ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture May Not Help Hot Flashes
Licorice May Block Absorption of Organ Transplant Drug
Acupuncture Cuts Dry Mouth in Cancer Patients
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Gene Therapy May Ease Rheumatoid Arthritis
Low Vitamin D Raises Women's Hip Fracture Risk
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
CANCER
Multiple Screening Strategy Boosts Cervical Cancer Detection
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Many Cancer Patients Turn to Complementary Medicine
CAREGIVING
Simpler Sleep Apnea Treatment Seems Effective, Affordable
U.S. Mental Health Spending Rises, But Many Still Left Out
Caring for Aging Loved Ones Can Be a Catch-22
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
DIABETES
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
Patients' Photos Help Boost Radiologists' Accuracy
DIET, NUTRITION
Soluble Fiber, But Not Bran, Soothes Irritable Bowel
Healthy Eating While On Vacation
Pesticides and How to Affordably Eat Organic or Reduce Pesticide Consumption
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Clear Skies Have Become Less So Over Time, Data Show
Chemical in Plastics May Cause Fertility Problems
Controversial Chemical Lingers Longer in the Body
EYE CARE, VISION
Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk
Poor Night Vision May Predict Age-Related Eye Disease
Brain Pressure More Likely to Cause Vision Loss in Men
FITNESS
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
Laugh and the World Understands
New Methods Could Speed Production of Flu Vaccines
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Omega-3, Some Omega-6 Fatty Acids Boost Cardiovascular Health
Soy Protein Doesn't Lower Cholesterol
Irregular Heartbeat Tied to Alzheimer's Disease
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Safety Should Be Priority for Those Involved in Kids' Sports
6 Million U.S. Kids Lack Enough Vitamin D
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
MEN'S HEALTH
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
MENTAL HEALTH
A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
SENIORS
Video Gaming Just Might Fight Aging
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
Vitamin D Deficiency Puts 40% of U.S. Infants and Toddlers At Risk
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
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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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