10 Steps to making an ATSDR ToxProfile

To help keep people healthy and safe, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR):

  • Gathers as much information as possible about chemicals that might be dangerous
  • Publishes this information as Toxicological Profiles, or ToxProfilesTM
Question Mark

What are ToxProfiles?

  • ToxProfiles give information on how hazardous (poisonous) substances may affect health.
  • Each ToxProfile includes a Public Health Statement, a summary chapter that outlines the ToxProfile’s information on hazardous substances and its potential health effects. A shorter, more reader-friendly version of the profile, known as a ToxFAQs, is also available.
  • Many toxicologists (scientists who study harmful chemicals) rely on ToxProfiles to do their work.
Number one

Prioritize toxic substances.

We develop the Substance Priority List (SPL) which lists chemicals found at hazardous waste sites on the National Priorities List (NPL).

  • Hazardous waste sites are properties where toxic (harmful) substances have been left behind.
  • The NPL is a list of important hazardous waste sites that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is cleaning up.

The substances on the SPL are prioritized based on:

  • How toxic they are
  • How often they have been found at NPL sites
  • How likely people have been exposed
Number two

Select ToxProfiles.

We select ToxProfiles based on:

  • The SPL
  • New scientific research
  • If individuals, organizations, or agencies have requested a ToxProfile
Anyone can suggest a ToxProfile.

Every year, we request nominations for profiles. Members of the public, government agencies, or private organizations can tell us which chemicals they are worried about.

Number three

Conduct a comprehensive literature review.

We gather and review all the published scientific research available to form a complete picture of each substance. Then, we create a draft ToxProfile.

Number four

Develop Health Guidance Values (HGVs).

Our scientists review the draft ToxProfile and decide on Minimal Risk Levels (MRLs) for that substance.

  • MRLs estimate how much of a certain kind of exposure (contact) to a hazardous substance will likely not make people sick (like by breathing toxic fumes or drinking contaminated water).
  • MRLs can help public health professionals know who’s at risk of getting sick in a certain location.
Number five

Perform comprehensive internal and external review of the profile.

  • Other government agencies (inter-agency review)
  • Experts within CDC/ATSDR
Number six

Conduct independent peer review.

  • Non-government independent experts review the profile.
  • Profiles are revised (as needed) based on peer review comments.
  • Peer review comments are posted on the web.
Number seven

We post a draft of theTo xProfile and invite comment on it at www.regulations.govexternal icon

  • The public comment period is 90 days.
  • We announce the release of the draft for public comment profile via Federal Register announcement and on our website.
Number eight

Review and respond to public comments.

  • We summarize all comments and concerns received during the public comment period and revise the profile as needed.
  • Comments are available for viewing on regulations.govexternal icon.
  • Our response to public comments is available from the public docket.
Number nine

Complete additional intra-agency review, peer review, and clearance.

Number Ten

After final review and agency clearance, we post the final ToxProfile online.

Did you know?
  • Over the past 20 years, ATSDR has developed more than 300 ToxProfiles.
  • ToxProfiles are recognized nationally and internationally as credible sources of information for public health professionals.
  • We review high-priority ToxProfiles each year, as well as new substances, and choose several to update or create.
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Page last reviewed: November 12, 2019