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Executive Summary

In keeping with a congressional mandate (Public Law 104-484) and the Chemical Weapons Convention, the United States is currently destroying its chemical weapons stockpile. The stockpile initially contained more than 31,000 tons of nerve and blister chemical agents, much of which was loaded into explosive munitions, including bombs, tactical rockets, projectiles, and mines. Under the direction of the Army's Program Manager for Chemical Demilitarization, the disposal of chemical agents and munitions began in 1990 with the completion of the Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System (JACADS). Johnston Island, approximately 825 miles southwest of Hawaii, was the only noncontinental site of stockpiled U.S. chemical agents and munitions.

The destruction of the chemical agents and munitions stored in the continental United States commenced in 1996 with initial operation of the Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (TOCDF) at Deseret Chemical Depot near Tooele, Utah, where more than 44 percent of the continental U.S. stockpile was located. A separate chemical demilitarization research and development facility, the Chemical Agent Munitions Disposal System (CAMDS), is also in operation at Deseret Chemical Depot. Chemical munitions and/or bulk containers of chemical agents are also stored at seven other continental U.S. sites. The construction of disposal facilities at five of these sites is under way, as is the process of selecting disposal technologies for the remaining two. The nation's goal is to complete destruction of the stockpile by April 29, 2007, as called for in the Chemical Weapons Convention. As of December 2000, about 22 percent of the total stockpile had been destroyed at JACADS and TOCDF. The last of the chemical weapons stored on Johnston Island were destroyed in November 2000.

Given the significant risk associated with continued storage of chemical agents and munitions, and given the international commitment for their disposal imposed by the Chemical Weapons Convention, the destruction of the remaining stockpile should proceed expeditiously, and in a manner that protects the health and safety of the workers and the public at each site. The continued operation of TOCDF and CAMDS at Deseret Chemical Depot, and the planned opening of seven other continental U.S. disposal facilities, will require a significant increase in the number of workers. In late 2000, approximately 1,300 workers (including those at JACADS) were employed. Taking into account staff turnover, and including both operating contractor and Army oversight personnel, the cumulative number of workers at all of the chemical agent disposal facilities is anticipated to increase to 8,600.

The Army must ensure that the chemical demilitarization workforce is protected from the risks of exposure to hazardous chemicals during disposal operations and during and after facility closure. Good industrial practices developed in the chemical and nuclear energy industries and other operations that involve the processing of hazardous materials include workplace monitoring of hazardous species and a systematic occupational health program for monitoring workers' activities and health. In this report, the National Research Council Committee on Review and Evaluation of the



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Page 1 Executive Summary In keeping with a congressional mandate (Public Law 104-484) and the Chemical Weapons Convention, the United States is currently destroying its chemical weapons stockpile. The stockpile initially contained more than 31,000 tons of nerve and blister chemical agents, much of which was loaded into explosive munitions, including bombs, tactical rockets, projectiles, and mines. Under the direction of the Army's Program Manager for Chemical Demilitarization, the disposal of chemical agents and munitions began in 1990 with the completion of the Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System (JACADS). Johnston Island, approximately 825 miles southwest of Hawaii, was the only noncontinental site of stockpiled U.S. chemical agents and munitions. The destruction of the chemical agents and munitions stored in the continental United States commenced in 1996 with initial operation of the Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (TOCDF) at Deseret Chemical Depot near Tooele, Utah, where more than 44 percent of the continental U.S. stockpile was located. A separate chemical demilitarization research and development facility, the Chemical Agent Munitions Disposal System (CAMDS), is also in operation at Deseret Chemical Depot. Chemical munitions and/or bulk containers of chemical agents are also stored at seven other continental U.S. sites. The construction of disposal facilities at five of these sites is under way, as is the process of selecting disposal technologies for the remaining two. The nation's goal is to complete destruction of the stockpile by April 29, 2007, as called for in the Chemical Weapons Convention. As of December 2000, about 22 percent of the total stockpile had been destroyed at JACADS and TOCDF. The last of the chemical weapons stored on Johnston Island were destroyed in November 2000. Given the significant risk associated with continued storage of chemical agents and munitions, and given the international commitment for their disposal imposed by the Chemical Weapons Convention, the destruction of the remaining stockpile should proceed expeditiously, and in a manner that protects the health and safety of the workers and the public at each site. The continued operation of TOCDF and CAMDS at Deseret Chemical Depot, and the planned opening of seven other continental U.S. disposal facilities, will require a significant increase in the number of workers. In late 2000, approximately 1,300 workers (including those at JACADS) were employed. Taking into account staff turnover, and including both operating contractor and Army oversight personnel, the cumulative number of workers at all of the chemical agent disposal facilities is anticipated to increase to 8,600. The Army must ensure that the chemical demilitarization workforce is protected from the risks of exposure to hazardous chemicals during disposal operations and during and after facility closure. Good industrial practices developed in the chemical and nuclear energy industries and other operations that involve the processing of hazardous materials include workplace monitoring of hazardous species and a systematic occupational health program for monitoring workers' activities and health. In this report, the National Research Council Committee on Review and Evaluation of the

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Page 2 Army Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program examines the methods and systems used at JACADS and TOCDF, the two operational facilities, to monitor the concentrations of airborne and condensed-phase chemical agents, agent breakdown products, and other substances of concern. The committee also reviews the occupational health programs at these sites, including their industrial hygiene and occupational medicine components. Finally, it evaluates the nature, quality, and utility of records of workplace chemical monitoring and occupational health programs. In general, the committee finds that both workplace monitoring and occupational health programs at JACADS and TOCDF have been conducted in a professional manner and that current methods of detecting airborne agents are adequate. Nevertheless, recent advances in monitoring technology could reduce false alarm rates and decrease response times. Therefore, the committee recommends that the Army continue to evaluate potential improvements. The committee also identifies weaknesses in the monitoring of EA-2192, an agent breakdown product, and in the rapid quantification of contamination by agent and agent breakdown products on surfaces and in liquid and solid materials. The Army should keep abreast of advances in analytical methods and continue its efforts to develop new techniques. The committee also recommends that the Army monitor advances in biomedical diagnostic techniques that could provide more sensitive measurements of very low level exposures to blister agents. Finally, based on past experiences, many employees are likely to work at more than one chemical agent disposal facility. Therefore, an analysis of workplace monitoring and/or occupational health data for several sites may be necessary to assess histories of individual workers and identify systemwide trends. Cross-site data reviews and analyses could be greatly improved if contractors used standardized reporting formats, which would facilitate electronic access to data records from all sites. The committee recommends the adoption of standardized report formats and electronically accessible records for occupational health and related records. Detailed findings and recommendations are presented in Chapter 5.