238085 Using geographic information systems to identify priorities and vulnerabilities from states that participate in the National Toxic Substance Incidents Program

Monday, October 31, 2011

Ayana R. Anderson, MPH , Division of Health Studies, ATSDR, Atlanta, GA
Maureen Orr, MS , Division of Health Studies, ATSDR, Atlanta, GA
Meghan Balough, MPH , Environmental Epidemiology Program, Utah Department of Health, Salt Lake City, UT
Melissa Kranz, MPH , Environmental Epidemiology, Tennessee Department of Health, Nashville, TN
Willliam Clay Trachtman, MS , Center for Environmental Health, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospital, Baton Rouge, LA
Sherrie L. Strain, MPH , Bureau of Toxic Substance Assessment, New York State Department of Health, Troy, NY
Thousands of hazardous chemicals releases occur every year resulting in adverse public health consequences such as injuries, deaths, and evacuations. To protect people from harm caused by chemical releases, the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry established the National Toxic Substance Incidents Program (NTSIP). NTSIP is a state based surveillance system that collects and combines data from different resources about chemical releases to help reduce the morbidity and mortality from such releases. One method NTSIP uses to identify chemical releases and prioritize vulnerabilities in industry, transportation, and communities is geographic information systems (GIS). This presentation will highlight the work of four NTSIP states (Louisiana, New York, Tennessee, and Utah) that use GIS to identify locations of toxic substances and associated vulnerabilities. Louisiana mapped population demographics surrounding several wastewater treatment facilities. New York mapped incidents involving swimming pool chemical and the manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of these substances. Tennessee used a vulnerability index to identify vulnerable communities. Utah mapped events in relation to population demographics for Salt Lake County, which had the most chemical releases in the state. In Louisiana, some wastewater facilities are already in the process of shutting down because of potential danger to surrounding populations. New York's maps identify the sources and distribution of pool chemicals and the areas with the highest density of private pools for targeted education and outreach. Tennessee's maps show that the majority of toxic chemical incidents occurred in areas of mid-range to high levels of vulnerability. Utah's map demonstrates that chemical incidents occurred more often near frequently traveled roads and rail lines. Using GIS to locate toxic substances in relation to infrastructure and population density helps in developing plans to prevent future releases and resultant health effects.

Learning Areas:
Environmental health sciences
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss how four NTSIP states use GIS to map chemicals, vulnerabilities, and priorities within populations. 2. Identify location of toxic substances throughout communities and populations potentially at risk. 3. Describe how GIS uses population demographics and social vulnerability indices to map chemicals and vulnerable populations.

Keywords: Environmental Exposures, Geographic Information Systems

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a Public Health Analyst for the Division of Health Studies in the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). I work with ATSDR's acute toxic substance surveillance system.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.