Skip all navigation Skip to page navigation

DHHS Home | A-Z Site Map | Divisions | About Us | Contacts

NC Department of Health and Human Services
NC Division of Public Health
N.C. Public Health Home

Occupational & Environmental Epidemiology

Toxic Substance Releases

North Carolina uses the Chemical Preparedness and Response Surveillance (ChPRS) Program to monitor toxic substance releases that occur within the state. This program’s goal is to protect people from harm caused by toxic substance releases.

Information on toxic substance releases is collected from multiple sources, including Emergency Management and Department of Transportation, and entered into the ChPRS database for tracking.

Specific ChPRS program objectives are:

  • To coordinate with other federal, state, and local agencies to collect and share data.
  • To describe where, when, why, how, and who are affected by acute toxic substance releases.
  • To identify problem areas in North Carolina so the state can target and evaluate prevention efforts.
  • To prevent incidents by promoting safer product alternatives, transport and handling methods, and/or manufacturing system designs.

ChPRS began in 2017, building on the data previously collected by the National Toxic Substance Incidents Program (NTSIP) External link surveillance system and the Hazardous Substances Emergency Events Surveillance (HSEES) External link program.

What is a toxic substance?

Data are collected for ChPRS if a release is:

  • uncontrolled or illegal AND
  • lasts less than 72 hours AND
  • the substance is considered toxic (it can reasonably be expected to cause adverse human health effects).

A list of highly toxic substances was established by ATSDR to specify substances that are reported to the surveillance database when any amount of that material is released. These substances were selected using information from credible, external lists of hazardous substances.

Single-substance petroleum incidents are only included if an injury was caused by the released substance or if a public health action (such as an evacuation or environmental sampling) was taken. Petroleum is not included if being used to fuel a vehicle at the time of the incident, unless another toxic substance was also released.

Incidents that occur at private homes (or other types of private property) are only included when a public health action was taken. For a detailed explanation of the criterion used to determine if a toxic substance release is entered as a transportation event or a fixed facility event, please read the definition developed by ATSDR (PDF, 44KB).

Facts and Figures

For Additional Information