Chapter

Chemical incidents

Virginia Murray

in Essentials of Environmental Epidemiology for Health Protection

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199663415
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191759116 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780199663415.003.0024
Chemical incidents

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Chemical incidents happen daily, The International Federation of the Red Cross has estimated that between 1998 and 2007, there were nearly 3200 technological disasters, including chemical incidents, with approximately 100,000 people killed and nearly 2 million people affected (WHO, 2009).

Effective planning, routine response framing and exercising, as well as command and control are essential for successful incident response. Timely communications and specialist health protection support are also important. The scale of the response may differ between incidents but public and worker safety together with advice to speed recovery remains at its heart.

Environmental epidemiology is an invaluable tool in helping to determine health impacts. The occupational health surveillance following the Buncefield explosions and fire demonstrated the feasibility and usefulness of large-scale, harmonized, anonymous occupational health follow-up after major incidents in the UK. Similar approaches should be considered in the future and mechanisms set up to facilitate them.

Chapter.  3299 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology ; Epidemiology

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