Between Safety and Security: The Policy Challenges of Transporting Toxic Inhalation Hazards

Lewis M. Branscomb 1 , Ryan N. Ellis 2  and Mark Fagan 3
  • 1 Harvard University and University of California, San Diego
  • 2 Stanford University
  • 3 Harvard University

Abstract

The transportation of hazardous materials is vital to the U.S. economy and inherently dangerous. In the decade since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, policymakers have struggled to confront the distinct safety and security challenges associated with hazardous materials transportation. Reducing the risks of “toxic inhalation hazards,” a dangerous subset of hazardous materials, from both accidents and intentional disruptions is an ongoing source of controversy. In this paper, we examine proposed risk mitigation measures and outline a policy program designed to reduce the risks associated with hazardous materials transportation. The analysis highlights the limitations and counterproductive nature of narrowly-targeted strategies exclusively designed to confront either safety or security, and emphasizes the importance of comprehensive risk-mitigation strategies.

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The Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (JHSEM) publishes original, innovative and timely articles describing and assessing research and practice in the fields of homeland security and emergency management. JHSEM promotes a comprehensive and dynamic perspective, providing readers with up-to-date information regarding the evolving nature of the homeland security and emergency management fields.

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