Read the full article by Pat Elder (Military Poisons)

Part 4 of a 5-part series

“In Part 3, Julie Akey responded to the ATSDR. Akey included the report written by Denise Trabbic-Pointer in the text of her email. The report refers to the data Julie collected on 1,250 sickened and deceased people who lived at Fort Ord.

See Julie’s database here.

Following is a summary of the ATSDR’s response.

The agency restated their position that the focus of ATSDR’s public health assessment activities is ‘a re-evaluation of potential health risks from drinking water exposures that occurred between 1985 – 1994 at Fort Ord, California.’

The ATSDR stated it has analyzed the drinking water well data and screened the contaminants using their comparison values (CVs). CVs are contaminant concentrations in a particular medium, such as air, soil, or water, to which humans might be exposed without the likelihood of experiencing harmful health effects.

The ATSDR says it is evaluating those contaminants that exceeded their respective comparison value and calculating estimated exposure doses for each contaminant. They have determined from the data that the higher concentrations of contaminants were detected prior to 1994.

They say they will also apply a new analysis method they have developed over the past 10 years. The method, called the shower and household water-use (SHOWER) model, estimates exposure doses to contaminants in drinking water from showering and other household water uses. We will apply these methods to the drinking water data from 1985 – 1994 that is available from the U.S. Army and the Marina Coast Water District.

The ATSDR acknowledged that Akey and Trabbic-Pointer are interested in:

1. A historic review of volatilization to indoor air from chlorinated chemicals from groundwater;

2. Cumulative exposures to chlorinated chemicals, including inhalation from volatilization to indoor air, ingestion of drinking water, dermal contact with drinking water, and showering; and

3. Whether drinking water aquifers were impacted by PFAS in the past. 

The ATSDR responded to these points:

Volatilization to indoor air from chlorinated chemicals from groundwater

There are no data available from 1985-1994 to estimate potential exposures related to vapor intrusion. We can note this limitation in our report. 

Cumulative exposures to chlorinated chemicals, including inhalation, ingestion, and dermal contact

ATSDR will use the SHOWER model to estimate the dermal, ingestion, and inhalation exposure doses for contaminants of concern in drinking water. For chemicals that can affect the same organ or body system, we plan to combine these pathway-specific doses to estimate total doses.

Whether drinking water aquifers were impacted by PFAS in the past

The ATSDR is aware of recent and ongoing PFAS sampling in soil and groundwater at Fort Ord and in Marina Coast Water District drinking water. However, ATSDR’s re-evaluation will not include assessing PFAS exposures because PFAS were not sampled in drinking water during the 1985 – 1994 timeframe. 

Use of Fort Ord beyond 1994 and potential for exposures through drinking water

The ATSDR acknowledges that they are aware of the continued use and occupancy beyond 1994 and of Akey’s occupancy from 1996 – 1997.  

ATSDR chose to reevaluate data from the 1985 – 1994 timeframe to align with the dates from the 1996 Public Health Assessment. They say they have determined that this timeframe includes the highest drinking water contamination levels.”