A health consultation is a written or oral response
At the request of U.S. Environmental Protection
from ATSDR to a specific request for information about
Agency (EPA) regional offices and other federal,
health risks related to a specific site, chemical release,
state, and local agencies, ATSDR emergency response
or hazardous material. It is a more limited response
personnel respond to on-site emergencies, as well as to
than a public health assessment is. To date, 12 docu-
requests for information related to other acute events.
ATSDR assisted at the following event in Hawaii.
mented health consultations have been conducted at
eight sites in Hawaii. Following is an example of a
Mercury Spill, Puuwai Momi Housing
health consultation conducted in the state:
Complex--In March 2001, children from a
Honolulu Skeet Club, Kailua--The Honolulu
neighborhood near Honolulu collected about
Skeet Club is a former a shooting range in
1.5 gallons of elemental mercury from an
Honolulu. In 1974, the site was developed into
abandoned building and contaminated several
residential lots. ATSDR was asked by a private
homes in the Puuwai Momi housing complex and
at least one area school. HDH contacted ATSDR
to evaluate the results
of arsenic- and lead-
contaminated environmental samples (i.e., sand,
for information on health effects, action levels,
sediment, air) from the site and to provide a public
and cleanup methods. ATSDR also facilitated
health opinion about these results. HDOH collected
the analysis of urine samples with the Centers
a limited number of samples from a shoreline at a
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and
beach and a residential area near the site.
environmental sampling of potentially contaminated
media by EPA.
A health consultation released in November 1998
concluded that lead pellets in the beach sand were
HDH assisted residents evacuated from their
difficult to get to; therefore, the pellets did not pose
homes, determined locations for environmental
a health threat. Concentrations
of arsenic and lead
evaluation, and identified children who had contact
in beach sand samples were below levels of health
with the mercury. Within 2 weeks of the initial
concern, and concentrations in air samples were
contact, all units in the housing complex were
below detection limits. Concentrations of arsenic
evaluated, and contaminated units were cleaned up
and lead in beach sediment samples were elevated.
using criteria provided by EPA, HDH, and ATSDR.
However, it is unlikely that frequent human contact
to the contaminated beach sediment would occur
from beach activities; therefore, the beach sediment ATSDR develops materials that public health profes-
DRAFT sionals and medical care providers can use to assess the
is not of health concern.
public health impacts of chemical exposures. Resources
ATSDR Emergency Response
are available in print, on the ATSDR Web site, and on
CD-ROM. For example, medical management guide-
ATSDR takes information acquired through listing haz- lines are available for acute chemical exposures to more
ardous substances, preparing toxicological profiles, and than 40 chemicals. ATSDR's toxicological profiles
comprehensively describe health effects; pathways
conducting research and, when requested, applies it to
of human exposure; and the behavior of more than
real-life incidents involving hazardous substances.
250 hazardous substances in air, soil, and water at haz-
Emergency response staff members provide health-
ardous waste sites. In the last 5 years, more than 5,700
related technical support to federal, state, and local
of these profiles have been sent to requesters, including
responders during emergencies caused by the release
representatives of federal, state, and local health and
of hazardous substances. As resources permit, they
environmental departments; academic institutions; pri-
perform time-critical consultations.
vate industries; and nonprofit organizations in Hawaii.
ATSDR has also developed extensive resources for
Emergency response coordinators have immediate
access to various experts, including chemists, toxicolo- community members.
gists, environmental scientists, and medical profes-
sionals. To provide immediate support, site-specific
For more information, contact ATSDR toll-free
at 1-888-42ATSDR (1-888-422-8737) or visit the
consultation teams can be convened 24 hours a day,
ATSDR Web page at www.atsdr.cdc.gov.
usually within 20 minutes.