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Date of this Version



Published in Science of the Total Environment 322 (2004) 3–20.


Natural disasters may be powerful and prominent mechanisms of direct and indirect hazardous material (hazmat) releases. Hazardous materials that are released as the result of a technologic malfunction precipitated by a natural event are referred to as natural-technologic or na-tech events. Na-tech events pose unique environmental and human hazards. Disaster-associated hazardous material releases are of concern, given increases in population density and accelerating industrial development in areas subject to natural disasters. These trends increase the probability of catastrophic future disasters and the potential for mass human exposure to hazardous materials released during disasters. This systematic review summarizes direct and indirect disaster-associated releases, as well as environmental contamination and adverse human health effects that have resulted from natural disaster-related hazmat incidents. Thorough examination of historic disaster-related hazmat releases can be used to identify future threats and improve mitigation and prevention efforts.

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