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The Comprehensive Emergency Management System (CEMS) of the Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration provides the overall framework for responding to all emergency events involving or affecting the Department. The fundamental concept of the CEMS is that site/facility emergency management programs are the last line of defense for the protection of people, the environment, and national security. Emergency management programs designed to protect people consider protective action criteria for actual or potential releases of hazardous materials.

Emergency protective action criteria for chemicals are limited to

  • Acute Exposure Guideline Levels (AEGLs) developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Emergency Response Guideline Levels (ERPGs) developed by the American Industrial Hygiene Association
  • Temporary Emergency Exposure Levels (TEELs) calculated using a methodology developed by the Department of Energy Subcommittee on Consequence Assessment and Protective Actions (SCAPA).

TEELs are chemical short-term exposure limits used when peer-reviewed limits such as AEGLs or ERPGs are unavailable. Such short-term exposure limits are used in a variety of applications including emergency planning, hazard assessment, and safety analysis. Ancillary applications of TEELs include assessing exposures to mixtures of chemicals.

A methodology developed for assessing exposures to mixtures of chemicals requires the use of TEELs and Health Code Numbers (HCNs) to sum hazards for those chemicals that have the same toxic consequence. TEELs and HCNs are chemical-specific and are developed jointly. To date, TEEL values and the related HCNs have been developed for more than 2,000 chemicals. TEEL values and associated HCNs have become critically important to emergency management in the DOE.

Statement of Need

To maintain the integrity of the TEEL and HCN development processes and to provide technical oversight of applications of chemical protective action criteria, the Office of Emergency Management hereby establishes the TEEL Advisory Group (TAG).


TAG membership is determined exclusively by the Department of Energy’s Office of Emergency Management. There will be six members on the TAG, including the Chair of SCAPA. The Chair of the TAG will be determined by the Office of Emergency Management.

Objectives and Functions

The objectives of the TAG are

  1. to promote consistency in calculation and application of TEEL and HCN values;
  2. to provide quality control of the development of the TEEL- and HCN-related projects;
  3. to provide technical support on TEEL- and HCN-related issues to the Office of Emergency Management; and
  4. to promote the understanding and use of TEEL and HCN values within DOE, other government agencies, and private interests.

TAG functions include oversight of

  1. existing and further development or refinement of the TEEL and chemical mixtures methodologies;
  2. the development and recommendation for approval of TEEL chemical priority lists;
  3. calculation of existing and future TEEL and HCN values;
  4. distribution and the publishing of approved TEEL and HCN values; and,
  5. publication of TEEL- and HCN-related technical papers in peer-reviewed journals.


At a minimum, the TAG will meet during every SCAPA meeting. Additional meetings, either in person or virtual (e.g., conference calls, video-teleconference), will be called for by the Office of Emergency Management or TAG Members as needed.

Following each meeting, the Chair will develop succinct minutes, including issues identified, and submit them to the Office of Emergency Management within 10 working days.

Submission Approval

TEEL- and HCN-related projects will be reviewed by the TAG prior to submission to the SCAPA membership. Following a SCAPA review, the SCAPA Chair will submit TEEL- and HCN-related projects to the Office of Emergency Management with a recommendation for approval.