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ISEA2007 panel: Integration of better exposure characterizations into disaster preparedness for responders and the public


An expert panel was convened in October 2007 at the International Society for Exposure Analysis Annual Meeting in Durham, NC, entitled “The Path Forward in Disaster Preparedness Since WTC—Exposure Characterization and Mitigation: Substantial Unfinished Business!” The panel prospectively discussed the critical exposure issues being overlooked during disaster responses and highlighted the needs for an optimal blending of exposure characterizations and hazard controls within disaster settings. The cases were made that effective and timely exposure characterizations must be applied during responses to any disaster, whether terrorist, manmade, or natural in origin. The consistent application of exposure sciences across acute and chronic disaster timelines will assure that the most effective strategies are applied to collect the needed information to guide risk characterization and management approaches. Exposure sciences must be effectively applied across all phases of a disaster (defined as rescue, reentry, recovery, and rehabitation—the four Rs) to appropriately characterize risks and guide risk-mitigation approaches. Failure to adequately characterize and control hazardous exposures increases the likelihood of excess morbidity and mortality. Advancing the infrastructure and the technologies to collect the right exposure information before, during, and immediately after disasters would advance our ability to define risks and protect responders and the public better. The panel provided conclusions, recommendations, and next steps toward effective and timely integration of better exposure science into disaster preparedness, including the need for a subsequent workshop to facilitate this integration. All panel presentations and a summary were uploaded to the ISES1 website (

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The assistance of Clifford Weisel (current ISES president) and Dana Barr (current editor of JESEE) in highlighting the critical importance of this exposure topic for both ISEA members and the public is greatly appreciated, as are the efforts of Michael Dellarco and Carol Rougvie in getting the special ISES Web page set up in a timely manner. We are indebted to Representative David Price for his thoughtful keynote comments supporting the critical importance of these issues, as well as to Darek Newby for providing Rep. Price's material in a downloadable format for posting, especially during a very busy Congressional period. The assistance of Anne Lutes in preparing the initial draft paper from the panel summary material provided a very quick start to the process of getting the panel highlights into a JESEE format. And special thanks to Edo Pellizzari and Paul Lioy for their helpful insights during the panel planning process.

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Correspondence to Charles E Rodes.

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1The International Society for Exposure Analysis (ISEA) was renamed in 2008 the International Society for Exposure Science (ISES).


The United States Environmental Protection Agency through its Office of Research and Development has funded and managed the research mentioned by Vallero. It has been subjected to Agency review and approved for publication. The findings and conclusions of this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the US Public Health Service, or the Department of Homeland Security.

Additional NIOSH resources on the Internet:

Worker Emergency Preparedness Research Portfolio at

Emergency Response Resources for Responders at

Exposure Assessment Research Portfolio at

Pre-Exposure Medical Screening

Post-Exposure Medical Screening

Disaster Response Workers at

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Rodes, C., Pellizzari, E., Dellarco, M. et al. ISEA2007 panel: Integration of better exposure characterizations into disaster preparedness for responders and the public. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 18, 541–550 (2008).

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  • disaster
  • exposure assessment
  • personal exposure
  • risk

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