Extremely hazardous substances can be released accidentally as a result of chemical spills, industrial explosions, fires, or accidents involving railroad cars and trucks transporting EHSs. Workers and residents in communities surrounding industrial facilities where these substances are manufactured, used, or stored and in communities along the nation's railways and highways are potentially at risk of being exposed to airborne EHSs during accidental releases or intentional releases by terrorists. Pursuant to the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified approximately 400 EHSs on the basis of acute lethality data in rodents. Acute Exposure Guideline Levels for Selected Airborne Chemicals, Volume 17 identifies, reviews, and interprets relevant toxicologic and other scientific data for selected AEGL documents for acrylonitrile, carbon tetrachloride, cyanogen, epichlorohydrin, ethylene chlorohydrin, toluene, trimethylacetyl chloride, hydrogen bromide, and boron tribromide in order to develop acute exposure guideline levels (AEGLs) for these high-priority, acutely toxic chemicals.
AEGLs represent threshold exposure limits (exposure levels below which adverse health effects are not likely to occur) for the general public and are applicable to emergency exposures ranging from 10 minutes (min) to 8 h. Three levels - AEGL-1, AEGL-2, and AEGL-3 - are developed for each of five exposure periods (10 min, 30 min, 1 h, 4 h, and 8 h) and are distinguished by varying degrees of severity of toxic effects. This report will inform planning, response, and prevention in the community, the workplace, transportation, the military, and the remediation of Superfund sites.