A large number of contaminated sites combined with a rapidly increasing population and housing development and a large percentage of the population that depends on private unregulated well water creates suitable conditions for large numbers of North Carolinians to be exposed to hazardous waste. Exposure to toxic chemicals increases the risk of communities developing costly, devastating, and preventable adverse health effects.
Since 2006, the Health Assessment, Consultation and Education (HACE) program has demonstrated its effectiveness in reducing and eliminating human exposures to toxic waste because of the skilled and experienced staff, the long history of effective collaborations with diverse organizations, the thorough understanding of communities throughout the state, and the wealth of resources the program leverages. HACE is the only program in the state working on the evaluation of risk to human health from hazardous waste sites or providing recommendations to reduce or prevent harmful exposures and adverse health effects. Therefore, HACE is asking for funding to continue its Cooperative Agreement Program with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, specifically to support three full-time team members: a health assessor/principal investigator, a health assessor/program coordinator, and a health educator/community involvement coordinator.
The purpose of the program is to prevent or reduce the incidence of adverse health effects that occur as a result of exposure to toxic substances found at hazardous waste sites throughout the state. This is achieved by identifying pathways of exposure to hazardous substances and using the best science, reliable health information and responsive public health actions. By identifying, implementing, and coordinating public health interventions, exposures at levels of concern are reduced.
The expected outcomes of the program are: 1) timely dissemination of site-specific findings to partners, stakeholders, and community members; 2) increased regulatory agency, community, stakeholder, and health professional understanding and acceptance of site-related risks and recommendations; 3) increased early care and education (ECE) stakeholder knowledge of safe siting issues and recommendations; 4) an enhanced and expanded CSP program; 5) increased partner commitment to the CSP program, including infrastructure for the sustainability of the program; 6) increased community members’ ability to protect themselves from hazards; 7) increased ECE stakeholder practices to prevent hazardous exposures; and 8) reduction or elimination of environmental exposures, both at hazardous waste sites and child care facilities.
The expected long-term impact of program activities is to reduce or eliminate exposure-related health effects and increase the quality of life of the residents and communities we serve.