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Golden Triangle, NC, United States

McGinty M.D.,Center for Health Security | McGinty M.D.,Johns Hopkins University | Burke T.A.,Johns Hopkins University | Burke T.A.,EPAs Office of Research and Development | And 3 more authors.
Health Security

Hospitals were once thought to be places of refuge during catastrophic hurricanes, but recent disasters such as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy have demonstrated that some hospitals are unable to ensure the safety of patients and staff and the continuity of medical care at key times. The government has a duty to safeguard public health and a responsibility to ensure that appropriate protective action is taken when disasters threaten or impair the ability of hospitals to sustain essential services. The law can enable the government to fulfill this duty by providing necessary authority to order preventive or reactive responses - such as ordering evacuation of or sheltering-in-place in hospitals - when safety is imperiled. We systematically identified and analyzed state emergency preparedness laws that could have affected evacuation of and sheltering-in-place in hospitals in order to characterize the public health legal preparedness of 4 states (Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York) in the mid-Atlantic region during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. At that time, none of these 4 states had enacted statutes or regulations explicitly granting the government the authority to order hospitals to shelter-in-place. Whereas all 4 states had enacted laws explicitly enabling the government to order evacuation, the nature of this authority and the individuals empowered to execute it varied. We present empirical analyses intended to enhance public health legal preparedness and ensure these states and others are better able to respond to future natural disasters, which are predicted to be more severe and frequent as a result of climate change, as well as other hazards. States can further improve their readiness for catastrophic disasters by ensuring explicit statutory authority to order evacuation and to order sheltering-in-place, particularly of hospitals, where it does not currently exist. © Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2016. Source

Kaufman A.,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | Brown A.,EPAs Office of Research and Development | Barzyk T.,EPAs Office of Research and Development | Williams R.,EPAs Office of Research and Development
EM: Air and Waste Management Association's Magazine for Environmental Managers

A cache of resources is being developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help interested parties become familiar with, and appropriately use, low-cost air quality sensors. The development of the Citizen Science Toolbox is filling a vital niche in helping to advance environmental air quality monitoring for a wide variety of purposes. © 2014 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. Source

Hubbell B.,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | Fox T.,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | Dimmick W.F.,EPAs Office of Research and Development | Sheldon L.,EPAs Office of Research and Development
EM: Air and Waste Management Association's Magazine for Environmental Managers

Exposure science is an important component to the setting, implementation, and communication of the NAAQS. However, more research is needed to better understand personal exposure, particularly the links between observed health effects, exposure to specific sources and emissions, and activity data. Improving multipollutant exposure science has been identified as particularly important, since we know that interactions between components in a mixture can change the mixture's toxicity and the resulting risk response. Improved information would allow a more refined review of the NAAQS, particularly in enhancing identification of vulnerable and susceptible populations. In the implementation of the NAAQS, it would help promote a MPRB approach that could assist policy-makers in developing more cost effective air quality management plans that maximize risk reduction while minimizing both societal costs and health inequality. Furthermore, improvements in exposure science would translate into enhanced public communication of the health effects of breathing polluted air, and the types of activities and environments that cause greater exposure to polluted air, and ultimately, result in more effective protection of public health and the environment. Copyright 2011 Air & Waste Management Association. Source

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