Public Health Assessment / Health Studies Program

The Public Health Assessment Program is federally funded through a Cooperative Agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). It reviews available information (including environmental data, health outcome data, and community concerns) about chemical contamination at Superfund sites (uncontrolled or abandoned places where hazardous waste is located, possibly affecting local ecosystems or people) and other hazardous waste sites. The Program evaluates whether exposure to the contaminants might cause harm to people; and recommends actions to reduce exposure and/or provide further information, such as health studies or medical surveillance. The program accomplishes this by creating the following documents:

Health Consultation - A review of available information or collection of new data to respond to a specific health question or request for information about a potential environmental hazard. Health consultations are focused on a specific exposure issue. Health consultations are therefore more limited than a public health assessment, which reviews the exposure potential of each pathway and chemical.

Health Statistics Review - The analysis of existing health information (i.e., from death certificates, birth defects registries, and cancer registries) to determine if there is excess disease in a specific population, geographic area, and time period. A health statistics review is a descriptive epidemiologic study.

Public Health Assessment (PHA) - An ATSDR document (through a cooperative agreement with SEET) that examines hazardous substances, health outcomes, and community concerns at a hazardous waste site to determine whether people could be harmed from coming into contact with those substances. The PHA also lists actions that need to be taken to protect public health.

Highlighted Facts

  • The Public Health Assessment Program prepares a public health assessment for each Superfund site.
  • The Public Health Assessment Program evaluates the levels of chemical contaminants on and around the site and describes the actual and possible pathways of human exposure.
  • The Public Health Assessment Program also reviews the toxicity of the contaminants and draws conclusions about the public health hazard resulting from the site.

To view all of the Superfund sites in Louisiana, click on the map below:

Map of NPL sites in Louisiana, created by the SEET GIS Support Service

Health Education Sub-Program

SEET’s Health Education Program offers environmental health education to the public and to the medical profession concerning health effects of contaminants from hazardous waste sites and other sources. It develops, publishes, and distributes environmental health education materials; prepares and presents environmental health information to schools, physicians, and communities; and coordinates with other state educational programs regarding current environmental health projects and issues.