Safety reform stalling 2 years after West explosion
Nearly two years after a fire set off a deadly ammonium nitrate explosion at the West Fertilizer Co., Texas businesses selling the chemical aren’t subject to any new laws, and only a handful store it in fireproof buildings as experts recommend, state officials said.
Now the window of opportunity for state-level reform of ammonium nitrate safety standards may be closing.
As the biennial legislative session heads toward the June finish line, the two bills targeting ammonium nitrate storage are in legislative limbo.
us_TX  public  follow-up  death  ag_chems  ammonium_nitrate 
3 hours ago
Levittown man sentenced for blowing roof off his own home
A 31-year-old man who blew the roof off his Bristol Township home with explosives was sentenced to six to 23 months in county prison Tuesday at the Bucks County Justice Center in Doylestown.
After hearing an argument claiming that the May 19 explosion at Thomas Piscione's home was an accident, Judge Wallace H. Bateman handed Piscione a time-served sentence, which — having served seven months in prison already — allowed Piscione to be immediately paroled. 
Piscione was arrested and charged with risking a catastrophe after, according to court documents, emergency personnel responded to his Midwood Lane home in Levittown after neighbors reported an explosion in the house. 
During Tuesday's hearing, county prosecutor Chris Rees told Bateman that the explosion, which originated in the fireplace, burst windows in the home and blew the roof off of the house. 
"It lifted the roof off the house," said Rees. 
According to court documents, the blast caused drywall nails to pop, which collapsed a portion of the ceiling and caused a flash flame from the fireplace that torched a nearby couch and damaged the living room. 
When found after the blast, court documents say, Piscione, who was wearing shorts and a T-shirt and had black soot covering his face, told police that a propane tank had exploded.
Piscione later told police that he was a "chemical hobbyist" who accidentally detonated "exploding targets," court records say.
In court Tuesday, Piscione — who pleaded guilty in January — said he was an avid sportsman who enjoys fishing and target shooting and had purchased some "exploding targets."
These, Piscione said, he accidentally threw into his fireplace while burning up old mail. 
"I knew they were dangerous and I should have been much more careful with them," said Piscione.
us_PA  public  follow-up  response  explosives  propane 
3 hours ago
Government asked to ban household products with harmful class of chemicals
While reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is swirling in controversy, a targeted effort begins today to reduce the use of an entire class of harmful chemicals in everyday products.

For decades, regulators have been playing a dangerous game of toxic whack-a-mole: banning a toxic chemical only to have it replaced with a chemical cousin that turns out to be just as problematic after years of use. But today, a diverse coalition including firefighters, doctors, advocates for children with learning disabilities, scientists, and worker and consumer groups petitioned the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to adopt regulations banning products containing any member of the class of organohalogen flame retardants in furniture, children’s products, mattresses and electronic enclosures. By seeking regulations addressing an entire class of intrinsically toxic chemicals in these uses, this petition aims to jump-start a more effective way to increase the chemical safety of household products.

The class of flame retardants known as organohalogens (because they all contain either chlorine or bromine bonded to carbon) has been associated with cancer, reduced sperm count, increased time to pregnancy, decreased IQ in children, impaired memory, learning deficits, hyperactivity, hormone disruption, and lowered immunity. Due to their chemical structure, organohalogen flame retardants tend to be very persistent in the environment and in our bodies.
Because of the failures of TSCA, new members of this class continue to be used at high levels in consumer products despite a deficit of safety data, putting our health and that of future generations at risk. In 2012, a toxicologist at the University of California, Riverside – Dr. David Eastmond, found that all 86 organohalogen flame retardants available on the market at the time of the study were either toxic or of high concern for human health.
public  discovery  environmental  toxics 
3 hours ago
Freedom, W.Va. Sign Agreement on Chemical Spill Site Cleanup
Freedom Industries and state regulators have signed an agreement for a cleanup of the site of a 2014 chemical spill into the Elk River.

The cleanup will be done through the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection's Voluntary Remediation Program.

The voluntary remediation agreement sets deadlines for Freedom to submit reports and work plans to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. The company's first deadline is April 20, when it must submit a report on an initial site investigation and interim measures.

A work plan for a human health and ecological risk assessment is due in the third quarter of 2015.

The January 2014 spill at a storage site in Charleston spurred a tap-water ban for 300,000 people for days.
us_WV  industrial  follow-up  environmental  other_chemical 
3 hours ago
Spill leads to Hazmat response
The Tulare-Kings counties Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Team, Hazmat, responded to the Visalia Industrial Park Monday morning after employees from VSI Veterinarian Supply, Inc. spilled several gallons of cleaning acid.

The 30-gallon container was punctured by a forklift driver. About 15 gallons of the acid spilled on to the concrete inside the VSI warehouse. No one was injured in the spill.

The HazMat team is one of just a handful in the state that is eligible to respond to statewide emergencies.
us_CA  industrial  release  response  acids 
Fiesta Texas fined for improper chemical storage
SAN ANTONIO - The Edwards Aquifer Authority is fining Six Flags Fiesta Texas $31,000 for improperly storing hundreds to thousands of gallons of bleach, chlorine and sulfuric acid.

The majority of the park sits atop the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone.

“The recharge zone is where the rain water filters down in through the surface into the aquifer,” said EAA spokeswoman Terri Herbold. “And just like that rainwater, chemicals can do that same thing.”

Inspectors discovered those chemicals were not stored in the required tertiary tanks.

"Basically, in layman's terms, it means three layers of protection," said Herbold.
us_TX  industrial  discovery  environmental  bleach  chlorine  sulfuric_acid 
RIVERSIDE: Liquid chemical near Jurupa Ave. prompts hazmat response
The discovery of a liquid chemical in an abandoned and mostly empty 275-gallon container prompted a hazardous materials investigation in Riverside, city fire officials say.
The container was reported about 10 a.m. Monday, March 30, on a sidewalk near the 6000 block of Jurupa Avenue, about a mile north of Riverside Municipal Airport.
"The hazardous materials team was able to determine that the chemical was a substance used in producing foam products," Battalion Chief Jeff DeLaurie said in a written statement. "It is unknown who left the container or why.
"The chemical was a very small quantity and did not pose a threat to the neighborhood."
us_CA  public  discovery  response  unknown_chemical 
Crash, Chemical Spill Shut Down Memorial Boulevard in Lakeland
LAKELAND | A minor traffic accident caused a major road closure Monday afternoon when about 60 gallons of chemicals were spilled onto the 1400 block of East Memorial Boulevard.

Lakeland police said Brett Ramsey of Winter Haven was traveling east on Memorial Boulevard in a 2007 Chevrolet pickup about 3 p.m. when his vehicle struck the rear driver's side of a 2004 Isuzu being driven by Christopher Hazelwood of Lakeland. The Isuzu is owned by Floralawn, a Lakeland-based lawn and pest company.

Police said there were no injuries in the accident. A Florida Department of Environmental Protection official said the spilled chemicals did not pose a serious health risk.

The impact ruptured a rear-mounted tank holding about 70 gallons of Macron 20-20-20, a fertilizer; T-Methyl, a fungicide; and Bifenthrin, a pesticide. Nearly 60 gallons of chemicals were spilled onto the roadway and into a storm drain before the vehicle was moved to a nearby patch of grass. The remaining chemicals continued to slowly leak from the back of the vehicle until chemical spill crews arrived on scene.
us_FL  transportation  release  response  ag_chems  pesticides 
Manchester Private School Evacuated After Chemical Odor Spreads
MANCHESTER — A private school was evacuated and two teachers were taken to the hospital Monday afternoon after a chemical being used in the basement spread into other parts of the building.

No one was seriously hurt. The Eighth Utilities District Manchester Fire Department responded to The Cornerstone Christian School at 218 Main St. at about 12:20 p.m., Acting Fire Chief Don Moore said.

A worker had been in the basement furnace room using a penetrating oil called PB Blaster to loosen bolts, Moore said. Noticing the noxious smell, the worker tried to mask the odor with air freshener, which made the situation worse, Moore said.

