For nearly 14 years, Paul Nony, PhD, CIH, has been an expert on worker and community health during chemical emergency situations. As a CTEH senior toxicologist, serving on both the Toxicology Emergency Response Program (TERP) and Worker Exposure Response Program (WERP) teams, he has participated in more than 100 major chemical spills and 300 worker exposure incidents. Learn more about Dr. Nony’s impressive career at CTEH below:

You fill many shoes here at CTEH. What does your job entail?

My daily tasks are frequently changing, which makes my job both interesting and fun. The best part is I don’t always know where I’m going to be from week to week. One week, I may be in the office preparing a technical report. Another week, I may be in the field on an emergency response or discussing potential health risks with impacted communities. The variety of this job makes it impossible to ever get bored.

  • As senior toxicologist, I’m responsible for helping manage our toxicology group that includes eight toxicologists and support staff. This includes everyday management tasks and mentoring our younger toxicologists. All of this work is aimed at building on our founders’ success so CTEH can continue to grow and thrive.
  • I’m proud to be part of the TERP team, which is available 24/7/365 to mobilize to incident sites. No other company has a program like it. When CTEH is called out for a large chemical emergency, a toxicologist is always on the ground leading the most experienced response team in the industry. Our toxicologists are able to quickly make science-based decisions about what chemicals are involved, how to best detect and quantify them, and what steps need to be taken to protect workers and the community during an incident and cleanup.
  • As part of the WERP team, our toxicologists are on call 24/7/365 to provide chemical information to workers who may have experienced chemical exposures on the job. We help determine the chemicals present, the potential for exposure, and document the workers’ symptoms. If the workers seek medical attention, we follow up with their healthcare providers to ensure the doctors have the proper chemical information for the evaluation of the patients. Our occupational health nurses then follow up with those workers to see how they’re doing and address any additional questions or concerns.

You’ve participated in the design and execution of chemical air monitoring projects for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Can you tell us more?

In 2010, Congress authorized funding for “Project Jack Rabbit,” a joint venture between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (HSGAC) Chemical Security Analysis Center and the Transportation Security Administration. During the project at Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah, the two entities and industry partners conducted medium-scale experimental releases of chlorine and anhydrous ammonia to help improve future responses to toxic inhalation hazard (TIH) release incidents. Throughout the project, our team conducted air monitoring for those chemicals around the releases. Our work continued in 2015 with “Project Jack Rabbit II,” which focused on the large-scale outdoor releases of chlorine. In addition to giving our input to HSGAC about the usability of data for industry during both projects, we helped with the deployment of air monitoring instruments and contributed to the quality of data collected.

Want to know more about Dr. Nony? Check back for Part II of his CTEH Spotlight and connect with him on LinkedIn.