The effects of seasonal variation on hazardous chemical releases.
SCOPE: Accidental and intentional chemical releases are an increasing threat to our society. These events occur year around under different seasonal circumstances. A number of papers using the Hazardous Substances Emergency Events database (HSEES) have found some evidence that season may be an important variable affecting the number of hazardous chemical releases (HCRs). To the authors' knowledge, no analyses specifically focused on seasonal variation of HCRs. Significant effects of season are useful to further HCR prevention efforts and improve preparation and training of first responders, community evacuation, and hospital preparedness. RESULTS: Seasonal variation is a factor in transportation HCRs, but not fixed facility HCRs. There is an overall seasonal effect for the cause of the event. There is also seasonal variation of HCRs with respect to geographical area, with more incidents in the South. The substances released also demonstrate seasonal variation with summer having more incidents involving acids, ammonia, chlorine, pesticides, paints and dyes. The number of victims treated at hospitals resulting from HCRs did not display seasonal variation. CONCLUSIONS: This new additional information involving seasonal changes of HCRs adds to the literature on HCRs and may indirectly have implications for the prevention of incidents, training of personnel responding to HCRs, community planning, and local hazard vulnerability analyses and finally hospital preparedness.
Zimmerman, LI; Lima, R; Pietrobon, R; Marcozzi, D
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