Someone at the school called the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, which relayed the call to the district, he said. Firefighters evacuated about 200 students and transported two teachers to Manchester Memorial Hospital for evaluation and treatment, Moore said. Eight young students were treated on the scene for nausea and headaches and released to their parents, he said.
us_CT  education  release  injury  other_chemical 
Convictions, sentences in chemical device attack upheld
TUCSON (AP) - A federal appeals court has upheld the convictions and prison sentences of a Tucson man found guilty of using a chemical weapon on a couple who were customers of his power-washing business.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday upheld Todd Russell Fries' convictions for using a chemical weapon and making false statements to the FBI.
He was accused of placing chlorine chemical devices at the home of the couple with whom he had a billing dispute in 2009.
The devices emitted a chemical cloud that forced evacuation of the neighborhood, and the appellate court's ruling said the devices had the potential to harm many people.
us_AZ  public  follow-up  response  chlorine 
Lessons Learned Database
Statement: Using the US Postal Service to return the samples did not violate Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations; however, the shipment did not come with a Battelle radioactive material (BRM) number by freight carrier to the Battelle Shipping and Receiving Warehouse (BSRW) on 6th Street where it would have been handled correctly. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) does not send radioactive samples--at any level--through the mail.

Discussion: In 2012, a PNNL staff member sent three concrete samples--one spiked with trace amounts of uranium--to Washington State University for analysis. WSU returned the results and an invoice in the spring of 2013, but not the samples. In October 2014, long after the staff member had left the Lab, WSU unexpectedly mailed the samples to a second individual at PNNL. She opened the box in her office, recognized the radiological marking, and called a Radiation Protection Technologist.

Analysis: The person who originated the sample shipment to WSU no longer works at the Lab and it is not known what expectations were communicated to WSU for disposition of the samples or whether they were accompanied by a "chain of custody" (COC) form. COC forms are used to assign sample responsibility and custody to others and can be used to set expectations for delivering return shipments to PNNL according to our protocol.
us_WA  laboratory  discovery  environmental  radiation  uranium 
2 days ago
Crew airlifted to hospital after Lands' End chemical spill
Three men have been taken to hospital after being splashed by a highly corrosive chemical on-board a ship.

The UK coastguard in Falmouth and the RNAS Culdrose Sea King rescue helicopter were scrambled to assist the chemical tanker near Lands' End at 10pm yesterday.

The crew, who were travelling to Hamburg in Germany, raised a distress call when three men – all of whom are of Indian decent and in their mid 20s – came in to contact with concentrated nitric acid.

A spokesman for the UK coastguard in Falmouth said: "We sought medical advice from the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth and they advised an immediate evacuation.

"The men were walking wounded – certainly one has suffered back and head injuries, one eye injuries and I am not sure about the third.

"As I am not a medic I would not like to say if their injuries are life-threatening."

Due to gale-force winds, the helicopter was unable to rescue the men at sea, instead the tanker was forced to take shelter in Mounts Bay while the crew of the Sea King lifted them off-board.

The operation finished at 3am and all three men have been taken to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro for treatment.
United_Kingdom  transportation  release  injury  nitric_acid 
2 days ago
Fire at ExxonMobil Beaumont chemical plant put out
At about 5:45 a.m. Monday ExxonMobil says a fire at it's Beaumont chemical plant is out.  According to an ExxonMobil spokesperson everyone is accounted for and no one was hurt.

The fire started around midnight Monday when a vapor release from a propylene line caught fire.

Spokesperson Lee Dula says the fire at the plant off Madison Ave. caused some of the workers in the chemical plant to be moved to alternative locations.  Some workers were allowed to go home. However all personnel are being told to report for their scheduled shifts and check in with their supervisors.

He adds ongoing air monitoring continues to indicates no impacts to the community.
us_TX  industrial  fire  response  unknown_chemical 
2 days ago
Fire in petroleum refinery laboratory
RAS TANURA, EASTERN PROVINCE — A fire at Aramco’s petroleum refinery laboratory in Ras Tanura was reported on Friday and no one was injured. Aramco reported that the emergency team of firefighters extinguished the fire and a committee was been formed to investigate the cause of the fire. The fire did not hinder the laboratory’s work and everything continued as normal.
Saudi_Arabia  laboratory  fire  response  petroleum 
3 days ago
Tomblin signs bill that rolls back chemical tank safety law
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin on Friday signed into law a bill that significantly reduces the scope and strength of a chemical tank safety bill passed a year ago in the wake of the Freedom Industries leak and the resulting regionwide water crisis.

The bill (SB423) exempts from new safety and inspection requirements more than 36,000 chemical tanks that would have been covered by the law unanimously approved last year to avoid a repeat of the Freedom chemical leak that contaminated the drinking water for 300,000 people in the Kanawha Valley and surrounding communities.

An opt-out provision allowing tank owners to comply with existing state permits instead of the new tank standards is expected to drop that number to perhaps as few as 90 tanks covered by the safety law.

In a prepared statement, the governor said the bill “represents reasonable steps to ensure protection of our drinking water resources by focusing on the tanks that pose the most risk.”
us_WV  industrial  follow-up  environmental 
3 days ago
One dead in Vandalia carbon monoxide leak
VANDALIA, Ohio (WDTN) — A woman is dead following a carbon monoxide leak in a Vandalia neighborhood.

Crews were called to the 100 block of Maple Street after 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

The Montgomery County Coroner was called to the scene. Officials confirmed Patricia Bolden, 43, died from possible carbon monoxide poisoning.

Police say it looked like Bolden lived alone and that she was found near the door of her apartment by her husband .

Fire crews evacuated about 10 people and started ventilating the building. Two other people were treated for CO exposure, but weren’t taken to the hospital.

Fire Chief Chad Follick with Vandalia Fire Department says they believe the leak was caused by some type of gas fire appliance.
us_OH  public  release  death  carbon_monoxide 
3 days ago
Tanker Driver Charged in Hazmat Scare That Stalled I-71
COLUMBUS (Tara Morgan) -- The truck driver involved in a hazmat scare that shut down I-71 south for hours Thursday afternoon is facing charges, according to the Columbus Division of Police.

Richard Holloway of Columbia, S.C., is charged with disobeying a traffic control device and improper transport of hazardous materials, police announced Friday.
Police say an officer stopped Holloway for suspicion of transporting hazardous material. The officer then approached the semi and "was overcome by fumes from the tanker. He also observed liquid leaking from one of the valves."

The officer and Holloway removed themselves from the area and notified the Columbus Division of Fire about a possible hazmat situation.

The officer spotted a leak, but it was hours before hazmat crews figured out that it wasn't the cargo but condensation, ABC6/FOX28's Tara Morgan reported. Emergency crews dressed head-to-toe in hazmat gear climbed all over the tanker Thursday.  

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio responded to the scene and took the tanker out of service due to a faulty safety valve which contributed to the fumes emitting from the tanker. Police say the officer was taken to the hospital as a precaution and later released.
us_OH  transportation  release  injury  unknown_chemical 
3 days ago
Hazmat crew responds to gasoline tank malfunction
CHICO, Calif. -
Chico Fire Department responded to a gasoline tank malfunction in Friday morning in South Chico.

According to Chico Fire Division Chief Steve Harrison, there was a problem with the membrane inside a large gasoline tank at the Kinder Morgan Tank Farm at 2570 Hegan Lane in Chico.

Kinder Morgan transports and stores petroleum products.  The tank that was involved in Friday's incident contains 260,000 gallons of gasoline.

Harrison said a membrane inside the tank is designed to float on the surface of the liquid to control the escape of vapors.  

Friday morning, employees discovered gasoline sitting on top of the membrane, and noticed the membrane was sinking in the tank.

Chief Harrison said the process of draining the tank and moving the gasoline was expected to take between 9 and 15 hours.

A hazmat team responded to the scene along with Chico Fire Department and CAL FIRE, who set up a perimeter.
us_CA  industrial  release  response  gasoline 
3 days ago
East Village Building Explosion Update: Gas Suspected As Cause For 7-Alarm Fire That Injured 12, 3 Critically
At least 19 people were injured Thursday, three of them critically, in a suspected gas explosion and a subsequent seven-alarm fire originating at 121 Second Ave. in New York City’s East Village neighborhood. Two of the critically injured suffered burns to their airways while the other fell unconscious following the explosion, according to Fire Department of New York Commissioner Daniel Nigro, who added that the “majority of those injured were injured in the initial explosion.”

Two adjoining buildings, 119 and 125 Second Ave., have been directly affected by the fire, while two others, 121 and 123 Second Ave., collapsed. The FDNY contained the fire to those four buildings as of 6 p.m. EDT.

In a televised press conference, Mayor Bill de Blasio said independent contractors were working on the gas systems at 121 Second Ave. just prior to the explosion, although a reason for the explosion has not been verified. Con Edison, the utility company that supplies most of the city’s buildings with gas, had inspected a new meter system at the building at around 2 p.m. EDT Thursday. The work was ultimately not approved and Con Edison provided instructions for fixing those issues. It was unclear if that work is related to the explosion.

