EPA Summary

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wishes to acknowledge the cooperation and support efforts of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources(PADER), the PADER Region I Office, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Bureau of Epidemiology, the Delaware County Commissioners, Chester City Council, Mayor Barbara Bohannon-Shepard, Chester Citizens Concerned for-Quality Living, Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, Delaware Valley Toxics Coalition, and Pacific Environmental Services Inc.


This report is a condensed version of the Chester Risk Study, Technical Support Document written by staff at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region III Office in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and which is currently undergoing a scientific peer review as required by Agency policy.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) policy for releasing technical studies of the type outlined in this summary document is that they must clear the peer review process prior to release to the public. The interim draft report summary presented here is being made available to the public for a dual purpose:

1.) in order to begin the follow up and mitigation process necessary to better define and subsequently reduce the risks to human health in the City of Chester, Pennsylvania.

2.) to provide general guidance as a “model protocol” related to methods of performing aggregated risk studies at other locations. It is generally accepted that cumulative risk studies are needed to provide technical information and-a framework for decision-making related to proposed and/or current sources of


Environmental Risk Study for the City of Chester, Pennsylvania

The Chester Risk Assessment Project was part of an initiative by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Region III and agencies of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to study environmental risks, health, and regulatory issues in the Chester, Pennsylvania area.

Study Conclusions and Recommendations


1 – Blood lead levels in the children of Chester is unacceptably
high with over 60% of the children’s blood samples above the
Center for Disease Control(CDC) recommended maximum level of 10
micrograms per deciliter(ug/dl).

2 – Both cancer and non-cancer risks, e.g. kidney and liver
disease and respiratory problems, from the pollution sources at
locations in the city of Chester exceed levels which EPA believes
are acceptable.

3 – Air emissions from facilities in and around Chester provide a
large component of the cancer and non-cancer risk to the citizens
of Chester.

4 – The health risks from eating contaminated fish from streams
in Chester and the Delaware River is unacceptably high.

5 – Drinking water in Chester is typical of supplies in other
cities throughout the country.


1 – The lead paint education and abatement program in the City of Chester should be aggressively enhanced.

2 – Sources of air emissions which impact the areas of the city with unacceptably high risk should be targeted for compliance inspections and any necessary enforcement action.

3 – A voluntary emission reduction program should be instituted to obtain emissions reductions from facilities which provide the most emissions in the areas of highest risk.

4 – Enhanced public education programs to communicate the reasons behind the existing state mandated fishing ban should be implemented.

5 – While fugitive dust emissions have not shown to be a significant component of risk in the City, a program to minimize fugitive emissions from dirt piles and streets should be instituted to alleviate this nuisance.

6 – While noise and odor levels were not shown to be a significant component of risk in the City, a noise and odor monitoring program should be instituted in areas most likely to suffer from these nuisances. If significant levels are found, a noise and/or odor reduction program should be implemented in those areas.

Last modified: 11 November 1997