ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture Eases Breast Cancer Treatment Side Effects
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Stem Cells Might Treat Tough Fractures
Fractures in Older Adults Up Death Risk
Extra Pounds in Mid-Life Affect Later Mobility
CANCER
Sharing Cancer Info May Be Empowering
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Smokeout '08: The Perfect Time to Quit
CAREGIVING
Caregivers Face Multiple Strains Tending Older Parents
Weekend Admission May Be Riskier for GI Bleeding
UV Lights, Fans May Curb TB Spread in Hospitals
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
DIABETES
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
Study Shows Turmeric May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
Healthy Eating While On Vacation
Go Healthy, Not Hungry for Holiday Eating
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Gas Stove Emissions Boost Asthma in Inner-City Kids
Agent Orange Exposure Tied to Prostate Cancer Return
Skin Woes Take Toll on U.S. Combat Troops
EYE CARE, VISION
Cases of Age-Related Farsightedness to Soar
Autistic Children Make Limited Eye Contact
Kids Think Glasses Make Others Look Smart, Honest
FITNESS
Go To Work But Skip The Car
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Weak Muscles May Cause 'Runner's Knee'
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Workplace Wellness Seems to Really Work
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Standard IQ Test May Underestimate People With Autism
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
'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
Fatty Fish May Cut Heart Failure Risk in Men
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
Dark Chocolate May Lower Stroke Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Plastics Chemical Tied to Aggression in Young Girls
Dangerous Toys Still on Store Shelves, Report Finds
Fussy Babys Could Be Out Of Your Control
MEN'S HEALTH
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
The Unmedicated Mind
Love Hormone May Ease Discussion of Painful Topics
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
SENIORS
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Natural Childbirth Moms More Attuned to Babies' Cry
Health Tip: Be More Comfortable During Childbirth
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
Add your Article

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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