need imageChemical manufacturers are one source of hazardous materials, but there are many others, including medical device manufacturers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, hospitals, and hazardous materials waste sites. Varying quantities of hazardous materials are manufactured, used, or stored at an estimated 4.5 million facilities in the United States from major industrial plants to local dry cleaning establishments or gardening supply stores.

Hazardous materials in various forms can cause death, serious injury, long-lasting health effects, and damage to buildings, homes, and other property. Many products containing hazardous chemicals are used and stored in homes routinely. These products are also shipped daily on the nation's highways, railroads, waterways, and pipelines.

Hazardous materials come in the form of explosives, flammable and combustible substances, and poisons. These substances are most often released as a result of transportation accidents or because of chemical accidents in plants.

Chemicals are found everywhere; they purify drinking water, increase crop production, and simplify household chores. But chemicals also can be hazardous to humans or the environment if used or released improperly. Hazards can occur during production, storage, transportation, use, or disposal. You and your community are at risk if a chemical is used unsafely or released in harmful amounts into the environment where

Source: FEMA Homepage -