ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Music Therapy For Prehistoric Man?
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Tequila Plant May Help Fight Bone Loss
A Little Drink May Be Good for Your Bones
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
CANCER
Green Tea May Help Prevent Oral Cancer
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
CAREGIVING
3 Steps Might Help Stop MRSA's Spread
Birthmark or Blood Vessel Problem?
UV Lights, Fans May Curb TB Spread in Hospitals
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Holistic Dentistry-My View
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
DIABETES
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Pesticides and How to Affordably Eat Organic or Reduce Pesticide Consumption
Imagine Food Aromas That Prevent Overeating
Weight Loss Might Not Curb Knee Arthritis
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Preparing for a Chlorine Gas Disaster
Golf Course Insecticides Pose Little Danger to Players
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
EYE CARE, VISION
Ordinary Chores Cause Half of All Eye Injuries
Kids' Eye Injuries From Golf Clubs Rare But Severe
Eye Care Checkups Tied to Insurance Status
FITNESS
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
Basketball Star Details His Struggle With Gout
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Swine Flu Fatality Rate a 'Little Bit' Higher Than That of Seasonal Flu
U.S. Spends Billions On Alternative Medicine
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Ginkgo Won't Prevent Heart Attack, Stroke in Elderly
Western Diet Linked To Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome
Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Combo Treatment Eases Wheezing in Babies
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
Winter's Bitter Cold Poses Health Dangers
MEN'S HEALTH
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Countdown to Hair Loss
MENTAL HEALTH
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Worries About Weight Are Tied to Teen Suicide Tries
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
SENIORS
Nighttime Urination Linked to Higher Death Rate Among Elderly
Video Gaming Just Might Fight Aging
Seniors Cope With Sleep Loss Better Than Young Adults
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
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Preparing for a Chlorine Gas Disaster

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) -- On a January night in 2005, a freight train with three tanker cars -- each loaded with 90 tons of chlorine -- slammed into a parked locomotive in the center of Graniteville, S.C., a town of 7,000 people about 15 miles from Augusta, Ga.

One tank ruptured during the 2 a.m. collision, releasing between 42 tons and 60 tons of chlorine gas that seeped into a nearby textile mill, where 180 people were working the overnight shift.

Eight people died at the accident scene, at least 525 people were treated in emergency rooms, and 71 people were admitted to nine hospitals in South Carolina and Georgia.

A new study examining the lingering effects of the disaster should serve as a blueprint for larger metropolitan areas looking to prepare for an accidental or terrorist release of the potentially deadly gas, the researchers said.

"This is one of the largest community exposures to chlorine gas since World War I," study lead author David Van Sickle, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at the University of Wisconsin, said in a news release issued by The American Journal of Emergency Medicine, which published the report in its January issue.

"It was a tragic disaster that shows us what a significant challenge a large-scale chlorine gas release poses to health-care facilities," he said.

Hospitals need to be able to quickly recognize the signs of chlorine exposure and have enough mechanical ventilators on hand, he added.

Van Sickle was part of a team from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) that studied the accident's resulting health effects.

Chlorine gas is an irritating, fast-acting and potentially deadly inhalant. It's also one of the most widely used toxic chemicals -- water treatment and industrial manufacturing are examples of such use. Much of the 13 million to 14 million tons produced in the United States each year is transported by rail, often through populated areas, the news release said.

New U.S. regulations governing the transportation of rail cargo aim to prevent a similar disaster in a major metropolitan area. And, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has identified a deliberate attack on a chlorine storage tank as a top concern. According to agency estimates, as many as 100,000 people would be hospitalized and 10,000 would die if a chlorine storage tank was attacked in an urban area, according to the release.

Van Sickle and his colleagues tried to learn as much as they could about the health effects from widespread exposure to chlorine gas.

According to the report, many people who were hospitalized showed signs of severe lung damage. More than a third were admitted to intensive care, and 10 percent required mechanical ventilation. Despite their injuries, most recovered quickly and were discharged within a week, according to the release.

"Public health agencies and hospitals across the country can learn a lot from this disaster and be better prepared to help in the next emergency," Dr. James J. Gibson, state epidemiologist and director of the Bureau of Disease Control at the South Carolina DHEC and a co-author of the report, said in the news release. "We continue to monitor area residents for any possible long-term health effects."

More information

To learn more about chlorine, visit the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.



-- HealthDay staff



SOURCE: The American Journal of Emergency Medicine, news release, January 2009

Last Updated: Jan. 08, 2009

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