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Web Policies

Medical Advice Disclaimer

It is not the intention of the NIEHS to provide specific medical advice, but rather to provide users with information to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Specific medical advice will not be provided, and the NIEHS urges you to consult with a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to your personal questions.

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General Disclaimers

The NIEHS does not endorse or recommend any commercial products, processes, or services. The views and opinions expressed on the NIEHS Web site do not necessarily state or reflect those of the U.S. Government, and they may not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes. Pop-up advertisements encountered while visiting the NIEHS Web site were most likely produced by other sites you visited or by third party software installed on your computer. The NIEHS does not endorse or recommend products or services that may appear in such pop-up advertisements.


Much of the information on the NIEHS Web site is in the public domain and may be used and reproduced without specific permission, however, any reproduction should contain proper acknowledgement to the NIEHS including a reference to the Web site. Certain material on this Web site, and on other government Web sites to which the NIEHS provides links, is used under license, however, may not be in the public domain. Users should check with the contacts for specific sections of the NIEHS site, as well as the permissions policies of external sites to find out the terms under which the information found there can be used or reproduced.

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NIEHS Privacy Policy

Protecting your privacy is very important to us. We do not collect any personally identifiable information (PII) about you during your visit to NIEHS Web sites unless you choose to provide it to us. We do, however, collect some data about your visit to our Web site to help us better understand how the public uses the site and how to make it more helpful. We collect information from visitors who read, browse, and/or download information from our Web site. NIEHS never collects information for commercial marketing or any purpose unrelated to the NIEHS mission and goals.


When visitors send email messages containing personal information, NIEHS staff responds to the letters and files them. Only designated staff members requiring access to the emails to respond may view or answer them.

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Types of Information Collected

When you browse through any Web site, certain information about your visit can be collected. We automatically collect and temporarily store the following type of information about your visit:

  • Domain from which you access the Internet
  • IP address (an IP address is a number that is automatically assigned to a computer when surfing the Web)
  • Operating system and information about the browser used when visiting the site
  • Date and time of your visit
  • Pages you visited
  • Address of the Web site that connected you to an NIEHS Web site (such as or

We use this information to measure the number of visitors to our site and its various sections and to help make our site more useful to visitors.

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How NIEHS Collects Information

NIEHS Web sites use a variety of different Web measurement software tools and specific information regarding information collection can be found on their respective Web sites.

NEIHS uses Webtrends measurement software to collect and retain indefinitely for needed analysis the information in the bulleted list in the Types of Information Collected section above. Webtrends collects information automatically and continuously. No personally identifiable information is collected. The NIEHS staff conducts analyses and reports on the aggregated data from Webtrends. The reports are only available to managers, members of the Communications and Web Teams, and other designated staff who require this information to perform their duties.

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How NIEHS Uses Cookies

The Office of Management and Budget Memo M-10-22, Guidance for Online Use of Web Measurement and Customization Technologies  allows Federal agencies to use session and persistent cookies.

When you visit any Web site, its server may generate a piece of text known as a "cookie" to place on your computer. The cookie allows the server to "remember" specific information about your visit while you are connected.

The cookie makes it easier for you to use the dynamic features of Web pages. Cookies from NIEHS Web pages only collect information about your browser's visit to the site; they do not collect personal information about you.

There are two types of cookies, single session (temporary) and multi-session (persistent). Session cookies last only as long as your Web browser is open. Once you close your browser, the cookie disappears. Persistent cookies are stored on your computer for longer periods.

Session Cookies: We use session cookies for technical purposes such as to enable better navigation through our site. These cookies let our server know that you are continuing a visit to our site. The OMB Memo 10-22 Guidance defines our use of session cookies as "Usage Tier 1–Single Session." The policy says, "This tier encompasses any use of single session web measurement and customization technologies."

Persistent Cookies: We use persistent cookies to enable Webtrends to differentiate between new and returning NIEHS website visitors. Persistent cookies remain on your computer between visits to NIEHS websites until they expire. The OMB Memo 10-22 Guidance defines our use of persistent cookies as "Usage Tier 2 – Multi-session without Personally Identifiable Information (PII)." The policy says, "This tier encompasses any use of multi-session Web measurement and customization technologies when no PII is collected."

