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Human Health Risk Assessment at Sediment Cleanup Sites. Lon Kissinger, Office of Environmental Assessment, Risk Evaluation Unit, U.S. EPA Region 10 ELEC Sediment Conference, 4/22/2010. Why Conduct Sediment Human Health Risk Assessments?. Establish a need to take action.

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human health risk assessment at sediment cleanup sites

Human Health Risk Assessment at Sediment Cleanup Sites

Lon Kissinger, Office of Environmental Assessment, Risk Evaluation Unit, U.S. EPA Region 10

ELEC Sediment Conference, 4/22/2010

why conduct sediment human health risk assessments
Why Conduct Sediment Human Health Risk Assessments?
  • Establish a need to take action.
  • Develop sediment cleanup levels that will protect human health.
possible purposes of seafood consumption surveys
Possible Purposes of Seafood Consumption Surveys
  • Seafood consumption trends
  • Water body fishing pressures
  • Site specific seafood contaminant risks
    • Environmental regulation
    • Fish consumption advisories
  • Development of water quality criteria
factors to consider in interpreting results
Seafood types

Seafood sources

Seafood preparations

Cooked or uncooked weights

Survey timing

Statistics/data handling (e.g. outliers, non-response, weighting, etc.)

Inclusion of non-consumers

Population (ethnicity, age, culture, economics)

Presence of environmental contamination

Factors to Consider in Interpreting Results
methodologies for key pacific nw surveys
Methodologies for Key Pacific NW Surveys
  • Personal interviews of members of specific groups recording 24 hour and seasonal consumption. Interviews done by members of those groups.
  • Creel surveys involving field inspection of angler catch by individuals that may or may not be members of the angler’s community.
creel vs personal interview
Creel vs. Personal Interview
  • Representative sample of population
  • Pilot testing
  • Language and literacy
  • Interview environment
  • Supporting materials
  • Trust
  • Geographic and temporal scope of survey
relevant seafood consumption surveys
Relevant Seafood Consumption Surveys
  • National USDA Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals (CSFII)
  • Regional Surveys
    • A Fish Consumption Survey of the Umatilla, Nez Perce, Yakama, and Warm Springs Tribes of the Columbia River Basin, 1994
    • A Fish Consumption Survey of the Tulalip and Squaxin Island Tribes of the Puget Sound Region, 1996
    • Asian & Pacific Islander Seafood Consumption Study in King County Washington, 1999
    • Fish Consumption Survey of the Suquamish Indian Tribe of the Port Madison Indian Reservation, Puget Sound Region, 2000
issues in assessing seafood contaminant exposure
Issues in Assessing Seafood Contaminant Exposure.
  • How much seafood is consumed daily?
  • How many years is seafood consumed?
  • How much of the seafood consumed is affected by a source of contamination?
  • What to do with anadromous species?
  • How to address risks posed by consumption of different types of seafood that have varying contaminant levels?
epa region 10 august 2007
EPA Region 10, August 2007

Framework for Selecting and Using Tribal Fish and Shellfish Consumption Rates for Risk-Based Decision Making at CERCLA and RCRA Cleanup Sites in Puget Sound and the Strait of Georgia North to the Canadian Border

why was this framework developed
Why was this Framework Developed?
  • Tribal members may consume greater quantities of seafood than the general population
  • Tribal members may hence have greater exposure to contaminants in fish
  • Limited data on tribal fish consumption
  • Need to adapt the available data to sites
  • Different people/different approaches
framework purpose
Framework Purpose

To present a consistent and protective

approach for EPA Region 10 staff to use

when considering Tribal fish and shellfish

consumption rates when working on toxic

cleanup projects in Puget Sound and the

Strait of Georgia north to the Canadian


consultation with tribal governments and the framework
Consultation with Tribal Governments and the Framework
  • Application of the Framework is not, in any way, to affect a Tribe’s treaty rights.
  • “ To be applied in Consultation with Tribal Governments on a site-specific basis”
  • The Framework is a starting point for discussion.
  • Consultation begins during site investigation evaluation and continues through site study and remedy selection phases.
key points of the framework
Geographic scope

