To use the principles of risk assessment and toxicology to reduce and prevent adverse human health conditions from environmental exposures, identify human populations at risk, and promote actions to protect and promote the health of the people of Texas.
The Health Assessment and Toxicology (HAT) Program is the principal state public health program involved with hazardous waste issues. The program is responsible for preventing or reducing the harmful effects of exposure to hazardous substances on human health and quality of life. HAT is a program within the Department of State Health Services. As mandated by state law (Health and Safety Code, Title 6, Chapter 503.005: Health Risk Assessments and Title 2, Subtitle H, Chapter 161.0211, subchapter C: Epidemiology or Toxicology Investigations) the Department is responsible for taking the lead in assessing the potential adverse health effects that exposure to toxic substances or harmful physical agents may have on people.
The mission of the HAT program is accomplished through the following activities:
Health Assessments and Consultations: The Health Assessment and Toxicology Program works with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) , other federal and state agencies, local health departments, local governments, community members, and other interested parties to determine the potential public health impacts of hazardous waste sites and chemical spills. HAT identifies communities where people may be exposed to hazardous substances in the environment, assesses how hazardous a site is, and recommends actions that need to be taken to protect peoples health. HAT does this through the preparation of public health assessments and health consultations.
Toxicological Investigations and Technical Support:HAT provides technical support and advice to federal and state agencies, local health departments, local governments, and concerned citizens on the toxicological implications of exposure to hazardous substances and investigates unusual health complaints suspected of being caused by exposure to hazardous substances and harmful physical agents.
Education and Community Outreach: HAT educates doctors, other health care professionals, and communities about the health effects of hazardous substances and how to reduce exposure. HAT also talks with people living or working near hazardous waste sites under investigation. Two-way communication between the public and DSHS is vital to the assessment of every site.
An Epidemiology in Texas 2006 Annual Report from the Texas Department of State Health Services Infectious Disease Control Unit. October 29, 2007/Volume 64/Suppl.No.1
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Environmental and Injury Epidemiology and Toxicology Branch
1100 West 49th Street - Austin, Texas 78756 - 800-588-1248