997 through December 9, 1997.

Comments received during the public comment period will be logged and become part of the administrative record for the public health consultation. Comments (without indication of who made them) and responses will be included in an appendix to the final public health consultation.
Although commenters' names will not be included in the public health consultation, they are subject to Freedom of Information Act requests. Please send your written comments to:

Chief, Program Evaluation, Records & Information Services Branch
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
1600 Clifton Road, NE, Mailstop E-56
Atlanta, Georgia 30333

Community members seeking information on the public comment procedures should call ATSDR Health Assessor Andy Dudley in Atlanta at (404) 639-6038 or ATSDR's Regional Representative, Arthur Block at (212) 637-4307.

Members of the press are requested to make an appointment to interview ATSDR staff. Phone Loretta Bush, ATSDR Office of Policy and External Affairs at (404) 639-0501.