Toxic Substances Data Evolve from Emergency Surveillance

two men in protective gear discussing

Acute toxic substance incidents are responsible for thousands of injuries and dozens of deaths each year in the United States. ATSDR and state public health workers collected and analyzed extensive data on these uncontrolled or illegal releases of harmful substances to create the National Toxic Substances Incidents Program (NTSIP). NTSTIP was an information and training program and database established between 2010-2014 that helped states prevent, prepare for, and respond to hazardous emergency events. While this program is no longer funded, its data can still offer some programmatic assistance.

Between 2010 and 2014, ATSDR and nine state health departments conducted surveillance on acute toxic substance incidents. ATSDR also partnered with the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration to project the number of incidents in non-participating states and estimate the number of these events on a national scale. The CDC published a summary of the NTSIP findings in March 2020 as part of its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

In addition to offering downloadable data from the NTSIP state surveillance and national estimate initiative in one central place, ATSDR assists local authorities with harmful spills and leaks through its Assessment of Chemical Exposure (ACE) program. When chemical releases happen suddenly, ACE team members deploy to assist in investigations and evaluations of the emergency response. The ACE program developed a toolkit of resources to empower state and local staff members to lead their own detailed investigations. The ACE Toolkit is available at

The NTSIP data and ACE program have now evolved to become part of a new four-day course at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, Alabama. The course, Disaster Related Exposure Assessment and Monitoring (DREAM), teaches public health officials and emergency responders how to assess, monitor, and track the health effects of exposures to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive (CBRNE) hazards.

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Page last reviewed: December 8, 2020