“We have the Department of Environmental Protection hazmat operation responding to check for the environmental impact and the health impact,” said de Blasio.
us_NY  public  explosion  injury  natural_gas 
3 days ago
Elmhurst firefighters respond to science classroom fire
ELMHURST – The Elmhurst Fire Department responded Wednesday morning to a fire at Sandburg Middle School that was apparently caused by a chemical reaction in a science classroom, according to a city news release.

When fire crews arrived at about 9:45 a.m., they found heavy smoke coming from a classroom on the school's lower level, the release stated.

School administrators reported all students and staff were evacuated and accounted for. The investigation revealed a chemical reaction had triggered the fire, which was extinguished by an automatically activated sprinkler system, according to the release.

The fire department performed maintenance to replace the activated sprinkler head, ventilated the area with a smoke ejector, and performed cleanup as needed. No students were present in the classroom at the time of the incident, and no injuries were reported, the release stated.

Damage was limited to ceiling tiles, classroom supplies and audio-video equipment, and it is estimated to be $11,000, according to the release.
us_IL  laboratory  fire  response  unknown_chemical 
3 days ago
Health advisory lifted after Dow Chemical release in Pittsburg
PITTSBURG, Calif. (KGO) -- A Public Health Advisory has been lifted after a Level 2 chemical release at the Dow Chemical plant in Pittsburg.

It happened just before 3 a.m. Dow said the chemical can irritate people, and that could lead to problems like watery eyes, sore throats, and breathing issues. A Contra Costa County hazardous materials team is on the scene to deal with the release.

The advisory was impacting residents in Pittsburg and Antioch.
us_CA  industrial  release  response  unknown_chemical 
3 days ago
UPDATE: I-39/90 Westbound lanes now open
JANESVILLE, Wis.--- Some homes in the 1700 block of Green Valley Drive are being evacuated near a chemical spill on I-90. Police described the evacuations as minimal. The Janesville Hazmat team monitored the neighborhood air quality and did not receive any dangerous readings.

The spill was caused by an accident involving two semi trucks. A semi truck side swiped another semi truck that was stalled along the interstate because of a small electrical fire. One of the semi trucks was carrying pool chemicals and all the chemicals started leaking after the accident.

The incident happened on the westbound Interstate 39/90 near mile marker 172. Westbound traffic on the Interstate is closed from E. Racine Street to US 14.

Hazmat crews are working to identify up to 15 different chemicals. The chemicals started mixing together and a heat reaction occurred, but it has subsided now.
us_WI  transportation  release  response  pool_chemicals 
3 days ago
EPA releases first part of frack study, an analysis of chemical disclosure
The Environmental Protection Agency released an analysis of frack water on Friday, based on data that drillers supplied to the website FracFocus. The EPA’s report is just one part of the agency’s long awaited fracking study, which will assess the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water supplies. The full report is due out this spring.

The EPA researchers say less than one percent of frack fluid in their analysis of 39,000 wells contained additives, while water made up 88 percent of the fluid, and sand, or quartz, made up ten percent. The agency identified 692 separate frack water ingredients. Maximum concentrations of these chemicals were usually below 2 percent of the total mass, while half of the chemicals were below 0.3 percent of mass. EPA science advisor Tom Burke told reporters on a press call that the chemical additives and volumes of water varied greatly from well to well. Water usage for each fracked well ranged from 35,000 gallons to 7.2 million gallons.

“While these maximum concentrations [of chemical additives] are low percentages of the overall fracturing fluid,” said Burke, “more than half the wells had water volumes greater than 1.5 million gallons. So a small percentage may mean hundreds or thousands of gallons of chemicals could be transported to, and present on, the well pad prior to mixing on the fracking fluid. Remember one percent of a million gallons is a large number — 10,000 gallons.”

The three top chemicals used in the frack fluid were hydrochloric acid, methanol, and hydro-treated light petroleum distillates. Hydrochloric acid is used to keep the well casings free of mineral build-ups, while methanol is used to increase viscosity. Petroleum distillates are refined products like diesel, kerosene, or fuel oil, and are used to make the fluid “slick,” or soapy, and thereby reduce friction.
us_PA  public  discovery  environmental  diesel  hydrochloric_acid  kerosene  methanol  petroleum 
3 days ago
School science experiment goes awry, injures 3 students
TOPEKA, Kan. —A science experiment gone awry has injured three high school students in Topeka.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reported that liquid from the experiment spilled onto the floor and ignited during class Wednesday afternoon at Highland Park High School. District spokesman Ron Harbaugh said in an email Thursday that the fire spread to the feet of three students.

Harbaugh said the students were taken for medical treatment, but he didn't elaborate on the degree of their injuries. The email said two of the students were in school Thursday and that the third student was expected to be at school Friday.

Harbaugh also didn't go into much detail about the science experiment, except to say it "had been done numerous times in the class."
us_KS  laboratory  fire  injury  unknown_chemical 
4 days ago
Recent Manhole Explosions Caused by Winter, Age and Chemistry
Call it another form of March Madness: not flying basketballs, but flying manhole covers.

Scientific literature traces manhole explosions back nearly a century, but a series of such incidents in Indianapolis, host of the NCAA basketball championships, has authorities looking for a quick solution.

Good luck with that.

A combination of power system design, winter road salt, older electrical cable insulation and basic chemistry have triggered underground explosions in older downtowns, launching 350-pound manhole covers high in the air. One Georgia Tech engineering professor calculated the explosions could have the force of three sticks of dynamite.

"They have found a manhole cover on top of a building in a certain downtown city," said Daniel O'Neill, who advises several utilities on the problem. "They are dangerous things. There are hundreds of these things happening every year."

Manhole covers have launched several stories in the air, O'Neill said.

The nonprofit Electric Power Research Institute's lab in Lenox, Massachusetts, has spent the last 25 years setting off what officials there call "manhole events." It's not for fun. Engineers are trying to find a way to keep manhole covers from flying.
us_IN  public  explosion  response  explosives 
5 days ago
Investigation determines fire at Warsaw Chemical was an accident
An investigation looking into last month's fire at Warsaw Chemical is complete.

According to our reporting partners at 1480 News Now, inspectors have determined that the fire was accidental.

The fire occurred at the company's facility at 290 Argonne Road in Warsaw on February 6.

Six waste water personnel and three firefighters were taken to the hospital for treatment. They were released from medical care the same day.

The fire report revealed that the fire suppression system in the building may not have fully deployed.
us_IN  industrial  follow-up  injury  waste 
5 days ago
Four Treated for Chemical Burns at Hopkinsville Facility
Several people were treated for chemical burns after being exposed to an unknown chemical at a Hopkinsville facility Wednesday night.  

Hopkinsville Fire Department Capt. Steve Futrell says multiple response vehicles were called to the Douglas Autotech building on Commerce street at approximately 6:51 P.M.  

At the scene, four people were treated for decontamination of an acid-based cleaning agent. Three patients were transported via ambulance to Jennie Stuart Medical Center but another suffered severe burns and was flown to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville.  
us_TN  industrial  release  injury  unknown_chemical  cleaners 
5 days ago
Crews cleaning up chemical spill in Colbert County
CHEROKEE, Ala. (WAAY)- Both West bound lanes and one East bound lane of highway 72 in Cherokee are open, after a semi truck exploded carrying hazardous chemicals.
Officials responded to the scene around 2 a.m. A little over 6,500 pounds of Resin Solution and 500 pounds of Sodium Metasilicate spilled onto the highway catching fire.
The incident caused both east and west bound lanes of highway 72 to be shut down for hours. Stranding many truckers and residents.
Four homes near the area had to be evacuated because of safety concerns.
us_AL  transportation  explosion  response  resin 
5 days ago
Under Pressure, Chemical Safety Head Resigns
March 26, 2015 Facing pressure from the White House and members of Congress from both parties, the head of the Chemical Safety Board is resigning effective Thursday.

Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso announced his resignation to staff in an email Thursday evening; the news was confirmed by CSB. He led the agency since 2010, a tenure dogged by internal turmoil and allegations that he mismanaged and overstressed the staff.

Moure-Eraso had just three months left in his five-year term at CSB, the independent agency tasked with investigating chemical incidents and issuing recommendations.

"It has been a privilege to serve the agency since June 2010," Moure-Eraso wrote to the staff. "My wishes are for the continued success and productivity of the Board. Good luck to the Board and the staff in all your projects at the CSB. I am forever grateful for the hard work of the agency that has led to so many successes over the past five years."

The White House asked Moure-Eraso to step aside, which the administration communicated to lawmakers this week.
public  follow-up  environmental 
5 days ago
Concord business evacuated after chemical scare
CONCORD, N.C. -- Emergency first responders are on the scene of a HazMat situation in Concord.

