Global & Disaster Medicine

Archive for the ‘Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT)’ Category

Several packages of deadly sarin gas are set off in the Tokyo subway system killing twelve people and injuring over 5,000.

History Channel


3/18/1937: Nearly 300 students in Texas are killed by an explosion of natural gas at their school

History Channel

“…..The Consolidated School of New London, Texas, sat in the middle of a large oil and natural gas field. The area was dominated by 10,000 oil derricks, 11 of which stood right on school grounds. The school was newly built in the 1930s for close to $1 million and, from its inception, bought natural gas from Union Gas to supply its energy needs. The school’s natural gas bill averaged about $300 a month. Eventually, officials at Consolidated School were persuaded to save money by tapping into the wet-gas lines operated by Parade Oil Company that ran near the school. Wet gas is a type of waste gas that is less stable and has more impurities than typical natural gas…..”


Chemical agents: Live, Binary, and Dusty; what’s the difference?

ASIA Times

Binary: Chemical weapons wherein the toxic agent is not in its active state, but rather, the toxin is in the form of chemical  precursors that are physically separated within the weapon and combine after deployment to the active state.

A dusty agent is the dried powder form of a poison.

A “live” agent is fully mixed and fully activated once loaded into warheads or bombs.


The nerve agent Novichok is believed to be orders of magnitude more lethal than sarin or VX.

NY Times

“…..Novichok nerve agent, a weapon invented for use against NATO troops, was released in the quiet town of Salisbury, its target a former Russian spy named Sergei V. Skripal. Mr. Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, collapsed onto a bench in a catatonic state on March 4, and remain hospitalized, in critical condition.……”


After a nerve-agent attack on an ex-Russian spy, “around 21” had been given medical help and support


Brits: A former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned by a nerve agent in Britain this week

NY Times

“…..On Sunday afternoon, he and his daughter became severely ill at a mall in the quiet cathedral town of Salisbury, England. They lost consciousness and remain in critical condition.

Some of the emergency workers who went to the scene also became ill, and one police officer has been hospitalized in serious condition….”

Eleven people fell ill after a suspicious letter was opened in an administrative building at Joint Base Fort Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Virginia.


“…..The law enforcement official said the text of the letter contained derogatory, at time unintelligible and ranting language, and was addressed to a commanding officer at the base. …..”


Syrian government forces defied a new U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a cease-fire on Sunday by launching a ground offensive, sustaining their airstrikes and allegedly dropping at least one bomb laden with chlorine against a rebel-held enclave outside Damascus.

Washington Post

At least 50 people including kids have fallen ill after inhaling poisonous chlorine gas which leaked from a drum inside a factory in Howrah’s Ghushuri

Millennium Post

Image result for chlorine gas


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. and U.S. Food & Drug Administration (2017). 21st Century Cures Act: MCM-Related Cures Provisions. PolicyFramework/ucm566498.htm#prv.


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