Hazardous Waste Site Health Assessment Team
The federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
(ATSDR) has a cooperative agreement with the Florida Department of Health (FDOH). The Florida DOH team that works at hazardous waste sites is the Health Assessment Team in the Division of Environmental Health. The
Assessment Team consists of four scientists who evaluate the environmental and health data collected from other agencies.
They also have one community involvement/health education coordinator.
The team conducts Public Health Assessments
and Health Consultations. They inform communities and other agencies of findings and recommendations. Health assessments look at each chemical found at or associated with a hazardous waste site and its known health effects. Some chemicals are toxic in small amounts, and other common chemicals can be toxic in large amounts.
The DOH team looks at the data from samples gathered by other agencies, such as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
They compare the levels of chemicals found in the samples to national health guidelines.
The Health Assessment Team
- Conducts public health assessments
- Seeks input from residents of affected communities, their concerns and questions
- Responds to their concerns and questions
- Advises the public on how to protect themselves from exposure to chemicals at a site
- Informs communities of findings and recommendations concerning the site
- Informs community healthcare professionals of findings, giving them helpful materials
- Advises cleanup agencies on health issues
What is a Health Assessment?
The Florida DOH conducts two kinds of Health Assessments.
1. The Public Health Assessment is a broad look at an entire hazardous waste site
including the soil, water, and air. It looks at all potential health effects from known chemicals at a site.
2. The Health Consultation focuses on limited issues associated with the site. Examples include answering a specific question or reviewing special tests.
How does the Health Assessment Team conduct an
To conduct an assessment at a hazardous waste site, DOH does
Gathers existing testing data collected by state or
federal environmental agencies at sites of interest
Analyzes the data
Requests additional sampling if more data are needed
Writes the draft health consultation or health
Seeks technical reviews by state and federal agencies
Solicits public comment on the draft document,
especially health concerns from nearby residents
Addresses all public comments and questions in a final
Distributes the report and summaries of it to the public
How can you get the Health Assessment Team involved at a site near you?
The team is required by its cooperative agreement with ATSDR to assess sites
listed to those listed to the National Priorities List (NPL) by the
within one year of listing.
Local officials, state, and local agencies, community groups, and individuals may
also petition ATSDR for a health assessment. Visit ATSDR's webpage (above) for more information on petitions.
Florida DOH does not:
- Make or enforce laws or rules concerning hazardous waste
- Provide medical services for people exposed to hazardous waste
- Provide cleanup or relocation
- Take samples, except for some private well testing.
- Conduct worker investigations
For more information contact the Health Assessment Team.
Please note that the ATSDR provides 100% of funding for the work done
by the Health Assessment Team.