Report Reviews Government Studies of Risks From Groundwater Contamination at Fort Detrick, Md.


A new report from the National Research Council reviews two government-issued studies that examined whether past exposures to contaminated groundwater from Area B of Fort Detrick, Md., are related to health effects in the surrounding community.  One assessment conducted by the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry analyzed whether a public health threat was posed by contaminated groundwater in Fort Detrick's Area B, which was used to bury biological materials, test animals, radiologic tracer materials, and toxic chemicals including perchloroethylene and trichloroethylene.  A study by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Frederick County Health Department reviewed cancer incidences in the communities surrounding Fort Detrick and whether data indicated unusual patterns. 


The National Research Council committee that wrote the report was not asked to perform its own assessment of possible health effects of the contamination, exposures that might have occurred in Area A of Fort Detrick, potential exposures to Agent Orange, or risks from infectious diseases studied at the biocontainment laboratories. 


Advance copies of Review of Studies of Possible Toxic Effects from Past Environmental Contamination at Fort Detrick, Maryland -- A Letter Report will be available to reporters only beginning at 3 p.m. EST Friday, March 2.  The report is embargoed and not for public release before 11 a.m. EST Monday, March 5.  To obtain an embargoed copy, contact the National Academies’ Office of News and Public Information; tel. 202-334-2138 or e-mail