The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, today released the final version of its public health assessment of the Norlite Corporation site in Cohoes, N.Y.
Members of the community were concerned about potential health problems from exposure to metals and certain organic chemicals in the air, water and soil resulting from burning hazardous waste as fuels in the company’s two aggregate kilns.
For the report, called a public health assessment, ATSDR evaluated the community’s exposure to air, dust, soil, and water and sediment in Salt Kill Creek and concluded:
- Data are insufficient to determine if the public’s inhalation of airborne dust from Norlite is a current health hazard; therefore, health effects are indeterminate. This description is used in ATSDR’s public health assessment documents when a professional judgment about the level of health hazard cannot be made because information critical to such a decision is lacking. However, the limited data that exist indicate that exposure in this case is unlikely to cause acute health effects.
- Incidental contact with Salt Kill Creek water and sediments poses no apparent public health hazard.
- Contact with and incidental ingestion of soil and dust in the community pose no apparent public health hazard.
- Based on computer modeling that simulates ground-level air concentrations of Norlite stack emissions, they pose no apparent health hazard to local residents.
- Air monitoring data from the state of New York’s statewide air monitoring network indicate that the Capitol Region, which includes Cohoes and Colonie, has unhealthy ozone air conditions several days a year from several sources, including industry, cars, and truck traffic.
ATSDR recommends the following:
Air samples should be collected and analyzed to determine the size and concentrations of particulates and particulate-bound metals coming from Norlite into nearby residential areas. The results should be evaluated to characterize potential exposures to residents.
On ozone advisory days, active children and adults and people with lung disease, such as asthma, should reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor activities. Residents are urged to follow EPA guidelines for reducing emissions that contribute to ozone formation.
Norlite is encouraged to maintain existing procedures and look for additional ways to control dust migration from their property.
The public health assessment can be viewed at:
Cohoes Public Library
169 Mohawk St.
Troy Public Library
100 Second St.
To request a copy of the public health assessment or for more information, community members may contact ATSDR Community Involvement Specialist Loretta Bush toll-free at 1-888-422-8737 or ATSDR Senior Regional Representative, Arthur Block in New York at 212-637-4307. Callers should refer to the Norlite Corporation site in Cohoes, NY.
For more information on the health effects of outdoor air quality, visit the following
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
National Center for Environmental Health
Cross-agency governmental website on national air quality
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.