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Chemical Disasters

  • By: Augustine Osamor Ifelebuegu
  • In: Encyclopedia of Disaster Relief
  • Edited by: K. Bradley Penuel & Matt Statler
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Policy (general)

A chemical disaster can be described as an accidental or deliberate (in the case of war or terrorism) release of toxic chemicals to the environment, resulting to damage to the environment and death or injury to animals, plants, workers, or members of nearby communities. These disasters usually occur in a magnitude that is beyond the adapting capacity of the affected communities.

There have been increased use and application of hazardous chemicals in industrial processes across the globe since the turn of the century, with a resultant rise in the number of chemical disasters. Hazardous chemicals in use include acids; toxins; carcinogenic substances; explosives; radioactive materials; and inflammable liquid chemicals that usually result in chemical or thermal burns, systemic toxicity, and injuries from inhalation. Their manufacture, storage, ...

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