How to Find Deleted Public Health Assessments for Contaminated Sites

Via The Memory Hole.

Click here to access the missing reports from prior to October 2004

UPDATE [June 8, 2017]: There’s a second source for these documents. Most of them exist in PDF format in the Commerce Department’s National Technical Information Service website. (These PDFs were never posted to the ATSDR’s own site.) Go here, and in the left-hand column search for either “public health assessment” or “health consultation” (in quotation marks), followed by the city, state, or site that you’re interested in. Be sure to check the box that says: “Only documents with full text.” [Thanks to Susan Maret for pointing this out.]

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) – a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – conducts health assessments and consultations for contaminated Superfund sites designated as national priorities by the EPA or “when petitioned by concerned individuals.” As ATSDR explains: “The aim of these evaluations is to find out if people are being exposed to hazardous substances and, if so, whether that exposure is harmful and should be stopped or reduced.”

ATSDR posts these reports on its website here. But in January 2017 (the time Trump assumed office), it pulled down all assessments and consultations dating prior to October 1, 2004, in order to somehow “streamline” the site. Huh?

Those 1,200 deleted reports are still technically available but in a highly inconvenient way. ATSDR has made a list(which I’m mirroring here) of all reports that it deleted. When you want one, you must email them asking for a copy, which they will then mail to you on paper. So, instead of simply leaving these reports online so they’re instantly available in full, they delete them, give us a list, make us email them for what we want, then snailmail us print-outs. That’s “streamlining”?

But all those reports are still online. They were captured by the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, and you can browse them at the link at the top of the page. The link takes you to a December 2004 capture of the ATSDR site, so it almost exclusively contains the deleted pre-Oct2004 reports.

[Hat tip to Frank Vera for pointing out that the reports had been deleted.]

 

Author: Laura B.

I'm the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center's Sustainability Information Curator, which is a fancy way of saying embedded librarian. I'm also Executive Director of the Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable. When not writing for Environmental News Bits, I'm an avid reader. Visit Laura's Reads to see what I'm currently reading.

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