vides other examples of how the chemical infrastructure responds to disruption. For example, cooperative agreements between liquid hydrogen producers were activated to ensure that strategic needs for this cryogenic material were met. Even the worst accidents on record (Bhopal, Toulouse, Texas City) did not result in a situation in which the supply of the chemical or fertilizer in question could not be made available in a short time.

Agricultural chemicals and pharmaceuticals are the areas most likely to be impacted by single suppliers of specialty chemicals. However, major herbicides and fungicides have alternatives that perform as well or almost as well, so that normal agricultural practice can continue should the supply of preferred product be disrupted.8 Likewise, pharmaceutical manufacturers typically stockpile two to three months’ supply of their products as a contingency against disruption of their manufacturing capacity. Should a disruption occur that cannot be rectified in that period, doctors have two to three months to migrate their patients to alternative drugs and treatment, which exist for every major category of pharmaceutical on the market. The exception is organism-specific pharmaceuticals, such as vaccines, for which a substitute may not exist.


The U.S. Department of Homeland Security should confirm whether multiple products are available for use against pathogens of concern for potential agricultural bioterrorism attack. See National Research Council. 2003. Countering Agricultural Bioterrorism. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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