The Tennessee Department of Health’s (TDH) Environmental Epidemiology Program (EEP) requests continued funding under NOFO CDC-RFA-TS-23-0001. Under ATSDR cooperative agreements from 2001-2022, TDH EEP 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 will assist 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 NPL sites, 98 promulgated state sites, and more than 1,700 sites with potential 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 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, 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–Strategies A and B, TDH EEP will demonstrate measurable progress toward ATSDR’s goals and outcomes. Our Component 1 activities will be to (1) conduct site-specific assessments and make recommendations to prevent, reduce, or eliminate exposures, (2) educate community, stakeholders, and health professionals on site-specific exposures and human health risks, (3) identify, develop, and maintain partner and stakeholder relationships, (4) enhance our TNCSP program capabilities to maintain partnerships, sustain program, and promote safe siting, and (5) build local and state capabilities to identify, reduce, or prevent health effects from exposures to hazardous substances. Our environmental sites represent a variety of chemicals, contaminated media, and needs for education. Our site assessment work products will include PHAs, HCs, FSs, TAs, and PASs. TDH EEP has an established CSP program. We have screened more than 2,800 ECE facilities for environmental hazards.
For Component 2, TDH EEP will partner with stakeholders to include health equity perspectives into new or existing environmental health programs, policies, and practices. We will leverage established partnerships to promote strategies and tools to educate health care providers to decrease environmental exposures and improve health equity. We will collaborate with the Tennessee Cancer Registry to put their methodology into a shareable written format. We will facilitate discussions among stakeholders about cancer cluster methodology, limitations, and lessons learned.
TDH EEP has a proven approach to identifying, implementing, and coordinating environmental investigations and sustaining our effectiveness. Work plans are provided. We listed activities, related outputs, performance measures, priority levels, persons responsible, and projected start and end dates. With a medical toxicologist, professional geologist, two environmental epidemiologists, 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.