The Concord Fire Department says they responded to Star America Chemical in the 100 block of Cabarrus Avenue around 10:40 Thursday morning.

Authorities say a chemical fire and fume release prompted a full evacuation, 88 employees, from the building, along with a handful of residences nearby, while some nearby residents sheltered in place.

NBC Charlotte's crew on scene says a barrel with hydrogen sulfite was found to have a hole, and subsequently leaked about 30 pounds of the chemical.

The Concord Fire Department says it appears the fire was caused by a reaction to moisture being introduced into the container.

Authorities say the spill does not present an immediate threat to the public.

EMS units responded and evaluated the evacuees. Two people, both pregnant women, were taken to the hospital as a precaution.
us_NC  public  release  response  other_chemical 
5 days ago
Monsanto fined for not reporting Idaho chemical releases
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Monsanto Co. has agreed to pay $600,000 in fines for not reporting hundreds of uncontrolled releases of toxic chemicals at its eastern Idaho phosphate plant.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday announced the agreement involving the biotechnology company’s Soda Springs facilities.

Federal officials say the chemicals released are hazardous and can pose serious health risks. Monsanto in a statement noted there were no allegations that the releases exceeded state of federal standards, or that they contributed to any known health concerns in the Soda Springs area.

Federal officials said the releases occurred between 2006 and 2009, with the plant emitting hydrogen cyanide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury. Companies are required by law to report such releases immediately.

“Each of these chemicals are hazardous and can pose serious health risks to workers and the community if mishandled or released in an uncontrolled manner,” federal officials said in a statement.
us_ID  industrial  release  environmental  cyanide  hydrogen  illegal  mercury  sulfur_dioxide 
5 days ago
Opinion: Lay summaries needed to enhance science communication
At first blush, the notion of lay summaries seems a simple idea with admirable aims: Scientists write summaries of journal articles emphasizing the broad significance of re- search in accessible language. However, viewed from an ivory tower that has been besieged by an increasing amount of paper- work, scientists could easily regard lay sum- maries as just one more hurdle in peer- reviewed publishing, another administrative task to fit into an already busy agenda.

But rather than an unrewarding burden, scientists (and journal publishers) should con- sider widespread adoption of lay summaries— accompanying online publications and made publicly available with traditional abstracts— as a way to increase the visibility, impact, and transparency of scientific research. This is a particularly important undertaking given the changing science media landscape.
public  discovery  response 
5 days ago
The bizarre way the U.S. regulates chemicals — letting them on the market first, then maybe studying them
Chemicals are everywhere — we’re made of them, and so are the products we use and the objects we come into contact with. Naturally, some of these substances could be bad for our health, perhaps capable of causing cancer and other diseases.

Regulators have presumably barred unsafe chemicals from being made and used, right? Not so. In fact, only a tiny percentage of chemicals are regulated.

How could this be? A major reason is that the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), a 1976 law that protects humans and the environment from toxic industrial chemicals (pesticides, drugs and cosmetics are handled under different laws), has created so many hoops for regulators to jump through that it has often rendered them powerless. That’s one rationale that the Government Accountability Office, Congress’s nonpartisan watchdog arm, has cited in repeatedly calling toxic chemicals regulation one of the government’s “high-risk” programs.
us_DC  public  discovery  environmental  ag_chems  drugs  pesticides  toxics 
5 days ago
Hazmat units responding to leak at Pinellas County Wastewater Treatment plant
A sulfur dioxide leak at the South Cross Bayou Wastewater Treatment was patched up Wednesday afternoon.
Hazmat units responded to the leak in the one ton cylinder just before noon and crews were able to patch it around 2 p.m.
The leak was confined to the building and systems in place were working, according to a statement from the Lealman Fire Dept. There was no leak outside of the building.
Employees at the building on 54th Ave. in Lealman were evacuated as a precaution. Traffic was shut down at 54th Ave. between Belcher Rd. and Park St. but the roads have since been reopened.
us_FL  industrial  release  response  sulfur_dioxide  water_treatment 
6 days ago
Fire breaks out at rubella lab at CDC
ATLANTA — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention closed one of its laboratory buildings Wednesday after an overnight fire.
According to a CDC spokesman, this is the first building closure caused by a fire in the past 25 years.
CDC officials say the fire broke out around midnight in the Rubella lab in Building 18.
No one was injured and there was no release or loss of containment of any germs.
Officials say the laboratory's sprinkler system estinguished the fire before firefighters arrived.
Now, the building has water damage, which is why 470 employees were told to stay home.
Officials are investigating the cause of the fire but say early indications point to a piece of laboratory equipment that malfunctioned. 
us_GA  laboratory  fire  response 
6 days ago
Chemical Reaction Triggers Fire at Sandburg Middle School
A fire Wednesday morning in a Sandburg Middle School science classroom damaged ceiling tiles, class supplies and audio-video equipment, but no one was injured.

The Elmhurst Fire Department responded to a fire alarm at 9:45 a.m. March 25 at the school, according a city news release.

Firefighters found heavy smoke coming from the first-floor science classroom. All students and staff had been evacuated and accounted for.

The fire, which investigators believe was caused by a chemical reaction, was put out by an automatically activated sprinkler system, the release stated.

Fire department personnel cleaned up the area, replaced the activated sprinkler head and they ventilated the area with a smoke ejector.
us_IL  education  fire  response  unknown_chemical 
6 days ago
EPA To Regulate Nanosilver Pesticides, Seek Safety Data On Nanoscale Chemicals
The Environmental Protection Agency on March 25 unveiled two precedent-setting regulatory moves on nanomaterials.
First, the agency will require registration under the federal pesticides law of products containing nanoscale silver that are designed to control microbes. EPA will not, however, classify all nanosilver products as pesticides, the agency says in a response to a 2008 petition from activist groups that are seeking stronger regulation of nanomaterials. The agency indicated it would not immediately act against unregistered antimicrobial nanosilver products, such as socks, now sold in the U.S.
Second, EPA separately proposed a one-time requirement for makers of nanoscale commercial chemicals currently on the market to notify the agency about all available health and safety data for their products. Under this Toxic Substances Control Act proposal, these manufacturers would also have to submit production volume and processing, use, exposure, and release information to EPA.
public  discovery  environmental  ag_chems  nanotech  pesticides 
6 days ago
US health agency blasted over lab safety violations
For the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2014 was a bad year. After a series of errors in which some agency employees were potentially exposed to anthrax and others accidentally shipped a dangerous strain of influenza virus to another lab, director Tom Frieden imposed reforms to improve safety practices. Nevertheless, the CDC, which is based in Atlanta, Georgia, reported last December that some of its lab workers had potentially been exposed to the Ebola virus.

The agency subsequently established an external committee to evaluate its biosafety practices. On 13 January, that panel issued a scathing report that was made public by the CDC on 16 March. Nature spoke to two of the report’s authors: Joseph Kanabrocki, a microbiologist at the University of Chicago in Illinois, and Kenneth Berns, a molecular geneticist at the University of Florida in Gainesville. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
laboratory  follow-up  response 
7 days ago
Redding Fire: Honey oil lab fires more prevalent
EDDING, Calif. -
Almost a year later, apartments on Lawrence Road in Redding are still not livable after a butane honey oil lab exploded causing flames to destroy multiple apartments.

"The damage that was created within this unit was very significant," said Patrick O'Conner, a fire investigator with the Redding Fire Department.

O'Conner said the fire department is responding to more fires caused by butane honey oil labs than before.

"They are more prevalent specifically in Northern California and in the Northstate we see a lot of marijuana that's legal, where we wouldn't see it on the East Coast or the Midwest so, because it is legal you are going to see a more prevalent use of it," O'Conner said.

The danger is behind closed doors, O'Conner explained. Honey oil is made with butane, a highly explosive chemical that often ignites during the process.
us_CA  public  discovery  environmental  butane  drugs 
7 days ago
Bomb injures Lynchburg College groundskeeper
A bomb made from tinfoil and drain cleaner in a Gatorade bottle caused minor injuries to a Lynchburg College groundskeeper Monday morning.

According to Bob Driskill, director of campus safety and security, the groundskeeper found the bottle during his morning cleanup duties in the 300 block of College Street and picked it up. As he was walking back to his truck, it exploded, Driskill said in an interview.

The college has determined the device was a “works” bomb.

“The chemical reaction between the Drain-o and the Tin Foil makes a volatile buildup of gases and subsequently detonates the bottle with a great amount of force,” wrote Driskill in an email to the campus community. “Once the detonation occurs, the chemical substance that is in the bottle is actually boiling liquid.

