ganizations involved in environmental health. Public-private partnerships could play a key role in providing these information services. The collaboration of NLM with universities, industry, international resources, and local, state, and federal governments could be particularly productive given the numerous information resources in this field.
The implementation of a single-access information center would have budgetary and interagency ramifications that the committee did not have the mandate to explore. In its exploration of the TEHIP databases and its inquiries into the dissemination of toxicology and environmental health information—especially to health professionals—the committee realized the need for this type of information resource for toxicology and environmental health information. Poison control centers are examples of single-access points that are effectively meeting the information needs of health professionals and other user communities, and the committee believes that poison control centers would make excellent resources for providing toxicology and environmental health information to health professionals. However, the committee is particularly mindful of the budgetary considerations and of the problems that poison control centers would face if their mandate were expanded without the necessary financial resources for implementation. Although the provision of a single-access information center for toxicology and environmental health information is not within the purview of NLM, the issue should be explored because it is important to expanding the use of this information by health professionals.
The committee recommends that NLM, other relevant federal agencies, and private-sector organizations work cooperatively to provide health professionals and other interested user communities with the tools that they need to access toxicology and environmental health information. This would involve two different types of access points:
an online directory that would contain information on the full spectrum of information resources in toxicology and environmental health and that would direct the user to the appropriate online information resource; and
a single-access information center (e.g., regional poison control centers) that would connect the user with individuals with expertise in environmental health.