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Taking an Exposure History
How to Use This Course

Course: WB 2579
CE Original Date: June 5, 2015
CE Renewal Date: June 5, 2017
CE Expiration Date: June 5, 2019
Download Printer-Friendly version Adobe PDF file [PDF - 1.16 MB]

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The goal of Case Studies in Environmental Medicine (CSEM) is to increase the primary care provider's knowledge of hazardous exposures and to help in evaluation and treating of potentially exposed patients. This CSEM focuses on taking an exposure history.


Two versions of the Taking an Exposure History CSEM are available.

  • The HTML version provides content through the Internet
  • The downloadable PDF version [PDF - xxx KB] provides content in an electronic, printable format, especially for those who may lack adequate Internet service.
  • The HTML version offers interactive exercises and prescriptive feedback to the user


To make the most effective use of this course.

  • Take the Initial Check to assess your current knowledge about taking an exposure history.
  • Read the title, learning objectives, text, and key points in each section.
  • Complete the progress check exercises at the end of each section and check your answers.
  • Complete and submit your assessment and posttest response online if you wish to obtain continuing education credit. Continuing education certificates can be printed immediately upon completion.

Instructional Format

This course is designed to help you learn efficiently. Topics are clearly labeled so that you can skip sections or quickly scan sections you are already familiar with. This labeling will also allow you to use this training material as a handy reference. To help you identify and absorb important content quickly, each section is structured as follows

Section Element


Serves as a "focus question" that you should be able to answer after completing the section

Learning Objectives

Describes specific content addressed in each section and focuses your attention on important points


Provides the information you need to answer the focus question(s) and achieve the learning objectives

Key Points

Highlights important issues and helps you review

Progress Check Exercises

Enables you to test yourself to determine whether you have mastered the learning objectives

Progress Check Answers

Provide feedback to ensure you understand the content and can locate information in the text

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the ATSDR CSEM: Taking an Exposure History, you should be able to perform the following learning objectives.

Section Title
Learning Objective(s)

What Is the Purpose of Taking an Exposure History?

Explain the importance of taking an exposure history.

What Role Do Primary Health Care Providers Have in Detecting, Treating, and Preventing Disease Resulting from Toxic Exposures?

Explain why primary health care providers should be knowledgeable about the exposure history process.

Which Organ Systems Are Affected By Toxic Exposure(s)?

Explain how organ systems may be affected by toxic exposure(s).

What Are Possible Sources of Indoor Air Pollution?

Identify possible sources of indoor air pollution.

What Are Other Potential Sources and Pathways of Hazardous Exposure in the Home and Environment?

Identify additional potential sources of hazardous exposure in the home and environment.

What Are the Components of an Exposure History?

Describe the components of an exposure history.

What Is Included in the Exposure Survey (Part 1) of an Exposure History Form?

Explain how temporal relationships between a patient's symptoms and their non-work or work environments are identified.

What Is Included in the Work History (Part 2) of an Exposure History Form?

Describe how a seasoned clinician reveals a possible temporal relationship between a patient's symptoms and their workplace.

What Is Included in the Environmental History (Part 3) of an Exposure History Form?

Describe how a seasoned clinician reveals a possible temporal relationship between a patient's symptoms and their home and surrounding environment(s).

What Instructions Should Be Given to Patients?

Describe instructions that should be given to patients exposed or potentially exposed to hazardous substances.

What Are Additional Environmental Health Resources?

Describe additional environmental health resources.

Previous Section Next Section The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 4770 Buford Hwy NE, Atlanta, GA 30341
Contact CDC: 800-232-4636 / TTY: 888-232-6348

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