ERLN Chemical Focus Area
One of the capabilities of the Environmental Response Laboratory Network (ERLN) is to analyzing Chemical Warfare Agents (CWAs). There are 10 CWA laboratories across the country, including three mobile labs, which are capable of receiving, storing, and analyzing Chemical Warfare Agent samples. With this expertise, the ERLN is able to provide environmental laboratory testing capability and capacity to meet EPA's responsibilities for surveillance of, response to, and recovery from incidents involving CWAs. These laboratories participate in performance exercises and multi-laboratory studies.
The ERLN unveiled Phase 1 in spring 2008 with three CWA laboratories: EPA Region 1 Laboratory, EPA Region 3 Laboratory, and the Virginia Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services. These laboratories have completed EPA gap analysis studies and made required infrastructure improvements necessary to operate. Four additional laboratories are located in Regions 6, 9, 10, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Bureau Laboratories.
The ERLN augments CWA response with three Portable High Throughput Integrated Laboratory Identification Systems (PHILIS). These PHILIS units provide real-time, onsite data to response personnel for the timely and cost-effective mitigation of CWA contaminated sites. The mobile laboratories also provide analysis of toxic industrial chemicals in the event of a natural disaster or accidental release, using state of the art gas chromatography/mass spectrometry techniques.
There is a fully operational PHILIS unit in Kentucky, New Jersey and Colorado.