ATSDR’s mission is to serve the public by using the best science, taking responsive public health actions, and providing trusted health information to prevent harmful exposures and disease related exposures to toxic substances.
Since the discovery of contamination in New York State’s Love Canal first brought the problem of hazardous wastes to national attention in the 1970s, thousands of hazardous sites have been identified around the country. Formally organized in 1985, ATSDR was created by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), more commonly known as the Superfund law. The Superfund program is responsible for finding and cleaning up the most dangerous hazardous waste sites in the country.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) currently targets more than 1,200 National Priorities List (NPL) sites for cleanup. ATSDR is the lead federal public health agency responsible for determining human health effects associated with toxic exposures, preventing continued exposures, and mitigating associated human health risks at these NPL sites and others throughout the country.