204586 A Pennsylvania community impacted by historical asbestos manufacturing and disposal activities

Monday, November 9, 2009: 12:50 PM

Mark White, MD, MPH , Bureau of Epidemiology, Pennsylvania Department of Health, Harrisburg, PA
Barbara Allerton, MPH, BSN , Bureau of Epidemiology, Pennsylvania Department of Health, Harrisburg, PA
Lora Siegmann Werner, MPH , Region 3, ATSDR/CDC, Philadelphia, PA
Karl V. Markiewicz, PhD , Region 3, ATSDR/CDC, Philadelphia, PA
Gregory Bogdan, DrPH , Bureau of Epidemiology, Pennsylvania Dept of Health, Harrisburg, PA
Christine Lloyd, MS , Bureau of Epidemiology, Pennsylvania Department of Health, Harrisburg, PA
An asbestos waste pile in a residential and former asbestos manufacturing community poses a potential public health hazard to the residents of Ambler, Pennsylvania. In response to community concerns, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) evaluated the public health implications of the site. Based on environmental sampling conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), PADOH and ATSDR published a health consultation in July 2008 evaluating the health risk to the community, and the site was subsequently proposed to the National Priorities (Superfund) List. PADOH and ATSDR prepared a second health consultation in January 2009 evaluating cancer incidence in the communities near the site and showed that there is a non-statistically significant but elevated rate of mesothelioma in one of the areas. The health agencies concluded that the cases of mesothelioma seen are most likely due to past exposures when asbestos facilities were operating and presumably exposing workers and household contacts of these workers. In order to increase general awareness, PADOH and ATSDR sponsored two grand rounds on Asbestos Toxicity attended by more than 50 health professionals. An expert on environmental medicine presented on environmental and occupational sources of asbestos, factors contributing to asbestos toxicity, and screening and treatment protocols. The health agencies prepared and distributed three (3) fact sheets, participated in and presented during several public meetings, and partnered with a Community Advisory Group in an open house attended by 75 residents of the community adjacent to the site.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify 3 environmental asbestos sampling considerations when evaluating environmental asbestos contamination in a residential community and its potential for human health effects. 2. Describe 3 methods to address community health concerns and engage community members living near a hazardous waste site. 3. Describe how health education activities can increase awareness of environmental and occupational sources of exposure in the community. 4. Explain the usefulness and limitations of cancer registry data in evaluating historical asbestos exposures in a community impacted by the manufacturing and disposal of asbestos. 5. Identify 3 factors contributing to asbestos toxicity and steps exposed individuals can take to limit disease and promote health. 6. Identify 3 environmental health resources for health care providers.

Keywords: Epidemiology, Environmental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: My education and academic degrees as: (1) Doctor of Medicine (MD) from Georgetown University Medical School, and (2) Masters in Public Health in Epidemiology (MPH) from University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health My current professinal position at Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) as the Epidemiologist and Section Director of the Health Assessment Section. Authorship and production of public health assessment documents regarding this site and these activities on behalf of PADOH. Prior presentation to public citizenry and community organizational groups of public health assessment documents regarding this site and these activities on behalf of PADOH. I can provide a CV if so requested, detailing my prior presentations, research, published articles, and the like.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.