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What is the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry?

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is a federal public health organization that lies within the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) focuses primarily on controlling human health risks associated with exposure to dangerous chemicals/substances. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) works intricately with other states, local and federal bodies, as well as healthcare providers, local communities and tribal governments. The mission of the agency, as stated by the agency itself, is to “Serve the public through responsible public health rolls on promoting health and safe environments and prevent harmful exposure to dangerous materials.” 

Created in 195, The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) was created as a non-regulatory advisory agency by the Superfund legislation. Although The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is an independent operating unit within the Department of Health and human Services, another agency (primarily the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) will perform the bulk of the agency’s administrative functions. The director of The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) will serve as the body’s administrator. Moreover, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) utilizes a joint Office of the Director with the National center for Environmental Health.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) headquarters are currently located in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2010, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) utilized an operating budget of approximately 77 million dollars; The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has an employee base of approximately 300 people. 

Basic Overview:

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is the head agency within the United States Public Health Service with regards to the effects of dangerous substances on the human population. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is responsible for assessing the nature and presence of hazardous materials at particular Superfund sites. Moreover, the agency helps prevent or reduce further exposure or illnesses that result from asbestos exposure. 

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) functions include: health consultation regarding specific hazardous substances, health assessments of hazardous waste sites, response to emergency releases of hazardous substances, health surveillance and registries, information development and dissemination, applied research in support of public health assessments and training and education with regards to hazardous substances. Furthermore, The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) also constructs and delivers toxicological profiles for all hazardous substances that are represented on the National Priorities List site.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s (ATSDR): Goals

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) lists the following seven goals:

1. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) aims to protect the general public from an assortment of toxic and hazardous exposures.

2. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) wants to promote the creation of healthy environments throughout the United States.

3. The agency wants to advance the science of environmental public health.

4. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) supports the practice of environmental health in the United States.

5. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) wants to educate partners, the general public, and policy makers with regards to environmental health risks and the protective measures implement to curb exposure to hazardous materials.

6. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) wishes to promote environmental justice and reduce health disparities connected to environmental exposure to hazardous or toxic materials

7. The agency provides scientific and technical expertise to promote and advance the public health practice

Dissimilar to the Environmental Protection Action, The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is simply an advisory or non-regulatory governmental agency. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) conducts research on the impact of exposure to waste sites and other hazardous materials to provide recommendations and information to local and federal agencies, interested parties and the general community. That being said, The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is not involved in the cleanup of these neither dangerous areas, nor can the agency fund or provide for medical treatment to any individual who is exposed to such hazardous wastes. 

Programs Instituted by the ATSDR:

One of the primary responsibilities of The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is to conduct public health assessments and coordinate health consultations with the general public. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) conducts these assessments for all proposed or current sites on the Superfund list. (The superfund list states all heavily polluted locations that require a long-term response for the clean-up of hazardous materials.) The general purpose for these assessments is to evaluate whether contaminated substances at a site impose a significant health risk to the general population. If this occurs, The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) will issue recommendations to the residing state government to limit or halt exposure to said substances. 

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) also conducts health consultations, typically in response to requests from the Environmental Protection agency and local government bodies. These consultations examine specific health questions, including the health effects of exposure to specific chemicals. Consultations are limited in scope when compared to public health assessments. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) will also conduct health consultations and public health assessments in response to petitions filed by the general public. To conduct a health assessment and/or consultation, The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) utilizes its own scientists to provide technical assistance to local health departments. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has issued in excess of 200 public health assessments in the calendar year of 2010 and provides approximately 1,000 health consultations every year. 

When The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) investigates a dangerous site, the agency will examine health date, environmental data and information derived from community members concerning how the site affects the public’s quality of life. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) does not typically collect its own environmental data; the bulk of data is collected by partner organizations, such as the Environmental Protection Agency. Accrued environmental data offers information with regards to the amount of contamination and possible ways the public could be exposed to the chemical or hazardous substances on the site. The health data portion of the project provides information concerning rates of disease, illness and death rates in a local community. Because The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is an advisory body, conclusions rendered by its health consultations and health assessments are typically offered in the form of recommendations to the national environmental and health agencies (Environmental Protection Agency) and various state agencies. 

Another major responsibility of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) requires the agency to produce toxicological profiles for the most prolific substances found at various Superfund sites. These profiles summarize crucial studies on the chemical’s side effects. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) possesses a toxicological lab that coordinates and conducts research concerning the effects of toxic substances on human health. 

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) maintains a comprehensive registry, detailing all persons who have been exposed to specific toxic particles or substances. The list also reveals all people who have been diagnosed with particular cancers. However, participation in these registries is 100% voluntary and personal information and individual data is held private. Information on these lists is utilized by epidemiologists and other scientists to research the long-term health factors for illness. These lists also aid doctors in the diagnosis of certain health conditions. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) will use these lists to also contact registered patients or individuals to inform them of important health information. 

 

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