The possibility of using exposure databases in epidemiology was considered. The nature of existing exposure databases was described. Goals were presented for improving exposure information systems as applied to surveillance systems, ecologic studies, and analytic cohort and case/control studies. Information needs were discussed, including: expansion of exposure databases from having only regulatory purposes to also accommodating public health purposes; expansion of databases to include data collected at local, state, and national levels; standardization of procedures for sample collection, analysis, and data collection; computerization of all data; encouragement of state participation; initialization of active communication among various disciplines, agencies, and political groups; modification of data collection; and prioritization of databases. The authors conclude that there is a real need for exposure databases to use in the identification of human risks and provide surveillance for protection of human health; efforts must be made to modify existing databases so as to accommodate epidemiological and public health needs.