Open Access Open Badges Correspondence

A screening tool to prioritize public health risk associated with accidental or deliberate release of chemicals into the atmosphere

David H Blakey12, Marc Lafontaine13, Jocelyn Lavigne13, Danny Sokolowski13, Jean-Marc Philippe14, Jean-Marc Sapori15, Walter Biederbick167, Regine Horre17, Willi B Marzi18, Hisayoshi Kondo19, Yumiko Kuroki110, Akira Namera111, Tetsu Okumura112, Miyako Yamamoto113, Mikio Yashiki111, Peter G Blain114, David R Russell115*, Susan M Cibulsky116, David A Jett117 and on behalf of the Global Health Security Initiative

Author Affiliations

1 Chemical Events Working Group of the Global Health Security Initiative, Berlin, Germany

2 Environmental Health, Science and Research Bureau, Health Canada, Ottawa, Canada

3 Chemical Emergency Preparedness and Response Unit, Health Canada, Ottawa, Canada

4 Poison Control Center, Hospices Civils de Lyon, Centre Antipoison, Lyon, France

5 Department of Emergency Response and Preparedness, Health General Directorate (Health Ministry), France

6 Centre for Biological Security, Robert Koch-Institut, Berlin, Germany

7 Research, Technology & Public Health Protection, Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance, Bonn, Germany

8 Civil Protection, Federal Ministry of the Interior, Bonn, Germany

9 MHLW DMAT Bureau, National Disaster Medical Center, Tokyo, Japan

10 Tsukuba Office, Japan Poison Information Center, Tsukuba, Japan

11 Forensic Medicine, Hiroshima University, Hiroshima, Japan

12 Office of Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary for National Security and Crisis Management, Cabinet Secretariat, Government of Japan, Tokyo, Japan

13 Division of Safety Information on Drug, Food and Chemicals, National Institute of Health Sciences, Setagaya, Tokyo, Japan

14 Medical Toxicology Centre, Newcastle University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, United Kingdom

15 WHO-Collaborating Centre for Chemical Incidents. The Health Protection Agency, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Western Avenue, CF5 2YB, Cardiff, Wales, UK

16 Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, Washington, DC, USA

17 NINDS, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:253  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-253

Published: 21 March 2013


The Chemical Events Working Group of the Global Health Security Initiative has developed a flexible screening tool for chemicals that present a risk when accidentally or deliberately released into the atmosphere. The tool is generic, semi-quantitative, independent of site, situation and scenario, encompasses all chemical hazards (toxicity, flammability and reactivity), and can be easily and quickly implemented by non-subject matter experts using freely available, authoritative information. Public health practitioners and planners can use the screening tool to assist them in directing their activities in each of the five stages of the disaster management cycle.

Chemicals; Public health; Risk assessment; Atmospheric releases; Screening tool; Disaster management cycle