Public Health Assessment / Health Studies Program
The Public Health Assessment Program is federally funded through a Cooperative Agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). The cooperative agreement program, ATSDR's Partnership to Promote Local Efforts to Reduce Environmental Exposure (APPLETREE) gives resources and guidance to assess and respond to site-specific issues involving exposure to hazardous substances in the environment. It reviews available information (including environmental data, health outcome data, and community concerns) about chemical contamination at Superfund sites (uncontrolled or abandoned places where hazardous waste is located, possibly affecting local ecosystems or people) and other hazardous waste sites to identify potential health risks. The Program evaluates whether exposure to the contaminants might cause harm to people; and recommends actions to reduce exposure and/or provide further information, such as health studies or medical surveillance. The program accomplishes this by creating the following documents:
Health Consultation - A review of available information or collection of new data to respond to a specific health question or request for information about a potential environmental hazard. Health consultations are focused on a specific exposure issue. Health consultations are therefore more limited than a public health assessment, which reviews the exposure potential of each pathway and chemical.
Health Statistics Review - The analysis of existing health information (i.e., from death certificates, birth defects registries, and cancer registries) to determine if there is excess disease in a specific population, geographic area, and time period. A health statistics review is a descriptive epidemiologic study.
Public Health Assessment (PHA) - An ATSDR document (through a cooperative agreement with SEET) that examines hazardous substances, health outcomes, and community concerns at a hazardous waste site to determine whether people could be harmed from coming into contact with those substances. The PHA also lists actions that need to be taken to protect public health.
- The Public Health Assessment Program prepares a public health assessment for each Superfund site.
- The Public Health Assessment Program evaluates the levels of chemical contaminants on and around the site and describes the actual and possible pathways of human exposure.
- The Public Health Assessment Program also reviews the toxicity of the contaminants and draws conclusions about the public health hazard resulting from the site.
For more information on Superfund Sites where you live visit the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Superfund data system.
Health Education and Communication Program
SEET's Health Education and Communication Program collaborates with residents, non-profit organizations, local, state and federal agencies to communicate and disseminate environmental health information to communities, healthcare providers, public health professionals, childcare providers and other audiences concerning health effects from hazardous waste sites and other sources.
The health education and communication services that are provided by SEET include:
- Collaborating with the Louisiana Tumor Registry and other key stakeholders to address potential disease clusters
- Responding to requests for environmental health information
- Engaging with communities and professionals in meetings and other correspondences to learn about and to develop strategies for addressing the residents' environmental health concerns
- Presenting and exhibiting at professional meetings, conferences and workshops, community, school and awareness events to educate audiences about current and emerging environmental health hazards and to promote prevention