|Fact Sheet (148 KB/3 pages)||HSEES Brochure|
In 1990, ATSDR established the Hazardous Substances Emergency Events Surveillance (HSEES) system to collect and analyze information about 1) sudden uncontrolled or illegal releases of hazardous substances that require cleanup or neutralization according to federal, state, or local law and 2) threatened releases that result in public health action, such as evacuation. The HSEES system aims to reduce injury and death among first responders, employees, and the general public that result from releases of hazardous substances. It is the only federal database designed specifically to address the public health effects from releases of hazardous substances.
What a hazardous substance event is
A HSEES event is any release or threatened release of at least one hazardous substance (excluding releases involving only petroleum products). A substance is considered hazardous if it might reasonably be expected to cause adverse health effects to humans. Events are included in the system, if the amount released, or threatened to be released, is required to be cleaned up according to federal, state, or local law. In addition, for threatened releases to be included in HSEES, they must result in an action to protect public health, such as evacuation.
Who provides information to the HSEES system
Fifteen state health departments participate in HSEES through cooperative agreements with ATSDR. These states are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin. Participating states provide information about the release, such as time and place, circumstances, substances involved, persons affected, and public health action taken.
What HSEES system information has shown
How HSEES system data are used
States use information from the HSEES system to develop strategies for reducing injuries and death. Appropriate prevention outreach activities can provide industry, responders, and the general public with knowledge to prevent chemical releases and to reduce injuries and death when such releases occur. Researchers and other government agencies request HSEES data for their prevention activities.
For additional information
Maureen Orr, MS, Epidemiologist