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Brownfields Health Concerns

Brownfields are abandoned, idled or underused industrial or commercial facilities and properties where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination.

I live near a Brownfield; should I be concerned about exposure to chemicals?

Not all abandoned industrial or commercial sites have chemical contamination. If you have reason to believe that redevelopment or expansion of such properties may cause a release of chemicals to the environment, please report this concern to your local health department.

Can chemicals found at a Brownfield affect my health?

In order for a chemical to affect your health, it has to find a way into your body. If you are exposed to a hazardous chemical, several factors will determine whether harmful health effects will occur. These factors include: the type of chemical, how much you were exposed to, how long you were exposed, and how you were exposed.

There are a lot of people in my community dying of cancer; could this be due to chemicals found at a Brownfield?

Two out of every five people living in the US will get cancer. Research has shown that more than 2/3 of all cancers are due to lifestyle choices, such as diet, smoking, and exercise. It is important to note that not all chemicals cause cancer and not all Brownfields have chemicals. If you are interested in the types of cancer occurring in your county, please contact your local health department and ask to see The Indiana Cancer Mortality Report 1990-1994."

If I have health concerns, whom should I contact?

The IDOH is working very closely with your local health department on Brownfield issues. We encourage you to contact your local health representative if you have health questions or concerns arising from the development or expansion of commercial or industrial property near your home.

Local County Health Departments

For more information on health concerns, visit the Indiana Department of Health Environmental Public Health Division webpage at

For more information on Brownfield environmental concerns, contact:

Indiana Brownfields Program
100 N. Senate Ave., IGCN 1275
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Phone: (317) 234-4293

This fact sheet was supported in whole by funds from the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act trust fund through a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.