New research published in Environmental Health Perspectives (http://www.ehponline.org/docs/2007/9817/abstract.html) concludes that the NIEHS Portal is poised to serve as a national resource to track environmental hazards following natural and man-made disasters, focus medical and environmental response and recovery resources in areas of greatest need and function as a testbed for technologies that will help advance environmental health sciences research into the modern scientific and computing era.
As the environmental health research institute of the National Institutes of Health, the NIEHS is uniquely positioned to provide information on potential sources of environmental contaminants and the human health impacts of exposures to contaminants. This site is targeted to provide useful and readily accessible environmental health information to public health, environmental health, and public safety workers and volunteers deployed to impacted communities.
We will continually update this site as we obtain and process additional information to meet challenges that arise as recovery proceeds in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.
As Katrina made landfall, teams of NIEHS staff mobilized various relief efforts. Within the Division of Extramural Research and Training, a group of Superfund Basic Research Program (SBRP) grantees pooled intellectual resources to create an internet Portal that couples the power of Geographic Information System (GIS) (http://balata.ucsd.edu:8080/gridsphere/gridsphere) and Grid technologies. The NIEHS Environmental Health Sciences Data Resource Portal provides common access and the ability to share information, software, and computer processes across organizational boundaries within a user-friendly, highly customizable environment.
The NIEHS Portal aims to provide scientists and decision makers with the data, information, and tools they need to: 1) monitor and evaluate human and environmental health impacts in the Gulf Coast Region; 2) assess and reduce human exposures to contaminants; and 3) develop science-based remediation, rebuilding, and repopulation strategies.
The NIEHS Portal allows users to access demographic, public health, infrastructure, and environmental data, all of which are geo-referenced. The spatial datasets incorporated into the Portal include basic infrastructure data such as roads and electric power plants, potential contaminant release sources including Superfund and Toxic Release Inventory sites, hurricane flooding data, Census data, physiographic data, and remote sensing imagery both pre- and post- Katrina.