The number of explosions in the United States from homemade chemical bombs has increased by more than 4-fold since the mid-1990s, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). However, the agency wasn’t certain whether the figures reflect a true increase or improved surveillance.
The ATSDR reported that 29 homemade chemical bomb explosions occurred between 1996 and 2003, compared with 134 between 2003 and 2011. During the more recent period, 53 individuals in 15 states were injured. Two-thirds of the injured were youths and young adults, and 55% of all those injured were men. School students comprised 40% of the injured while 38% were members of the public, 13% were employees at sites where explosions occurred, and 9% were police officers. The most common injuries were respiratory problems, burns, and skin irritation.