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Oak Ridge Reservation

Other ATSDR Public Health Activities

Historical Document

This Web site is provided by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) ONLY as an historical reference for the public health community. It is no longer being maintained and the data it contains may no longer be current and/or accurate.

Compendium of Public Health Activities at the US Department of Energy Oak Ridge Reservation

ATSDR developed this compendium of public health activities to provide an outline of the strategies used from 1979 to 2000. The compendium addressed and evaluated public health issues related to chemical and radioactive substances released from the Oak Ridge Reservation. The compendium serveed as a foundation document that summarized public health activities that local, state, and federal health agencies conducted to address public health issues.

Community and Physician Education Programs

  • Community and Physician Education on PCBs in Fish
    ATSDR developed community and physician education programs on PCBs in Watts Bar Reservoir fish to follow up on recommendations contained in the ATSDR health consultation on Lower Watts Bar Reservoir. In September 1996, Daniel Hryhorczuk, MD, MPH, ABMT, of the Great Lakes Center, University of Illinois at Chicago, made presentations to local residents on the health risks associated with PCBs in fish in Spring City and Kingston, Tennessee.  In addition, Dr. Hryhorczuk held a physician and health professional education session for health care providers near the Watts Bar Reservoir during medial staff grand rounds at the Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. ATSDR also developed an instructional brochure for the public on the TDEC fish consumption advisories for the Watts Bar Reservoir.
  • Cyanide
    To assist community health care providers with responding to health concerns expressed by employees working at the East Tennessee Technology Park, ATSDR had Lorne Garrettson, MD, ABMT, Medical Director of the Georgia Poison Control Center, held a physician education session on the health impacts of possible cyanide intoxication. Dr. Garrettson conducted the session during medical staff grand rounds at the Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge, Tennessee in August 1996.     
  • Thyroid Disorders – Nodular Diseases and Cancer
    In response to community concerns about historical I-131 exposures and perceived increase in thyroid disease in the area surrounding the Oak Ridge Reservation, ATSDR provided educational programs on Thyroid Diseases and Cancer in December 2002. Jerome Hershman, MD, MS, Associate Chief, Endocrinology and Diabetes, West Los Angeles Veterans Administration Medical Center made presentations on “Thyroid Disorders – Nodular Diseases and Cancer.” Dr.  Hershman presented at an Oak Ridge Reservation Health Effects Subcommittee (ORRHES) meeting for ORRHES members and local residents and at the Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge, Tennessee for physicians and health professionals.

  • Genetic and Environmental Causes of Birth Defects and Cancer
    In response to community health concerns about birth defects and cancer, ATSDR held education sessions on birth defects and cancer in Oak Ridge and Kingston, Tennessee in April 2005. Robert Brent, MD, PhD, professor of pediatric radiology and pathology at Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and the chief of the Clinical and Environmental Teratology Laboratory at A.I. DuPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware, gave presentations on genetic and environmental causes of birth defects and cancer. During the presentations the physicians directly responded to questions and concerns from local residents about birth defects, cancer, chemicals, and radiation.
  • Epidemiology Workshops
    At the request of ORRHES members, ATSDR staff members held workshops on the science of epidemiology for the subcommittee members and local residents.

Technical Assistance

  • Review of Clinical Information on Persons Living in or near Oak Ridge, Tennessee
    At the request of an Oak Ridge physician, ATSDR evaluated clinical information in 1992 on 45 patients tested for heavy metals to determine whether exposure to metals caused  these patients' illnesses.
  • Clinical Laboratory Analysis
    A physician at the Emory University School of Public Health requested that ATSDR and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Environmental Health facilitate clinical laboratory support by the NCEH Environmental Health Laboratory for patients referred to Emory by the Oak Ridge physician in 1992 and 1993.
  • Cyanide
    In responding to an employee concerning possible cyanide exposures at the K 25 facility, ATSDR referred the employee to the Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch of NIOSH in February 1996 for a workplace evaluation. NIOSH's health hazard evaluation concluded that K 25 employees were not exposed to cyanide compounds in the workplace.
  • State of Tennessee
    ATSDR provided technical assistance to the Tennessee Department of Public Health on the Oak Ridge Health Studies and participated in Oak Ridge Health Agreement Steering Panel meetings and various other meetings related to the Oak Ridge Reservation.

In addition to conducting health consultations and public health assessments, ATSDR used other systematic public health approaches such as technical consultation, and community and physician education to address and evaluate public health issues related to chemical and radioactive substances released from the Oak Ridge Reservation.

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