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  • ATSDR is helping protect Americans from exposures to asbestos fibers and resulting health effects. Over 200 facilities around the country received and processed vermiculite ore from Libby, Montana, which is known to have contained asbestos. ATSDR’s National Asbestos Exposure Review continues to investigate these sites and is helping local agencies to educate those who may have been exposed to the asbestos, particularly plant workers and their families, about preventing and coping with asbestos-related disease. ATSDR is also conducting the National Asbestos Health Program, which offers screening of exposed persons at vermiculite sites in New Jersey and California.

  • Over 71,000 registrants in the World Trade Center Health Registry, launched in September 2003, will be interviewed periodically over the next 20 years to track the long-term health effects of exposures during the event. The first follow-up interviews were conducted in November 2006. Data collected from participants on health outcomes will be analyzed and reported in quarterly newsletters and peer reviewed publications.

Significant Accomplishments

  • Protecting Firefighters and Residents — ATSDR helped EPA responders protect the health of residents who lived near a major chemical fire in Connecticut. ATSDR’s specialist advised on necessary protection measures for nearby residents, reoccupancy, and health consequences to responders of a chemical found in firefighting pond water. The specialist also caught a serious and potentially harmful error in concentration calculations and worked on assessment and cleanup measures for asbestos, which the fire’s five-mile long smoke plume deposited into residential properties. As a result, health of residents and responders was protected from exposure to particulates, asbestos, and methyl methacrylate.

  • Preventing current and future hazardous exposures — New legislation in New Jersey will soon prevent schools and day care centers from being built on contaminated property, following ATSDR’s work with state health officials to protect children from mercury exposures at a day care center. The Kiddie Kollege Day Care Center in Franklin Township, New Jersey, was housed in a building once occupied by a company that made thermometers and related instruments. The manufacturing involved elemental mercury. Following ATSDR’s and the State’s guidance, all children and staff were advised to evacuate, and the day-care operator immediately closed the center. ATSDR, working with state health officials, the CDC Environmental Health Lab, and the Mt. Sinai Pediatric Environmental Specialty Health Unit, then arranged for mercury testing and education. Sixty children and nine adults received tests, which the CDC laboratory processed in extraordinarily rapid fashion. Repeat testing was offered to families and staff until all mercury levels were considered to be in an acceptable range.

  • Battling Lung Problems — Thanks to a recent study and follow-up efforts by ATSDR and its state partner in Idaho, physicians and health professionals in Chubbuck and Pocatello will now be able to help their patients reduce their exposure to particulate matter and, consequently, lower their risk of lung disease. ATSDR provided health care professionals identified by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare with information to help their patients. Health education materials were directed at the over 100 health professionals in Pocatello and Chubbuck areas specializing in children, seniors, lung patients, and family practice. Each was provided with the findings of the study and advised of ways patients can reduce their exposure to particulate matter in the air.

  • Finding Answers to Troubling Questions — An ATSDR innovation is helping to answer lingering health questions at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Two decades have passed since contaminated drinking water wells were closed at the base, and for an uncertain period before that, some base families and personnel were exposed to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the water. ATSDR has been working on analyzing the extent of exposures. To compensate for the lack of information about the Camp’s water distribution system operations for that period, ATSDR developed an innovative water model to assess likely past exposures. In part, the model development involved measuring flow rates and pressures at different locations along the water distribution system. The model will help identify the likely route, timeframe, and extent of exposure.

  • Identifying and Educating Exposed Workers — ATSDR is working to protect the health of thousands of people who may have been exposed to asbestos from vermiculite-processing plants. In New York, ATSDR and the New York State Department of Health collaborated in getting past employees of a former vermiculite exfoliating facility in Weedsport to seek medical evaluation. ATSDR and NYSDOH prompted former workers and their families of the importance of medical evaluation because of their potential exposure. As a result of the evaluations, several people found that they had asbestos-related disease. In Pennsylvania, ATSDR found that some 60 to 120 workers at a New Castle plant were likely exposed to asbestos. In addition, the nearly 2,200 people who lived within a mile of the plant in 1990 may also have been exposed while the plant was in operation. Although little can be done about past exposures, education efforts can help lead those



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