Homeland chemical security

April 15, 2015, Inderscience Publishers

The slow implementation of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) in the USA as part of homeland security and anti-terrorism measures is leaving chemical plants vulnerable and putting at risk the safety of American citizens, according to research published in the International Journal of Critical Infrastructures.

Maria Rooijakkers and Abdul-Akeem Sadiq of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, at Indiana University-Purdue University, in Indianapolis, explain that post-9/11 efforts to safeguard the chemical sector gave the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the authority to regulate the safety and security of US chemical facilities. In April 2007, DHS added an interim final rule, the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS), but the latest information suggests that very few chemical facilities have completed the necessary implementations.

The team suggests that the chemical industry and DHS must now work more closely together before it is too late to ensure the safety and security of the US population. They also add that communities should not wait for CFATS to be implemented before developing their own preparedness and response plans in anticipation of possible chemical disasters in the future, whether caused by terrorism or accident.

The chemical sector is a vital part of the US economy, the team says, based on 2009 data it represents almost 2 percent of US (GDP) and is the nation's greatest exporter. The industry also contributes materials to a vast array of other industries from automotive and aeronautics to agriculture and healthcare. The chemical industry employs almost 1 million people directly and sustains an additional 5.5 million jobs in other sectors. Moreover, it is officially considered to be part of the USA's critical infrastructure as stated in the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) of 2009 being essential to sustenance of the economy and government itself.

The prominence and importance of the as well as the proximity of its facilities to densely populated areas make it a particularly vulnerable target for terrorist attack, hence the DHS interest and rules. Indeed, four of the fifteen National Planning Scenarios are related to chemical attacks, the team points out. However, of the 3468 chemical facilities given their final tier designations under CFATS in 2007, a mere 40 of these had had their plans approved by 2013 and the pace of adoption and implement is yet to pick up.

Explore further: New crime-fighting tools aim to deter and nab terrorists

More information: Int. J. Critical Infrastructures, Vol. 11, No. 2, 2015

Related Stories

New crime-fighting tools aim to deter and nab terrorists

February 8, 2012

Fingerprints, ballistics, DNA analysis and other mainstays of the forensic science toolkit may get a powerful new crime-solving companion as scientists strive to develop technology for "fingerprinting" and tracing the origins ...

Terrorism risk determines homeland security spending

June 5, 2008

A new study in Policy Studies Journal reveals that measures of terrorism risk are found to be positive determinants of Homeland Security funding, while measures of political influence and party affiliation of elected officials ...

2013 economic outlook for global chemical industry

January 16, 2013

The 2013 outlook for the global chemical industry—a $3 trillion enterprise that impacts virtually every other sector of the economy—is the topic of the cover story in this week's edition of Chemical & Engineering News. ...

The chemical industry heads into 2014 on solid footing

January 15, 2014

After spending three years struggling to recover from the 2007-2009 recession, the global chemistry industry can finally look forward to a rosier year ahead. The cover story of Chemical & Engineering News, ACS' weekly newsmagazine, ...

New report shows terrorism is top of mind in US

April 16, 2013

(Phys.org) —More Americans think about terrorist attacks than violent crime victimization or hospitalization, according to a new report published by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism ...

Recommended for you

Targeting 'hidden pocket' for treatment of stroke and seizure

January 19, 2019

The ideal drug is one that only affects the exact cells and neurons it is designed to treat, without unwanted side effects. This concept is especially important when treating the delicate and complex human brain. Now, scientists ...

Technology near for real-time TV political fact checks

January 18, 2019

A Duke University team expects to have a product available for election year that will allow television networks to offer real-time fact checks onscreen when a politician makes a questionable claim during a speech or debate.

Artificially produced cells communicate with each other

January 18, 2019

Friedrich Simmel and Aurore Dupin, researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), have for the first time created artificial cell assemblies that can communicate with each other. The cells, separated by fatty membranes, ...

Using bacteria to create a water filter that kills bacteria

January 18, 2019

More than one in 10 people in the world lack basic drinking water access, and by 2025, half of the world's population will be living in water-stressed areas, which is why access to clean water is one of the National Academy ...

Hand-knitted molecules

January 18, 2019

Molecules are usually formed in reaction vessels or laboratory flasks. An Empa research team has now succeeded in producing molecules between two microscopically small, movable gold tips – in a sense as a "hand-knitted" ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.