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ATSDR's Toxic Substances Web Portal

Man using computerATSDR’s Toxic Substances Web Portal makes it easy for researchers and citizens to find information about toxic chemicals and related health effects. Learn how toxic substances can affect health and how to prevent exposure.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s (ATSDR) Toxic Substances Web Portal provides comprehensive access to the best science, the latest research, and important information about how toxic substances can affect health.

Here’s an example of how ATSDR’s Toxic Substances Web Portal can help community members and health care providers access important health information:

When a chemical spill causes possible contamination of a rural area’s water supply with high levels of arsenic, community members living in the area are understandably concerned about exposures to hazardous chemicals in their drinking water. Local residents visit the Toxic Substances Web Portal and find an easy-to-read fact sheet that provides important information about health effects and chemical exposures.

Meanwhile, anticipating that their patients may want more information about arsenic exposure, the community’s health care providers use the Web Portal for information about potential health effects from chemical exposures. They find that there are different forms of arsenic with different toxicities. The more toxic forms of arsenic can affect multiple organ systems depending on how much reaches the target organs. Health effects can range from skin disorders to an increased risk of developing cancer or even death. The local health care providers are now better informed about arsenic exposure and can serve their patients more effectively.

Photo: A healthcare professional at a computer

Improved Access

ATSDR makes it easy to find the information you want to know about toxic substances and related health effects and exposure risks.

The Web Portal provides four easy ways to search for information:

  1. Search by alphabet: Look for documents on specific substances by searching the A-Z listing.
  2. Search by key terms: Make full or partial searches using key words like substance name, synonym, trade name or registry number related to the chemical.
  3. Search by organ system: This gives users an overview of that system and list substances that might cause harm.
  4. Search by audience:
    • Community Members can discover information about a chemical of concern and health effects they might experience as a result of exposure.
    • Toxicological and Public Health Professionals can use the Web Portal as a source of information about chemical toxicity and associated health risk levels of the chemicals.
    • Emergency Responders can locate publications that help first responders, emergency department physicians and other professionals who manage sudden chemical exposure incidents.
    • Health Care Providers can locate free evidence-based medical education courses that address clinical health effects of hazardous substances.

Searches are also available for related ATSDR health studies and assessments.

Some of the most viewed toxic substances on the portal are

  • Ammonia
  • Arsenic
  • Asbestos
  • Benzene
  • Cadmium
  • DDT, DDE, and DDD
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)

The portal also has a variety of documents available for each substance:

  • Toxicological Profiles offer a detailed synthesis of the peer reviewed scientific literature on the toxicological and adverse health effects of specific hazardous substances.
  • ToxFAQs are fact sheets written in plain language that answer the most frequently asked questions about a toxic substance and associated health effects.
  • Public Health Statements provide a plain language summary overview of each complete Toxicological Profile on chemicals found at hazardous waste sites, including the effects of exposure on human health.
  • Case Studies in Environmental Medicine are self-instructional, continuing-education primers designed to increase primary care providers’ knowledge of hazardous substances and aid in the evaluation of patients potentially exposed to hazardous substances.

Searchable topics include

  • Production, Import, Use, and Disposal
  • Potential for Human Exposure
  • Regulations and Advisories
  • Chemicals classified by structure, uses, physical properties, radiological properties and more

Click here to visit ATSDR's Toxic Substance Web Portal.

  • Page last reviewed: February 24, 2014
  • Page last updated: February 24, 2014
  • Content source:
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