Reporting Concerns:
How do I report my concern with a chemical exposure?

SAC can respond to health related questions about environmental exposures from the public. Environmental health scientists in SAC can provide guidance about how to evaluate exposures to chemicals and help find resources for controlling and mitigating exposures.

SAC is typically asked for an evaluation or to be involved in investigating an environmental issue by a governmental agency which has regulatory authority.  These agencies include the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry (ATSDR), the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and other local governmental offices. 

SAC also responds to requests from doctors and other health care workers.


The role of MDH in sites where there are contaminant releases is primarily advisory, not regulatory.

Because SAC does not have the ability to regulate in issues related to the environment, SAC cannot take direct action to stop an exposure.  If there is an immediate health threat, MDH will issue a public health advisory. MDH notifies people of the hazard and works in cooperation with others to resolve the problem.

For complaints or enforcement related to environmental contaminations, please contact the appropriate agency.  These include: the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and local governmental offices.

ATSDR Petition Process:

The SAC unit at MDH is funded in part by and receives technical assistance from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Anyone may request or "petition" that ATSDR to do a health consultation or conduct a public health assessment of a site. For more information about how to petition ATSDR to conduct a public health assessment, call ATSDR's toll-free information line,1-888-42-ATSDR (1-888-422-8737), or send an e-mail request to ATSDRIC@cdc.gov

ATSDR Petition Process:

Written requests can be sent to ATSDR. In the written request for assistance, be sure to include the following information:

  • your name, address and phone number
  • name of the group you represent, if any
  • the name, location and description of the facility or chemical release
  • as much information that you know about how you or others contacted the chemical
  • request for MDH or ATSDR to perform a public heath assessment activity

See the Example Document Letter (Microsoft Word, 25 KB/1 page) or Example Fill-in Letter (Microsoft Word, 25 KB/1 page)

When ATSDR receives a petition, a team of environmental scientists, physicians, toxicologists, and other staff members is formed to gather and evaluate the available information about the site. The team decides whether ATSDR will be able to perform a public health assessment activity to address your concern. All petition requests are acknowledge in writing and will include the basis of the decision.

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Updated Monday, October 27, 2014 at 03:52PM