7.1. Initial actions

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The role of the health sector in eliminating the sources of contamination depends on the scenario. If the event occurs in a factory, for instance, controlling the leak is the responsibility of the company and the relevant response agencies (fire department, hazardous materials experts). If there is an external release, however, the health sector is appropriately involved in detecting the incident, identifying the origin and nature of the contamination, and stopping the exposure (for example, by withdrawing products from the market). It should also participate in defining possible courses of action to impede the spread and decontamination, restrict access to relevant areas, protect people, and assess possible short- and long-term health threats.