The mission of the Environmental Epidemiology Program is to promote, protect, and improve the environmental health of people living in, working in, or visiting the state of Tennessee. We do this in four ways:
We respond to questions about the human health impacts of environmental pollution and hazardous waste sites. We perform environmental investigations and prepare public health assessments and health consultations based on our findings. These reports present conclusions, make recommendations, and plan corrective actions. Our work is then certified by the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) based on sound science and national guidelines. A list of our public health assessments, consultations, fact sheets, and other reports is available for download by clicking here.
Tennessee is one of seven states to be awarded a grant from Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to begin the National Toxic Substance Incidents Program. Through this program, staff collect information on harmful materials also known as toxic substances and work to prevent the public from coming into contact with them. These materials include chemicals, radiation and naturally occurring matter that could cause harm to people or the environment.
Sometimes, we may also ask a community to help us find out if they have been exposed to chemicals. We may perform an Exposure Investigation to test people for chemicals in their body. To offer a better understanding of how exposure to a harmful chemical may happen, we have prepared a fact sheet about exposure.
We provide 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.
We strive to correlate environmental exposures to hazardous substances with adverse health effects in populations. This is called environmental public health tracking. Ultimately, environmental public health tracking will be able to provide current, relevant, and accurate information about environmental exposures and health outcomes. We have begun to assess the association between air quality and asthma hospitalization in children.
We recognize public health implications of global change and the built environment. You can find out more about these emerging environmental topics below.
Environmental Epidemiology is also responsible for providing public education on environmental issues and investigating disease clusters that could have an environmental cause.
A glossary of environmental public health terms is available online from ATSDR
To find out more about who we are and what we do, click here to view our "Protecting Environmental Public Health in Tennessee" brochure.