The Atomic Energy Act of 1957 — Section 8(a) requires research and development activities relating to the protection of health during research and production activities. The requirement is fulfilled by conducting and supporting health studies and other research activities to determine if DOE workers and people living in communities near DOE sites are adversely affected by exposures to hazardous materials from DOE operations; by enabling appropriate responses to disease outbreaks and radiation accidents; and to address critical research needs for important occupational exposures. The ultimate use of the information is to protect and promote the health of DOE workers, their families and residents of neighboring communities and to share the information and data with the public.
- Conduct priority epidemiologic investigations to assess the human health implications of exposures to hazardous materials for workers within the DOE complex and in communities that host facilities.
- Coordinate with and support epidemiologic studies and other public health activities by various agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services to assess the health implications of exposures to hazardous materials found in the DOE workplace.
- Determine the need for epidemiologic studies or public health activities based on reviews of analytic and descriptive epidemiologic studies, other public health activities, and information from site profiles.
- Analyze historical trends in worker illness and injury surveillance data for workers at participating sites across the DOE complex.
- Develop, maintain, and support unique registries of DOE workers to understand the development and progression of health outcomes associated with exposures to specific hazardous materials of particular interest to DOE. These are the Beryllium Associated Worker Registry and the U.S. Uranium and Transuranium Registries. Oversee the research use of archived blood and tissues from participants in the Department's medical screening initiatives for Beryllium sensitization and disease.
- Communicate health effects information and the results of studies to all interested stakeholders within and outside DOE.
- Provide expert guidance to the DOE Biological Events Monitoring Team concerning communicable disease outbreaks and spread through the DOE complex, including influenza, and represent DOE on Federal work groups for National preparedness and response to Weapons of Mass Destruction.
- Enhance the DOE capacity to protect the health of workers involved in radiation accidents by supporting the Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site that provides training in radiation medicine and medical consultation to site physicians and participation in the National response to radiation accidents.
- Make research data available to the public through the Comprehensive Epidemiology Data Resource; a repository for data used in epidemiologic studies of DOE and other workers.