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mile radius and affected approximately 1,300 residences. ATSDR and others developed a neighborhood clean-up clearance sampling protocol to help protect against residential exposures to asbestos-containing debris potentially left behind after the clean up.

Identifying and Educating Exposed Workers (Pennsylvania and around the U.S.)

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 with established or potential asbestos exposures to reduce behaviors (e.g., cigarette smoking) known to increase the risk of developing asbestos-related disease.

Continuing Response to Hurricane Katrina (Louisiana, Mississippi)

Immediately following Hurricane Katrina, ATSDR staff deployed to the area to work with EPA in resolving public

health issues.

Specifically, ATSDR personnel delivered technical and other support to local and state officials

ATSDR personnel helped protect the health of survivors, evacuees, and response personnel; aided the rebuilding of New Orleans’s environmental health infrastructure; aided EPA in the assessment of hazards, including the Murphy Oil site; surveyed rail lines for damaged or leaking chemical and freight cars; investigated EPA National Priorities List

sites and delivered

industrial facilities to determine whether these facilities posed hazards as critical health guidance to returning residents on carbon monoxide, water

a result of sanitation,

hurricane damage; and electrical hazards, etc.


ATSDR’s performance approach is evident in its development of measures specifically designed to assess the agency’s effectiveness. For instance, the PART-initiated revision of ATSDR’s goals led the agency to develop a measure to capture evidence of its impact on public health. The measure requires ATSDR to track the implementation, or acceptance, of the public health recommendations it makes to enforcement agencies, such as EPA. Specifically, ATSDR adopted a new process aimed at boosting the “acceptance” rate of the agency’s public health recommendations to greater than 75 percent by 2006. This year, ATSDR exceeded this rate with a result of 80 percent. To improve the process’ effectiveness, ATSDR now uses a database to track recommendations and periodically follows up on those not yet accepted. Because recommendations identify ways to prevent or mitigate human exposures to toxic substances, ATSDR expects this effort to improve public health while also enhancing the agency’s effectiveness and efficiency.

In addition to tracking recommendations, ATSDR has also adopted a set of impact-driven measurements to assess its success in mitigating exposures at its most urgent and hazardous sites. In the past, the agency reported its progress on this goal by detailing its activities with partners in providing various services in affected communities. For the past two years, however, the agency has reported performance data that documents the impact of its interventions in reducing the occurrence or risk of health effects.

The agency compares pre- and post-intervention morbidity/mortality rates, measures reductions in environmental exposures, performs biomarker tests, and measures community behavior changes. In FY 2006, ATSDR mitigated health risks or disease at 65 percent of its urgent and public health hazard sites, meeting its target of 65 percent and exceeding its FY 2004 baseline of 33 percent. These indicators will give ATSDR important new data to use in targeting its resources.



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