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Doneen Hollingsworth, Secretary of Health

What is Chemical Terrorism?

Chemical terrorism is the intentional use of chemicals to scare, injure, or kill people. Although rare, chemical agents have been used to disrupt daily activities, such as the 1995 release of nerve gas in a Japanese subway. Sometimes hazardous chemicals are also released accidentally, such as a chemical spill at a manufacturing plant. It may be very difficult initially to determine intent.

Depending on the nature of chemicals and the manner in which they are released, chemicals can contaminate the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food supply, or surfaces that people contact. Methods to spread chemicals may be as simple as opening a container, using a common garden sprayer, or as tricky as exploding a bomb with chemicals inside.

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