“The amount of force that is generated at the time of the explosion is enough to sever fingers and also delivers 2nd and 3rd degree chemical burns to the victim. The chemicals can possibly cause blindness and the toxic fumes can be harmful.”

Driskill said the chemical splashed the employee on his eyes, skin and clothing. After flushing out his eye at the campus health center and changing clothing, he returned to work later in the day, Driskill said.
us_VA  education  explosion  injury  bomb  cleaners 
7 days ago
Hazmat crew responds to chemical in roadway, finds pesticides
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The Bakersfield Fire Department responded to a reported chemical spill at Ming Avenue and Grand Islands Drive just after 1 p.m. Tuesday.

When they arrived they found an approximately 100 ft. spill of an unknown chemical as a result of a hit and run accident.

Bakersfield Fire Hazardous Materials Crew obtained a sample of the chemical which later was positively identified as a pesticide.

They are working with the Kern County Ag Commissioner's Office to establish a cleanup plan.

Damage is estimated at $10,000 to the security gates.
us_CA  public  release  response  pesticides 
7 days ago
Police and HAZMAT report incident at Warren County company, treating 10 people
WASHINGTON TWP.—Following an undetermined incident, Washington Township Police and Warren County HAZMAT requested rehab units and basic life services ambulances for 10 people at a company headquarters on Route 31, according to radio reports.

A level one HAZMAT incident at the Witte Company, which designs and manufactures drying, cooling, screening and other process equipment, was also reported to the Warren County Public Safety website at 10:07 a.m.

A level one incident is described as a minor spill in work or lab area controlled and cleaned up by workers or lab personnel.

According to both Washington Township Police and Warren County HAZMAT, first responders were still on the scene by noon.
us_NJ  laboratory  release  injury  unknown_chemical 
7 days ago
Police booth smashed by hazmat cargo
A container full of corrosive liquid smashed into a police booth when a 10-wheeled truck overturned on Rama III Road in Bangkok Monday.

The driver of the container truck was the only injury in the 12.45pm accident in the Bang Phong Phang area of Yannawa district. Mubin Srisuwan, 48, from Roi Et had to be cut from the cab and rushed to a nearby hospital.

The truck carrying a six-metre-long container overturned and the payload was thrown onto the traffic-police booth manned by Bang Phong Phang station. Fortunately no officers were inside as they were changing shifts.

A corrosive liquid, believed to be a phosphoric acid solution, leaked on to the road surface creating noxious fumes. Police closed the road and a cleanup crew covered the liquid with sand and water.
Thailand  transportation  release  response  corrosives  phosphoric_acid 
7 days ago
Train in Texas carrying methanol derails, hazmat team called
VALLEY MILLS, Texas -- A dozen train cars, including five carrying methanol, derailed on Saturday near Valley Mills, Texas, sparking an evacuation and a hazardous materials team response.
No injuries or fires were reported and only one or two of the methanol-carrying tanks had leaks, according to Public Safety spokesman Trooper D.L. Wilson. Seven train cars were carrying oil well pipes.
About 10 homes within a thousand feet were evacuated after the accident that happened at about 5 p.m. Residents were allowed to return home at 9 p.m.
There was heavy rain during that time, but it is unclear what caused the derailment and an investigation is ongoing, according to Wilson. Safety vehicles struggled to reach the 70-car train accident due to the weather.
us_TX  transportation  release  response  methanol 
7 days ago
Sisters allegedly caught operating mobile meth lab when vehicle caught fire on Morgan City highway
A Morgan City-area woman was hospitalized and her sister arrested after a vehicle police say operated as a mobile meth lab caught fire, Morgan City police report.  

Morgan City Police Department officers responded around 2 a.m. Monday (March 23) to the fire on an elevated stretch of U.S. 90, where the Morgan City Fire Department and a hazmat team helped extinguish the flames.

Evidence allegedly showed sisters Jewel Ross and Pearl Ross, both 31 and from Amelia, had been operating "a functioning clandestine laboratory used in production of methamphetamine."

Pearl Ross suffered severe burns and was airlifted to a hospital in Morgan City before she was transferred to a burn unit in Baton Rouge.

Jewel Ross refused medical treatment for minor burns. She was then booked into the MCPD jail on a charge of creating/operating a clandestine laboratory and given a bond of $100,000.
us_LA  public  fire  injury  meth_lab 
7 days ago
Burning pallets make people sick in Warren County
About 15 people were being checked for respiratory problems after pallets burned at a business in Warren County Monday morning.

The pallets that caught fire quickly were extinguished, according to staff in the Warren County communications center.

But people complaining of respiratory issues are being checked. They apparently were exposed to smoke or fumes from that fire.

The pallets may have been impregnated with some unidentified chemical that caused the irritation.
us_PA  public  fire  response  unknown_chemical 
7 days ago
Chemical drum discovered in new home
RACINE — Just three days after a resident moved into a new house, people working there found what appeared to be a toxic surprise they weren’t expecting.

They found what appeared to be a 30-gallon drum labeled sodium cyanide that was two-thirds full, said Racine Fire Battalion Chief Paul Madden.

As of Monday afternoon, Madden said they had not confirmed what was in the drum, but he did not believe it was sodium cyanide, which can be deadly when combined with water.

The Racine Fire Department’s hazmat team responded shortly after 11:15 a.m. Monday to the home in the 1300 block of Summit Avenue and police shut down the block where the chemical was found.

Madden said Monday afternoon the Fire Department had called in a cleanup crew to assist in the removal.
us_WI  public  discovery  response  sodium_cyanide 
7 days ago
Father, son injured in alleged drug lab explosion
An explosion rattles a City of Shasta Lake apartment complex. Sheriff’s deputies are tying it to illegal drug activity in one apartment.

Explosion sets fire to apartment complex
Shasta County Sheriff’s Deputies said loud blasts were heard around 4:45 Monday evening, coming from the apartment of Michael Miller, 39, and his 15-year-old son. Both men were injured when an alleged butane honey oil lab exploded inside a bedroom in their apartment.

According to Shasta Lake Fire Protection District officials, the father-son duo suffered moderate but non-life threatening injuries in the blast. Fire and drug investigators determined the cause of the fire was related to drug activity. Narcotics task force agents said the two were, “possibly involved in the illegal conversion or extraction of concentrated cannabis using butane.”
us_CA  public  explosion  injury  butane  illegal  meth_lab 
7 days ago
Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog: Dr. Frances Ar...
Catalysis, the process of reducing a reaction’s energy requirement through use of a catalyzing agent, is a standard design principle of green chemistry. Yet many of the catalysts that chemists use are made out of rare metals like platinum. Figuring out how to do catalysis without using unsustainable catalysts is a priority to green chemists and companies seeking to find better, more efficient, cheaper, and ecological pathways to produce their products. One inspiration for solving such a problem has been nature.
Enzymes, a type of protein, are nature’s catalysts, working within cells to speed up reactions of all kinds. For example, enzymes in our digestive tract help break down food so that we can more rapidly benefit from it. But how can enzymes help chemists? Well, what if enzymes could be manipulated to catalyze the industrial reactions industry performs, such as creating a drug molecule or biofuel?
Enter Dr. Frances Arnold, professor of chemical engineering, bioengineering and biochemistry at Caltech and director of the Donna and Benjamin M. Rosen Bioengineering Center. Arnold has developed a method of protein engineering called directed evolution. The basic process involves encouraging random mutations in the gene sequence for a protein of interest, such as an enzyme catalyst. The genes are introduced in bacteria or yeast, which produce the mutant enzymes.  As the bacteria express the mutated genes, the resulting proteins are screened for favorable behaviors. Genes responsible for favorable traits are then extracted and reinserted into the next evolutionary round.
us_CA  laboratory  discovery  response  biodiesel  drugs  metals 
9 days ago
Railroad reopens, chemical spill contained after derailment
The section of track damaged by a 13-car derailment near Valley Mills on Saturday was scheduled to be reopened Sunday morning, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway spokesman Joe Faust said.
He said a flammable chemical spill from one of the cars had been contained, although crews were still working on the cleanup. The four families evacuated from their homes in a 1,000-foot radius of the accident were allowed to return to their homes Saturday. Early reports had said 10 families had been evacuated.
The 40-car train had been headed from Houston to Illinois when 13 cars left the track and overturned late Saturday afternoon. The cause of the derailment has not been reported.
us_TX  transportation  release  response  flammables 
9 days ago
10 years later, Texas City explosion serves as benchmark
Ten years ago Monday, a hydrocarbon vapor cloud explosion tore through the Texas City oil refinery, killing 15 workers and injuring more than 100 others. Today, those affected have played a role in changing the way safety is viewed in the petroleum industry, an industry brimming with Aggies.
Texas A&M Regent Anthony Buzbee represented 165 clients who were injured in the explosion in cases against British Petroleum, the company that owned the refinery at the time.
“I think the industry learned a lot from the explosion,” Buzbee said. “I know from my involvement in other refinery accidents that the BP 2005 explosion has been studied by its competitors and those in the industry in an effort to learn from the disaster.”
Buzbee said he has seen change in the industry over the last decade, but said he still has doubts as to whether BP itself learned a lesson. He said BP admitted fault right away, but continued to challenge the severity of the workers’ injuries.
He said the explosion can be used as a lesson for all.
us_TX  industrial  follow-up  death  petroleum 
9 days ago
Hazmat team dealing with methanol leak after Texas train derailment — RT USA
About a dozen cars, several of which had been carrying methanol, have overturned in a train derailment north of Valley Mills, TX. People in the surrounding area have been evacuated by a hazmat team which is dealing with the chemical leak at the scene.

