The American Council on Science and Health Releases... Two Comprehensive Guides on Terrorism Preparedness and Response

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At a press conference in New York City, the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) released two new books on terrorism preparedness and response. A Citizen's Guide to Terrorism Preparedness and Response: Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear is written specifically for residents of the City of New York, and A Citizen's Guide to Terrorism Preparedness and Response: Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear is targeted to a national audience.

Published with the purpose of educating the general public on terrorism preparedness, ACSH's new guides separate the hype from the fiction to give the facts on disease susceptibility, how to prepare, and what not to do. The 96-page Guides serve as comprehensive directories of facts, research, and expert advice from world-renowned scientists and medical professionals and address all aspects of terrorism preparedness, from hard facts about weapons of mass destruction to the psychological effects of terrorism.

ACSH's concern is that the public has been inundated with contradictory information emphasizing hypothetical risk and blowing unlikely situations out of proportion. For example, much of the mass media has focused on the potential threat of a smallpox attack, assuming that if smallpox is released in one city it could be an epidemic across the country within days. But contrary to popular wisdom, smallpox is not easily spread through a community. On the other hand, ACSH scientists have argued that Americans have greatly underestimated the threat of anthrax, even after the anthrax attacks two short years ago. Similarly, Americans are told to believe that having supplies of duct tape and potassium iodide pills will offer substantial protection in the case of terrorist attacks. ACSH's guides do not recommend that consumers stock up on duct tape, noting that taping windows will offer no more substantial protection than simply closing the windows and turning off the ventilation system in the case of an attack. Potassium iodide pills offer only limited protection in highly unique situations and even then they offer protection only to young persons, not adults.

It is imperative to ACSH that all Americans have the information necessary to protect themselves. Discounts are available on purchases of 50 or more copies (ACSH members receive a special 25% discount). Contact Jeff Stier (212-362-7044, ext. 225; stier@acsh.org) to arrange media interviews or appearances by ACSH representatives.