Home Podcasts THMG077 – TRACEM, Part II



In this episode, Bob and Mike conclude their discussion of TRACEM and the role it plays in hazmat response.

Complete Show Notes

1:40 C is for Chemical

  • Our concern here is all of the ways chemicals can negatively impact us – the list is long, so we’ve tried to simplify it
  • Ways a chemical can interact with our bodies
    • Direct contact – solid, liquid, or gas
    • Injection
    • Inhalation
    • Absorption
    • Ingestion
  • Different ways chemicals can hurt us:
    • Acids and bases
      • Attack most of the hydrocarbons in the skin
      • Break down the bond that hold tissue together
      • Bases have a tendency to do more damage to fatty tissues, whereas acids really like proteins
    • Chemical burns
      • We can still be burned, even if we aren’t dealing with acids or bases – most oxidizers can burn us
      • Hydrogen peroxide can bleach our hands while we’re using it to clean up grease
    • Nervous system
      • “Nerve agents” get between synaptic gaps and prevent the nerve cells from shutting down
      • Acid has the secondary impact of actually seeking out CA – this is critical for the nervous system, because neurons have to be able to talk to each other
      • With nerve agents, our system is stuck on the on position and gets shut down
      • MG gets into our nervous system and starts at cause neuron atrophy
    • Metabolic processes
      • The metabolic process is the cemetery that happens in the cells to create energy
      • HCN is an example, because it prevents the creation of ATP
    • Organ processes
      • We see this listed in NIOSH as target organs
      • Each organ in our bodies have specific function and have a special biochemistry – different chemicals can go in, affect the chemistry of that organ, and cause organ failure
      • The two main organs responsible for pulling toxic materials in and out are the liver and the kidneys – this is because material often becomes concentrated there as the body tries to metabolize or excrete it

11:00 E is for Etiological

  • Biological stuff – viruses, bacteria, fungi, etc.
  • Also deals with materials created from living organisms, like botulism, ricin, etc.
  • Etiological harm can be just as complicated as chemical arm, so we’ll just touch on the highlights
  • There are a few different ways infections can come about, including influenza, ebola, anthrax, and sepsis
  • Parasites – little organisms that get into your body and use your system as part of their lifecycle
  • Byproducts of biology – includes botulism, toxin, and ricin
  • The differences between etiological stuff and chemicals is that these toxins are large, complex proteins that interfere with our biomechanical processes
  • Etiological damage may take days to weeks to crop up – you may not notice it right away

15:40 M is for Mechanical