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State Programs to Reduce Uncontrolled Ammonia Releases and Associated Injury Using the Hazardous Substances Emergency Events Surveillance System

Wattigney, Wendy A. M Stat; Rice, Nancy MPH; Cooper, Debbi L.; Drew, James M. BS; Orr, Maureen F. MS

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: March 2009 - Volume 51 - Issue 3 - p 356-363
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e318197368e
Original Articles

Objective: To describe how the Hazardous Substances Emergency Events Surveillance (HSEES) program identifies leading causes of uncontrolled ammonia releases and targets activities aimed at reducing the frequency of these incidents.

Methods: Ammonia incidents reported to HSEES nationally were examined. HSEES programs in state health departments conducted and evaluated data-driven prevention outreach.

Results: The primary targeted ammonia incidents in the three HSEES states that are presented include food manufacturing, agriculture, and events related to the production of illicit methamphetamine. Key to these prevention activities was using state-specific HSEES data to identify problems and evaluate the prevention activity, and developing partnerships with other stakeholders.

Conclusion: HSEES data is used to identify determinants of chemical incidents and their outcomes and to help guide strategies to reduce such occurrences. Surveillance of chemical incidents elucidates the causes and consequences of these events and helps identify problems and measure the effectiveness of prevention programs.

From the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry (Ms Wattigney, Ms Orr), Division of Health Studies, Surveillance and Registries Branch, Atlanta, Ga; Environmental Health Division (Ms Rice), Minnesota Department of Health, St. Paul, Minn; Division of Environmental Health (Ms Cooper), Iowa Department of Public Health, Des Moines, Iowa; and Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Division of Public Health, Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Health (Mr Drew), Madison, Wis.

Address correspondence to: Wendy A. Wattigney, Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry, Division of Health Studies, Surveillance and Registries Branch, MS-F57, 4770 Buford Hwy, N.E., Atlanta, GA 30341-3717; E-mail:

©2009The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine