Hazardous Substances Emergency Events Surveillance (HSEES) biennial report 1999-2000
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Hazardous Substances Emergency Events Surveillance (HSEES) biennial report 1999-2000

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    The Hazardous Substances Emergency Events Surveillance (HSEES) system, maintained by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), actively collects information to describe the public health consequences associated with the release of hazardous substances. This report summarizes the characteristics of events reported to the 13 state health departments participating in 1999 and the 15 state health departments participating in 2000. Information on acute hazardous substances emergency events was collected, including the substance(s) released, number of victims, number and types of injuries, and number of evacuations. The data obtained were computerized using an ATSDR-provided Web-based data entry system.

    A total of 13,808 events was reported. In 13,215 (95.7%) of the events, only a single substance was released. The most commonly reported categories of substances were inorganic substances (excluding acids, bases, ammonia, and chlorine); volatile organic compounds (VOCs); mixtures involving more than one category; acids; ammonia; and pesticides. During this reporting period, 1,256 events (9.1% of all reported events) resulted in a total of 4,425 victims. The most frequently reported injuries sustained by victims were respiratory irritation, headache, eye irritation, dizziness or other central nervous system (CNS) symptoms, and gastrointestinal problems. A total of 74 persons died as a result of all events, and 622 (4.5%) events required evacuations.

    The findings regarding the distribution of the numbers of events with victims and evacuations, and the numbers and types of injuries reported have, overall, been consistent since HSEES inception. The distribution of transportation events has increased over the last couple years, in part, because of the use of new notification sources for transportation events.

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