The Tennessee Department of Health’s (TDH) Environmental Epidemiology Program (EEP) requests continued funding under NOFO CDC-RFA-TS20-2001. Under ATSDR cooperative agreements from 2001-2019, TDH EEP consistently met expectations for investigating hazardous waste sites. Our science-based conclusions and protective recommendations resulted in many success stories that demonstrate our ability to achieve APPLETREE goals and outcomes in support of Healthy People 2030. TDH EEP is ready to assist with ATSDR’s Congressional mandate to protect public health by assessing hazards at CERCLA, RCRA, and other sites with potential exposures to hazardous substances. Tennessee has 254 sites in EPA’s SEMS database, 18 active Superfund NPL sites, and 98 promulgated state sites with more than 1,700 total sites that may contain hazards.
When a health hazard is concluded, TDH EEP makes recommendations to eliminate the hazard. We provide professional expertise, distribute educational materials, partner with stakeholders, and allay fears. We aim for inclusion by providing our reports, fact sheets, and webpages in plain language. We will document the impact of our actions, measure performance, and keep cost recovery records.
Tennessee’s county, regional, and metropolitan health departments provide mutual support with site visits, media inquiries, public meetings, and emergencies to achieve our mission to protect, promote, and improve the health and prosperity of 6.7 million Tennesseans. Our target populations are those who previously, currently, or could be exposed to hazards. We recognize environmental justice and health disparate communities. We consider special populations including the young, old, disabled, minorities, rural, urban, non-English speakers, and women of child bearing age and their unborn. Our partners wrote Letters of Support to demonstrate our helpfulness to their projects and communities.
For Component 1 – Core Activities – Strategy A and B, TDH EEP will demonstrate measurable progress toward ATSDR’s goals and outcomes. Our Component 1 purpose will be to (1) identify pathways of human exposure to hazardous substances in the environment (2) sustain our CSPECE program and (3) innovate proactive strategies to prevent harmful environmental exposures. Our environmental sites represent a variety of chemicals of concern, types of contaminated media, and needs for health education. Our site assessment work products will include public health assessments, health consultations, fact sheets, technical assistance, public availability sessions, and health education. TDH EEP has an established CSP Program. We have screened more than 2,362 state licensed ECE facilities for environmental hazards. We will build on our accomplishments and establish new CSPECE partnerships.
For Component 2 – Capacity Development and Applied Prevention Science – Focus Areas 2 and 3, TDH EEP will translate science into tools and actions that individuals, health professionals, students, communities, and organizations can use to identify, reduce, or prevent health effects from hazardous substances. Our Component 2 purpose will be to (1) identify and promote partnerships with academic and professional organizations to encourage environmental public health awareness curricula and career tracks and (2) inform and promote environmental health content within academic programs.
TDH EEP has a proven approach to identifying, implementing, and coordinating environmental investigations and sustaining CSPECE effectiveness. Work plans are provided for Year 1 and through Year 3. We listed activities, related outputs, performance measures, priority levels, persons responsible, and project start and end dates. With a medical toxicologist, professional geologist, natural resource manager, and environmental scientist we have an integrated APPLETREE team. Our budget requests federal funds for 4 FTEs to continue protecting the people who live, work, visit, study, and play in Tennessee.