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Revista Española de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 2173-9110Print version ISSN 1135-5727


CASTRO DELGADO, Rafael  and  ARCOS GONZALEZ, Pedro. The risk of chemical disaster as a public health question. Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 1998, vol.72, n.6, pp.481-500. ISSN 2173-9110.

This revision is aimed at providing health care personnel, particularly those who may be involved in planning and/or responding to a chemical accident, with an overview of the subject of major industrial accidents. In the introduction, a brief presentation is made of some data concerning the main industrial disasters which have occurred in the past in addition to some accidents which have occurred in our area that could have evolved into a major accident. A review is also provided of Spanish and European laws currently in effect regarding this matter, in addition to summarizing the main consequences which may result from explosions, phenomena of a thermal type and the leakage of hazardous substances, particularly stressing the third of these three cases. A brief summary is also given of the main steps to be taken for a correct risk analysis in a given geographical area. Lastly, the overall organization of the Chemical Industry Emergency Plans and the functions of the different groups taking part therein, including the main functions of the medical team, is provided. Planning and responding to an industrial disaster is markedly multi-disciplinary endeavor, and this document is aimed at providing health care professionals with an overview of the main aspects involved in order to thus contribute to a more in-depth knowledge of a subject which we consider to be of importance for health care personnel and a better-integrated response, given that were an industrial disaster to occur, we would have to deal with a serious public health care problem on the spot.

Keywords : Chemical disasters; Disaster planning; Risk evaluation; Hazardous substances; Legislation.

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