Surveillance of hazardous substance releases and related health effects.

Research paper by H I HI Hall, V R VR Dhara, W E WE Kaye, P P Price-Green

Indexed on: 01 Jan '94Published on: 01 Jan '94Published in: Archives of environmental health


The public health consequences of hazardous substance releases have not been characterized adequately. In response, therefore, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry implemented an active, state-based surveillance system. Information is collected with respect to the events, chemicals, victims, injuries, and evacuations. Five states reported 1,249 events during 1990 and 1991. Seventy-two percent of the events occurred at fixed facilities, and 28% of the events were transportation related. In 80% of the events, one chemical was released. The most frequently released chemicals were herbicides, acids, volatile organic compounds, and ammonias. In 204 events, 846 persons were injured and 7 died. Employees were injured more frequently than first responders or the general public. The most frequently reported injuries were respiratory irritation and eye irritation. Evacuations occurred in 14% of the events. These results provide information for preparedness planning and training of first responders and employees.