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Compendium of Papers on MRLs and Health Effects


The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is mandated by the congress to address potential public health impacts associated with environmental exposures to hazardous substances from waste sites and releases of hazardous substances into the environment. ATSDR develops in order of priority a list of hazardous substances most commonly found at facilities on the CERCLA National Priority List. The agency is directed to prepare toxicological profiles for priority hazardous substances, ascertain significant human exposure levels for these substances in the environment and the associated health effects, and identify research areas needed to fill data gaps.

In order to determine the relationship between exposures to hazardous substances and the occurrence of adverse health outcomes, ATSDR has developed a list of priority health conditions (PHCs) to provide a focus for investigations in studies with measurable and observable outcomes among different levels of exposure or a range of health effects (ATSDR 1993). The studies of PHCs will provide the greatest likelihood of finding human health effects among individuals exposed to hazardous substances.

In response to congressional mandate to ascertain significant human exposure levels to hazardous substances, ATSDR develops minimal risk levels (MRLs) for priority hazardous substances most frequently found at hazardous waste sites. The MRLs are derived based on the most sensitive non-cancer adverse health endpoints which are consistent with the ATSDR PHCs.

This compendium is intended to serve as a guide to the evaluation of the biological significance of non-cancer health effects, and other issues relevant to derivation of health guidance values such as MRLs.

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ATSDR, 1993. Priority Health Conditions. An integrated strategy to evaluate the relationship between illness and exposures to hazardous substances. Edited by Lybarger, JA, Spengler, RF, and De Rosa, CT. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Atlanta, Georgia

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