Homeland Security Research
EPA's mission of protecting human health and the environment includes working to prevent, prepare for, and recover from terrorist threats and incidents that involve biological, chemical, and radiological agents. Learn More
Technical summaries on EPA’s completed homeland security research.
Models, Tools and Applications
Tools to help prevent, prepare for, or recover from terrorist incidents.
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Other Research Topics
Top Three Questions
Following the attacks on September 11, 2001 and the Amerithrax incidents, EPA was asked to help address many challenging questions such as "what are the health impacts of being exposed to anthrax?", "how can we decontaminate and recover the use of the buildings that were attacked?", and "how can we detect harmful levels of chemical, biological or radiological contamination following an incident?" In 2002, the Agency created the National Homeland Security Research Center to address these and other homeland security issues. Since then we've responded to additional incidents involving mustard gas, ricin, and other homeland security threats.
Our primary responsibilities are to research ways to protect water infrastructure and to decontaminate buildings and public areas. This includes determining whether an attack has happened, characterizing the extent of its impacts, controlling contamination, assessing and communicating risks, getting useful information to first responders and safely disposing of clean-up materials. While we're not on the front lines like those agencies or EPA's own first responders, we do have a critical role to play. EPA's National Homeland Security Research Program conducts research covering chemical, biological and radiological contamination under laws such as the Safe Drinking Water Act, the 2002 Bioterrorism Act, Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act, and several Presidential Directives.
Yes, absolutely. Many departments and agencies do have related responsibilities, but we realize that we can each be more effective and efficient if we cooperate. We participate in dozens of inter-agency, domestic and international committees, working groups and task forces where our expertise and the results of our research are used and significantly contribute to planning for emergency response, clean-up and risk communication following a chemical, biological or radiological incident. We also undertake research jointly with other government entities.
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