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Hazardous substances emergency events surveillance in North Carolina : cumulative report, 2002-2003

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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 of releases of hazardous substances in 15 states. This report summarizes the characteristics of events reported to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health in 2002 and 2003. Information about acute events involving hazardous substances was collected, including the substance(s) released, number of victims, number and types of injuries, and number of evacuations. The data were computerized using a web-based data entry system provided by ATSDR. Events involving releases of only petroleum were not included. A total of 685 events were reported. In 639 (93.3%) events, only one substance was released. The most commonly reported categories of substances were volatile organic compounds, other inorganic substances, acids and bases. During this reporting period, 77 events (11.2% of all reported events) resulted in a total of 393 victims, of whom 12 (3.1%) died. The most frequently reported injuries were dizziness or other central nervous system symptoms, respiratory irritation, headache, and trauma. Evacuation reportedly was ordered for 69 (10.1%) events. The findings regarding the percentages of events with victims and events with evacuations and the distributions of the numbers and types of injuries reported have been increasing slightly. The North Carolina Hazardous Substances Emergency Events Surveillance (HSEES) Program is supported by a Cooperative Agreement, U61-ATU486399, from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) in Atlanta, Georgia.
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