International Programme on Chemical Safety

Chemical incidents and emergencies

Chemical releases arising from technological incidents, natural disasters, conflicts and terrorism are common. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has estimated that between 2000 and 2009, there were nearly 3,200 technological disasters with approximately 100,000 people killed, and more than 1.5 million people affected. Through the International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS):

  • WHO maintains functions to rapidly detect, verify/assess, alert and respond to chemical events of international public health concern as part of the revised International Health Regulations.
  • WHO provides guidance for the strengthening the role of public health in chemical incident and emergency prevention, preparedness, detection, alert, response and recovery, particularly for developing countries and those with economies in transition.

Further information and key resources related to chemical incidents and emergencies can be found on the Environmental health in emergencies web site.

Key resources