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PERFORMANCE BUDGET OVERVIEW STATEMENT OF MISSION

STATEMENT OF MISSION

STATEMENT OF MISSION

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is the nation’s public health agency for chemical safety. The agency’s mission is to use the best science, take responsive action, and provide trustworthy health information to prevent and mitigate harmful exposures toxic substances and related disease.

The discovery of contamination in New York State’s Love Canal during the 1970s first brought the problem of hazardous wastes to national attention. Similarly, the health threat from sudden chemical releases came into focus in December 1984, when a cloud of methyl isocyanate gas released from a Union Carbide facility in Bhopal, India, seriously injured or killed thousands of people.

Both events represent the kinds of issues at the core of ATSDR’s congressional mandate. First organized in 1985, ATSDR was created by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980, more commonly known as the Superfund law. In 1986, Congress passed the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA). Through these and other pieces of legislation, Congress responded to the public’s demand for a more complete accounting of toxic chemicals and releases. In addition, Congress was—and remains— concerned by other pathways of potential exposure, including food, water, air, and consumer goods.

Since the creation of ATSDR, thousands of hazardous sites have been identified around the country. The Superfund program remains responsible for finding and cleaning up the most dangerous hazardous waste sites in the country. ATSDR has also been at the forefront in protecting people from acute toxic exposures that occur from hazardous leaks and spills, environment-related poisonings, and natural and terrorism-related disasters.

Under its CERCLA mandate, ATSDR’s work falls into four functional areas:

  • Protecting the public from toxic exposures;

  • Increasing knowledge about toxic substances;

  • Delivering health education about toxic chemicals; and

  • Maintaining health registries.

Through our work in these areas, ATSDR continues to prevent and mitigate exposures and related health effects at hazardous waste sites across the nation.

FY 2008 ATSDR CONGRESSIONAL JUSTIFICATION SAFER·HEALTHIER·PEOPLE

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