Framework for assessing health impacts of multiple chemicals and other stressors (update)
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Framework for assessing health impacts of multiple chemicals and other stressors (update)

Filetype[PDF-1.81 MB]

  • English

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    • Description:
      The mission of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is to serve the public by using the best science, taking responsive public health actions, and providing trusted health information to prevent harmful exposures and disease related to toxic substances. The U.S. Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, also known as the Superfund act) mandates that ATSDR determine whether people living near or at a hazardous waste site are being exposed, have been exposed, or will be exposed to toxic substances, whether that exposure is harmful, and what can be done to stop or reduce harmful exposures. CERCLA requires that ATSDR consider the following factors when evaluating the possible public health impacts of communities near Superfund sites: (1) the nature and extent of contamination at a site; (2) the demographics of the site population; (3) exposure pathways that may exist at a site (the extent to which people contact site contaminants); and (4) health effects and disease-related data. In addition, ATSDR is also authorized to conduct public health assessments at storage, treatment, and disposal facilities for hazardous wastes when requested by EPA, under the 1984 amendments to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA). In addition, ATSDR conducts public health assessments for toxic substances, when petitioned by concerned community members, physicians, state or federal agencies, or tribal governments.

      The ATSDR Public Health Assessment Guidance Manual (ATSDR 2005a) describes a process to prepare public health assessments that evaluate environmental data, exposure data, health effects data and community concerns. The products of this process (public health assessments, consultations, and advisories) guide the development of public health actions or recommendations such as: (1) reducing exposures (carried out by other appropriate federal, state, or tribal agencies or principal responsible parties); (2) recommending further scientific investigations when key exposure or health effects data are missing; (3) developing health education programs within an affected community; or (4) identifying community health care needs (ATSDR 2005a).

      This manual, Framework for Assessing Health Impacts of Multiple Chemicals and Other Stressors, is a revision of ATSDR’s 2004 Guidance Manual for the Assessment of Joint Toxic Action of Chemical Mixtures (ATSDR 2004a). The revised manual serves as a supplement to the ATSDR (2005a) Public Health Assessment Guidance Manual by describing a recommended process to evaluate the potential public health impacts of exposures to multiple chemicals and other stressors, a frequent occurrence and concern for people living in the vicinity of sites with toxic substances. This revised “mixture” manual builds on the process described in the 2004 manual and reviews scientific research advancements since 2000 related to assessing health impacts from exposures to multiple chemicals and other stressors.

      Reference: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 2018. Framework for Assessing Health Impacts of Multiple Chemicals and Other Stressors. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service.


    • Content Notes:
      1. Introduction -- 2. ATSDR Approach -- 3. Options and Issues for Assessing Health Impacts of Exposures to Multiple Chemicals and Other Stressors -- 4. References -- Appendix A. Background Information on the assessment of additivity and interactions -- Appendix B. Weight-of-Evidence methods -- Appendix C. Methods Used or Proposed by Other Agencies.
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