The Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry, ATSDR, is a federal public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is commonly referred to as CDC’s sister agency.

Its mission is to prevent harmful exposures and diseases related to toxic substances.

Created by Superfund legislation in 1980, ATSDR’s mission is to prevent harmful exposure, adverse human health effects, diminished quality of life, and diseases associated with exposure to hazardous substances from waste sites, unplanned releases, and other sources of pollution present in the environment. Through its programs – including surveillance, registries, health studies, environmental health education, and applied substance-specific research-and by working with other federal, state, and local government agencies, ATSDR’s Division of Health Assessment and Consultation (DHAC) acts to protect public health by:

1) assessing the public health effects of community exposures to hazardous substances in the environment,
2) engaging stakeholders, and
3) guiding interventions to reduce the public health effects of such exposures.

Two possible interventions are a Health Consultation or a Public Health Assessment

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 [compare with public health assessment].

Public health assessment (PHA):
An ATSDR document 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 [compare with health consultation]. The community plays a key role in a Public Health Assessment and any activity that may follow. Read more…


Petitioned Public Health Assessments

Public Health Assessments & Health Consultations

Public Health Assessment Guidance Manual (2005 Update)

HERE are three examples of Health Consultations done that are gas/oil drilling related

ONE from Leroy Township, Bradford County, Pennsylvania 

ATSDR Leroy Township report finds elevated well water chemicals

To read the public health consultation, please read this PDF.

AND TWO from Garfield County, Colorado

Garfield County HC
Public Health Implications of Ambient Air Exposures as Measured in Rural and Urban Oil & Gas Development Areas – an Analysis of 2008 Air Sampling Data [PDF, 1221 KB]
Glenwood Springs, Garfield County  8/26/2010

Garfield County HC
Public Health Implications of Ambient Air Exposures to Volatile Organic Compounds as Measures in Rual, Urban, and Oil & Gas Development Areas [PDF, 2212 KB]
Glenwood Springs, Garfield County  3/13/2008

AND here are some Success Stories