ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
U.S. Spends Billions On Alternative Medicine
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Pain More a Cause of Arthritis Than a Symptom
Healthy adults have potential autoimmune disease-causing cells
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
CANCER
Multiple Screening Strategy Boosts Cervical Cancer Detection
Breast Self-Exam Rates Go Up With Counseling
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
CAREGIVING
Tiniest Babies Carry Biggest Costs
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome as Deadly as Ever
Birthmark or Blood Vessel Problem?
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
DIABETES
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
B Vitamins Might Lower Stroke Risk
Low Vitamin A, C Intake Tied to Asthma Risk
The Food Irradiation Story
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Hurricane Threats: Time to Batten Down the Hatches
Artificial Light Linked to Prostate Cancer Risk
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
EYE CARE, VISION
High Temps Degrade Contact Lens Solution: Study
Nutrient-Rich Diet Lowers Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease
Just Like Skin, Eyes Can 'Burn' in Strong Sun
FITNESS
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Cocaine Spurs Long-Term Change in Brain Chemistry
How Weight Loss Can Help the Heart
Kids More Apt to Smoke If Mom Did While Pregnant
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Ingredient in Dark Chocolate Could Guard Against Stroke
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
A Little Chocolate May Do the Heart Good
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
Exercise Eases Obesity and Anger in Kids
MEN'S HEALTH
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Optimism May Boost Immune System
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
SENIORS
Money May Matter, Health-Wise, in Old Age
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Seniors Who Volunteer May Live Longer
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
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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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