Health Consultation: Public Health Implications of Exposure to Low-Level Volatile Organic Compounds in Public Drinking Water: Village of Endicott Investigation
This health consultation document was developed by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH). It is part of the overall Public Health Response Plan to address community concerns about environmental contamination in the Village of Endicott. The primary focus of this evaluation is to address concerns of the community about the potential health effects associated with exposure to low concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the Endicott Municipal Water Supply.
The Endicott Municipal Water Supply comes from several sources including the Ranney and South Street wells. Drinking water provided to the community from the Endicott Municipal Water Supply is routinely tested and meets drinking water quality standards. However, community groups expressed concerns about the continued exposure of Endicott residents to several VOCs at low levels, primarily those detected in the South Street wells. Questions were also raised about the combined risk of trihalomethanes, or THMs, in the water along with the VOCs. THMs are commonly found in public drinking water supplies and are produced when water is disinfected with chlorine to kill disease-causing bacteria.
In the health consultation, ATSDR and NYSDOH researchers evaluated the public health implications of exposure to the combined mixture of chemicals in water from the Endicott Municipal Water Supply. This included the water supplied from the South Street wells from 1980 to 2004 and from the Ranney well from 1992 to 2004.
Researchers followed the May 2004 ATSDR guidance manual for assessing chemical mixtures. Taking into consideration the ways people can be exposed to the water (through drinking and bathing), ATSDR and NYSDOH conclude that water from the Endicott Municipal Water Supply is of high quality and suitable for both drinking and bathing.
The health consultation evaluated the risk of non-cancerous and cancerous health effects from individual chemicals and the mixture of chemicals in the Endicott Municipal Water Supply. The water is not expected to cause any non-cancerous effects. ATSDR and NYSDOH conclude that the cancer risk from using water from the Endicott Municipal Water Supply is very low to low. Based on these data, ATSDR and NYSDOH conclude that drinking, bathing, and showering in water from the Endicott Municipal Water Supply is not an apparent public health hazard and recommend no further action except for continued monitoring of the water.