News Release
  
   PO 360
   Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

   For Release:
   September 14, 2001

George T. DiFerdinando, Jr., MD, MPH
Acting Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Dennis McGowan
609-984-7160

 

Health Assessment Released
on Iceland Coin Laundry Site in Cumberland County


TRENTON -The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) have released for public comment a health assessment on the Iceland Coin Laundry and Dry Cleaning site in Cumberland County. The public may submit written comments on the assessment through October 12, 2001.

The draft assessment concludes that the site represented a public health hazard in the past due to a completed human exposure pathway to contaminants via groundwater in private wells. As a result of temporary remediation efforts taken in 1991, and the extension of public supply water mains to the affected area in 1994, the site poses no apparent public health hazard today.

From 1963 to 1971, the Iceland Coin Laundry and Dry Cleaning company used a chemical known as tetrachloroethylene (also called perchloroethylene, or PCE) in its cleaning units. The company discharged its out-flow into an on-site septic tank which led to the contamination of the underlying groundwater. Since 1972, the building has been used solely for retail and storage operations.

The City of Vineland Department of Health and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection found contamination in water in residential private wells near the laundry site beginning in 1987. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in the private wells were also found in the soil and groundwater at the laundry site, and included trichloroethylene (TCE), PCE, and 1,2-dichloroethylene (1,2-DCE). TCE and PCE are probable human carcinogens, and recent studies suggest that fetal exposure to TCE and PCE in drinking water could result in adverse health effects. There are no data available to indicate that 1,2-DCE causes cancer in humans.

Mercury was also found in the now-closed affected private wells, but DHSS and ATSDR do not believe it to be from the Iceland Coin Laundry site. Based on maximum reported levels of mercury detected in the private wells, it is unlikely that related health effects occurred in any individuals.

The Department of Health and Senior Services and ATSDR are recommending continued monitoring of the site and adjacent areas to ensure that the contamination does not affect other private drinking wells or community wells near the site.

The public is invited to submit written comments on the health assessment through October 12, 2001 to: Health Assessment Project Manager, New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, Consumer and Environmental Health Services, P.O. Box 360, Trenton NJ 08625-0360.

Copies of the document are available for public review at the City of Vineland Department of Health in City Hall, the Vineland Public Library, and the Cumberland County Library in Bridgeton. The health assessment will also be available next week on the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services web site at www.state.nj.us/health. Copies may also be obtained by calling the department at (609) 633-2043.

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