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Toxic Industrial Chemicals

What is a toxic industrial chemical?

Toxic industrial chemicals (TICs) are created and used by commercial or medical industries that can seriously harm human health if released into the environment. TICs can be in the form of solid, liquid or gas. TICs can be chemical hazards (cancer agents, reproductive hazards or agents that affect the lungs or blood) or physical hazards (flammable, explosive or reactive). Acids, pesticides and solvents are examples of TICs.



How could I be exposed to a TIC?

People could be exposed to TICs in a chemical emergency. A release could occur from a leak or spill from a large industrial container, a fire, a natural disaster or a terrorist attack. TICs can enter the body through inhalation, through the skin or through digestion. Some TICs may be able to pass through clothing to get onto a person’s skin.

How can exposure to TICs affect my health?

Injury caused by a TIC depends on the chemical and the amount, the length and type of exposure. Short term exposure to certain TICs at high dosages can cause such immediate health effects as:

  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Irritation of nose, mouth, throat, eyes or skin
  • Serious injury or death at very high exposures
Some exposures can result in delayed or long term health effects. People with existing health problems, children and the elderly are generally more susceptible to the effects of harmful chemicals

What should I do if I have been exposed to a TIC?

Prevent further exposure. Leave the area where the TIC was released and get fresh air immediately.
  • If the chemical was released outdoors, leave the area.
  • If the chemical was released indoors, get out of the building.
Decontaminate. Get the TIC off your body as quickly as possible.
  • Remove contaminated clothing and avoid contact with your skin.

    Place clothes in a double plastic bag and seal the bag.
  • Disposal sites will be set up for the bags
  • Listen for instructions on how to decontaminate yourself, as some chemicals may be reactive to water

What should I do if I have been injured from exposure to TICs?

If you have symptoms of TIC exposure, seek medical treatment immediately.

Is there any medical treatment or any medical tests for exposure to TICs?

Treatment and testing for exposure to a TIC depends on the chemical you were exposed to and how you were exposed (inhaled, through the skin or digested).

How do TICs affect pets?

Pets exposed to a toxic chemical are likely to experience similar harmful effects as people. Listen for instructions from officials on how to properly clean your pets. Contact a veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (1-888-426-4435).

What if a TIC is released in New York City?

City agencies have emergency response plans in place to minimize the harm to NYC residents, workers and visitors. During an emergency, health officials will inform the public via TV and radio news on how best to protect yourself and your loved ones.

How can I prepare for an emergency?

Being as prepared as possible before an emergency happens is the best way to stay safe. Tools that can help in any emergency include a household disaster plan, an emergency supply kit and a bag of supplies you can grab on the go (a go-bag).

Visit Notify NYC to sign up to receive updates about emergencies from City officials and/or nyc.gov/health.

How Will I Cope?

A toxic industrial chemical incident in NYC can be very stressful, especially if it is large scale event. It can disrupt your everyday life and make you and those around you feel less safe. You may experience fear and uncertainty. Learning about stress and strategies to manage it can help you cope.

Prepare Today, Cope Better Tomorrow - Stress during Disasters provides basic information and practical advice on dealing with the stress and anxiety caused by disasters. It is available in seven languages.

If there is a toxic industrial chemical incident in the city and you feel overwhelmed and unable to cope, or if you are concerned about someone else, you can find help by calling 1-800 LIFENET. LIFENET is a free, confidential helpline for New York City residents, available 24/7, with trained staff ready to take your calls and offer advice: 1-800-LifeNet 1-800-543-3638 (English), 1-877-Ayudese 1-877-298-3373 (Spanish), 1-877-990-8585 (Chinese), 1-212-982-5284 (TTY).

Where can I get more information?

For more information about toxic industrial chemicals (TICs), visit:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Office of Emergency Management, Ready New York"