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How to Opt Out or Disable Cookies

If you do not wish to have session or persistent cookies placed on your computer, you can disable them using your Web browser. If you opt out of cookies, you will still have access to all information and resources at Instructions for disabling or opting out of cookies in the most popular browsers are located at  . Please note that by following the instructions to opt-out of cookies, you will disable cookies from all sources, not just those from

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How Personal Information Is Protected

You do not have to give us personal information to visit the NIEHS Web sites. However, if you choose to receive alerts or e-newsletters, we collect your email address to complete the subscription process.

If you choose to provide us with personally identifiable information, that is, information that is personal in nature and which may be used to identify you, through an e-mail message, request for information, paper or electronic form, questionnaire, customer satisfaction survey, epidemiology research study, etc., we will maintain the information you provide only as long as needed to respond to your question or to fulfill the stated purpose of the communication. If we store your personal information in a record system designed to retrieve information about you by personal identifier (name, personal email address, home mailing address, personal or mobile phone number, etc.), so that we may contact you, we will safeguard the information you provide to us in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (5 U.S.C. Section 552a).

For further information about NIH privacy policies, please contact us at .

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Session Cookies

Some pages on this Web site may employ session "cookies." A cookie is a small file that a Web site transfers to your computer's hard disk to allow the server to remember specific information about your session while you are connected. Requests to send cookies are not designed to collect information about you, but only about your "browser session." The cookies make it easier for you to use the dynamic features of our Web site The cookies and the information about your session are automatically destroyed shortly after you close your browser.


To protect your privacy, be sure to close your browser completely after you have finished conducting business with a Web site that uses cookies. If you are concerned about the potential use of information gathered from your computer by cookies, you can set your browser to prompt you before it accepts a cookie. Most Internet browsers have settings that let you identify and/or reject cookies.

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This site is maintained by the U.S. Government. It is protected by various provisions of Title 18, U.S. Code. Violations of Title 18 are subject to criminal prosecution in federal court. For site security purposes, and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, we employ software programs to monitor traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage. In the event of authorized law enforcement investigations, and pursuant to any required legal process, information from these sources may be used to help identify an individual.

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Links to and Comments from External Sites

The NIEHS Web site has links to many external Web sites. The NIEHS cannot guarantee the privacy or security of information users provide to linked, external Web sites. The NIEHS is not responsible for the availability or content of these external sites, nor does NIEHS endorse, warrant or guarantee the products, services, or information described or offered at these external sites.

NIEHS also embeds video and multimedia from external Web sites. If you choose to play multimedia from external sites, the privacy and accessibility policies of those Web sites will apply.

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Privacy Policy: Third-Party Sites and Applications


Third-Party Websites and Applications (TPWA) are Web-based technologies that are not exclusively operated or controlled by NIEHS, such as hosted applications and those embedded on NIEHS Web pages that could cause personally identifiable information (PII) to become available or accessible to NIEHS, regardless of whether NIEHS solicits or collects it.

As part of the Open Government Directive, NIEHS uses a variety of new technologies and social media options to communicate and interact with citizens. These sites and applications include popular social networking and media sites, open source software communities and more. The following list includes the websites and applications we use and their purposes. For any sites or applications that collect PII, this list also includes details on information collected and how NIEHS protects your private information.

All uses of Web technologies will comply with existing policies with respect to privacy and data safeguarding standards. Information technology (IT) systems owned and operated by NIEHS are assessed using Privacy Impact Assessments posted for public view on the Department of Health and Human Services website (  ). Groups of records that contain information about an individual and are designed to be retrieved by the name or other personal identifier linked to the individual are covered by the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (5 U.S.C. Section 552a). NIEHS will retain data collected using the following technologies only long enough to achieve the specified objective for which they were collected. The data generated from these activities falls under the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) General Records Schedule (GRS) 20-item IC 'Electronic Records,' and will be handled per the requirements of that schedule (  ).

Third-Party Websites and Applications

AddThis: NIEHS uses the AddThis service to allow visitors to bookmark and share website content on a variety of social media sites. Visitors who use the AddThis service to share content do not need to register or provide any personal information. AddThis collects non-personal data, including the aggregate and summary statistics on browsers and usage patterns. AddThis also uses non-personal data to manage the service efficiently and diagnose server problems. Although AddThis offers some analytics and usage data to NIEHS, these reports do not include any personally identifiable information. The reports are password protected and only available to NIEHS managers, members of the NIEHS Communications and Web Teams, and other designated staff requiring this information to perform their duties. The AddThis privacy policy is available at: 

URL shorteners: NIEHS uses,, and other services to shorten long URLs for use in email messages, Twitter feeds and on Facebook pages. These services generally collect and provide data on how often email recipients, Facebook and Twitter-users click on the shortened URLs distributed by NIEHS. These analytics show how many people clicked on the URLs posted by NIEHS compared to the total number of clicks on the shortened URLs. Analytics do not provide any personally identifiable information about the visitors who opened the shortened links.