Basis for choice of tribal data set

Seafood data set policy choice

Consumption rates used

Fraction from source

Alternate scenarios

Cultural impacts

Resource switching

Percentage of different seafood types consumed

Duration of exposure

Consideration of salmon

Key Points of the Framework
geographic scope
Geographic Scope

Framework applies to cleanup sites in Puget Sound and the Strait of Georgia up to the Canadian border

EPA’s cleanup program addresses site related contamination - not all health risks

reasonable maximum exposure and seafood consumption
Reasonable Maximum Exposure and Seafood Consumption
  • The highest exposure that is reasonably expected to occur at a site
  • Exposure for current and future conditions
  • Is computed using a mixture of central tendency and upper bound values for various exposure parameters
  • Media contact rate, in this case seafood consumption, utilizes the 95th percentile contact rate
95 th percentile consumption rate
95th Percentile Consumption Rate

95th percentile

consumption rate

basis for choice of tribal data set
Basis for Choice of Tribal Data Set
  • It is difficult to decide whether Tulalip or Suquamish data are appropriate for a site risk assessment.
  • Needs to be protective, realistic
  • EPA proposing that key difference in rates is shellfish consumption which in turn relates to the quality/quantity of shellfish habitat
  • Not all habitat can sustain high levels of shellfish consumption.
seafood data set policy choice
Seafood Data Set Policy Choice
  • Large quantities of current or potential high quality shellfish habitat at a site lead to use of Suquamish consumption rates
  • Tulalip rates to be used at other sites
  • Tribal shellfish biologists key to evaluating habitat
consumption rate values used
Consumption Rate Values Used
  • Two tribal data sets available:
  • Tulalip: weight of seafood consumed per day
    • from PS: 6.8 oz (194 grams)
    • from PS: 3.4 oz (98 grams) without salmon
  • Suquamish: weight of seafood consumed per day
    • from PS: 1 lb 12 oz, (767 grams)
    • from PS: 1 lb 2 oz, (583 grams) without salmon
fraction of seafood affected by contamination
Fraction of Seafood Affected by Contamination
  • The same consumption rate would be used for small sites as well as big sites.
  • EPA assumes all of the fish and shellfish harvested from Puget Sound could be affected by releases from the site.
alternate tribal scenarios
Alternate Tribal Scenarios

Alternative rates may be included in the analysis:

  • At the request of a Tribe.
  • If the site falls within the exclusive U&A of a Tribe and that Tribe can document a seafood consumption scenario, then that Tribe’s scenario should be included.
resource switching
Resource Switching
  • Regardless of the species present at a site, the overall consumption rate must be used.
  • The Framework’s position is that Tribes will substitute alternate species if desired species are not present at a site.
percentage of different seafood types consumed
Percentage of Different Seafood Types Consumed
  • Starting point is the percentage of different seafood types specified in surveys used in the framework.
  • Different assumptions may be adopted.
duration of exposure
Duration of Exposure
  • Exposure duration of 70 years
  • Higher than EPA default value of 30 years to account for Tribal lifestyles
inclusion of salmon
Inclusion of Salmon
  • Inclusion of salmon in the overall consumption rate is dependent on site characteristics and the contaminants present.
  • Key question: “Do salmon acquire a body burden of contaminants that originate from the site?”
impact of contamination on tribal culture
Impact of Contamination on Tribal Culture
  • EPA recognizes quantitative risk assessment does not address cultural impacts
  • Tribes may present information to EPA regarding impacts of contamination on tribal culture to inform decision makers
application of framework
Application of Framework
  • Lower Duwamish Waterway and associated sites
  • ITT Rayonier
  • Puget Sound Naval Shipyard
issues in developing risk based sediment cleanup levels
Issues in Developing Risk Based Sediment Cleanup Levels
  • Sometimes difficult to relationships between biota and sediment contaminant levels in the field.
  • Background levels of bioaccumulative contaminants in the environment may exceed acceptable levels based on risk.



Background / Ambient Range in WA



take home messages
Take Home Messages
  • Seafood consumption risk reduction goals can not be attained purely by remediation in urban areas.
  • In such cases, the goal should be maximum risk reduction considering background and source control
  • Aquatic biota monitoring following cleanup actions is essential to better understand relationships between contaminants in sediment and aquatic biota.