Resources for Health Care Providers

Health Care Providers

Patients in your community may come to you to report symptoms that occur when they are exposed to environmental odors. For example, they may have headaches, nausea, palpitations, or dizziness when the air “smells bad.” Parents may notice their children’s asthma gets worse on days with increased environmental odors, and pregnant women may ask you if breathing odorous chemicals will affect the wellbeing of their unborn children.

Our website will help you understand and respond to patient concerns about environmental odors. Additionally, you can have access to an ATSDR physician to discuss your issues: call 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) or visit


Environmental Odors and the Physiology of the Sense of Olfaction pdf icon[PDF – 2 MB]

This presentation addresses

  • environmental odors as part of an exposure history,
  • sources of environmental odors,
  • symptoms from exposure to environmental odors, and
  • the physiology of the sense of smell.

Clinical Approach to Environmental Exposures pdf icon[PDF – 795 KB]

This presentation outlines the importance of and methods for identifying associations between environmental exposures and disease.

Exposure History Resources

Taking an Exposure History

This self-instructional publication increases health care providers’ knowledge and understanding of taking an exposure history.

ATSDRword iconTaking an Exposure History Exposure History Form word icon[DOCX – 25 KB]

This sample exposure history form includes sections for an exposure survey, work history, and environmental history. This form is intended for use by health care providers. In order for health care providers to understand the use of the information on this form, they should take the online course listed above on “Taking an Exposure History”.

Please DO NOT send completed exposure history forms to ATSDR for review.

Other Resources

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

This resource provides answers to some of the most common questions your patients may ask.

Case Studies in Environmental Medicine

ATSDR’s Case Studies in Environmental Medicine are self-guided, continuing-education primers to increase primary care providers’ knowledge of hazardous substances and aid in the evaluation of patients potentially exposed to hazardous substances.

Medical Management Guidelines (MMGs)

ATSDR developed Medical Management Guidelines (MMGs) for Acute Chemical Exposures to aid emergency department physicians and other emergency health care professionals who manage acute exposures resulting from chemical incidents.

Page last reviewed: August 25, 2015