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Contact: Susan Houghton
Phone: (925) 424-4822
November 14, 2002

LLNL Response to California Department of Health Services Report

The issue of plutonium in Livermore has been evaluated for more than 30 years by State and Federal regulatory agencies, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

All studies - including the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry's (ATSDR) report in 2000 - have determined that there is no health impact.

The 2000 ATSDR report evaluated the extensive 1998 sampling at Big Trees Park and the use of sewage sludge containing plutonium. The report found that the levels are below levels of health concern set by the Environmental Protection Agency and the recommended levels which the National Commission on Radiation Protection has set for requiring additional activities.

LLNL just received the CDHS final report. We saw a draft report earlier this year and, if the data are the same, this is the information that the responsible federal agency, ATSDR, used to determine in 2000 that there were no public health impacts. In the ATSDR's draft appendix to the draft CDHS report, ATSDR concludes that historic plutonium concentrations in sludge were below levels of public health concern. We now understand that ATSDR will soon be issuing a health assessment validating their original findings.

We are confident that a full review of the CDHS report by ATSDR will reaffirm the safety of our community’s environment.


Note: reporters interested in speaking with ATSDR about the above-mentioned report may do so by calling John Florence, ATSDR, at (404) 498-0070.

For more information, access our Question-and-Answer Fact Sheet.

To learn more about LLNL's Environmental Community Relations Program, see Environmental Community Relations.

To see previous off-site environmental studies, see one of the following links:
Livermore Big Trees Park: 1998 Results (pdf document of 2000 report)
ATSDR Health Consultation Big Trees Park 1998 Sampling
Neighbor Letter about the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) study
ATSDR Big Trees Park Pathway Study (pdf document)
1998 Big Trees Park Sampling Plan (pdf document)
Livermore Big Trees Park: 1998 Summary Results (pdf document)
Big Trees Park Press Release Number 1 (pdf document)
Big Trees Park Press Release Number 2 (pdf document)
Big Trees Park web page (Proper viewing of this page requires Netscape 4.0 or higher)


Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is a national security laboratory that develops science and engineering technology and provides innovative solutions to our nation's most important challenges. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is managed by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.