Facebook: NIEHS has a Facebook page located at  . On the NIEHS Facebook page, NIEHS staff posts news and other items of interest to citizens. If you have a Facebook account or 'Like' NIEHS Facebook pages, you can post comments or click on the 'like' option for individual entries. If you comment or click on the 'like' button, personally identifying information will be visible to NIEHS staff and other Facebook site visitors. The amount of visible personal information will depend on your own Facebook privacy settings. You can completely avoid displaying any personally identifiable information by not creating an account, not posting comments and not clicking on the 'like' options in Facebook. NIEHS staff does not collect, use or disclose any information about visitors who comment or 'like' the NIEHS Facebook sites. Facebook collects and reports on non-personally identifiable information about activities on Facebook pages. This information is password protected and only available to NIEHS managers, members of the NIEHS Communications and Web Teams, and other designated staff who require this information to perform their duties. The Facebook privacy policy is available at: 

Twitter: NIEHS uses Twitter to send short messages (up to 140 characters) or 'Tweets' to share information about NIEHS with visitors and respond to comments and inquiries sent via Twitter to NIEHS. While visitors may read the NIEHS Twitter feeds without subscribing to them, visitors who want to subscribe to (or follow) NIEHS Twitter feeds must create a Twitter account at To create an account, you must provide some personal information, such as name, user name, password and email address. Visitors have the option to provide additional personal information including a short biography, location or a picture. Most information you provide for a Twitter account is available to the public, but you can modify how much of your information is visible by changing your privacy settings at the website. NIEHS staff members monitor the number of subscribers and respond to comments and queries via Twitter, but the staff never takes possession of the personal information belonging to Twitter followers. NIEHS does not collect, maintain, disclose or share any information about people who follow NIEHS on Twitter. The Twitter privacy policy is available at: 

YouTube: NIEHS posts videos on YouTube and uses videos from YouTube on our site. You do not need to register with either YouTube or Google (YouTube owner) to watch NIEHS videos. When visitors watch videos, YouTube may record non-personally identifiable information about its site usage, such as channels used, videos watched, and data transfer details to improve its services. If you log on to the YouTube site before watching NIEHS videos, YouTube may associate information about your site use with your YouTube account. If you log on to YouTube and comment on an NIEHS video, any personal information you included when registering for your account will be visible to visitors who click on the comment. If you do not log in before watching NIEHS videos posted on YouTube, your site use will not be associated with you or a YouTube account. The YouTube privacy policy is available at: 

Flickr: NIEHS posts photos on Flickr for public viewing. You do not need to register with either Flickr or Yahoo (Flickr owner) to view photos. When visitors view photos, Flickr may record non-personally identifiable information about its site usage and data transfer details to improve its services. If you log on to the site before viewing photos, Flickr may associate information about your site use with your account. If you do not log in before viewing photos, your site use will not be associated with you or your account. The Flickr privacy policy is available at: 

GoogleMaps: NIEHS uses Google Maps to create interactive maps on our site. You do not need to register with either Google to use NIEHS maps. When visitors load maps, Google may record non-personally identifiable information about its site usage, such as clicks made, zooms in and out, searches, and data transfer details to improve its services. If you log on to the Google site before loading the NIEHS maps, Google may associate information about your site use with your Google account. If you do not log in before using NIEHS maps enabled by Google, your site use will not be associated with you or a Google account. The Google privacy policy is available at: 

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The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, N I E H S is making every effort to ensure that the information available on our website is accessible to all. If you use special adaptive equipment to access the Web and encounter problems when using our site, please let us know.


Write to: and we will attempt to provide the information to you in a suitable format. It would be helpful if you can be as specific as possible when describing the information you seek.


If you prefer to call, our main number is 919-541-3345.


If you need help accessing a PDF document, Adobe® offers conversion tools at its Accessibly Resource Center  .


For help with Microsoft® products, visit their accessibility page at this location 


For N I H employees, who need assistance with accessibility, please contact the equal employment opportunity officer in your Institute.


To learn more about the regulations governing the accessibility of Federal electronic information products, visit the United States Access Board  or the official Section 508 page  .


Thanks for using the N I E H S website.

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Questions about NIEHS Internet policies should be sent to:

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