Chemical threats come from the accidental or intentional release of toxic vapors, gases, aerosols, liquids, and solids that are harmful to people, animals, or plants. They can be released by bombs or sprayed from aircraft, boats, and vehicles. They can be used as a liquid to create a hazard to people and the environment. They can escape from leaks in pipelines, tanker trucks or railroad cars, or storage containers. Some chemicals may be odorless and tasteless. They can have an immediate effect (a few seconds to a few minutes) or a delayed effect (2 to 48 hours). In some chemical incidents, the chemicals disperse quickly; in others, the chemicals may leave a residue.
A chemical incident could occur without warning. Signs of a chemical incident include people having difficulty breathing; experiencing eye irritation; losing coordination; becoming nauseated; or having a burning sensation in the nose, throat, and lungs. Also, the presence of many dead insects or birds may indicate a chemical agent release.
These Web sites give you some information about preventing, preparing for, and responding to chemical incidents:
Note: The following links are provided as a resource only. The content provided was not prepared by the Pittsburgh Regional Business Coalition for Homeland Security (PRBCHS), and is not necessarily endorsed by PRBCHS.