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COMMENTARY: Improving Community Health: Brownfields and Health Monitoring

  • Laurel Berman (a1), Deborah Orr (a2) and Tina Forrester (a3)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 21 October 2009

This commentary highlights efforts to promote health monitoring in brownfields communities. Both the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) recognize how public health may be improved by including a holistic approach to redevelopment that includes community health monitoring activities. Health monitoring goes beyond testing blood samples to address potentially toxic exposures and can be implemented to assess overall community health status throughout the course of community revitalization efforts. Examples of health monitoring activities include asthma or blood lead level screening, reviewing health statistics, environmental testing, and evaluation of community-specific health concerns. While health monitoring is encouraged as an activity within US EPA Brownfields funding, the number of communities that implement health monitoring programs is low. To encourage more communities to implement health monitoring activities, with or without Brownfields funding, this paper describes several projects by health agencies and communities to represent best practice examples. To facilitate more community health monitoring projects, the ATSDR has created and continues to create tools and resources to assist brownfield and land-reuse communities. In addition, the ATSDR and the US EPA are working together to build internal as well as community capacity to monitor community health through redevelopment activities.

Environmental Practice 11:190–195 (2009)

Corresponding author
Address correspondence to: Laurel Berman, ATSDRRegion 5 Office, 77 West Jackson Blvd., Ste. 413, ATSD-4J, Chicago, Illinois 60604, (phone) 312-886-0840; (fax) 312-886-6066, (email)
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P.V. McAvoy , M.B. Driscoll , and B.J. Gramling . 2004. Integrating the Environment, the Economy, and Community Health: A Community Health Center's Initiative to Link Health Benefits to Smart Growth. American Journal of Public Health 94(2):525527.

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Environmental Practice
  • ISSN: 1466-0466
  • EISSN: 1466-0474
  • URL: /core/journals/environmental-practice
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