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Last Edited: 8/5/2010

Amco Chemical Site, West Oakland - Public Health Activities

In 2005, the California Department of Public Health--formerly California Department of Health Services (CDHS)--conducted an evaluation of the public health implications of environmental contamination at the AMCO Chemical site.

The site

The AMCO Chemical site is located at 1414 Third Street in West Oakland, and operated as a chemical transfer facility from the 1960s to 1989. Site operations involved the transfer of chemicals from large volume tanks and railroad cars into smaller volume drums and containers for resale. Site operations released chemicals into the environment that have contaminated groundwater, soil, and air. The AMCO site was listed on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s National Priorities List on September 29, 2003. 


CDHS's involvement at the site


The Environmental Health Investigations Branch (EHIB) of CDHS prepared a public health assessment (PHA) for the AMCO Chemical (AMCO) site under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). The purpose of the PHA is to determine if present, past, or future exposures might present a public health hazard, and what the potential health effects of these exposures might be.


Public Health Assessment for AMCO Chemical Site [9/22/05]

Appendix A (Figures) 

Appendices B-E (Tables, Glossary, Toxicological Profiles, CDHS Responses to Comments from Public Comment Draft)

En Español Información del sitio de Amco Chemical  


Summary of CDHS's findings

  • CDHS is concerned that people may have come into contact with chemicals from the AMCO site and could be exposed to chemicals from the site in the future if the site is not remediated. Therefore, CDHS recommends that EPA or the responsible party remediate the AMCO site.
  • Although exposure to chemicals that remain at the AMCO site could pose health risks to utility workers, on-site workers, and neighboring residents in the future, this does not appear to be likely.
  • Groundwater at the site is contaminated with volatile chemicals. However, nobody is drinking this water and it is unlikely that anybody will drink it in the future.
  • Vinyl chloride was detected in the crawlspace of 3 abutting residences in 1999. Although concentrations detected were not at levels that pose a health risk, their detection indicates people in these residences may have inhaled some contaminants. Therefore, CDHS recommends that the vapor intrusion pathway at the AMCO site and abutting residences be further evaluated.
  • CDHS recommends that EPA or the responsible party maintain the pavement at the site to prevent exposure to subsurface contaminants. 

A number of these recommendations have been included in EPA’s environmental sampling and clean-up efforts.


CDHS's follow-up


In 2009, we provided a technical review of EPA's February 2008 Remedial Investigation of AMCO Chemical Superfund Site in a letter to EPA's Remedial Project Manager for the site.


January 2009 Letter

Related Topics


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