Global & Disaster Medicine

Archive for the ‘Nuclear-Radiation-Contamination’ Category

Flash of light? Mushroom cloud? Expert advice is: “Don’t run. Get inside.”

Campus Safety

Shelter?

  • Concrete and brick buildings.  A home basement OK too.
  • Avoid structures made of wood and plaster:  No protection
  • Go deep. Underground areas or the center of a tall building;

Then what?

  • Stay inside for at least 24 hours. Radiation levels are extremely dangerous after a detonation, but levels decrease rapidly.
  • Tune in to the news

 


38 Minutes

NY Times

“…..The Federal Communications Commission said on Sunday that its initial investigation of the mistaken alert had concluded that Hawaii did not have “reasonable safeguards or process controls in place” in its emergency notification process. The alert was sent to cellphones across Hawaii on Saturday morning when a state employee pushed the wrong button in the midst of a shift-change safety drill. It then took 38 minutes for the agency to withdraw the alert.

The prospect of a battery of investigations by state and federal lawmakers, with public testimony about the timeline of events, suggested that the alert would probably be a dominant subject in Hawaii life for months to come…..

As officials tried to reconstruct exactly what happened on Saturday, a spokesman for the Pacific Command in Hawaii said the military had moved quickly to push back against the Hawaii state alert as soon as it was known to be incorrect.

“Upon confirming yesterday’s message was a false alarm, Uspacom Public Affairs worked quickly to inform the public through traditional and social media channels,” Cmdr. David Benham, a military spokesman, said in an email Sunday, using an acronym for the Pacific Command. “We will use this as an opportunity to improve our internal processes as well as coordination with State authorities. “

The Pacific Command first told Hawaii media that there was no approaching ballistic missile at 8:23 a.m. — about 13 minutes after Hawaii sent out the alert………”

Hawaii sector


A false alarm in Hawaii: 38 minutes elapsed before emergency systems sent a second message announcing the mistake. Many more mistakes could “domino” in a 1/2 minute — like nuclear war!

NY Times

 


PHEMCE High-Priority Threats

PHEMCE High-Priority Threats

The PHEMCE will continue to address MCM needs to protect against high-priority threats for which the Secretary of Homeland Security made a determination pose a material threat sufficient to affect national security or PHEMCE leadership determines to have the potential to threaten national health security.

This year, the PHEMCE added three chemical agents (chlorine, phosgene, and vesicants); otherwise, the high-priority threats are unchanged from those listed in the 2016 PHEMCE SIP. The PHEMCE high-priority threats are (in alphabetical order by threat area):

Biological Threats

  • Bacillus anthracis (anthrax)* and
  • Multi-drug resistant B. anthracis (MDR anthrax)*
  • Burkholderia mallei (glanders)* and
  • Burkholderia pseudomallei (melioidosis)*
  • Clostridium botulinum toxin (botulism)*
  • Ebola virus (Ebola hemorrhagic fever)*
  • Emerging infectious diseases4
  • Francisella tularensis (tularemia)*
  • Marburg virus (Marburg hemorrhagic fever)*
  • Pandemic influenza
  • Rickettsia prowazekii (typhus)*
  • Variola virus (smallpox)*
  • Yersinia pestis (plague)*
  • Chemical Threats
  • Acetylcholinesterase inhibitor nerve agents*
  • Chlorine5
  • Cyanide salts (potassium and sodium cyanide)*
  • Hydrogen cyanide*
  • Phosgene5
  • Vesicants*
  • Radiological* and Nuclear* Threats(*) indicates threats identified under the following authorities related to MCMs: (1) emergency use authorities that rely on section 564(b)(1)(D) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act); (2) priority review vouchers PRVs) under section 565A of the FD&C Act;6 and, (3) procurements of security countermeasures under section 319F-2 of the PHS Act.

 

4 EIDs continue to remain a high-priority threat for the PHEMCE. The PHEMCE developed a risk assessment framework to assess whether specific emerging pathogens should be included explicitly as a high-priority threat. These pathogens may be included if PHEMCE leadership determines they have the potential to affect national health security.

5 The PHEMCE added additional chemical threat agents to the high-priority threat list after considering multiple factors, including recent reported intentional use of agents as weapons, accidental releases, availability of agents in industry, and health impacts of exposure.

