Fact Sheets

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APHL Fact Sheets

​APHL annually identifies federal policy measures needed to improve the operations of laboratories involved with public health testing. It presents its recommendations in fact sheets.


Environmental Health

Biomonitoring: Analysis of Human Exposure to Chemicals
Data from biomonitoring assess exposure to environmental chemicals in the US population and provide valuable information when correlated with health outcome data.

Protecting our Water from Contamination
Environmental laboratories routinely monitor air, water and soil samples to prevent unintentional (as well as intentional) environmental contamination, and to ensure that populations are not exposed to unhealthy levels of contaminants.

Success Stories From the Field - California: Tracking Chemicals in People: Supplying Better Data for Decision-Making
Laboratory-based biomonitoring is revolutionizing public health policy making by providing concrete data about human exposure to potentially harmful chemicals, such as pesticides, dioxins, flame retardants and naturally-occurring mercury and arsenic. By directly measuring the level of environmental chemicals and their breakdown products in bodily tissues and fluids, biomonitoring distinguishes true health hazards from benign events with negligible human exposure. 

Food Safety

Ensuring A Strong Surveillance System
The national laboratory capacity for food testing is stronger than it has ever been; however, notable gaps remain.

Success Stories From the Field - Wisconsin: When People Question Food Safety Public Health Labs Provide Answers 
An estimated 76 million Americans suffer from foodborne illness each year, resulting in more than 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,200 deaths annually. Laboratory data are the gold standard for detecting chance foodborne outbreaks and food terrorism and for identifying their source. 

Success Stories From the Field - Massachusetts: Federal Support Critical to Detect Foodborne Disease Outbreaks
Federal funding for bioterrorism response and epidemiology and laboratory capacity-building provides critical support for the world’s most effective foodborne outbreak detection network. This network, PulseNet, relies on public health laboratory expertise to create DNA “fingerprints” of foodborne disease organisms. The laboratory-generated “fingerprints,” in turn, enable authorities to identify individuals likely infected from a common food source and to determine measures to increase the safety of the US food supply. 

Global Health

Supporting the US Global Health Security Agenda & the Ebola Response
Support activities under the Global Health Security Agenda to accelerate progress toward a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats.

Infectious Diseases

Lack of Funds Jeopardizes Disease Detection
Increased funding is essential to preserve existing capabilities and capacity, enhance surveillance for new strains of influenza and provide improved responsiveness to the growing problem of emerging diseases.

Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity (ELC) for Infectious Diseases FY 2013 Overview
This two page set of graphs and lists details the activities supported by ELC funds including disease detection and testing capacity across the country.

Success Stories From the Field - New York: Eliminating TB in the US Depends on Public Health Laboratory Data
The 1989 Strategic Plan for the Elimination of TB in the United States set a goal of reducing tuberculosis (TB) to 1 new case per million by 2010. However, in the mid-1980s, after elimination of categorical federal funding for state TB programs and the onset of the HIV epidemic, the trend toward TB elimination was reversed, and more deadly drug-resistant strains emerged. TB cases increased 20% between 1985 and 1992. In 2007, there were 4.4 new TB cases per 100,000 population and the total number of new cases of drug-resistant TB reached 754.

Newborn Screening

Newborn Screening Legislation
Increase funding to enhance and assist states in improving state newborn screening programs, including providing education and training in newborn screening technologies, as well as coordinate follow-up care.

Success Stories From the Field - New York: Diagnosing Infants Exposed to HIV
Public health laboratories play a critical role in assuring the early diagnosis
of HIV-infected babies to facilitate prompt intervention and optimal health outcomes. The CDC estimates that more than 6,700 children under age 13 are living with HIV/AIDS in the 33 US states with confidential HIV-infection reporting. The vast majority of these children were infected before or during childbirth. 

Success Stories From the Field - California: Saving Babies with a Drop of Blood
More than 4 million babies are born in the United States each year and virtually all undergo screening for genetic and metabolic conditions in programs run by state public health laboratories. In addition to assuring the quality of newborn screening, these laboratories conduct research to improve existing tests and to demonstrate the efficacy of new tests, store newborn screening blood spots for future research and link families with specialists who can make final diagnoses and provide medically necessary follow-up services. 

Public Health Preparedness and Response

Public Health Laboratory Response
Increase CDC Public Health Emergency Preparedness funding to support the Laboratory Response Network (LRN), preparedness training, radiological detection improvements and other essential laboratory response functions.

State Stories - Connecticut: Preparedness Never Ends
Preparedness funding in Connecticut supports law enforcement activities, sample testing including anthrax, emergency scenario training and infectious substance packaging and shipping courses.

State Stories - Iowa: Funding Boosts Iowa's Preparedness
Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) funding has allowed the State Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa to establish relationships with sentinel (clinical) laboratories, law enforcement agencies, HazMat teams and Civil Support Teams. These partnerships are vital to the safety of the citizens of Iowa with regards to terrorism response and public health emergencies.

Success Stories From the Field - Iowa: Flood Calls for Border-to-Border Response by Hygienic Laboratory
Catastrophe struck during the summer of 2008 in at least 80 Iowa counties, qualifying them for a Presidential Disaster Declaration, due mostly to record flooding. As the state’s public health and environmental laboratory, the University Hygienic Laboratory routinely serves all 99 Iowa counties. During the flood, the scope and number of services provided by UHL swelled as rivers overflowed their banks in historic proportions from the northernmost counties to Iowa’s southernmost tip. 

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