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Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear insecurity

Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear insecurity

Last update: 2022-03-22

Key facts

Events may be acute or chronic, from a known or unknown source, localized or widespread. An event may be airborne, waterborne, foodborne or transmitted through contaminated soil.

Main health impacts

Health concern Risk factors
Health effects are specific to the agent, dose and route of exposure. The agent may be an irritant or may have specific toxicity. It can contaminate the skin and eyes or be inhaled or ingested. The main causes of mortality are poisoning leading to organ failure, asphyxia or neurological collapse.
  • Contaminated water and food. 
  • Displacement of affected populations, especially if prolonged. 
  • Inadequate or crowded shelter. 
  • Armed conflicts. 
  • Damaged nuclear power plants.