The mission of the Environmental and Occupational Health Assessment Program (EOHA) is to evaluate and quantify health risks posed by environmental and occupational exposures to chemicals and radiation. We provide technical assistance to various government agencies in Connecticut about environmental health risks. We also answer questions from the general public and prepare educational materials for a wide variety of audiences.
EOHA Program Activities and Responsibilities:
Perform assessments of the risks to human health posed by particular chemicals and other hazardous exposures in the outdoor and indoor environments, and the workplace.
Maintain surveillance systems to collect, analyze, and disseminate relevant information regarding occupational and environmental hazards or health conditions that may be caused by workplace exposures and/or environmental contamination.
Develop recommendations for reducing potentially harmful exposures.
Develop health education materials and programs to help people understand and avoid/reduce environmental and occupational health risks.
EOHA generally does not enforce regulations, but we inform risk managers within the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) and DPH who use our information to regulate environmental problems.
EOHA Individual Unit Activities and Responsibilities:
- Conduct “health assessments” of communities surrounding hazardous waste sites and other sources. These are conducted by our Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Program.
- Evaluate exposed populations or communities who report excess rates of suspect environmentally-related diseases.
- Provide information and educational programs to health care professionals about the risks of exposure to particular pollutants such as mercury from spills, arsenic in drinking water, and ozone in outdoor air.
- Provide advice to consumers about eating fish that are contaminated with mercury and other chemicals
The OH Unit conducts surveillance and intervention activities for illnesses and injuries that may be caused by workplace (occupational) exposures. This includes collecting information about work-related illness and injury cases from reports submitted by physicians across the state, analyzing that data to identify unusual patterns or important sentinel cases, and partnering with other agencies to perform outreach and intervention activities when occupational health hazards are identified. Other OH Unit activities include adult lead poisoning surveillance, young worker education, and surveillance for carbon monoxide and mercury poisoning.
Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) Unit:
The EPHT Unit provides for the ongoing collection, integration, analysis, and interpretation of data about environmental hazards, exposure to environmental hazards, and human health effects potentially related to exposure to environmental hazards. Focus areas include asthma, ozone, particulates, and carbon monoxide poisoning. Information gathered from this tracking system will be used to set future policy, educate the public, and conduct research.
Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) Unit:
The IEQ Unit provides consultation, technical assistance, education, and training regarding environmental conditions in homes, schools and workplaces that can lead to poor IEQ and impact health. Activities include the Tools for Schools Program and specialized education and training programs about a variety of indoor environmental quality topics including mold and moisture, and the health-home connection.
The Toxicology unit evaluates the potential risk of chemicals in the environment and helps plan interventions to reduce risk when needed. The unit provides the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) with risk-based standards for regulation of air, water and soil. The unit also evaluates potential chemical exposures during incidents and coordinates preparedness and clean-up measures with DEP/DPH risk managers. The unit conducts vulnerability analysis of facilities that may be at risk for acts of terrorism or accidental toxic releases as part of chemical preparedness. The unit also responds to emergency situations such as chemical spills and fires.
Contact the EOHA Program at: 860-509-7740