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About Public Health Assessments

PHA Process

EHAP conducts PHAs by reviewing the following available information about contaminants found at a hazardous waste site, and determines whether exposures might harm people.

  • Environmental data: Information about contaminants in the air, water or soil at the site and how people could come into contact with them
  • Health outcome data: Available information on community wide rates of illness, disease and death
  • Community health concerns: Reports from the public about how the site affects their health or quality of life

The program then works with other agencies and the affected community to answer these kinds of questions to determine if there is a public health threat:

  • How can chemicals at a waste site affect public health?
  • Are there chemicals in places where people can come in contact with them?
  • Can people come into contact with enough of the contamination to affect their health?
  • What are community's concerns?
  • Are there unusual, documented rates of illnesses or diseases in the community?
  • What future health risks may result from the site?
  • What actions are recommended to protect public health from site hazards?
  • What types of outreach and education will help the community prevent or reduce their exposure?
  • How can state and federal agencies best protect public health in site cleanup decisions?

Once a Public Health Assessment is completed, EHAP presents their conclusions to the communities affected by the site and makes recommendations to agencies on actions that can be taken to prevent or reduce health risks. Sometimes communities are informed even earlier when a health threat is found or when immediate action should be taken.

The public is invited to comment on EHAP's findings or proposed activities contained in draft reports or documents. The public comment period is a limited time period during which comments will be accepted.

Browse all of EHAP's reports.

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