Unexploded Ordnance - Military munitions that have been primed, fuzed, armed, or otherwise prepared for action and that have been fired, dropped, launched, projected, or placed in such a manner as to constitute a hazard to operations, installation, personnel, or material and remain unexploded by malfunction, design, or any other cause

The supply of fresh water found beneath the earth's surface

The training location where artillery and mortar targets were placed and fired at (Camp Edwards has a 5,000 acre impact area)

Fact Sheets

River River Drops of rain on a leaf

Chemical Fact Sheet - RDX

What is RDX?
RDX (Hexahydro-1, 3, 5-trinitro-1, 3, 5 -triazine) is also known as cyclonite, hexogen, Research Department Explosive or Royal Demolition Explosive. It is used as an explosive and is also used in combination with other ingredients in explosives. RDX is produced at military arsenals and is used as an explosive in military munitions and plastic explosives. RDX is a manmade chemical not occurring naturally in the environment.

How is RDX used at MMR?
No training with RDX is currently taking place at MMR. In the past, the Army National Guard fired artillery and mortar shells containing RDX into the Impact Area. RDX is used at MMR on an intermittent basis to detonate unexploded ordnance (UXO).

Where is RDX found at MMR?
RDX has been found at MMR in both soil and groundwater (see map). RDX has been found in soils at MMR at the following general locations: the Impact Area, the explosive training and disposal areas known as Demolition Areas 1 and 2, the contractor and National Guard Bureau ranges located southeast of the Impact Area ("J" ranges), and in several other areas where munitions containing this explosive were utilized.

RDX has been detected in groundwater at MMR at and downgradient of the Impact Area, Demolition Areas 1 and 2, and the J Ranges area. RDX has been detected in groundwater outside of the current MMR property, near the northern area of Snake Pond. It is believed that the detections in the Snake Pond area originated from sources in the J Ranges area.

How might I be exposed to RDX?
You can be exposed to RDX only when you come in contact with it by drinking, breathing, eating or touching it. Examples include:

  • Drinking contaminated water or eating contaminated plants
  • Ingestion of soil impacted by RDX
  • Breathing contaminated air
  • Contacting RDX in water while bathing or swimming

Is exposure to RDX likely to cause cancer?
No studies are available regarding representative effects in humans following inhalation, oral or dermal exposure to RDX however; a laboratory study in mice given RDX orally found RDX could cause liver tumors. The EPA has listed RDX as a possible human carcinogen via oral exposure as a result of the mouse study.

No studies have been conducted on whether oral consumption (drinking or eating) of RDX by people could cause cancer.

How may RDX affect my health?
If you are not exposed to RDX, it does not pose a risk to your health. If there is exposure to RDX, several factors will determine whether harmful effects may occur and what the type and severity of those health effects may be. These factors include:

  • The dose (how much)
  • The duration (how long)
  • The route or pathway by which you are exposed (breathing, eating, drinking, or skin contact)
  • Other chemicals to which you are exposed
  • Various other personal factors (e.g. age, sex, family traits, lifestyle, personal habits, state of health)

In scientific experiments conducted on rats and mice eating RDX for 3 months resulted in decreased body weights, kidney damage and liver tumors in mice. When large amounts are inhaled or eaten, RDX can cause seizures (problems with the nervous system) in humans and animals. While it is not known if the health effects seen in laboratory animals will be the same for people, the results of animal studies are used to predict potential health effects in people. Laboratory studies in pregnant rats resulted in smaller offspring but similar effects were not seen in rabbits. There is no information that RDX causes birth defects in people.

What Federal and State standards exist to protect public health and the environment?
The EPA has established a lifetime Health Advisory guidance level of 2 ppb (parts per billion) for RDX in drinking water. The EPA and MassDEP have not established an ambient air level for RDX or a cleanup standard for RDX in soil.

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