MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF 91109
Contact: George Alexander
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEAugust 21, 1998
HEALTH AGENCY ASSESSMENT OF JPL AVAILABLE FOR PUBLIC REVIEW AND
A federally mandated public health assessment of NASA's Jet
Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) site in Pasadena, CA, has found that
groundwater at the site does not present a past, present or
future public health hazard.
The public health assessment was prepared by the Agency for
Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a public health
agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and
is available for public review and comment Aug. 21 through Sept.
20 at the Pasadena Central Library, La Canada-Flintridge Library,
Altadena Library and the JPL Library.
ATSDR is responsible for evaluating whether people are being
exposed to hazardous substances and, if so, whether that exposure
is harmful. The agency reviewed environmental and health-related
information about JPL's site in the foothills of the San Gabriel
Mountains and adjacent to the communities of Altadena, Pasadena
and La Canada-Flintridge.
The facility is on the Environmental Protection Agency's
National Priorities List, i.e., Superfund sites. ATSDR is
responsible for evaluating the possible human health effects of
The ATSDR noted that the water directly below JPL has never
been tapped for consumption by Laboratory employees and that the
water in the Arroyo Seco aquifer has been filtered and blended
for safety by water purveyors for their customers. Moreover, all
future use of the groundwater in the Arroyo calls for it to be
properly treated, as necessary, for safe consumption.
In addition, the ATSDR report includes findings that:
The ATSDR report is available for public review and comment
through Sept. 20. Comments will become part of the public record
and will be addressed and included in the assessment, although
the names of those commenting will not be included.
- Perchlorate contamination (a byproduct from rocket fuel) in
off-site groundwater presents no apparent present or future
public health hazard. Current sampling and blending procedures
by the drinking water suppliers are expected to prevent any
potential present or future public health hazards posed by
perchlorate in groundwater.
- The ATSDR reported that it is unlikely that any past exposure
to perchlorate in groundwater posed a public health hazard.
The ATSDR could not be conclusive, however, because of the
lack of data on perchlorate levels before 1997.
- No public health hazards are associated with exposure to
contaminated soils at JPL.
For information about the JPL site, the public health
assessment or to receive a copy of the assessment, contact the
ATSDR's toll-free number at(800) 447-1544, refer to the JPL site,
and leave the name, address and telephone number of the person to
whom the report should be mailed, or ask for health assessor W.
Mark Weber or community involvement representative Linda West.
Callers may also contact ATSDR's regional representative Dan
Strausbaug in San Francisco, CA, at (415) 744-1774.
JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology,