Mercury Found In Gym Floors In Three Parsippany Schools
PARSIPPANY, NJ — Mercury has been found in the rubber gym floors in three Parsippany Troy-Hills schools, including an elementary school, district officials say. The school district says the airborne levels tested below the legal safety limits, but parents are still concerned.

Rubber floors in Parsippany High School, Central Middle School, and Littleton Elementary school tested positive for mercury in the floor and as vapors in the air. Mercury is commonly used in the manufacturing process of rubberized floors to help keep them flexible.

School officials said all three gyms tested below safety levels set by the CDC, the Minnesota Department of health and the NJ OSHA law, and that they are safe with ventilation.

In a Q&A posted to the district's website, officials said they plan on keeping the flooring in place through the school year and replacement "will be carefully reviewed as part of the 2018-19 School Budget preparation.

Parents say that's not fast enough.

"The gym in our school is very important for the students, teachers, staff, parents and the members of the community. It is used not only for Physical Education, sports and games but also as the venue for SKIP and several other programs organized by the PTA and the community. We need to ensure that we eliminate any chance of children being harmed just by participating in any of such events," a group called Parents of Littleton Elementary School students wrote in a Change.org petition.

The petition, which has 148 signatures, wants to see the gym floors replaced "immediately."

"It is shocking that our children will continue to be exposed to what is now considered Hazmat," Nina Sengupta told Patch.

The parents say there are limits to the sampling methods used and even acceptable limits of mercury could be too much for children with weak immune systems.
us_NJ  education  discovery  response  mercury 
13 hours ago
Greeley oil field worker dies after pipeline fire
GREELEY, Colo. — An oil field worker who was among three people injured in a gas pipeline fire last week died Tuesday night, the Weld County Coroner’s Office said.

George Cottingham, 61 of Greeley, was taken to North Colorado Medical Center after the fire about 10 miles east of Galeton on Thursday.

The final manner and cause of his death are awaiting autopsy and laboratory results, the coroner’s office said.

One DCP Midstream employee and two contractors were performing routine maintenance when the fire broke out on a PDC Energy site.

The workers were near a DCP pipeline at the time of the fire. Two company trucks also burned.

The names and conditions of the other two workers have not been released.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
us_CO  industrial  fire  death  unknown_chemical 
13 hours ago
Chemical Valley flaring reflects a rosy glow over south Port Huron
People living in Port Huron and looking to the east are seeing what appears to be a fire reflected off the bottom of low clouds.

The source of the red glow is flaring from Chemical Valley in Ontario.

Gas flaring in Chemical Valley and at facilities in Marysville and St. Clair can sometimes look as if large buildings are on fire.

Flare stacks are used to burn off flammable gases.
us_MI  public  discovery  environmental  flammables 
13 hours ago
Boffin made bombs of the type used in 7/7 attacks
retired chemical analyst who made an explosive of the type used in the 7/7 bombings has avoided jail.

David Taylor’s home in Golcar was raided last year after an internet service provider alerted police that he was buying chemicals online.

The 71-year-old had used his purchases to make two types of explosives - hexamethlyene triperoxide diamine (HMTD), which was used in the 7/7 bombings, and pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN).

But Leeds Crown Court heard today (Wednesday) that he has no political or religious affiliations and merely made them as a ‘hobby’.

Bashir Ahmed, prosecuting, said: “These chemicals are unstable and cause serious damage and harm if they do indeed explode.
United_Kingdom  laboratory  discovery  response  explosives  illegal 
13 hours ago
Vt. toxics law provides data, but not clarity, about toys
MONTPELIER - Three years after Vermont required manufacturers to report chemicals used in children's products, holiday shoppers can get more information about toys than ever before — some assembly required. 

In 2014, Vermont passed a law requiring toy manufacturers to report the presence of chemicals in children's products, using a list of 66 chemicals thought to raise possible health concerns. Manufacturers began submitting their reports Jan. 1.

The catch? To find chemical information about specific toys and clothing, consumers must download 70 individual spreadsheets from an obscure corner of the Vermont Department of Health website. 

