EPA to hold seminar - Risk Assessment

By: Pat Hunter

Jan. 7, 2009


What are the chances of getting cancer if you live in a polluted community with high levels of cancer causing chemicals? Cancer-causing pollution threatens families and communities across our nation. We face grim statistics, at least one in three people will get cancer, and one in five people will die of some type of cancer. Pollution also affects the unborn and there are links between childhood cancer and pollution.


Loudon County has two ambient air monitors, which monitor levels of certain air toxics (hazardous air pollutants), ozone and particulates. Currently, Loudon County does not meet new federal Clean Air Act standards for particulates and ozone. Additionally, readings of certain hazardous air pollutants have registered high levels of pollutants. Now, bureaucrats with TDEC, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, want the community to think that everything is ok and its time to remove the air monitors, one by one, because it is too costly for the agency.


Who believes that TDEC is doing their job to protect the environment and people in Loudon County or next door in Kingston? TDEC knows the health affects and consequences of coal fly ash, yet this agency that purports to protect the environment allowed TVA to do as they darn well please, for years and years. More than 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash spilled and covered more than 300 acres of land and water. The environment has been impacted and the lives of citizens’ have been disrupted. Water quality has been impaired and aquatic life has been destroyed. This hardly instills confidence and trust in TDEC, TVA or EPA, does it?    

Its my belief that TDEC dropped the ball on another matter in our backyard. How can the Loudon County community be number one in cancer for a 10-year period without an agency and  officials seek to know the source or cause of this cancer epidemic?  How can Loudon County residents rank first in breathing problems statewide, yet there is no effort to find out the cause of the breathing issues and look to remedy the problem? Loudon County has six industries with Title V operating permits and five other large industries. Loudon County has two interstate highway systems and fifteen motor freight carrier businesses.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold a one day seminar at the Loudon County Visitors Center. The seminar will be held on  January 16, Friday starting at 8:30 AM and ending at 4:30 PM. The agenda and topics of information is listed below, "Risk Assessment for Air Toxics Agenda."


Update: The Risk Assessment for Air Toxics will be presented by Dr. Soloman Pollard, Senior Toxicologist of EPA Region 4. Others that will attend the seminar include Quincy Styke, TDEC Deputy Director, Air Pollution Division, Robert Brawner, TDEC, Air Pollution Division and Vick Malichis with TDEC Knoxville office.



Risk Assessment for Air Toxics Agenda


Date: January 16th, 2009


Time: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.


Location: Loudon County Visitors Center,


Hwy. 321/ADESA Blvd. across from Shoney’s Restaurant


Instructors:  EPA Region 4 Staff - Dr. Solomon Pollard


Risk Assessment for Air Toxics: Tools for Balancing Science and Judgment - is an interactive 8-hour course that introduces students to the fundamental principles of risk assessment for air toxics including toxicity assessment, exposure assessment, and risk characterization. An overview of the history behind the Clean Air Act requirements for risk assessment is also provided. Students will learn these topics through teacher-led presentations and at the end of the course, students will be prepared to better read, understand, and apply EPA's published Air Toxics Risk Assessment Reference Library (http://www.epa.gov/ttn/fera/risk_atra_main.html). Please note that space is limited as the course is designed for no more than 24 participants.


The general course agenda is as follows:


Air Toxics Risk Assessment Outline


Welcome and Introductions

The World of Risk: Part 1

The World of Risk: Part 2

Brief History of Risk Assessment: Legislation and Methods

The Air Toxics Risk Assessment Process

Exposure Assessment

Source Identification

Fate and Transport

Toxicity Assessment

Risk Characterization




Loudon County Public Health Issues & Information


Excerpts from the "Loudon County Hazardous Air Pollutants.

To read the 2006 health assessment: http://health.state.tn.us/CEDS/PDFs/pha-e-loudon-final.pdf


"Local residents of Loudon County have been concerned about exposure to and health effects from pollutants emitted from several local industries for many years. In order to help respond to these concerns the Division of Air Pollution Control (APC), Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) designed a Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) study to look at emissions... to identify possible health risks using the HAPs monitoring data collected in the industrial corridor." 


Two findings from the health data are of significance:

1.     a significantly increased rate of chronic rhinitis and sinusitis for Loudon County compared to Franklin County     and Tennessee using in-patient and out-patient hospital records, and

2.     Of all counties in Tennessee, Loudon County has the highest mean rate for all cancers combined, based on data from the Tennessee Cancer Registry.

The rate of ischemic heart disease was higher for both sexes combined, males, and females in Loudon County compared to Tennessee, but not Franklin County. The rate of bronchus and lung cancer was elevated for males when compared to Tennessee for all datasets. The incidence of prostate cancer was significantly higher than the rate for Franklin County and Tennessee, although the mortality rate was not different.

While the in-patient rates of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, other respiratory diseases, and other heart diseases were higher among Loudon residents than Franklin and Tennessee residents, this increase was not observed in other data sources. Similarly, only out-patient rates for chronic bronchitis and acute upper respiratory diseases were consistently higher among Loudon residents when compared to Franklin County and Tennessee. The rates for other diseases do not show consistent patterns across datasets.

The Public Health Action Plan for Loudon County Hazardous Air Pollutants contains a description of action to be taken by TDEC, TDH, EEP, and others subsequent to the completion of this PHA. The purpose of the Public Health Action Plan is to ensure that the PHA not only identifies potential and ongoing public health hazards, but also provides a plan of action designed to mitigate and prevent adverse human health effects resulting from exposure to hazardous substances in the environment. The public health actions fall into 3 categories: continue to work with TDEC on potential health issues related to hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), more closely evaluate health outcome data, and provide education about allergens, air quality alerts, and ways to minimize exposures."