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Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

In 1980, Congress created the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to implement the health-related sections of laws that protect the public from hazardous wastes and environmental spills of hazardous substances. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), commonly known as the "Superfund" Act, provided the Congressional mandate to remove or clean up abandoned and inactive hazardous waste sites and to provide federal assistance in toxic emergencies.

As the lead Agency within the Public Health Service for implementing the health-related provisions of CERCLA, ATSDR is charged under the Superfund Act to assess the presence and nature of health hazards at specific Superfund sites, to help prevent or reduce further exposure and the illnesses that result from such exposures, and to expand the knowledge base about health effects from exposure to hazardous substances.

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