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Data Collection Efforts

Spring 2011 community-collected urine samples:

In the spring of 2011, several residents of the Highway 36/ Triangle Lake area collected urine samples and had them analyzed by a well-respected Emory researcher. All the samples tested positive for 2,4-D and atrazine, the two pesticides for which there is a method to test for in urine. This sparked concern among public health officials. Read more about the community-collected urine samples on page 26 of the Final Public Health Assessment.

Fall 2011 agency-collected urine samples:

On August 30- 31, 2011, public health workers collected 66 urine samples from 38 households in the Highway 36/Triangle Lake area. These samples were intended to establish baseline information about residents' exposure levels and were collected at the time of year when pesticide applications were presumably at their lowest. More sampling was to follow in the spring of 2012, but this was cancelled (see below).

Fall 2011 agency-collected environmental samples (water, soil, food):

On September 19-23, 2011, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) collected environmental samples at the same households where urine sampling occurred. EPA & DEQ collected samples of drinking water, soil, wild and homegrown fruits/vegetables, milk, eggs and honey. These environmental samples were analyzed for an entire list of herbicides commonly used in coastal mountain applications. The results are reported in the Final Public Health Assessment.

Fall 2011 urine samples:

On August 30-31, OHA and ATSDR collected urine samples from 66 Highway 36 community members. The results of the sampling were released in a Health Consultation on March 6, 2012, authored by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). This Health Consultation reported on the fall urine results only. Read the Health Consultation and summary fact sheet.

Spring 2012 urine sampling suspension:

On March 8, 2012, OHA announced the suspension of what was going to be the second phase of urine and environmental sampling. The second phase was going to include pre- and post-application urine samples from the same EI participants.

This decision to suspend the second phase was made because the areas that were slated for application of the two chemicals we have the ability to test for in urine (2,4-D and atrazine) were in very remote locations, with very few residents. Despite considerable effort, we were not able to recruit enough participants to ensure that the data resulting from the effort would be a valid test of potential exposure among local residents. There were also several technical and logistical challenges involved in a pre/post application design, including difficulty obtaining information about the exact timing of pesticide applications.

Community-collected environmental samples (water and air):

Water sampling

The Siuslaw Watershed Guardians conducted surface water sampling within the investigation area during the spring and summer months of 2011, independently and at their own expense. A section in the PHA describes their work and the water sampling results.

Air sampling

Highway 36 community members also conducted air sampling within the investigation area and submitted the results to OHA for review and inclusion in the PHA. There is a section in the PHA that describes their work and the air sampling results.

Future sampling efforts:

EPA is developing a passive air monitor that can be used in the investigation area. This will allow for community-wide air data to be collected over several pesticide application seasons. As of November 2014, EPA has finished the analytical phase of the air monitoring method development and is currently working on ways to estimate air concentrations of pesticides from the amounts extracted from the monitor filters. More information on the development of air monitoring methods will be available in the spring of 2015. See "Investigation Updates" for more information on the air monitoring progress. 

Learn more about sampling plans and protocols.

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