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Reports Overview

In 2001, the International Joint Commission requested ATSDR’s "assistance in evaluating the public health implications of environmental contamination in Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AOCs) by providing information on ATSDR’s public health assessments of hazardous waste sites within these AOCs." This request resulted in preparation of a report for public comment Selected Information on Chemical Releases within Great Lakes Counties Containing Areas of Concern (AOC). This report is intended to help decision-makers set future priorities for research and public health action.

ATSDR staff identified and assembled certain existing data related to both environmental pollutants and health, and they distributed a draft report for peer review in 2004. Between April 2004 and July 2007, the draft report underwent revision. An in-process draft of this report became public in 2007, before ATSDR had finished reviewing and finalizing it. Accordingly, ATSDR delayed release of the report and set about correcting deficiencies identified by multiple levels of Agency scientific staff as well as by reviewers and stakeholders as a 2008 draft.

The 2008 draft was placed on the ATSDR website for a 60-day public comment period. The draft was also simultaneously submitted to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies (NAS) for a further in - depth external peer review. The IOM is an independent, unbiased, authoritative source of science-based health information and well-qualified to conduct an independent review of the science presented in the drafts and to comment on the decision to improve its scientific content and communication prior to official agency release. ATSDR also asked IOM for an objective evaluation of its decision to delay the release of the draft report and provided working drafts from 2004 and 2007 as well as a 2008 public comment draft report to IOM.

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