Public Health Conference Support
ATSDR awards grants to state and local agencies to support public health conferences to encourage information
sharing, technical discussion, and other training activities related to acute illness and chronic disease resulting from
exposures to hazardous substances. Following is an example of a conference funded in the state of Oregon.
Public Health Conference Program, Oregon Health Sciences University--The primary goals of the
conference were to provide information to nurses enabling them to identify potentially toxic substances, to
make informed decisions when confronted with clinical situations involving toxic substances, and to educate the
public on the realistic consequences of toxic exposure. The conference was planned by an eight-member
planning and advisory committee from the sponsoring organizations, with expert speakers and faculty selected
primarily from Oregon. The conference was an outstanding success, and the conference proceedings were
printed and mailed to all attendees.
Tribal Gover nment Collaboration
a cooperative agreement,
ATSDR assists and collaborates with nine American
Indian tribal govern-
ments in capacity-building activities to address human health issues related to exposures from hazardous sub-
stance releases from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state. This assistance includes site-
specific public health assessments, health consultations, community involvement, preventive health education, and
follow-up health studies. In Oregon, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indians and the Confeder-
ated Tribes of Warm Springs are currently participating in this agreement.
The initial issues related to Hanford the tribes addressed were (1) identifying tribal liaisons to work with ATSDR
on environmental health activities, and (2) determining tribal capability (through a needs assessment) to address
the environmental health issues resulting from hazardous substance releases. Subsequently, the tribes developed a
work plan and are building capability to address the issues identified in the needs assessment.
Health studies are conducted to determine the relationships between exposure to hazardous substances and
adverse health effects. They also define health problems that require further investigation through, for example,
health surveillance or an epidemiologic study. Following are examples of site-specific health surveillance that
ATSDR has supported in Oregon.
View-Master Worker Health Study--Under
a cooperative agreement with ATSDR, the
partment of Human Services (ODHS) is investigating the feasibility of conducting a health study of
former factory workers who were orally exposed to trichloroethylene (TCE) in drinking water. The objec-
tives of the feasibility investigation are to review existing health outcome data, identify and locate former
workers, and develop methods for evaluating TCE exposure and adverse health and reproductive effects
among the former workers.
The factory used TCE to clean manufacturing equipment and to degrease metal parts for the production of
View-Master stereoscopic slide viewers. Drums of degreaser waste were dumped on-site from the 1950s to
the 1970s, at which time the factory began recycling the spent solvent. In 1980, the factory phased out the
manufacture of products that required metal parts for assembly and discontinued the use of TCE. In
March 1998, chemical analysis of the View-Master factory supply well revealed the presence of the TCE at
concentrations as high as 1,670 parts per billion. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
(ODEQ) estimates that TCE had contaminated the drinking water at the View-Master plant for more than