6 It is possible that a drug product meeting the requirements of section 565A (material threat MCM priority review vouchers (PRVs)) also may meet the requirements of section 524 of the FD&C Act (which enables sponsors of certain tropical disease applications to receive PRVs). However, under section 565A(e), the same application is not permitted to receive more than one voucher. U.S. Food & Drug Administration (2017). Tropical Disease Priority Review Voucher Program. https://www.fda.gov/aboutfda/centersoffices/officeofmedicalproductsandtobacco/cder/ucm534162.htm and U.S. Food & Drug Administration (2017). 21st Century Cures Act: MCM-Related Cures Provisions. https://www.fda.gov/EmergencyPreparedness/Counterterrorism/MedicalCountermeasures/MCMLegalRegulatoryand PolicyFramework/ucm566498.htm#prv.


What is the PHEMCE?

The PHEMCE is an interagency coordinating body led by the HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, comprising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, and interagency partners at the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, and Agriculture. It coordinates the development, acquisition, stockpiling, and recommendations for use of medical products that we need to effectively respond to a variety of high consequence public health emergencies, whether naturally occurring or intentional.

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The 2017-2018 Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise (PHEMCE) Strategy and Implementation Plan (SIP) describes the priorities that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in collaboration with its interagency partners, will implement over the next five years. This strategy updates the 2016 PHEMCE SIP and fulfills the annual requirement established by Section 2811(d) of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act, as amended by the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act (PAHPRA). The annual PHEMCE SIP provides the blueprint the Enterprise will use to enhance national health security through the procurement and effective use of medical countermeasures (MCM). Starting with this iteration of the SIP, the PHEMCE is retitling its SIP to reflect a more forward-focused strategic document by referring to the year the PHEMCE developed it as well as the following year. For example, the PHEMCE developed this SIP in 2017; therefore, it is the 2017-2018 PHEMCE SIP. The PHEMCE examines the SIP goals and objectives annually by taking into consideration the progress achieved and the remaining strategic gaps in MCM preparedness. During the development of the 20172018 PHEMCE SIP, the PHEMCE examined the goals and objectives articulated in the 2016 PHEMCE SIP and determined that no changes were necessary at this time.

The streamlined 2017-2018 PHEMCE SIP provides:

1) a summary of the major recent accomplishments;

2) new activities;

3) updates to the activities from the 2016 PHEMCE SIP; and

4) specific information required annually under PAHPRA reporting mandates.

The 2016 PHEMCE SIP identified priority activities in the near-term (fiscal year (FY) 20172018), mid-term (FY 2019-2020), and long-term (FY 2021 and beyond) timeframes. The PHEMCE maintained these timeframes in the 2017-2018 PHEMCE SIP. The PHEMCE is still pursuing activities detailed in the 2016 PHEMCE SIP unless otherwise noted in this document. All activities described are contingent on available appropriations.

 


Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise

PHEMC

Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise

The Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise (PHEMCE) coordinates Federal efforts to enhance chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats (CBRN) and emerging infectious diseases (EID) preparedness from a medical countermeasure (MCM) perspective. The PHEMCE is led by the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) and includes three primary HHS internal agency partners: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as several interagency partners: the Department of Defense (DoD), the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Compass PHEMCE Strategy and Implementation Plans
The HHS PHEMCE Strategy articulates the strategic direction and will guide policies and decisions for the end-to-end mission of the PHEMCE.  The HHS PHEMCE Implementation Plan identifies priorities across the PHEMCE mission areas.   Learn More >>
Budget PHEMCE Multiyear Budget
The multiyear budget highlights spending plans for the various HHS agencies within the PHEMCE and provides Congress and our external stakeholders with information on funds that have been invested in specific threat areas and future plans for investments in specific threat areas, based on availability of funds.​​ Learn More >>
Manufacturing facility 2010 PHEMCE Review
The vision to combat emerging infectious diseases, pandemics, and bioterrorism is simple: our nation must have the nimble, flexible capability to produce MCMs rapidly in the face of any attack or threat, whether known or unknown, novel or reemerging, natural or intentional.    Learn More >>
Clinician with test tubes. PHEMCE Mission Components
The PHEMCE coordinates medical countermeasure-related efforts within HHS and in cooperation with PHEMCE interagency partners.  This is a complex mission space and many Federal agencies have responsibilities that are critical to its success.  Learn More >>
U.S. Flag PHEMCE Governance
The PHEMCE evolved to address a wider array of challenges, including CBRN threats, pandemic influenza, and emerging infectious diseases.  Under this new paradigm, the PHEMCE is better positioned to address the range of cross-cutting activities that comprise the MCM development process. Learn More >>

A study from the University of Georgia surveyed over 400 emergency medical workers from the United States and Japan and found that more than half had not received any formal training on radiation-related health issues.

