Chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN)


The chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) resource contains information and guidance on the deliberate release of chemical, biological and radiological agents.

On this page...

Due to the nature of this information there are a number of restricted documents which we're unable to provide access to. However, these additional resources are available to NHS public health professionals by visiting the Scottish Health Protection Information Resource (SHPIR) website.

We initially developed a CBRN resource pack prior to the G8 summit in 2005. The resource was updated in 2008 and its main aim is to alert clinical staff to the possibility of unusual illnesses presenting themselves in a way that's associated with more familiar diseases or exposures. Particular emphasis is on those agents considered by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as those most likely to be used in the event of a terrorist attack.

However there are other agents such as industrial chemicals, which could be used in a terrorist attack in addition to new emerging, or re-emerging infections. The principles of responding to casualties exposed to chemical, biological, radiological agents is universal, regardless of whether the release of the agents is deliberate or accidental.


The following CBRN publications can be download from our CBRN Reference Resource:

  • CBRN Reference resource booklet
  • CBRN Reference resource: Unusual illness and CBRN agents wallchart
  • CBRN:Reference resource: Chemical agents clinical action guide
  • CBRN:Reference resource: Biological agents clinical action guide