SUMMARY OF 12/18/01 ROCHE VITAMINS CAP MEETING
The Roche Vitamins Community Advisory Panel convened at 7:00 P.M. on December 18, 2001. CAP members present at the meeting were Bud Allen, Kathy Belby, Jane Bullis, Bryan Burke, Andy Mark, Gary Meddaugh, Betty Merring, Claude Mitchell, Totsy Phillips, Dave Pritchard, Eric Van Horn, Gary Wassel and Stan Wilkens. Present from RVI were Jim Brandl and Duane Campbell. The meeting was facilitated by Steve Ross of Holt & Ross. Two guests were also present, Tom Eppehimer, Superintendent of PPLís Martins Creek Plant, and Dr. Clifford Weisel of the Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety Institute of Rutgers University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
Concerns about Health Impacts of Toluene Exposure
The meeting began with a discussion about reports of concerns by some parents that toluene exposure was adversely impacting the health of their children. Jane Bullis said this issue seemed to be the responsibility of the state and county health departments. Claude Mitchell agreed, noting that the county health department was trying to investigate the issue, but had so far been unsuccessful in receiving the medical reports and other information they need from the affected parents. Jim Brandl reported that Roche had discussed the issue with several concerned parents and had scheduled a meeting with them and the county health department. The CAP agreed that Bud Allen should attend the meeting as the CAPís representative and report back to the panel at the January meeting.
Approval of November Meeting Summary
Tom Eppehimer requested that the November 20 meeting summary be corrected to reflect the fact that PPLís sulfur dioxide monitoring program on Scotts Mountain had showed that 96% of the time SO2 concentrations were at 20% or less of the health-based national air quality standard. The CAP approved the Summary with this revision.
Gary Meddaugh nominated Jane Bullis to serve as the CAPís new chairman for 2002 and the CAP agreed unanimously.
Supplemental Environmental Project on Air Monitoring
Jim Brandl reported that on December 6 Jane Bullis had represented the CAP on a tour of potential air monitoring station sites with representatives from Roche and its consulting firm, ERM. This visit confirmed the sites recommended by the CAP at its November meeting (the Belvidere High School, Country View retirement community and Scotts Mountain). The station at the high school will scan for hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), possibly every 12 days, and will measure fine particulates. All three stations will monitor sulfur dioxide. DEP is looking into reporting live monitoring data on their publicly available website, and the website now under development by the RVI CAP will be able to link with that data while posting summary results periodically.
The CAP recommended that for credibility purposes the monitoring contractor selected by Roche be certified as qualified by NJDEP, requested that the Country View monitoring station monitor for SO2, particulates and HAPs, and requested that the bid document for monitoring vendors be included in the next CAP meeting packet.
Supplemental Environmental Project on Airshed CAP
The CAP agreed that the new airshed CAP should conduct periodic community forums on air quality issues and concerns, perhaps monthly or quarterly. The regional panel should use the Delaware River as a corridor defining the airshed and should be comprised at first of representatives from a core group of industrial facilities, municipal and county agencies, and concerned citizens drawn from a five-mile radius of Rocheís facility and then grow from there based on data developed by the air monitoring program. In addition to PPL, which has already agreed to participate, invitations should be sent to Mallinckrodt Baker, BASF, the Oxford waste-to-energy facility, and Reliant Energy.
Steve Ross reported that Roche had asked him to facilitate the new airshed CAP and to develop a draft mission statement, bylaws and operating plan for the RVICAPís review and approval.
Supplemental Environmental Project on Pediatric Asthma Epidemiology Study
Dr. Weisel reported that during the first quarter of 2002 150 area children in grades 6 though 11 would be recruited through the school system for participation in the asthma study, which will be piloted in the summer of 2002. The purpose of the study is to identify environmental triggers for pediatric asthma attacks by correlating asthma problems with air quality problems. A website will be set up to report results of the study, which are expected by the end of 2002. Dr. Weisel and his colleagues at EOHSI will be talking with all physicians in the community about treatment methods for asthma management, providing educational materials to parents and schools, and providing testing devices for the children that participate in the study.
The EOHSI researchers will bring in a portable ozone monitor next summer too confirm that the NJDEPís regional ozone monitoring program (with the nearest station located in Flemington) is yielding data representative of the White Township-Belvidere area.
Bud Allen asked if geriatric asthmatics could be included in the study. Dr. Weisel responded that the educational component of the program could be expanded to include them, but the handful of people who could be included would not be sufficient to provide a statistically significant epidemiological result, which is the purpose of the study.
The CAP requested that the implementation plan for this SEP be included in the Janu0ary meeting packet.
Supplemental Environmental Project on Community Alert Network
Bryan Burke reported that the countyís CAN system has been funded by the Merrill Creek Owners Group and other area companies, including Roche Vitamins, BASF, Mallinckrodt Baker, and M&M Mars, and is now ready to operate. He recommended that Roche promote the systemís availability for use in advising at-risk residents of unhealthy air quality by first-class direct mail, notices in newspapers and other methods. The CAP also suggested that retirement community and school newsletters be used for this purpose to recruit residents as "subscribers."
Dr. Weisel pointed out that, as in the case of ozone, modeling would have to be done to forecast sulfur dioxide concentrations in advance and then utilize the CAN system to alert residents when air quality levels are expected to be unhealthy. Jim Brandl said Roche has committed to operating the system for three years and then decide whether to continue it thereafter, based on its performance and value during that "tryout." The CAP recommended that the promotional material should indicate when the CAN system would make its calls so that residents who subscribe can indicate which of their phone numbers (home, office, cell) should be used.
The meeting concluded at 9:45 p.m. The next CAP meeting will be on January 15, 2002.