Brownfields and Public Health Strategy

Career/Pro ( )
Thu, 23 Oct 1997 12:44:40 -0700 (PDT)

From: Career/Pro <>
Subject: Brownfields and Public Health Strategy

Dear Brownfields Newsgroup Participants

The following are some excerpts from the "Brownfields and Public Health

Strategy" working draft -September 1997 from the Department of
Health and Human Services (HHS)/Environmental Health Policy Committee.

A full draft version can be obtained by contacting.NIEHS

Jerry Poje,
LaSonya Hall,

Please feel free to post comments to the newsgroup.

Tony Chenhansa

The following has been excerpted from the Introduction
Across America's urban landscape, industrial and commercial facilities
lie abandoned, idled, or underused, because their redevelopment is
complicated by real and perceived environmental contamination.These
brownfields exist in stark contrast to greenfields--undeveloped,
pristine lands more highly sought for business development in the
suburban outskirts of city lines. The communities residing nearby
include a large proportion of our nation's medically under-served and
economically-disadvantaged citizens, a primary clientele for the
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) programs, other federal
agencies, and state and local public health practitioners.

Undeveloped brownfields plague low-income, ethnic minority, or otherwise
marginalized communities because they feed the cycle of urban decay,
residential segregation, community disinvestment, and adverse land use
decisions. Over the past four years, public and private agencies have
begun to ameliorate the health, social and economic impact of
brownfields. Various efforts, such as environmental remediation
training, public dialogues on brownfield problems and opportunities, and
model redevelopment projects, have culminated in the promulgation of the
Brownfields National Partnership Action Agenda
( ...

... The HHS and other federal agencies share the Agenda's commitment to
foster interagency coordination towards the development of methods to
prevent, assess, safely clean up, and create healthy and sustainable
reuse of brownfields. The mission of HHS is to protect the health and
safety of all Americans and provide essential human services,
focusing especially on those that need assistance.

HHS specifies ten essential services provided by its health-related
agencies and the larger public health community that must be applied to
each brownfields project to assure public health protection:

1. Monitoring health status to identify community health problems
and safety hazards;

2. Diagnosing and investigating health hazards, problems, and
safety in the community;

3. Informing, educating, and empowering people about health and
safety issues;

4. Mobilizing community partnerships and action to identify and solve
health and safety problems;

5. Assuring a competent public health and personal health care

6. Evaluating effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of personal and

population-based health services;

7. Researching for new insights and innovative solutions to health
and safety problems;

8. Developing policies and plans that support individual and community
health efforts and ensure health safety;

9. Enforcing laws and regulations that protect health and ensure

10. Linking people to needed personal health services and assuring the
provision of health care when otherwise unavailable.

These services delineate the needed role of HHS and others in the
brownfield redevelopment effort, emphasizing the importance of public
health issues and ultimate need for a community-based public health
presence in all brownfield projects. The objectives and methods
addressed in this policy paper are based on current HHS activities and
established programs.