Volume 32, No. 10
Hicks is affiliated with the Office of
Science, Center for Food Safety and
Applied Nutrition, US Food and Drug
Administration, College Park, MD 20740.
(Formerly Research Assistant, Johns
Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public
Health, Department of Environmental
Health Sciences and Health Policy and
Management.) Please send reprint
requests to the author at the above
address, or email: email@example.com.
Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary
defines terrorism as “the systematic use of
terror especially as a means of coercion1”.
According to the Code of
Regulations (28 CFR, Section 0.85), terror-
ism is “the unlawful use of force and vio-
lence against persons or property to intim-
idate or coerce a government, the civilian
population, or any segment thereof, in fur-
therance of political or social objectives2”.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
extends the definition of terrorism as
either domestic or international, contin-
gent on the origin, base and objectives of
the terrorists2. By contrast, some people
define bioterrorism as “the use of biologic
agents to intentionally produce disease or
intoxication in susceptible populations to
meet terrorist’s aims3”. To complicate mat-
ters further, our expanded lexicon now
includes bioterrorism, as well as chemical
and ‘radiological’ terrorism. Obviously,
the language is ambiguous and often con-
fusing. Accepting the following definitions
may help to clarify the situation further.
Bioterrorism: The offensive and deliber-
ate use of biological agent(s) with the
intent to cause harm to humans, animals,
plants and/or environmental systems (e.g.,
potable water sources).
Chemical terrorism: The offensive and
deliberate use of chemical agent(s) with
the intent to cause harm to humans, ani-
mals, plants and/or environmental systems
(e.g., potable water sources).
Radionuclide (not radiological) terror-
ism: The offensive and deliberate use of
radionuclide(s) with the intent to cause
harm to humans, animals, plan