NY Daily News

“……”What we found was that medical personnel were actually more afraid of radiation than they were of biological or chemical events,” the study’s lead author Cham E. Dallas said in a statement……”

Dallas CE, Klein KR, Lehman T, Kodama T, Harris CA and Swienton RE (2017) Readiness for Radiological and Nuclear Events among Emergency Medical Personnel. Front. Public Health 5:202. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2017.00202

Frontiers in Public Health

 

 


A cloud of mysterious radioactive material appeared over Europe last month.

NPR

“…..Monitors in Italy were among first to detect the radioactive isotope ruthenium-106 on Oct. 3, according to a fresh report by France’s Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety Institute, known as IRSN. In total, 28 European countries saw the radioactive cloud, the report says.

The multinational Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation, which runs a network designed to monitor for nuclear weapons tests, also confirmed to NPR that it had detected the cloud…..Based on the detection from monitoring stations and meteorological data, the mysterious cloud — which has since dissipated — has been traced to somewhere along the Russia-Kazakhstan border…….”

City Lights of Africa, Europe, and the Middle East

ISRN

09/11/2017

Detection of Ruthenium 106 in France and in Europe: Results of IRSN’s investigation

“Ruthenium 106 has been detected in late September by several European networks involved in the monitoring of atmospheric radioactive contamination, at levels of a few milliBecquerels per cubic meter of air. IRSN’s investigations make it possible to provide information on the possible location of the source of the release as well as the order of magnitude of the quantities released.

As soon as it became aware of the first detections of Ruthenium 106 in the atmosphere in Europe, IRSN mobilized all its means of radiological monitoring of the atmosphere and conducted regular analysis of the filters from its monitoring stations. For the period from September 27 to October 13, 2017, only the stations of Seyne-sur-Mer, Nice and Ajaccio revealed the presence of Ruthenium 106 in trace amounts. Since October 13, 2017, Ruthenium 106 is no longer detected in France.

Measurement results from European stations communicated to the Institute since October 3, 2017, have confirmed the presence of Ruthenium 106 in the atmosphere of the majority of European countries. The results obtained for sampling periods later than October 6, 2017, showed a steady decrease in Ruthenium 106 levels, which is currently no longer detected in Europe.

The concentration levels of Ruthenium 106 in the air that have been recorded in Europe and especially in France are of no consequence for human health and for the environment.

Based on the meteorological conditions provided by Météo France and the measurement results available in European countries, IRSN carried out simulations to locate the release zone, to assess the quantity of ruthenium released, as well as the period and the duration of the release.

The map below summarizes the results obtained and confirms that the most plausible zone of release lies between the Volga and the Urals without it being possible, with the available data, to specify the exact location of the point of release. Indeed, it is in this geographical area that the simulation of a ruthenium release makes it possible to better reproduce the measurements obtained in Europe….”

Map showing the plausibility of the origin of the release of Ruthenium 106 in Europe

“…..Because of the quantities released, the consequences of an accident of this magnitude in France would have required to implement locally measures of protection of the populations on a radius of the order of a few kilometres around the location of the release.

For foodstuffs, the exceeding of maximum permitted levels (1250 Bq/kg for Ruthenium 106 for non-milk products) would be observed over distances of the order of a few tens of kilometres around the location of the release.

The possibility of exceeding maximum permitted levels near the accident site led IRSN to study the scenario of importing foodstuffs from this area. From this analysis, IRSN considers, on the one hand, that the probability of a scenario that would see the importation into France of foodstuffs (especially mushrooms) contaminated by Ruthenium 106 near the source of the release is extremely low and, on the other hand, the potential health risk associated with this scenario is also very low. It does not therefore appear necessary to introduce systematic controls on the contamination of imported foods……”

 


9/18/1987: Cesium-137 is removed from an abandoned cancer-therapy machine in Goiana, Brazil leading to the radiation poisoning of hundreds of people

History Channel

 

 


The German city of Aachen is issuing free iodine tablets to some 500,000 residents because an ageing Belgian nuclear plant is seen as a risk.

BBC

 

“….There have been German protests over Belgium’s Tihange nuclear plant, some 70km (43 miles) from Aachen.  Reactors there and at Belgium’s other nuclear plant, at Doel near Antwerp, have been shut down repeatedly for safety checks. There are seven reactors in total.  There have been shutdowns because of water leaks and the discovery of micro-cracks in some reactor units….’


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