Date of Award

Spring 1984

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Engineering - (M.S.)

Department

Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

G. Reza Najem

Second Advisor

Richard B. Trattner

Third Advisor

Martin Feuerman

Fourth Advisor

Oresta Ferrito

Abstract

An epidemiological survey was performed that included the area surrounding a former Department of Energy thorium processing and disposal facility. This facility processed monazite sands to obtain thorium under Federal Government contracts from 1941-1973.

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection radiological surveys had shown elevated radiation levels at the Site and in the vicinity of the plant. The area was divided into sections according to distance from the site and from Sheffield Brook, which is also contaminated. Questionnaires were mailed to 400 families, with 112 responses. These represent 362 people.

Statistical analysis of the accumulated data regarding lifestyle, occupation, reproductive history, cancer and other disease states was performed. No significant increase in cancer, miscarriage or any other disease included in the survey was found.

While not statistically significant, liver diseases other than cancer are more prevalent in all case groups. The reported jaundice rate is also higher.

The rate of birth defects is also greater for those living closer to the site. The leukemia rate is also increased.

An aggregation of disease incidence is apparent in the study area, and is of interest for further investigation.

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