There are more than 200 hazardous waste sites in Arizona, including nine on the National Priorities List and two Superfund Alternate Approach. In addition, there are 35 Water Quality Assurance Revolving Fund (WQARF) (State Superfund) sites and 47 Voluntary Remediation
The Office of Environmental Health (OEH) protects the health of individuals and communities in Arizona by delivering innovative services and driving evidence-based change (Mission) to promote health and wellness for all Arizonans in the natural and built environment where we live, work, and play (Vision).
State and local environmental and public health agencies look to the Environmental Toxicology Program (ETP) to provide technical assistance and the evidence base for decision-making on environmental health issues in their jurisdictions. ADHS has decades of experience collaborating with federal (EPA, ATSDR, CDC), state (ADEQ), local (counties and cities), and universities (UA) to conduct environmental health assessments using ATSDR site health assessment products (PHA, HC, LHC, TA), community involvement, and health education activities to respond to specific public health issues that occur as a result of actual or potential human exposure to a hazardous substance, including, methods to evaluate pathways of exposure and to analyze toxicological data, community health concerns, and environmental health data. Current program leadership (PI and PA) have over 20 years of experience working in and managing the APPLETREE Program (PHA and CI/HE activities). Examples presented above include HCs, CI, HE at Iron King Superfund Site in Dewy-Humboldt, EI support to ATSDR in Hayden-Winkelman, and TAs on PFAS for ADEQ. ADHS has had contracts with ADEQ (public health assessment) and UA (development of risk communication tools) to advance Environmental Toxicology’s goals and objectives and support the APPLETREE program.
In the 1990s, the ETP was established to address health concerns about hazardous substances at waste sites in Arizona through a Cooperative Agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). However, ADHS lost funding for this program in 2016, which limited OEH’s capacity to respond to agency or community requests for assistance. OEH’s Environmental Toxicology Program (ETP) will use this funding opportunity to focus on environmental health issues ranging from air and water pollution to exposure to hazardous chemicals at work and at home. OEH will listen to communities to understand their needs, identify available resources, take actions to protect their health, and promote health equity and environmental justice.
The most common and current issues are:
• historical and current mining
• groundwater contamination
• changing climate
• air quality
• vapor intrusion
• per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water
ETP will also create the Arizona Safe Siting Initiative by utilizing Choose Safe Places for Early Care and Education (CSPECE) tools developed by ATSDR to keep our children safe where they learn, grow, and play. Over 200,000 Arizona kids go to daycare and other early childcare centers, but there is no formal process to assess these sites for harmful chemicals and determine whether they are impacted by old chemical-using industries. Assessing past use of the property may prevent exposure to harmful substances.