This article describes the approach used to develop a prioritized list of toxic and hazardous industrial chemical hazards considered to pose substantial risk to deployed troops and military operations. The U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine published the prioritized list in November 2003. The work was performed as part of a multinational military effort supported by Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Previous chemical priority lists had been developed to support military as well as homeland defense research, development, and acquisition communities to determine enhanced detection and protection needs. However, there were questions as to the adequacy of the methodologies and focus of the previous efforts. This most recent effort is a more extensive evaluation of over 1700 industrial chemicals, with a modified methodology that includes not only the assessment of acute inhalation toxic industrial chemicals (TICs), but also chemicals/compounds that pose substantial physical risk (from fire/explosion) and those that may pose acute ingestion risks (such as in water supplies). The methodology was designed to rank such hazards from a strategic (global) military perspective, but it may be adapted to address more site/user specific needs. Users of this or any other chemical priority list are cautioned that the derivation of such lists is largely influenced by subjective decisions and significant variability in chemical-specific data availability and quality.
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