The Site Assessment Program works to prevent and reduce exposure to harmful chemicals in the air, soil, or water. Exposure means contact with a chemical by swallowing, breathing, or touching it. We work closely with partners including local, state, federal, and tribal agencies. With their help, we identify, evaluate, and prevent harmful exposures at sites across the state.
The program is supported through a cooperative agreement between the DOH Office of Environmental Public Health Sciences and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). This work was funded by ATSDR from the early 1990's to 2017, and renewed funding in 2020.
Since the early 1990's, the Site Assessment Program has assessed and responded to issues involving human exposure to harmful chemicals in the environment. We have:
- Completed health assessments on more than 150 sites.
- Developed expertise in risk communication, community engagement, and partnership building to improve public health.
- Authored over 400 reports including public health assessments, health consultations, and exposure investigations. See past health consultations. Learn more about different types of assessment activities below.
Public Health Assessments - Examines harmful chemicals, health outcomes, and community concerns at a site. The goal is to find out if exposure to those chemicals could be harmful. This assessment also lists actions that need to be taken to protect public health.
Health Consultations - Response to a specific health question or request for information about a potential environmental health issue at a site. We review available data or collect new data to inform our advice. A health consultation is focused on a specific exposure concern, like lead in drinking water or arsenic in soil. They are more limited than public health assessments, which review all ways that people might be exposed to any harmful chemical at the site.
Exposure Investigations - Helps us find out if people are being exposed to harmful chemicals at a site. We also find out if being exposed to these substances is harming peoples' health, and if we can stop or reduce that exposure. To do this, we collect and analyze information like environmental samples or biomedical test results.
The Site Assessment Program is committed to serving, protecting, and promoting health and equity in Washington. We support communities affected by unsafe sites through community engagement, education, and site evaluation. As part of this, the program works to:
- Identify ways people might be exposed to harmful chemicals in the environment.
- Reduce or eliminate the health risks and health effects from exposure to harmful chemicals in the environment.
- Educate affected communities and local health professionals about site contamination and potential health effects.
- Prevent children's exposures through our Washington Choose Safe Places program.
- Develop plans to prevent harmful exposures and work with communities to put these plans in action.
Phone: 360-236-3385 or 1-877-485-7316 (toll-free)
Email: Office Email