What is the threat of a chemical attack?
Bruce Blair of the Center for Defense Information believes the danger of a deliberate chemical release along the lines of the Bhopal disaster has been underreported. “[This] represents a threat that is more dangerous from the standpoint of casualties and the accessibility of materials,” he said, compared to a biological attack. Many water treatment systems use chlorine, which they store in tanks out in the open, in unsecured areas. Baltimore is now changing from chlorine to bleach, to reduce the risk that “some jerk with a hand grenade could wreak havoc,” says O’Malley. Is your city planning similar steps? • How prepared are your local hospitals and shock trauma system for a possible attack? Schoch-Spana says flatly that the public health system in the U.S. is totally unprepared to handle an epidemic, which she says would inevitably result from large-scale bio-terrorism. Her greatest worry is an aerosol release of a toxin like smallpox–a communicable disease that cannot be treated–th