NARRATIVE BY ACTIVITY
Health Studies to help determine whether exposures to hazardous substances can lead to increased risk for various health problems, such as cancer, birth defects, auto-immune or neurological disorders, respiratory diseases, and other illnesses. ATSDR conducts its own health studies and supports others through agreements with state health departments and universities.
Health Registries to document exposures to toxic substances and health effects potentially associated with such exposures. Registries can help scientists understand the extent of exposures and provide data that can be used to demonstrate or disprove links between exposures and health outcomes.
In addition, ATSDR helps protect public health during emergencies by providing resources, staff, and technical assistance when needed anywhere in the United States.
RATIONALE FOR THE BUDGET
The FY 2008 Budget of $75,004,000 for ATSDR represents an increase of $99,000 above the FY 2007 Continuing Resolution level of $74,905,000. The additional funding will be used for ATSDR’s state cooperative agreement to develop environmental health capacity, provide health education, and conduct health outcome data reviews related to potential exposures to hazardous substances and toxic chemicals.
Since ATSDR’s PART Audit in 2003, ATSDR has taken a number of steps to achieve efficiencies and to improve program performance. For example:
In FY 2005, the National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) and ATSDR completed a consolidation of their respective Offices of the Director and a consolidation of their external advisory boards. NCEH/ATSDR’s new board, the Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC), composed of subject matter experts, were charged with providing peer review evaluation of all agency programs. Since 2004, the BSC has completed five program reviews and plans to complete approximately three reviews annually.
ATSDR’s consolidation with NCEH to improve administrative efficiencies within the two agencies.
ATSDR continues to track and report on project performance and has instituted a new policy requiring partners to report impacts of interventions and to align these activities with ATSDR's long-term goals and measures. The Agency has developed performance-tracking and measurement systems in accordance with
CDC’s budgeting and performance software database.
information through internal project and performance databases.
ATSDR instituted new evaluations for interventions at sites with the most urgent public health hazards. As a result, ATSDR has been able to collaborate with state partners and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to achieve important public health outcomes.
ATSDR plays a significant role in planning for and responding to natural and man-made large-scale public health emergencies. Located in EPA regional offices, regional ATSDR staff work with EPA and state partners on a daily basis to ensure immediate access to local expertise in planning for and responding to chemical emergencies. An example from FY 2006 is ATSDR’s extensive response to the public health emergency that followed Hurricane Katrina.
ATSDR continues its efforts in mitigating and preventing health risks at sites by providing PHAs, Health Consultations, technical assistance, and other services that aid officials in making appropriate public health decisions. The agency is also reviewing ways to improve its ability to provide more timely assistance by greatly accelerating the agency’s reporting of exposure and risk evaluations.
ATSDR continues to study Multiple Sclerosis/Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (MS/ALS) prevalence in Oregon
and Massachusetts. Missouri, and Texas,
The Agency is also conducting case-control MS and is conducting pilot projects in Georgia, South
studies in Ohio, Massachusetts, Carolina, and Minnesota to help
determine the feasibility of creating a national ALS registry. Pilot projects to determine developing the MS registry are currently being conducted in New York and Arizona.
ATSDR remains focused on determining the relationship between toxic exposures and disease. Through the development of its toxicological profiles, health studies, disease tracking projects, and surveillance studies, the Agency improves the science base for environmental public health decision-making by filling the gaps in knowledge about human health effects from exposure to hazardous substances. FY 2008 ATSDR CONGRESSIONAL JUSTIFICATION SAFER·HEALTHIER·PEOPLE™ 19