Assessment of Chemical Exposures (ACE) Program
When chemical releases happen suddenly, ATSDR can provide local authorities with valuable help through the ACE program.
In June 2011, after a chemical incident at a poultry processing facility, 600 workers were potentially exposed to chlorine, 170 of whom needed transportation to five area hospitals for medical evaluation. The state Department of Health asked ATSDR to assist in the investigation of the incident, including an evaluation of the emergency response. An ACE team was deployed in response. The team discovered that the Department of Emergency Management was not required to notify the health department when the incident occurred. This resulted in missed opportunities for assistance, such as coordinating with local hospitals regarding where patients were transported for care or providing treatment protocols for chlorine gas.
After the ACE investigation identified the issue, the Department of Emergency Management modified their procedure for notification of the state health department to include any incident involving a biological, chemical, radiological, or nuclear substance. About two weeks after the procedures were modified, two different ammonia releases occurred in the same city as the previous release. Because of the new procedures, emergency management officials immediately notified the health department of the incidents, resulting in a more coordinated and effective response.
- Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
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Atlanta, GA 30341
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