Global event-based surveillance of chemical incidents

J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2023 Jan;33(1):111-117. doi: 10.1038/s41370-021-00384-8. Epub 2021 Nov 8.


Background: The number of chemicals in our society and in our daily lives continues to increase. Accompanying this is an increasing risk of human exposure to and injury from hazardous substances. Performing regular, structured surveillance of chemical incidents allows a greater awareness of the types of chemical hazards causing injury and the frequency of their occurrence, as well as providing a better understanding of exposures.

Objective: The objective of performing event-based surveillance (EBS) and capturing chemical incidents is to use this information to increase the situational awareness of chemical incidents, improve the management of these incidents and to inform measures to protect public health.

Methods: This paper describes a method for EBS for chemical incidents, including the sources used, storing the gathered information and subsequent analysis of potential trends in the data.

Results: We describe trends in the type of incidents that have been detected, the chemicals involved in these incidents and the health effects caused, in different geographic regions of the world.

Significance: The methodology presented here provides a rapid and simple means of identifying chemical incidents that can be set up rapidly and with minimal cost, the outputs of which can be used to identify emerging risks and inform preparedness planning, response and training for chemical incidents.

Keywords: Chemical exposure; Chemical incident; Chemicals; EBS; Surveillance.

MeSH terms

  • Chemical Hazard Release*
  • Hazardous Substances
  • Humans


  • Hazardous Substances