Preparedness Response to Hazard and Toxic Incidents, and Food Terrorism
The nerve gas sarin has been responsible for tragic disasters in Matsumoto city, Nagano in 1994 and in the Tokyo subway system in 1995, which was a terrorist attack against non-military citizens. These chemical weapons exposures shocked the world, and have become sources of social concern. Thereafter there were several toxic substance-evoked incidents in Japan, specˆcally a poisoning due to curry containing arsenite at Wakayama city and foods and drinks containing other toxic chemicals.
... g these tragic events, the Japanese government started to prepare a risk and medical management system for countering chemical and biological terrorism by developing a network of nationwide highlysophisticated analytical instruments in police research institutes and emergency hospitals. Various ministries and National Research Institutes also provide information, guidelines and treatments for chemical and biological agents. In the event of an emergency such as a mass chemical exposure or mass food poisoning, information on"when, where, who, whom, what, how" should be reported rapidly and accurately to theˆrst responding national organizations, such as police andˆre departments, health care centers, and hospitals. Pharmaceutical scientists and pharmacists have been educated and trained on the handling of toxic chemical substances as well as drugs, and thus in the case of an event, they can become advisers for risk assessment and the analysis of drugs and chemicals. Japan has experienced food-and drinkpoisonings as terrorism-like attacks. Poisonings caused by the herbicide paraquat and other pesticides including organophosphate insecticides, potassium cyanate and the above-mentioned arsenite-poisoned curry food have occurred. Because of easy access to internet-aided purchases of toxic substances and the import and export of foods, we must pay attention to possible massive exposures through foods and develop emergency management measufes to counter them.