Online Program

Rapid response to chemical emergencies in the petrochemical corridor

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 2:30 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.

Anna Hrybyk, MPH, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, New Orleans, LA
The Louisiana Bucket Brigade (LABB) is an environmental health and justice organization that works with communities affected by petrochemical pollution. Louisiana faces frequent chemical emergencies because of its vulnerability to severe weather but also because it is home to over 150 petrochemical plants on shore and over 40,000 oil wells off shore. Over 200,000 people and 90 schools are within 2 miles of a refinery in Louisiana. Communities are predominantly low-income and African American.

In Louisiana alone, reports of petrochemical pollution to the National Response Center averaged 8 per day in 2012. Refineries in the state averaged five accidents per week from 2005-2011. Explosions have cracked foundations of homes, oil oozes from residents' bricks when it rains, and children play in canals regularly polluted with toxic effluent.

In 2010, the CDC and ATSDR identified gaps in chemical emergency preparedness and response including insufficient data on chemical accidents when they are occurring and the lack of outreach and community training on preparedness and chemical awareness.

In 2012, LABB developed a volunteer based Rapid Response Team (RRT) to fill these gaps. The goal of the RRT is to ensure that communities are meaningful participants in preparedness, response and recovery for chemical emergencies in Louisiana through the following aims: 1. Impacted communities are trained to use tools to document impacts in real time such as LABB's iWitness Pollution Map and door-to-door health surveys. 2. The RRT disseminates information on the current emergency, historical patterns of accidents, health effects of chemicals released. 3. Impacted communities use collected evidence to demand reduced pollution from surrounding industry.

Outcomes of this program include: • Improved government response to chemical emergencies. • Increased access to data on community health impacts during chemical emergencies. • Increased community access to information on chemical emergencies happening in their area.

Learning Areas:

Environmental health sciences
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate case studies of past Rapid Response Team deployments. List changes in chemical emergency response as a result of Rapid Response Team deployments.

Keyword(s): Disasters, Environmental Health Hazards

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Program Manager at the Louisiana Bucket Brigade that oversees the Refinery Efficiency Initiative, Rapid Response for Chemical Emergencies and two programs on public health and chemical exposure in Baton Rouge and Shreveport.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.