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To be continued: the ASHT II project [Abstract]

Schaper, A., Coleman, G., Desel, H., Edwards, N., Dragelyte, G., Duarte-Davidson, Raquel, Kupferschmidt, H., Mathieu-Nolf, M., Orford, Robert Leslie, Pelclova, D., Siemon, W. and Wyke, Stacey Marie 2009. To be continued: the ASHT II project [Abstract]. Clinical Toxicology -Taylor and Francis- 47 (5) , p. 470. 10.1080/15563650902952273

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Objective: Within the European Union there is a mesh of rapid alert systems (RAS) for different hazards, e.g. food and feed (RASFF), dangerous consumer products (RAPEX) and communicable diseases (EWRS = early warning and response system). The abbreviation RAPEX stands for the rapid alert system for all dangerous consumer products, with the exception of food, pharmaceutical and medical devices. These systems link national and European public health authorities. Although the rapid alert system for biological and chemical attacks (RAS-BICHAT) connects national focal points in case of confirmed terror attacks with chemicals, there is still a gap for chemical hazards in cases of mere suspicion: in the future poisons centres and the EAPCCT will play an important role in the process of exchanging warnings concerning these hazards within the European Union. The ASHT research project prepares tools for these important new functions. The scope of the ASHT I projects was the creation of an EUwide alerting system to detect covert release of chemicals with a criminal or terrorist intent. The acronym “ASHT” stands for “Alerting System and Development of a Health Surveillance System for the Deliberate Release of Chemicals by Terrorists”. In ASHT II this task expands to all chemical incidents. Methods: Description of political, financial, toxicological and technical aspects of the project. Results: In the first phase of the project, ASHT I, two major tasks were accomplished: the feasibility of both a rapid alert system for chemicals (RAS-CHEM) by creating DEV RAS-CHEM, a preliminary “developmental” version, and a European surveillance system between poisons centres. Like ASHT I the second phase of the project is funded by the European Commission, the EAPCCT and the other project members. The duration of the project is 36 months. In ASHT II several tasks will have to be accomplished. Firstly, the DEV RAS-CHEM draft version must be converted into an EU-wide operating rapid alert system for chemicals (RAS-CHEM). The data base must be accessible via the internet. The data base shall carry out the delivery of “chemical event” alerting. The member states’ public health surveillance authorities are to be integrated in the process. On the other hand the ‘EU PC Forum’ as a means of emergency communication between European poisons centres is to be created. This includes the testing of a prototype toxicosurveillance tool using automated data sampling in poisons centres. Toxicological aspects include the refinement of lists of chemicals, symptoms or toxidromes as important bases for mutual data exchange. Concerning the information technology level, several requirements are to be taken into consideration: for the creation of an event and for retrieval functions an appropriate relational data base structure is essential. National Public Health Authorities of the member states of the European Union and the WHO are integrated into the project as associate partners. Conclusion: The early warning system for chemicals (RAS-CHEM) will be integrated into the suite of other pre-existing EU early warning systems in the near future. There is a chance that poisons centres and the EAPCCT could upgrade their role for chemical alertness in Europe.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Additional Information: Abstracts of the XXIX International Congress of the European Association of Poison Centres and Clinical Toxicologists, May 12–15, 2009, Stockholm, Sweden
Publisher: Informa Healthcare
ISSN: 1556-3650
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2017 13:40

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