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Bureau of Epidemiology

International Smelting and Refining

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Original IS&R Smelter, 1921

Introduction:
The International Smelting and Refining (IS&R) site is a reclaimed mine, mill, and smelter property located approximately 2.5 miles northeast of Tooele in Tooele County, Utah. IS&R began operating a copper smelter in 1910, added a lead smelter in 1912, and was acquired by Anaconda Copper in 1915. Subsequently, a lead-zinc sulfide flotation mill (1924) and a slag treatment plant (1941) were added to the facility. The mining activities have resulteing in elevated levels of arsenic, cadmium, and lead in the soil. Despite reclamation efforts in 1986, IS&R contaminant levels remained elevated, and the site was proposed for the Superfund National Priority List on April 23, 1999.

The superfund program is the federal government’s program to clean up the nation’s uncontrolled hazardous waste sites. Under the superfund program, contamination that poses a current or future threat to human health or the environment is cleaned up. The site cleaned up was finalized in 2007 and in October 2011 IS&R was deleted from the National Priorities List.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) requested that the Environmental Epidemiology Program (EEP) of the Utah Department of Health conduct a public health assessment to identify public health hazards posed by this site.

Documents:
A Public Health Assessment (PHA) was conducted for the IS &R smelter site and surrounding areas. The PHA was completed in 2001.

  • Public Health Assessment
    • The PHA evaluated the potential for long-term health impacts in the community.
    • The IS&R site is a public health hazard (ATSDR health hazard category B),the environmental levels of lead pose a likelihood that exposure has occurred and continues to occur for residents who live near the site and for visitors at the site. Arsenic, cadmium, and lead are the contaminants of concern, although lead is the one contaminant present at levels that could result in adverse health effects, especially in children. Of particular concern is the potential for long-term developmental health effects on children residing near the site as a result of lead exposure. The main route of exposure was through ingestion of smelter waste and contaminated soil both on and off site. Since the PHA was finalized in 2003 the site has been remediated.

    • Children living in this area should have their blood-lead levels tested.