Environmental- and injury-related epidemic-assistance investigations, 1946-2005

Am J Epidemiol. 2011 Dec 1;174(11 Suppl):S65-79. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwr313.


This paper summarizes environmental investigations (n = 458) conducted during the first 60 years of the epidemic-assistance investigation program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These investigations were grouped into 10 categories: toxic chemicals (n = 102), indoor air quality and outdoor air toxics (n = 21), new or rare epidemic diseases and unexplained syndromes (n = 29), natural disasters (n = 81), terrorism and unintentional human-made disasters (n = 9), substance use and abuse (n = 13), environmental aspects of infectious disease (n = 132), those affecting neonates and infants (n = 11), violence and injuries (n = 51), and miscellaneous (n = 9). Among the most important or prominent were studies of lead and arsenic toxicity at smelters, mercury in paint and beauty creams, dioxin in waste oil in Missouri, polychlorinated biphenyls and multiple other toxic chemicals, global pesticide poisoning outbreaks, hepatic angiosarcoma among vinyl chloride workers, toxic oil syndrome in Spain, eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome from contaminated L-tryptophan, diethylene glycol poisoning in Haiti, aflatoxicosis in Kenya, Gulf War illness among veterans, impact and needs assessments during natural disasters (e.g., Hurricane Katrina (2005) and the Mount St. Helens volcano eruptions (1980)), risk factors for heat-related mortality, domestic and international terrorist attacks, Parkinsonism related to 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine in California, and unintentional injury- and violence-related events.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / history*
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. / history*
  • Disasters / history*
  • Environmental Pollution / history*
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation / history
  • Poisoning / history
  • Rare Diseases / history
  • United States / epidemiology