Request For A New Public Health Assessment (PHA)

logo ATSDR Public Health Assessment No Completed Exposure Pathways

ATSDR did not identify any completed exposure pathwaysI am requesting that the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) conduct a new Public Health Assessment for the former George Air Force Base, CA, “EPA Superfund ID: CA2570024453.”

From the ATSDR’s Public Health Assessment for George AFB, dated December 1, 1998, Pages 28 – 29.

On the basis of available data, ATSDR concludes that exposure to contaminants in groundwater and soil at George AFB does not pose an apparent public health hazard.
Page 27

On-site and off-site groundwater do not represent a past, present, or future public health hazard. …
Page 27

Soil at George AFB does not represent an apparent past public health hazard and does not represent a present or future public health hazard. …
Page 28

Radiological contamination does not represent an apparent past public health hazard and does not represent a present or future public health hazard. …
Page 28

… ATSDR concludes that the George AFB site should be assigned to the No Apparent Public Health Hazard category.”
Page 29

The Department of Defense (DOD) deliberately misled the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), Congress, and the American people about the hazardous substances at George Air Force Base and the Completed Exposure Pathways (CEP) that these provided.

The ATSDR relied on the DOD to supply ATSDR with the relevant documents and information for the Health Assessment for George AFB). Because the DOD did NOT supply the relevant documents and information to the ATSDR, the ATSDR did not fully understand the nature and extent of the contamination, locations of the Installation Restoration Program (IRP) sites, hydrology (direction of the groundwater flow, north-east), and the location of the water supply wells for George AFB, Adelanto, private homes, and the former Victor Valley Country Club.

The DOD knew that the ATSDR came to a flawed conclusion in their 1 December 1998 report “Public Health Assessment for George AFB,” section “Evaluation of Potential Public Health Hazards at George Air Force Base” and Exposure Pathways at George Air Force Base.

Because the DOD did not correct the ATSDR during the Peer Review / Public Comments period or after the report was published in 1998, the Department of Defense (DOD) lied by omission.

CONCLUSIONS - ATSDR's Public Health Assessment for George AFB

George Air Force Base’s Complete Exposure Pathways (CEP) are discussed here:

1) George AFB’s Vapor Intrusion of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

2) George AFB’s Organochlorine Pesticides Contamination

In 2005 the Air Force advised the City of Victorville that the levels of pesticides detected at the Base Family Housing “could present a danger to human health if soils are inhaled, ingested, or contacted by skin.”

2005-02-04 letter AF to Victorville – unsafe levels pesticides housing (PDF - 64 KB).pdf

3) George AFB’s Burn Pits and Incinerators

George Air Force Base had over a dozen of open-air burn pits and two old style incinerators (without an air scrubber to remove toxic chemicals). The known carcinogens and respiratory sensitizers that were released into the atmosphere by the burn pits and incinerators present both acute and chronic health hazards to civilians, and military personnel and their family members.

4) George AFB’s Asbestos Contamination

FEB 1989 – “There are 1,970 buildings on-base (including 1,641 housing units) with a total square footage of floor space of 4,629,926, approximately 10 percent of which has been surveyed for asbestos. Forty percent of those facilities tested had asbestos containing materials (ACM) (80% nonfriable, 20% friable).” Page 11
A Preliminary Review of Environmental Requirements and Concerns Based on the Proposed Closure of George Air Force Base, California,

5) George AFB’s Lead-Based Paint Contamination

Most facilities and buildings at George AFB were constructed before the DOD banned the use of lead-based paint (LBP), in 1978, and are likely to contain one or more coats of such [LBP] paint. In addition, some facilities constructed immediately after the ban may also contain LBP, because the inventories of these paints that were in the supply network were likely to have been used up at these facilities.

6) George AFB’s Housing – Completed Exposure Pathway

7) George AFB’s Atmospheric Nuclear Weapons Testing Decontamination Centers

In 2016, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Radiologic Health Branch investigated the radiological decontamination centers at George AFB.  According to the following documents, (Vera , 2015) (Vera , 2016) (Headquarters Field Command, Armed Force Speical Weapons Project, March ‐ June 1953), there were several instances where aircraft had flown around and through surface nuclear weapons testing zones for imagery and sample collection, and then returned back to George Air Force base for decontamination. We could not find any documentary evidence that any airplane decontamination site on the base was addressed in the GAFB remediation administrative record.

2016-04-05 email - CDPH Rad Branch to F Vera – George AFB aircraft rad decom cent_Redacted.pdf

8) Southeast Disposal Area – Completed Exposure Pathways

The SEDA is physically located about a ¼ mile upstream of the Drinking Water Supply Wells for George AFB, Adelanto, CA, several homes, and the former Victor Valley Country Club. The Southeast Disposal Area (SEDA) had 11 Installation Restoration Program (IRP) sites (unpermitted dump-sites and unpermitted burn pits) containing: Avgas, VOCs and weapons’ residue; industrial, chemicals, heavy metals, and radioactive wastes.

9) Industrial Waste – Completed Exposure Pathway

From 1965 to 1 December 1981 (16 years), the Air Force dumped 5,578,400 gallons of industrial waste containing known carcinogens into the sanitary sewer, which emptied into the sewage treatment plant (STP), and the STP discharged directly into the STP’s percolation ponds. The effluent (outflow) from the sewage treatment plant’s percolation ponds containing this toxic cocktail was used to irrigate the golf course (a.k.a. S-12, OT-22) from 1965 to 1 December 1981. The golf course is within 500 feet to a ¼ mile adjacent/upstream of the cluster of high volume production wells for George AFB and Adelanto, and smaller wells for private homes, and the former Victor Valley Country Club.

10) Drinking Water – Completed Exposure Pathways


Completed exposure pathway:

A pathway of exposure is considered completed when all five elements are present. A completed pathway connects the source of the material to people.

  1. Source
  2. Media
  3. Exposure point
  4. Exposure route
  5. People

Will exposure from a completed pathway affect my health?

Whether or not a person experiences health effects from exposure to materials in the environment depends on a combination of several site-specific factors including.

  • Kind of material released
  • Amount of material available at the exposure point
  • Physical and chemical form of the material
  • Environmental conditions
  • Length of exposure time

Source: EPA


I am not a doctor or attorney, and cannot give medical advice or legal advice.

If you, a friend, or loved one has been injured or died as a result of the contamination at a DOD Superfund Site please follow the steps that are outlined at Get Help.

The views and opinions expressed in this website/articles are those of the authors and
do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency of the U.S. government


    • If you or a loved one was injured or died from a toxic exposure at GAFB, please write a letter requesting a NEW Public Health Assessment for GAFB.

      Look for a chemical/toxin with a completed exposure pathways (CEPs) that would have caused the illness include 1 or 2 pages of medical records and/or a Death Certificate.

      Include a section from the old Public Health Assessment for GAFB that applies
      Request For A New Public Health Assessment (PHA)

      Send the request to:
      Sven E. Rodenbeck, Sc.D., P.E., BCEE
      Rear Admiral (retired), USPHS
      ATSDR/DCHI – Mailstop F59
      1600 Clifton Road, NE
      Atlanta, GA 30333
      Office Telephone: (770) 488-3660
      Cell Telephone: (404) 729-5041
      FAX: (770) 488-1543

      cc: Libby Vianu
      Regional Representative
      ATSDR Region IX
      75 Hawthorne Street
      Suite 100, HHS-100
      San Francisco, CA 94105
      Office Phone (415) 947-4319
      Cell Phone (415) 203-2238

      AND your Congressional Representative and Senators
      Find Your Representative
      Find Your Senators

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