ATSDR in Partnership With
sites have been
In the last 2 years, ATSDR
designated to the
has awarded more than
NPL in Alabama.
0,000 in direct funds and
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Regis-
A public health
services to Alabama.
try (ATSDR) is the lead public health agency respon-
sible for implementing the health-related provisions
is a written,
of the Comprehensive Environmental Response,
comprehensive evaluation of available data and
Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA).
information on the release of hazardous substances
ATSDR is an Atlanta-based federal agency with more
into the environment in a specific geographic area.
than 400 employees and an annual budget for 2003 of
Such releases are assessed for current or future
approximately million. ATSDR is responsible for
impact on public health. ATSDR, in collaboration
assessing the presence and nature of health hazards at
with public health and environmental officials from
specific Superfund sites, helping to prevent or reduce
Alabama, has conducted 21 health assessments in the
further exposure and illnesses resulting from those
state. Following are recent examples of public health
hazards, and expanding the knowledge base about the
assessments conducted in Alabama.
health effects of exposure to hazardous substances.
American Brass, Incorporated (ABI)--The
ATSDR works closely with state agencies to carry
ABI site is an abandoned secondary smelter and
out its mission to serve the public by using the best
foundry in a rural agricultural area near Headland.
science, taking responsive public health actions, and
In 1996, the Alabama Department of Public
providing trusted health information to prevent harm-
Health (ADPH) and ATSDR were asked to review
ful exposures and disease related to toxic substances.
environmental sampling data (soil, surface wa-
ATSDR provides funding and technical assistance to
ments and grants to identify and evaluate environ-
health hazard. ADPH and ATSDR have worked
mental health threats to communities. These resources
with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
enable state and local health departments and other
(EPA) since 1996 during its removal and remedia-
grantees to further investigate environmental health
tion phases. In a final health assessment released
concerns and to educate communities. From fiscal
in 2003, this site was classified as a public health
years 1989 through 2002, ATSDR awarded more
hazard for trespassers because of the potential
than .1 million--more than 0,000 in the last
for physical injury. For nearby residents, the ABI
2 years--in direct funds and services to Alabama for
site poses no apparent public health hazard due
comprehensive support of its environmental health
to chemical exposure. High levels of contami-
unit. In addition to direct funds and services, ATSDR
nants (especially copper, lead, zinc, and aroclor
staff provides technical and administrative guidance
1260) are on-site, but the site is heavily vegetated.
for state-conducted site activities.
Although off-site migration may occur, sample re-
sults from nearby residences have not shown levels
ATSDR Site-Specific Activities
Public Health Assessment-Related Activities
The ABI site may have posed a public health
One of the agency's important mandates is to conduct
hazard in the past for workers due to the metal,
public health assessments
of all National Priorities
pesticide, and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)
List (NPL) sites and of other sites where a significant
threat to public health might exist. Seventeen
are needed to evaluate this pathway more fully.