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The ATSDR is mandated by congress to perform certain actions relating to the public health concerns of hazardous substances in the environment. The agency is obligated to conduct public health assessments of waste sites, provide health consultations concerning specific hazardous substances, update health surveillance and registries, provide emergency response to releases of hazardous substances, conduct research in support of public health assessments, information development and dissemination.


Congress established the ATSDR in 1980 under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) to implement the health related sections of laws that protect the public from hazardous wastes and environmental spills (#ATSDR). Later, in 1984, Congress expanded the ATSDR's role in cleaning up hazardous waste sites when they authorized the agency to conduct public health assessments which was again broadened under 1986 Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act.


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