Five of the derailed cars were carrying methanol, Department of Public Safety spokesman Trooper D.L. Wilson said, reported AP. Two of the methanol-hauling tanks have started leaking.

No injuries were reported as a result of the incident but as a precaution, Wilson confirmed, ten homes in the area were evacuated.
us_TX  transportation  release  response  methanol 
10 days ago
Wikipedia Chemical Structure Explorer: substructure and similarity searching of molecules from Wikipedia
Wikipedia, the world’s largest and most popular encyclopedia is an indispensable source of chemistry information. It contains among others also entries for over 15,000 chemicals including metabolites, drugs, agrochemicals and industrial chemicals. To provide an easy access to this wealth of information we decided to develop a substructure and similarity search tool for chemical structures referenced in Wikipedia. Results We extracted chemical structures from entries in Wikipedia and implemented a web system allowing structure and similarity searching on these data.
education  discovery  environmental 
10 days ago
Chemical spill cleanup underway in Vail Village
VAIL — Vail fire and work crews quickly corralled a small glycol spill Friday afternoon.

At about 4 p.m. Friday, crews responded to a call reporting a leak in Vail’s snowmelt system. A 17-year-old pipe developed a leak on East Meadow Drive near the pedestrian entry to the Vail Village parking garage, across from the Covered Bridge.

Between 250 and 500 gallons of propylene glycol spilled. Fire Chief Mark Novak says an unknown quantity entered a nearby storm drain that empties into Gore Creek.

Crews worked with responders from Vail’s public works department to create a containment area. The leak was isolated by 4:30 p.m.

Propylene glycol is a minimally hazardous antifreeze used to prevent the snowmelt system from freezing.
us_CO  public  fire  response  antifreeze 
10 days ago
Kronos chemical leak puts acid cloud over Varennes, Que.
Health and security officials have stopped the leak of titanium tetrachloride at the Kronos chemical plant in Varennes, just outside of Montreal.

Kronos produces pigments and chemicals at its Varennes, Que., facility. (Radio-Canada)

Varennes fire Chief Alain Pharland said employees inside the plant have diverted the contents of a leaking reservoir to another container.

Officials first learned of the leak at 10:15 a.m. ET on Saturday.

Homes within 400 metres of the plant on Marie-Victorin Road have been evacuated, and a confinement order is in effect for people living between Côte Bissonnette Road and Montée de la Baronnie.

5 people being treated

Five people were being treated for injuries after the leak.

Three of the five were workers at a nearby factory and have been transported to the Pierre-Boucher Hospital for treatment. Their condition is unknown.
Canada  industrial  release  injury  titanium_tetrachloride 
10 days ago
N.H. Man Killed in Fire Was Smoking, Using Oxygen
March 21--A 59-year-old man who died in a one-alarm fire Thursday night at a Depot Pond Road residence had been smoking while using oxygen, according to the New Hampshire State Fire Marshal's Office.

The cause and manner of death of Anthony Disciscio is pending laboratory test results being conducted by the state Medical Examiner's Office, according to District Chief Stacey Dubois of the Fire Marshal's Office.

The fire at 23 Depot Pond Road was reported just after 9 p.m. by a neighbor who heard the smoke alarm and reported that a person was inside.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze, which was in the kitchen, in about 20 minutes.

Disciscio died in the blaze. His body was found on the kitchen floor, officials said.
us_NH  public  fire  death  oxygen 
10 days ago
Hazardous material unloaded at Guelph waste resource centre
GUELPH — At about 8 a.m. Friday morning eight, 18-litre pails of ethanol were unloaded at the transfer station of the Waste Resource Innovation Centre on Dunlop Street in Guelph.

It is believed that the party responsible was an industrial, commercial, institutional (ICI) user of the product. The ethanol was inside plastic containers that were then placed in garbage bags.

"That is not a substance that we are allowed to receive, but it allegedly came in sealed black garbage bags," said Dean Wyman, general manger of solid waste resources for the city. "Six of them spilled open, and two of them remained intact. When it spilled open it caused fumes."

Guelph Fire Services responded with a hazmat team because the substance causing the fumes was unknown at the time, Wyman said. The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change was also alerted.
Canada  industrial  release  response  ethanol  waste 
11 days ago
Hazardous work takes toll on Latinos
In 2004, Katherine Rodriguez's father, Ray Gonzalez, was performing maintenance with two other workers on a super-heated water line at the BP refinery in Texas City. As work continued, the pipe burst, spraying and scalding him with 500-degree water. He survived numerous operations over several weeks until his body eventually failed and he had to be taken off life support at the age of 54.
us_TX  industrial  discovery  environmental 
11 days ago
Fracking: US tightens rules for chemical disclosure
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Obama administration said Friday it is requiring companies that drill for oil and natural gas on federal lands to disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations, a controversial drilling technique that has sparked an ongoing boom in natural gas production across the country.

A rule to take effect in June also updates requirements for well construction and disposal of water and other fluids used in fracking, as the drilling method is more commonly known.

The rule has been under consideration for more than three years, drawing criticism from the oil and gas industry and environmental groups alike. The industry fears federal regulation could duplicate efforts by states and hinder the drilling boom, while some environmental groups worry that lenient rules could allow unsafe drilling techniques to pollute groundwater.
industrial  discovery  environmental 
11 days ago
Fire extinguisher factory destroyed in massive blaze
A Chicago factory that makes chemicals for use in fire extinguishers was destroyed in a massive blaze Thursday night.

The extra-alarm fire broke out in the Archer Heights section of the city just after 9 p.m. at the industrial building on W. 38th Street, according to MyFoxChicago.com.

Within 30 minutes, the building, which housed several businesses in addition to the chemical factory, was completely engulfed in flames.

More than 150 firefighters responded to the scene and it took them nearly three hours to extinguish the fire. The crews had difficulty getting enough water to the building because of a lack of hydrants and had to perform an "inline operation," in which six trucks were spaced out over a mile and connected by hoses to pipe water, the Chicago Tribune reported.

High flames from the blaze could be spotted from miles away and thick black smoke choked a nearby highway.

The fire caused the roof to collapse and the building was damaged beyond repair. No one was injured and authorities are investigating the cause of the blaze.
us_IL  industrial  fire  response  fire_extinguisher 
11 days ago
CDC commitment to safety 'inconsistent and insufficient,' report finds
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the federal agency dealing with Ebola, anthrax, measles, avian flu, and other issues involving public health, has come under fire for what a panel of experts says are inadequate lab safety practices and procedures.

The independent panel was named last year after a series of safety lapses at CDC facilities, including the accidental exposure of 80 unprotected workers to pathogenic anthrax at CDC's Bioterrorism Rapid Response and Advanced Technology lab in June.

"Leadership commitment toward safety has been inconsistent and insufficient at multiple levels," the report states. "Safety, including lab safety, is viewed by many as something separate from and outside the primary missions of public health and research. Safety is not integrated into strategic planning and is not currently part of the CDC culture, enterprise-wide.”
laboratory  follow-up  response 
11 days ago
Why “hypoallergenic” isn’t a thing (video)
WASHINGTON, March 19, 2015 — It’s a simple claim made on thousands of personal care products for adults and kids: hypoallergenic. But what does that actually mean? Turns out, it can mean whatever manufacturers want it to mean, and that can leave you feeling itchy. Speaking of Chemistry is back this week with Sophia Cai explaining why “hypoallergenic” isn’t really a thing. Check it out here: http://youtu.be/lXh8bnqMOZs.

