Public health and the environment ; v. 2, no. 1/2, summer 2003
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      This issue: Emergency preparedness

      The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is mandated under Superfund to respond to chemical releases into the environment and is the lead federal public health agency in such events. ATSDR has been responding to chemical emergencies in local communities across the country for the last two decades.

      Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, ATSDR has worked with other federal agencies, state and local health departments, and many other organizations to respond to these events and prepare for the possibility of new terrorist threats. For example, the agency assisted in the response to the anthrax contamination of postal facilities and other government and media offices. ATSDR assisted in responding to these terrorist and biological attacks by

      • conducting environmental sampling at anthrax-contaminated buildings;

      • mapping sampling locations;

      • helping to develop screening guidelines for asbestos and other hazardous substances;

      • sampling dust in Manhattan residences;

      • disseminating critical information to agencies and organizations with a role in terrorism preparedness and response;

      • answering questions from the news media; and

      • meeting with New York residents to respond to their health questions and concerns.

      This issue highlights ATSDR resources and collaborations in emergency preparedness. Planning, readiness, and collaboration can better prepare us to deal with disasters, whether they are natural or of human http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/HEC/HSPH/emergency.pdf

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