Letter from Our ATSDR Director and Associate Director


The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is pleased to announce the release of its 2021 annual report. The report’s theme, Listening, Responding, & Taking Action, mirrors ATSDR’s commitment to protecting communities from harmful health effects related to exposure to natural and man-made hazardous substances.

This report features stories of collaboration to show how ATSDR listens to our communities. For instance, we worked with South Dakota Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU) partners to protect children from various environmental hazards. You’ll learn how ATSDR responds to communities with its petition process, which gives communities a voice in addressing environmental health concerns.

Image of Pat Breysse, PhD, CIH, ATSDR Director. There is a dark background behind him.

Patrick Breysse, PhD, CIH
Director of NCEH/ATSDR

Image of Chris Reh, ATSDR Associate Director. There is an American flag in the background.

Christopher M. Reh, PhD
Associate Director of ATSDR

Then, there’s our story about how the National Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Registry is expanding its reach. The report’s section on emergency response collaboration shows ATSDR taking action with stories about a unique initiative for COVID-19 testing at Alabama’s historic Talladega Superspeedway and training state partners to conduct an Assessment of Chemical Exposures (ACE) investigation in response to a chemical fire emergency in Illinois. This year, we also finalized our PFAS Toxicological Profile and fully launched our Community Engagement Playbook.

In 2021, we fully stood up the three new offices that now make up ATSDR, including a new community engagement section. We are looking to the future with emerging initiatives such as data modernization and deepening our longtime environmental justice and health equity work.

Lastly, we must thank our ATSDR staff. We are proud of our staff and appreciate their steadfastness.

We hope you take the time to learn more about our achievements in this ATSDR 2021 annual report. ATSDR is, and will always be, committed to protecting the health of the American public.


Patrick Breysse, PhD, CIH
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry  

Christopher M. Reh, PhD
Associate Director
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry