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TN HEALTH Environmental Epidemiology Program

Environmental Epidemiology Program

Waste in a Creek

The Environmental Epidemiology Program works to keep people safe from harmful chemicals and to help them live in wholesome environments that promote healthy lifestyles.  EEP responds to questions about the human health impacts of environmental pollution.  EEP collects surveillance data on acute chemical releases and poisonings.  EEP investigates sites where people may be at risk of chemical exposure and recommends actions to keep people safe. 

The federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry provided a majority of EEP’s funding through two cooperative agreements.  EEP supports all 95 counties in Tennessee.  EEP works with our local, regional and metropolitan health departments as well as with other state agencies like the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and Department of Agriculture.  EEP also works on environmental projects with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  EEP has provided assistance to concerned citizens, local governments, and legislative officials.

National Toxic Substance Incidents Program

Toxic substance incidents can result in death, illness or injury.  Such events frequently require public health protective actions such as evacuations, in-place sheltering or decontaminations.  Tennessee’s National Toxic Substance Incidents Program  performs acute chemical exposure surveillance through CDC’s National Toxic Substance Incidents Program.  EEP collects information on harmful materials also known as toxic substances.  These materials include chemicals, radiation and naturally-occurring matter that could cause harm to people or the environment.

Acute toxic incidents range from illicit methamphetamine lab explosions in homes to chemical suicides in automobiles and from industrial chemical releases to transportation accidents.  Data is gathered through our partnerships with the National Response Center, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, and Department of Transportation as well as from news media reports.  Information is uploaded into the NTSIP database within 48 hours of an incident.  NTSIP surveillance data is used to prepare prevention messages to protect the general public from chemical exposure.

Partnership to Promote Localized Efforts
to Reduce Environmental Exposure

Environmental pollution from hazardous waste sites can harm human health.  Tennessee has an active Partnership to Promote Localized Efforts to Reduce Environmental Exposure, or APPLETREE Program.  We work in partnership with ATSDR.  Based on environmental data, program staff members perform environmental investigations and prepare public health assessments, health consultations, exposure investigations, community involvement activities and technical assistance.  These reports evaluate exposure to present conclusions, make recommendations and plan corrective actions.  Our work is reviewed by the federal ATSDR to ensure that it is based on sound science and national guidelines.  Our publications to view or download include public health assessments, consultations, fact sheets and other reports.

Healthy Homes

Environmental hazards in the home harm millions of people each year in the United States.  A healthy home can prevent illness and injuries.   A healthy home is designed, built and maintained to support health.  EEP promotes Healthy Homes – a coordinated, comprehensive and holistic approach to preventing diseases and injuries that result from housing related-hazards and deficiencies.

A healthy home reassures health and wellness by preventing illness and injury.  Our Healthy Homes Website presents topics like mold, radon, lead, carbon monoxide, mercury, pesticides and unintentional injuries.  It has tips for every room in the home as well as information for home owners and renters.  Learn The 7 Principles of a Healthy Home and you can promote good health and wellness for you and your family.

Healthy Community Design

EEP recognizes the public health implications of global climate change and the built environment.  You can find out more about these emerging environmental topics from the links below.  We understand the value of performing Health Impact Assessments to evaluate the potential health effects of a plan, project, or policy before it is built or implemented.  EEP encourages communities to be designed with opportunities to maintain active, healthy lifestyles.

Environmental Public Health Tracking

EEP is planning to correlate environmental exposures to hazardous substances with adverse health effects in populations as a part of CDC’s Environmental Public Health Tracking Program.  CDC's Tracking Program has laid the foundation of this national system by providing grants to state and local health departments.  Tennessee is a fellow in CDC’s EPHT Network of integrated health, exposure and hazard information and data from a variety of national, state and city sources.  Our goal is to be a fully-funded partner.  Ultimately, Environmental Public Health Tracking will be able to provide current, relevant and accurate information about environmental exposures and health outcomes.

Click to learn more about EPHT data available in Tennessee.

Environmental Public Health Topics

EEP provides education and community involvement for persons interested in or affected by exposure to hazardous substances.  We provide general information on a variety of environmental public health topics.  Click the links below for topics such as asbestos, lead, mercury, mold, ozone or radon.

Environmental Topics

Popular Documents and Links


Additional Resources