Emergency Response Branch

The Emergency Response Branch (ERB) develops and performs unique laboratory tests to assess chemical exposure during a public health emergency or terrorist event. In a public health emergency, the rapid detection and accurate identification of a chemical threat agent can be crucial for diagnosis, treatment and prevention. ERB developed and performs the Rapid Toxic Screen, which is a series of tests that analyzes people’s blood and urine and determines the levels of 150 chemicals likely to be used by terrorists. The branch also works with public health laboratories in states, territories, cities, and counties through the Laboratory Response Network to assist in expanding local laboratory capacity and preparedness for chemical-terrorism response.

This branch works to improve the detection of chemical threat agents by:

  • Identifying chemical agents used,
  • Measuring human exposure levels, and
  • Preventing further exposure.
Photo of automated equipment in the lab

Page last reviewed: August 23, 2021