The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Environmental Health (CDC/NCEH) has developed a Framework for a Heat Stress Prevention Program (Framework) to help protect workers in chemical warfare agent destruction programs who wear full body personal protective equipment (PPE). The purpose of the Framework is to prevent severe and irreversible adverse consequences of heat strain, including death from heat stroke, among those workers or any workers who use similar PPE. The Framework is based on external, scientific criteria from the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). It acknowledges the accomplishments of existing criteria and shows what to add to achieve a standardized heat stress prevention program for chemical weapons destruction programs or any other program using similar PPE.
In 1970, Congress passed Public Law 91-121/441 (50 USC 1521). This law tasked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Office of the Surgeon General (OSG) with reviewing U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) plans to transport, test, or dispose of lethal chemical agents, and to recommend actions to protect the public's health and safety during such activities.
HHS and OSG assigned those review responsibilities to the National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) at CDC. Since 1983, NCEH's Environmental Public Health Readiness Branch (EPHRB) has reviewed plans of DoD's chemical weapons demilitarization program. After these reviews, NCEH has recommended actions to protect public health and safety when chemical warfare agents are destroyed.