Due to the increased threats of chemical and biological agents of injury by terrorist organizations, a significant effort is underway to develop tools that can be used to detect and effectively combat chemical and biochemical toxins. In addition to the right mix of policies and training of medical personnel on how to recognize symptoms of biochemical warfare agents, the major success in combating terrorism still lies in the prevention, early detection and the efficient and timely response using reliable analytical technologies and powerful therapies for minimizing the effects in the event of an attack. The public and regulatory agencies expect reliable methodologies and devices for public security. Today's systems are too bulky or slow to meet the "detect-to-warn" needs for first responders such as soldiers and medical personnel. This paper presents the challenges in monitoring technologies for warfare agents and other toxins. It provides an overview of how advances in environmental analytical methodologies could be adapted to design reliable sensors for public safety and environmental surveillance. The paths to designing sensors that meet the needs of today's measurement challenges are analyzed using examples of novel sensors, autonomous cell-based toxicity monitoring, 'Lab-on-a-Chip' devices and conventional environmental analytical techniques. Finally, in order to ensure that the public and legal authorities are provided with quality data to make informed decisions, guidelines are provided for assessing data quality and quality assurance using the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US-EPA) methodologies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law