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Last Edited: 7/6/2012

A follow-up study of the community near the McColl waste disposal site
Written: 1991


To assess the effect of interim clean-up measures on the current health of a community near the McColl waste disposal site, we conducted a follow-up survey of 193 residents living nearby and a comparison area located approximately five miles from the site.  Results from this survey were compared with results from a similar survey conducted seven years earlier.  Odors were detected at least once per week by 32.7% of "high-exposed" respondents in 1988 compared with 68.5% in 1981, but prevalence odds ratios (PORs) comparing symptom reporting between high-exposed and comparison-area respondents were greater than that of the 1981 survey for 89% of symptoms.  PORs comparing symptom reporting between these two areas were greater than 2.0 for 64% of symptoms assessed in the current survey.  Symptoms reported in excess did not represent a single organ system or suggest a mechanism of response.  PORs comparing respondents who were very worried about the environment and those reporting no worry were greater than 2.0 for 86% of symptoms.  These findings, along with environmental data from the area, suggest that living near the waste disposal site and being very worried about the environment, rather than a toxicologic effect of chemicals from the site, explain excess symptoms reporting found in this follow-up study. 

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Suggested Citation

  • Lipscomb JA, Goldman LR, Satin KP, Smith DF, Vance WA, Neutra RR. A follow-up study of the community near the McColl waste disposal site. Environmental Health Perspectives 1991; 94:15-24.