EPHRB Pilot Project for Collaboration with DHS to Prevent Chemical Threats

Project Name: EPHRB Pilot Project for Collaboration with DHS to Prevent Chemical Threats

Project Status: Proposed

Point of Contact: Marilyn S. Radke

Center: NCEH/ATSDR

Keywords: Chemical Warfare Agents, Chemical Threats, Community Systems in Chemical Capabilities

Project Description: Action at the federal level is required to address the issue of chemical data analysis and enhanced access to large datasets for chemical data analysis research in order to facilitate information integration with community systems of data analysis to strengthen public health. “Hospitals surveyed in this study were poorly prepared to manage chemical emergency incidents, including terrorism. This lack of hospital preparedness did not change significantly between 1996 and 2000 despite increased funds allocated to bioterrorism preparedness at the local level.” Source

The Environmental Public Health Readiness Branch (EPHRB) reviews Department of Defense plans to store, transport, and dispose of chemical warfare agents and makes recommendations to protect public health. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) prevents unauthorized acquisition or use of chemical capabilities. DHS focuses on surveillance and detection of relevant chemicals, including:

  • chemical data analysis research to allow information integration with other systems of analysis, e.g., biological detection;
  • research that improves the analyte(s) of interest to background contaminant ratio for both chemical and biological threats;
  • research on chemical detection technology that improves the number of toxic industrial chemicals and chemical warfare agents that can be detected at relevant concentrations; and
  • research to improve the depth and speed of data analysis and enhance access to large datasets.

EPHRB is aware of no data to indicate that a federal public health agency has investigated the large DHS datasets in Washington, DC relevant to chemical warfare agents and industrial chemicals of mutual interest to CDC and DHS to prevent and respond to chemical threats.

Impact of the pilot project:

  • Assessment of readiness and capabilities for health care providers and environmental health practitioners that are relevant to detect or mitigate a terrorist attack, and
  • Development of collaborative methods for community systems.

Scalability: pilot is applicable to wider audiences within CDC who address chemical threats.

Methods: Pilot project will allow EPHRB to collaborate with DHS to protect public health and to prevent unauthorized acquisition or use of chemical capabilities. EPHRB will collaborate with DHS to investigate the large DHS datasets in Washington, DC relevant to chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals of mutual interest to CDC and DHS to prevent and respond to chemical threats. Activities in month one: Identify chemicals of concern for analysis, identify relevant community systems of data analysis and identify appropriate method that can be applied for data analysis. Activities in month two: Analyze data for selected chemicals using selected method identified. Activities for month three: Identify method of integration of chemical data analysis research findings, information with selected community systems and integrate chemical data analysis research findings and information with selected community systems. Activities for month four: Write manuscript to publish results.

Measures of Success: A successful pilot project will improve depth and speed of chemical data analysis and enhance access to large datasets for chemical data analysis research in order to facilitate information integration with community systems of data analysis to strengthen public health and to prevent unauthorized acquisition or use of chemical capabilities.

For more information about this project, please contact the CHIIC at chiic@cdc.gov or Brian Lee at brian.lee@cdc.hhs.gov.

Page last reviewed: February 15, 2019
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