Youtube ID: lXh8bnqMOZs
industrial  discovery  environmental 
11 days ago
St. Paul firefighters suffered chemical burns in wastewater plant blaze
Three St. Paul firefighters who responded to last week's blaze at the Metropolitan Wastewater Treatment Plant suffered chemical burns that were serious enough to keep them away from work, and their injuries led to discussion Friday between the fire department and firefighters union about what happened.

The fire occurred March 10 in one building at the large complex on the Mississippi River southeast of downtown St. Paul.

Later that day, eight firefighters reported symptoms apparently associated with the fire, Fire Chief Tim Butler said Friday. They went to the emergency room to be checked out, and three were found to have more serious burns while one had a minor rash, said Jeramiah Melquist, treasurer of the St. Paul International Association of Fire Fighters Local 21.
us_MN  public  follow-up  injury  water_treatment 
11 days ago
Colfax Mobile Home Fire, Chemical Tank Fears Prompt Evacuations
A small structure fire threatened residents in a rural neighborhood in Colfax.

CalFire got a call about 12:30 p.m. about a fire on the 1300 block of Robbers Ravine Road. Fire fighters arrived on scene to a parked moving truck in the back of the property engulfed in flames.

They also immediately noticed several tanks of vegetable oil, chlorine, diesel, gas, and propane around the moving truck.

After the Hazmat team assessed the area, fire fighters continued to suppress the flames.

In the meantime, authorities evacuated 1/4 miles radius from the fire to ensure safety of the residents. This included 21 homes and 10 families.

Hazmat cleared the scene at around 2:30 p.m., and residents were told they could return to their homes.
us_CA  transportation  fire  response  chlorine  diesel  propane 
11 days ago
Louisiana Is Struggling To Dispose Of 15 Million Pounds Of Explosive Propellant
The largest stockpile of M6 artillery propellent in the country is sitting abandoned at an old military facility in Louisiana. The New York Times reports that the discarded propellent is slowly deteriorating, posing a potentially explosive problem to the facility's neighbors.
The solid propellent, an incredibly hazardous material, was accumulated by a now bankrupt military contractor named (appropriately) Explo. The company amassed over 15 million pounds of the explosive over the years, storing it in bunkers and open fields at Camp Minden. As the stockpile aged, it became too unstable to use.
Worried about an explosion, the EPA is trying to get rid of the propellent, which is expected to become an even greater risk after August of this year as it continues to destabilize. The typical way to get rid of M6 propellant is to burn it, but that would release harmful chemicals into the air, and given the huge amount of the stockpile (the EPA estimates it would take over a year to burn the entire thing), the people who live near the Camp aren't too thrilled with that solution.
Just this week, the EPA issued a memo approving six other methods as possible alternatives to burning in the open, including burning it in contained situations, like a kiln or tunnel furnace, using a microwave reactor, or using chemical reactions to neutralize the explosives. The EPA and the Louisiana National Guard are accepting bids from companies ready to use those methods to get rid of the propellents. They hope to make a decision as soon as possible.
us_LA  industrial  discovery  response  explosives  wastes 
11 days ago
Substance that caused hazmat situation not identified
MATTHEWS, N.C. — Investigators haven’t said if they’ve been able to identify a substance a woman said she was exposed to while inside a home in Indian Trail.

Police, fire and hazmat were called to Novant’s Matthews Medical Center in Matthews Thursday after the woman went to the emergency room and complained her eyes and skin were burning. Investigators said shortly after, two nurses who were treating the woman also developed similar symptoms. All three people were decontaminated.
IMAGES: Crews respond to hazmat situation at Novant Health in Matthews

The woman, who identified herself as a private inspector for a mortgage company, told investigators she was inside a house on Bridle Trail when she came in contact with the white powdery substance. The house is vacant and owned by a bank.

Police, fire and hazmat responded to the house. Investigators said they originally thought the substance was lye, a strongly alkaline solution used for washing or cleansing. Crews left after determining there was no threat to the public and a private hazmat team was called in to do further testing and cleaning.
us_NC  public  release  injury  sodium_hydroxide 
12 days ago
Safety experts slam lax safety practices at CDC labs
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recently had lab mishaps involving some of the world's most dangerous pathogens, does "inadequate" training, lacks leadership commitment toward safety and has a significant percentage of staff who are afraid to report accidents, according to the agency's own safety advisers.

"We are very concerned that the CDC is on the way to losing credibility," wrote the group of external biosafety experts, appointed by the agency as advisers in the wake of high-profile accidents with anthrax and bird flu last year. "The CDC must not see itself as 'special'. The internal controls and rules that the rest of the world works under also apply to CDC."

The CDC quietly posted the experts' report on its website this week. It is dated Jan. 13 – six months after CDC Director Tom Frieden testified before Congress that he'd taken significant steps to address safety issues. The Atlanta-based agency's high-security labs do wide-ranging public health experiments, including work with the Ebola virus to help combat the ongoing outbreaks in Africa, studies of deadly strains of influenza to help make better vaccines and examinations of anthrax to create better detection methods for bioterror agents.

"CDC concurs with these recommendations, has made progress towards implementing them, and will soon report on that progress," according to text posted with the report on the webpage.

"It's critical that we continue to solicit feedback on how we can improve our operations, especially functions as critical as lab safety," CDC's chief operating officer Sherri Berger, said Wednesday, noting that many actions are already underway to address the committee's recommendations.
laboratory  follow-up  environmental  unknown_chemical 
12 days ago
Lab crews at Backus Hospital briefly evacuated because of chemical reaction
Norwich – Employees in a lab at The William W. Backus Hospital were briefly evacuated Thursday as fire crews responded to reports of bleach mixing with methanol and causing a chemical reaction. 
Yantic Fire Chief Frank Blanchard said firefighters contained the mixed chemicals and packed them into a sealed drum. The drum was removed from the hospital for disposal by a contractor. 
Hospital spokesman Shawn Mawhiney said there were no injuries and no impact on patients. The first-floor laboratory is not in a patient care area, he said. Employees were evacuated out of their work space and into other parts of the building, he said. 
Employees were let back in about an hour later.
us_CT  laboratory  release  response  bleach  methanol  waste 
12 days ago
Chemical odor sickens several in Mitchell, Il plant
MADISON COUNTY, IL (KTVI) – Hazmat crews are working in a chemical spill in Mitchell, Illinois.  The incident occurred the Menasha Packaging Company.  There are several patients being treated.

Assistant Chief Chris Modrusic of the Pontoon Beach Police department says that they are not sure what caused people to get sick.  He thinks it could be from exhaust from a truck unloading pallets at the plant.  The truck was carrying a load of laminate paper that was just printed.  The ink had not been cured and was emitting a smell similar to ether.  The truck is currently being inspected.

Three people were taken to the hospital.  Two were taken to Gateway, one to Anderson.  Five people refused treatment.  Most patients were treated for asthma-like symptoms.  Two  had seizures.  One of those people has a prior history of seizures.
us_IL  industrial  release  injury  unknown_chemical 
12 days ago
Officials make decision on Paulsboro High School opening after chemical leak at PBF Refinery
PAULSBORO -- Following Wednesday's chemical leak at the nearby PBF Refinery, Paulsboro High School will open for school at its regularly scheduled time on Thursday, fire Chief Alfonso Giampola said.

The chief said he, county HAZMAT crews, state Department of Environmental Protection and Environmental Protection Agency workers along with with refinery officials came to a consensus that that parts per million (ppm) readings at the school were at acceptable levels. 

Readings on Wednesday showed 3 to 5 ppm readings on the 2nd and 3rd floor of the junior high school wing, which were "concerning levels," Giampola said.

Ventilation systems were run during the overnight hours to help clear out any remaining fumes inside the building, Giampola said, and nothing else of concern was found throughout the school.

Readings early Thursday had taken a sharp drop to around .03 to .05, Giampola said, adding that something as small a banana peel in a trash can will give you a reading due to the carbon dioxide coming off it.

Mark Wilgus, a spokesman for PBF Refinery, said the facility is planning for normal operations on Thursday, Tests were also done at the Billingsport and Loudenslager elementary schools, where test levels were "void of any readings," Wilgus said.
us_NJ  education  follow-up  environmental  carbon_dioxide 
12 days ago
Officials think Board Foot fire was ‘spontaneous’
A pile of chemical-soaked rags spontaneously combusted, causing a fire on the inside of a hardware shop on Main Street early Thursday morning, Hutchinson Fire Chief Kim Forbes said.
Hutchinson Fire Department Blue Crew, led by Battalion Chief Darin Gehring, responded to The Board Foot Hardwood and Hardware, 921 S. Main St., at 3:03 a.m. Thursday. Forbes said firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke bellowing from the rear of the business, but there were no visible flames.
Firefighters forced their way in through an overhead garage door, but Forbes said the cloud of dark smoke limited visibility. Firefighters then found a fire towards the middle of the building.
us_KS  public  fire  response  unknown_chemical 
12 days ago
Chemical sickens 12 at local warehouse HAZMAT team called in to identify source of breathing problems
EDWARDSVILLE — A chemical sprayed on some mechanical parts in the back of a tractor trailer caused 12 people to require EMS services at an Edwardsville warehouse Thursday.

