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Occupational & Environmental Epidemiology

Chemical/Radiological Preparedness

A chemical/radiological team in the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch of the Division of Public Health works cooperatively with the N.C. Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response and other state, local and federal agencies to help the state prepare for, detect, and respond to emergencies involving chemical or radiological agents. The team includes an environmental epidemiologist, a public health physician, and an industrial hygienist.

The team is developing and implementing a plan to bolster public health preparedness, surveillance, and response capacities for intentional, terrorist-related chemical or radiological events as well as unintentional, accidental events. The plan will cover emergencies such as releases of radiation from nuclear power plants, detonation of a "dirty bomb," release of a chemical agent as a terrorist act, and inadvertent releases of chemical or radiological agents on a scale that has the potential to harm public health. The goals are to prevent or minimize human exposures, minimize injury and illness, and mitigate health hazards in case of the occurrence of such an event. This work is done by epidemiologic assessments, evaluations and expertise, and developing a network of responders who can help respond to such an event.

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