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Question and Answer Log

This page provides a central location for answers to questions the community, stakeholders and others may have about the exposure investigation. If you have a question about the investigation, use our Ask a Question form.

When we receive a question that is relevant to our broader audience, we will post an answer here. Please note, we may consolidate questions and answers if we receive several on the same topic. 

Q: What is the Public Health Assessment (PHA) report about?
This is an interim report that is meant to communicate the findings of the Exposure Investigation (EI) up to this point. It reports on the analysis of these sets of data:
  • The spring 2011 community-collected urine sample results;
  • The fall 2011 urine sample results, from samples collected by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA);
  • Environmental samples (water, soil and homegrown food) collected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in the fall of 2011;
  • 2011 pesticide application record data from the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) and the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA);
  • Community-collected air and water samples;
  • Qualitative information that describes and documents community concerns.
Q: Was the entire sampling and testing procedure outlined for the community-collected urine samples? And is it scientifically valid?
OHA has confirmed that the sampling and testing procedures outlined in the community-collected urine data are scientifically valid. This included adequate laboratory protocols and a complete chain of custody on the samples. This data is reported on in the PHA, where you can find out more information.
Q: What are the health problems people are having in the area?
This document is not a study of the health problems that people are having in the area.  However, as part of our effort in understanding the nature of community concerns, we have learned about many health issues that people have reported. Health concerns include miscarriage, birth defects, various cancers, irritability and rashes, among others. You can find out more in the community concerns section of the Final Public Health Assessment.

Q: What about the synergistic interactions between chemicals?
We are unable to determine the health effects of exposure to multiple pesticides. There is a limited but growing body of scientific evidence on the health effects from exposure to multiple pesticides, but current methods do not allow for a determination of risk resulting from exposure to multiple chemicals.

Q: Have herbicides been studied in cool, wet climates with minimal degradation from sunshine? If so, how much longer does it take for these to completely degrade?

OHA has not seen any studies conducted that would provide information on this.

Q: Are you going to collect any more urine samples?

OHA decided not to pursue additional biosampling because of the technical and logistical challenges involved in a pre/post-application sampling design.  These challenges include: the limited number of pesticides able to be measured in urine; lack of appropriate comparison data for most pesticides in urine; the relatively short half-lives of 2,4-D and atrazine in urine; and difficulty in obtaining information about the exact timing of planned pesticide applications.



 If your question is not answered on this page, use our Ask a Question form to submit your question.