Five Facts About Health Studies in Kettleman City

  1. The state of California recently concluded an investigation of birth defects in Kettleman City and found no connection to the Kettleman Hills Facility. The California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) and the California Department of Public Health conducted what Cal/EPA Secretary Linda Adams described as “one of the most thorough environmental health investigations ever conducted in California.”  The results, which were released in December 2010, revealed that investigators could not find exposures to hazardous chemicals from the Kettleman Hills Facility that could explain the birth defects.  Here is a link to the 2009-2011 Update on birth defects in Kettleman City, released June 2012 .
  2. A recent study confirmed storage of PCB’s at the Kettleman Hills facility  the local community and the environment. In the most extensive study of its kind ever conducted at an active and permitted facility, U.S. EPA and Waste Management collected and analyzed soil, air and vegetation samples to determine whether wind-blown PCB particles could pose a health concern. In its findings, U.S. EPA concluded:
    • Concentrations of PCB congeners measured in soil samples collected at the perimeter of the Chemical Waste Management (CWM) Facility are 2,000 times below EPA’s risk-based residential clean-up levels, based on their toxicity.
    • Risk of health impacts from PCB congener concentrations measured in soils, vegetation, and air near the perimeter of the CWM Facility are in the same range as risk of health impacts in other rural areas without known PCB activities or sources.
    • Concentrations of PCB congeners measured in soils, vegetation, and air at the perimeter as well as those collected at the B-18 landfill drainage swale of the CWM Facility do not adversely affect ecological species.
    • There is no evidence suggesting that PCB congeners from operations at the CWM Facility are migrating off-site at concentrations that would adversely affect the health of local community residents or the environment.
  3. The Kettleman Hills Facility is not adversely impacting air quality for the residents of Kettleman City. Investigative programs have been conducted to evaluate the potential impacts of air emissions from the Kettleman Hills Facility on air quality both in the immediate vicinity of the facility, as well as in Kettleman City. These efforts include monitoring of chemical concentrations in air and the use of well‐recognized mathematical models to calculate chemical concentrations in air specifically due to emissions from facility operations. These studies demonstrate that air quality in Kettleman City is not being measurably affected by Kettleman Hills Facility activities.
  4. A review of cancer data, including data from 2008, indicates no unusual elevations in Kettleman City. The California Department of Public Health recently reported that cancer rates in Kettleman City are no higher than expected for adults, or specifically for cancers that may be associated with PCBs and arsenic exposures. Although cancers in Kings County were elevated for children 0‐15 years of age, compared to the state, none of the five cases of cancer identified was in Kettleman City residents.
  5. Even though all of the research conducted shows the Kettleman Hills Facility operates soundly, there remain significant public health challenges facing Kettleman City on other fronts. In addition to water supply and air quality concerns, a 2008 study by Human Capital concluded the residents of Kettleman City and Kings County face greater health challenges and have a lower overall health status compared to the majority of all other counties in California and the nation.