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Hazardous Materials Events:: An Industrial Comparison

Burgess, Jefferey L. MD, MS, MPH; Kovalchick, Dana F. BA; Harter, Lucy BA; Kyes, Kelly B. PhD; Thompson, Jeffrey N. MD, MPH

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: May 2000 - Volume 42 - Issue 5 - p 546-553
Original Articles

Identifying industries at high risk for hazardous materials releases can facilitate prevention and preparation for such events. A retrospective review by Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes was conducted on non-petroleum hazardous materials emergency events from 1993 to 1995 and collected by the Washington State Department of Health in a program supported by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Annual US Census data were used to determine the number of facilities and employees by SIC code in the state of Washington. SIC codes with the most total events and events per 10,000 employees were ranked and characterized by type of releases. In 3 years, 1269 events were recorded, with 294 involving human victims. Industries with the highest average annual number of events per 10,000 employees were agricultural chemical manufacturing (142); petroleum refining (122); industrial and miscellaneous chemical manufacturing (56); electric light and power (54); and pulp, paper, and paperboard mills (39). Industries with high rates of hazardous materials emergency events should continue to develop methods of preventing these releases.

From the Environmental & Occupational Health Unit, University of Arizona Prevention Center, Tucson, Ariz. (Dr Burgess); the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Program, University of Washington, Seattle, Wash. (Ms Kovalchick, Dr Thompson); the Washington State Department of Health, Olympia, Wash. (Ms Harter); and the Department of Health Services, University of Washington, Seattle, Wash. (Dr Kyes).

Address correspondence to: Jefferey L. Burgess MD, MS, MPH, Environmental & Occupational Health, University of Arizona, 1435 N. Fremont, Box 210468, Tucson, AZ 85719-4197; email

© 2000 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.