Hazardous Substance Emergency Events Surveillance 1997
Hazardous materials are released daily throughout Minnesota as a result of industrial, agricultural, and domestic spills of acids, ammonia, and other chemicals. Many of these releases cause injuries and force evacuations. Injuries range from minor ailments, such as throat irritation, to death.
The Minnesota Department of Health receives reports of hazardous material releases from several sources, including the Minnesota Duty Officer, the United States Coast Guard's National Response Center, and other state agencies. Upon receipt of this initial report, the MDH contacts the responsible party and a standard set of questions. Information gathered includes the number of people who were evacuated, injured, or decontaminated, the identity of the materials spilled, and how much was spilled. Data on long-term health effects from chemical exposures are not collected. The MDH follow-up procedure has the advantage of providing more complete and accurate information than may have been available at the time of original notification of the release.
The table below compares hazardous material releases in different areas of the state. Data are from the period January 1 through December 31, 1997.
|Average for 9 Urban Countiesa||13.1b||1.0b||2.2b||13.6b|
|Average for 78 Agricultural Countiesc||1.9b||0.1b||0.2b||2.0b|
aUrban counties: Anoka, Carver,
Dakota, Hennepin, Olmsted, Ramsey, St. Louis, Scott, and Washington
cCounties other than urban counties
HSEES data can be used in emergency management planning and training. A region's agricultural and industrial activities determine the types of hazardous material releases which are likely to occur with that region. Thus, regional differences require different strategies for planning and training.
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