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Last Edited: 9/13/2009

Zeneca, Richmond - Public Health Activities

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) conducted an investigation of the public health implications of exposure to contamination from the Zeneca site (now known as the Campus Bay site).  

On March 16, 2009, CDPH released a public health assessment for the Zeneca site. The public health assessment includes an overview of community health and exposure concerns reported to CDPH, as well as a section where CDPH responds to the community's questions and comments during the public comment period.  On July 22, 2009, the report was edited and released again, after a community member requested to be removed from the comments. Click to view the Zeneca public health assessment

The site

The Zeneca (formerly Stauffer Chemical) site is located between San Francisco Bay and state highway 580, and between Point Isabelle on the southeast and Marina Bay residential community on the northwest. The site is adjacent to the University of California (UC), Berkeley, Richmond Field Station (RFS) (formerly California Cap Company). The regional park Marina Bay Trail crosses the marsh portions of both sites. Click here for a map of the area.

Historical industrial activities at the Zeneca site include the production of sulfuric acid, starting in the late 1800s and between the 1950s and 1985, as well as the production of pesticides. As of May 2005, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control has been providing oversight of the investigation and cleanup of the Zeneca and UC RFS sites.

How CDPH got involved

In mid-May 2005, the Contra Costa County Health Officer requested the assistance of the Environmental Health Investigations Branch of CDPH in responding to exposure and health concerns arising from the Zeneca and UC RFS sites. The two health agencies committed to commenting on the possible health consequences from current exposure by the end of June 2005. A joint provisional health statement was released on June 22, 2005, and updated on February 1, 2006. Information from the joint provisional health statement has been incorporated into the public health assessments conducted at the UC RFS and Zeneca sites. (More information on CDPH's evaluation at the UC RFS site).

What did CDPH find?

CDPH found that the following exposure pathways pose no public health concern:

  • Current exposure to contaminants underlying the Zeneca site (Lots 1-3) under the site’s current use.
  • Current exposure to indoor air in businesses in the Harborfront Tract from vapor intrusion, as a result of volatile organic chemicals in groundwater.
  • Past (since 1992), current, and future exposure to metals, pesticides, and polychlorinated biphenyls in sediment and surface water in the East Stege Marsh.
  • Past exposure to staff and students from site-related contaminants in dust and indoor air in Building 240, used by the Making Waves Education Program from 2002 until 2006.
  • Past exposure to site-related contaminants in dust during remedial activities conducted between 2002 and 2005.
  • Exposures that may have occurred while Stauffer Chemical was operating the facility (i.e., up until 1985) could not be evaluated due to insufficient information.

Recommendations made in the public health assessment:

  1. If the Zeneca site land use changes from industrial to residential or recreational, then the site should be cleaned up to levels consistent with residential standards. An increased residential population in this area may result in more human activity in tidal/shoreline areas adjacent to the site.
  2. Areas south of the Bay Trail should also be characterized and the risk to potential receptors should be evaluated.
  3. A robust air monitoring program and adequate dust suppression measures should be implemented during future remedial work at the site and during any development activities where soil is disturbed.
  4. Sediment and unfiltered surface water in the East Stege Marsh should be sampled annually until the Zeneca site is remediated, to ensure that the marsh is not being re-contaminated by contaminant migration through groundwater or surface water.
  5. Access to the East Stege Marsh should remain restricted until remediation of the Zeneca site is completed and it is determined (through monitoring data) that re-contamination of the East Stege Marsh has not occurred.
  6. Monitoring and remediation of contaminants in groundwater in the Harborfront Business Tract should continue.

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