Development of a risk-based prioritisation methodology to inform public health emergency planning and preparedness in case of accidental spill at sea of hazardous and noxious substances (HNS)

P. D. Harold*, A. S. de Souza, P. Louchart, D. Russell, H. Brunt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Hazardous and noxious chemicals are increasingly being transported by sea. Current estimates indicate some 2000 hazardous and noxious substances (HNS) are carried regularly by sea with bulk trade of 165. million. tonnes per year worldwide. Over 100 incidents involving HNS have been reported in EU waters. Incidents occurring in a port or coastal area can have potential and actual public health implications. A methodology has been developed for prioritisation of HNS, based upon potential public health risks. The work, undertaken for the Atlantic Region Pollution Response programme (ARCOPOL), aims to provide information for incident planning and preparedness. HNS were assessed using conventional methodology based upon acute toxicity, behaviour and reactivity. Tonnage was used as a proxy for likelihood, although other factors such as shipping frequency and local navigation may also contribute. Analysis of 350 individual HNS identified the highest priority HNS as being those that present an inhalation risk. Limitations were identified around obtaining accurate data on HNS handled on a local and regional level due to a lack of port records and also political and commercial confidentiality issues. To account for this the project also developed a software tool capable of combining chemical data from the study with user defined shipping data to be used by operators to produce area-specific prioritisations. In conclusion a risk prioritisation matrix has been developed to assess the acute risks to public health from the transportation of HNS. Its potential use in emergency planning and preparedness is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-163
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironment International
Volume72
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was funded by European Research and Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the ARCOPOL programme.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Keywords

  • Emergency planning and preparedness
  • HNS incidents
  • Public health risk
  • Risk prioritisation

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