The Mitchell Fire Department was called to Menasha Packaging, 9 E. Gateway Commerce Center Drive in Edwardsville, at 9:17 a.m. Thursday for an individual having trouble breathing. Before a crew could be dispatched, though, Mitchell Fire Chief Eddie Lee said the warehouse called back and requested a pumper truck come out for a HAZMAT incident.

The respiratory issue was believed to have something to do with a skid unit unloaded at the warehouse shortly before the incident, but it was actually a chemical sprayed on some mechanical parts being transported in the same trailer that caused the issues, Lee said.

“They thought it was coming from that skid, but it was coming from another product which was in the truck,” Lee said. “The Madison County HAZMAT Team boarded the truck and determined that it was a chemical that they sprayed on some parts that they were transporting.”
us_IL  industrial  release  response  unknown_chemical 
12 days ago
Fort Erie chemical cleanup will take two more weeks to complete
FORT ERIE, Ont. – The private hazardous materials company hired by regional authorities will be working for about the next two weeks to clean up a chemical spill on Helena Street, Fort Erie Fire Chief Larry Coplen said Wednesday night.

Though the spill has forced the closing of Helena between Garrison Road and Albany Street, the basically rural nature of that part of the town has not caused great problems for the few nearby residents who have been allowed to remain in their homes and have no problem driving out of the area, officials said.

The acetone and toluene that spilled out of a building at 833 Helena over a week ago remained under investigation by town officials. The chemicals are not believed to pose any immediate health problems to residents but is not to be touched without protective clothing, officials said. The Ontario Ministry of the Environment is in charge of the cleanup operations.
Canada  public  release  environmental  acetone  toluene 
13 days ago
Chemical reaction triggers evacuation at AkzoNobel
Roanoke Fire-EMS officials are investigating a chemical reaction at the AkzoNobel plant that prompted an evacuation Wednesday afternoon, officials said.
Roanoke Fire-EMS spokeswoman Tiffany Bradbury said in a news release that a chemical contained in a drum started smoking around 12:45 p.m. at an auxiliary building in the 2800 block of Roanoke Avenue. The company manufactures wood coatings for kitchen and bath cabinets.
Three employees worked in that building, but the fire alarm triggered an evacuation for all production workers, said company site manager Russell Huff in an email. Huff said no one was injured and there were no reports of environmental releases.
Though residents near the business might have been able to smell fumes, Bradbury said the chemical is not toxic.
Huff said the drum contained material used to make coatings, and it exceeded optimum temperature. What exactly the chemical is hasn't been released.
us_VA  industrial  release  response  paints 
13 days ago
Meth production may be on decline
CHILLICOTHE – Despite a pair of Tuesday arrests in Pike County connected to a suspected methamphetamine laboratory, meth activity across the area appears to be trending downward.

According to Capt. Kevin Teeters, of the Chillicothe Police Department, the city has dealt with far fewer calls of suspicious chemical smells consistent with methamphetamine manufacturing than in recent years.

"Every once in a while, we get a report of places that smell like a meth lab," Teeters said. "But we just don't get the calls like we did years ago."

In October, during a discussion of a relatively new city law that holds property owners responsible to pay for the cost of cleanup of meth labs on their property, Chillicothe Fire Chief Jeff Creed pointed out that the city had not responded to any calls for meth lab cleanup over at least the previous six months.

The change is a classic good news, bad news situation. Teeters said the resurgence of heroin as the drug of choice locally has been a primary reason for the decrease in methamphetamine production.

With regard to the Pike County situation, two people were arrested on charges of operating a suspected methamphetamine laboratory Tuesday morning after Pike County Sheriff's Office deputies were dispatched to a home in reference to a noise complaint.
us_OH  public  follow-up  environmental  meth_lab 
13 days ago
Spilled Paint Thinner Prompts Hazmat Response in Trumbull
Firefighters in Trumbull were called to a loading dock at Kennedy Industries on Lindeman Drive on Wednesday afternoon after spilled paint thinner mixed with gasoline residue and created fumes, according to the fire department.
Officials with the Trumbull fire department said the fumes created a vapor that traveled into the ventilation system of the building at 39 Lindeman Drive. Firefighters responded to the scene around 1 p.m..
No one was hurt, and fire officials said crews ventilated the building within half an hour.
us_CT  industrial  release  response  gasoline  solvent 
13 days ago
9 taken to hospital after chemical spill on Navy submarine
GROTON, Conn. (AP) — Officials say nine people were taken to a hospital as a precaution after a chemical spill during routine maintenance aboard a submarine at Connecticut's Navy base.

The Groton base commander, Capt. Carl Lahti, says the potassium hydroxide spill Wednesday was contained to the submarine. He says no injuries were reported.

Atlantic fleet spokesman Cmdr. Tommy Crosby says about a gallon of the chemical spilled aboard the USS Annapolis. He says eight sailors and a fireman were taken to a hospital as a precaution.

Lawrence & Memorial Hospital spokesman Michael O'Farrell in New London says the patients were released after being evaluated for respiratory and skin irritation.
us_CT  industrial  release  response  other_chemical 
13 days ago
Petroleum vapor closes Paulsboro school
More than a dozen students and two teachers at Paulsboro High School were taken to a nearby hospital Wednesday after they were overcome by fumes in the building.

Officials believe the fumes were caused by a neighboring refinery that has been dealing with odor issues this week.

Paulsboro police say 16 students and the two teachers were being treated, but their issues were not believed to be serious.

The high school closed early.

"What was done today was more of a precaution," Paulsboro police chief Chris Wachter said. "The last two days there were odors coming from one of the refineries, which had a seal on a storage tank that ruptured, which allowed odor from the tank to escape.
us_NJ  education  release  injury  unknown_chemical 
13 days ago
Hazmat crews work to clean up jet fuel spill near Lubbock airpor
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Hazmat crews were called to a Lubbock Aero at the Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport early Tuesday morning, after reports of a jet fuel leak.   

Just after 12:10 a.m., firefighters responded to a tanker truck that was leaking kerosene between the Silent Wings Museum and AeroCare.   
When crews arrived on the scene, they determined more than 100 gallons of Jet-A fuel had been leaked during a transfer from a holding tank to a fuel truck. 

The fuel flowed downhill outside of the airport perimeter to North Cedar Ave. Crews contained the spill using sand before it reached a nearby playa lake. Portions of North Cedar Ave are still blocked off as clean up operations are ongoing.
us_TX  transportation  release  response  jet_fuel  kerosene 
14 days ago
Chemical tank rolls off semi, closes Highway 52
ST. PAUL, Minn. - A wreck involving a semi-trailer hauling chemicals closed a stretch of northbound Highway 52 in St. Paul Tuesday morning.

Minnesota State Patrol spokesperson Sgt, Tiffani Nielson says the semi was hauling 5 large tanks of chlorine weighing 3,500 lbs each around 7 a.m. when the driver braked hard, likely due to inattention. The load shifted suddenly, causing one of the tanks to fall off the trailer.

First responders did not discover any leakage from the tank but police called the St. Paul Fire Department Hazmat Team to inspect the tank. All northbound lanes of Highway 52 were shut down as a precaution.

Eventually the tank was loaded onto a new truck and taken away.
us_MN  transportation  discovery  response  chlorine 
14 days ago
Amid a Sea of False Findings, the NIH Tries Reform
How do you change an entire scientific culture?

It may sound grandiose, but that is the loaded question now facing the National Institutes of Health, the federal agency that oversees and finances U.S. biomedical research.

While the public remains relatively unaware of the problem, it is now a truism in the scientific establishment that many preclinical biomedical studies, when subjected to additional scrutiny, turn out to be false. Many researchers believe that if scientists set out to reproduce preclinical work published over the past decade, a majority would fail. This, in short, is the reproducibility crisis.

The NIH, if it was at first reluctant to consider the problem, is now taking it seriously. Just over a year ago, the agency’s director, Francis S. Collins, and his chief deputy, Lawrence A. Tabak, announced actions the agency would take to improve the research it finances. Science needs to get its house in order, Dr. Collins said in a recent interview with The Chronicle.
laboratory  discovery  environmental 
15 days ago
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