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Notice of Intent To Seek Approval To Renew an Information Collection

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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National Science Foundation.


Notice and request for comments.


The National Science Foundation (NSF) is announcing plans to request clearance of this collection. In accordance with the requirement of section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-13), we are providing opportunity for public comment on this action. After obtaining and considering public comment, NSF will prepare the submission requesting that OMB approve clearance of this collection for no longer than 3 years.


Written comments on this notice must be received by April 5, 2004, to be assured of consideration. Comments received after that date will be considered to the extent practicable.

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Contact Suzanne H. Plimpton, Reports Clearance Officer, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 295, Arlington, Virginia 22230; telephone (703) 292-7556; or send e-mail to You also may obtain a copy of the data collection instrument and instructions from Ms. Plimpton.

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Title of Collection: Medical Clearance Process for Deployment to Antarctica.

OMB Number: 3145-0177.

Expiration Date of Approval: May 31, 2004.Start Printed Page 5373

Type of Request: Intent to seek approval to renew an information collection for three years.


A. Proposed Project

All individuals who anticipate deploying to Antarctica and to certain regions of the Arctic under auspices of the United States Antarctica Program are required to take and pass a rigorous physical examination prior to deploying. The physical examination includes a medical history, medical examination, a dental examination and for those persons planning to winter over in Antarctica a psychological examination is also required. The requirement for this determination of physical status is found in 42 U.S.C. 1870 (Authority) and 62 FR 31522, June 10, 1997 (Source), unless otherwise noted. This part sets forth the procedures for medical screening to determine whether candidates for participation in the United States Antarctic [(Page 216)] Program (USAP) are physically qualified and psychologically adapted for assignment or travel to Antarctica. Medical screening examinations are necessary to determine the presence of any physical or psychological conditions that would threaten the health or safety of the candidate or other USAP participants or that could not be effectively treated by the limited medical care capabilities in Antarctica.

Presidential Memorandum No. 6646 (February 5, 1982) (available from the National Science Foundation, Office of Polar Programs, room 755, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22230) sets forth the National Science Foundation's overall management responsibilities for the entire United States national program in Antarctica.

B. Use of the Information

1. Form NSF-1420, National Science Foundation

  • Polar Physical Examination

(Antarctica/Arctic/Official Visitors) Medical History, will be used by the individual to record the individual's family and personal medical histories. It is a five-page form that includes the individual's and the individual's emergency point-of-contact's name, address, and telephone numbers. It contains the individual's email address, employment affiliation and dates and locations of current and previous polar deployments. It also includes a signed certification of the accuracy of the information and understandings of refusal to provide the information or providing false information. The agency's contractor's reviewing physician and medical staff complete the sections of the form that indicated when the documents were received and whether or not the person qualified for polar deployment, in which season qualified to deploy and where disqualified the reasons.

2. Form NSF-1421, Polar Physical Examination

  • Antarctica/Arctic, will be used by the individual's physician to document specific medical examination results and the overall status of the individual's health. It is a two-page form which also provides for the signatures of both the patient and the examining physician, as well as contact information about the examining physician. Finally, it contains the name, address and telephone number of the agency's contractor that collects and retains the information.

3. Form NSF-1422, National Science Foundation Polar Physical Examination

(Antarctica/Arctic/Official Visitors) Medical History Interval Screening, will only be used by individuals who are under the age of 40 and who successfully took and passed a polar examination the previous season or not more than 24 months prior to current deployment date. It allows the otherwise healthy individual to update his or her medical data without having to take a physical examination every year as opposed to those over 40 years of age who must be examined annually.

4. Form NSF-1423, Polar Dental Examination-Antarctica/Arctic/Official Visitors, will be used by the examining dentist to document the status of the individual's teeth and to document when the individual was examined. It will also be used by the contractor's reviewing dentist to document whether or not the individual is dentally cleared to deploy to the polar regions.

5. Medical Waivers: Any individual who is determined to be not physically qualified for polar deployment may request an administrative waiver of the medical screening criteria. This information includes signing a Request for Waiver that is notarized or otherwise legally acceptable in accordance with penalty of perjury statutes, obtaining an Employer Statement of Support. Individuals on a case-by-case basis may also be required to submit additional medical documentation and a letter from the individual's physician(s) regarding the individual's medical suitability for Antarctic deployment.

6. Other information requested: In addition to the numbered forms and other information mentioned above, the USAP medical screening package includes the following:

—Medical Risks for NSF-Sponsored Personnel Traveling to Antarctica—multi-copy form

—the NSF Privacy Notice

—the NSF Medical Screening for Blood-borne Pathogens/Consent for HIV Testing—(multi-copy)

—the NSF Authorization for Treatment of Field-Team Member/Participant Under the Age of 18 Years—(multi-copy). This should only be sent to the individuals who are under 18 years of age.

—the Dear Doctor and Dear Dentist letters, which provide specific laboratory and x-ray requirements, as well as other instructions.

7. There are two other, non-medical forms included in the mailing:

—the Personal Information Form-NSF Form Number 1424 includes a Privacy Act Notice. This form is used to collect information on current address and contact numbers, date and place of birth, nationality, citizenship, social security number, passport number, emergency point of contact information, travel dates, clothing sizes so that we may properly outfit those individuals who deploy, work-site information and prior deployment history.

—the Participant Notification—Important Notice for Participants in the United States Antarctic Program. This form provides information on the laws, of the nations through which program participants must transmit in route to Antarctica, regarding the transport, possession and use of illegal substances and the possibility of criminal prosecution if caught, tried and convicted.

Estimate of Burden: Public reporting burden for this collection of information varies according to the overall health of the individual, the amount of research required to complete the forms, the time it takes to make an appointment, take the examination and schedule and complete any follow-up medical, dental or psychological requirements and the completeness of the forms submitted. The estimated time is up to six weeks from the time the individual receives the forms until he or she is notified by the contractor of their final clearance status. An additional period of up to eight weeks may be required for the individual who was disqualified to be notified of the disqualification, to request and receive the waiver packet, to obtain employer support and complete the waiver request, to do any follow-up testing, to return the waiver request to the contractor plus any follow-up information, for the contractor to get the completed packet to the National Science Foundation, for Start Printed Page 5374the NSF to make and promulgate a decision.

Respondents: All individuals deploying to the Antarctic and certain Arctic areas under the auspices of the United States Antarctic Program must complete these forms. There are approximately 3,000 submissions per year, with a small percentage (c.3%) under the age of 40 who provide annual submissions but with less information.

Estimated Number of Responses Per Form: Responses range from 2 to approximately 238 responses.

Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 28,728 hours.

Frequency of Responses: Individuals must complete the forms annually to be current within 12 months of their anticipated deployment dates. Depending on individual medical status some persons may require additional laboratory results to be current within two to six weeks of anticipated deployment.

Comments: Comments are invited on (a) whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the Agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

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Dated: January 29, 2004.

Suzanne H. Plimpton,

Reports Clearance Officer, National Science Foundation.

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[FR Doc. 04-2213 Filed 2-3-04; 8:45 am]