Most of the items are identified only by product codes, and this reporter struggled to match any of the data to the name of a recognizable toy.

"A parent would have to be an excellent researcher and go compare the spreadsheet to the product on the shelf," said Adam Maxwell, a field director for Vermont Public Interest Research Group. 
us_VT  public  discovery  environmental  unknown_chemical 
13 hours ago
One person hospitalised in 'mystery chemical' leak out of barrel at Auckland Airport
A hazardous materials team and six fire crews were called to the spill, which prompted the evacuation of an Air New Zealand cargo building, on Thursday morning.
Crews are decontaminating the cordoned off area.
One person has since been taken to hospital, while emergency services earlier said two people were being checked after sniffing the yet-to-be-identified liquid.
Fire and Emergency NZ says the material leaked out of a barrel and seeped over a large area.
No delays to flights in and out of the airport were expected.
New_Zealand  transportation  release  injury  unknown_chemical 
13 hours ago
North Carolina to yank Chemours’s water pollution permit for fluorochemical production
Manufacture of fluorinated chemicals, including Nafion sulfonated tetrafluoroethylene-based ionic polymers, at Chemours’s plant near Fayetteville, N.C., could be hampered because North Carolina is suspending part of the facility’s permit to discharge process wastewater.
Earlier this year, Chemours pledged to capture and safely dispose of wastewater containing the fluoropolymer processing aid GenX and related fluorinated compounds. GenX has tainted public drinking water drawn from the Cape Fear River downstream of the plant as well as nearby wells.

In September, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality warned Chemours that as of Nov. 30, it would suspend the part of the water pollution permit covering the Nafion and fluoromonomers production area of the plant, a move that would require the company to capture and dispose of all wastewater from those manufacturing processes. Then in late October, the agency said this action wasn’t necessary because Chemours had taken steps to control the release of per- and polyfluorinated compounds in wastewater.
But now, the agency says it will make good on its threat because Chemours allegedly failed to report a spill of GenX at the plant in early October. Chemours in early November acknowledged the spill, which led to a nearly 100-fold increase in GenX concentrations at its outfall into the Cape Fear River, the agency adds.
Chemours calls the suspension “unwarranted.” The company says it has worked in good faith to cooperate with the agency.
The company and its former parent, DowDuPont, face a class-action lawsuit over the contaminated drinking water.
us_NC  industrial  follow-up  environmental  plastics 
13 hours ago
'Large fireball' injures students in chemistry experiment gone wrong
Four students at an elite all-girls Catholic high school in New York City reportedly suffered burns and respiratory injuries Wednesday after a “large fireball” exploded in a chemistry experiment gone wrong.

A teacher at the school was conducting a flame experiment in front of a class and the flame apparently grew too large, Sister Patricia Wolf, president of St. Catherine Academy, told NBC New York.

“This morning an accident occurred during a demonstration in which several students were singed by a flame in the chemistry lab,” the school said in a statement. “Four students were sent to the hospital. There were no hazardous materials involved.”

The teacher was distraught after the incident, Wolf said, but all the students are expected to be okay, NBC New York reported. The parents of all the students were notified by text.
us_NY  laboratory  explosion  injury  unknown_chemical 
Walmart in North Kingstown re-opened after hazmat incident
NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WLNE) — A local Walmart has been re-opened Tuesday evening after being closed for a hazmat incident earlier.

According to the North Kingstown Fire Department, a odor of gas was detected in the pharmacy area of the Walmart on Ten Rod Road around 1:45 p.m.

When employees started hearing complaints of coughing from multiple patrons, the store was evacuated. 

Of the fifteen people evaluated by North Kingstown EMS professionals, one was transported to the hospital for difficulty breathing. 

An air quality test showed that the air was clean Tuesday night, fire officials said. 
us_RI  public  release  injury  unknown_chemical 
Minnesota says 3M chemicals caused cancer, infertility; puts cost at $5 billion
Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson on Monday said in court filings that past chemical dumping by 3M Co. has cost $5 billion in damages in Oakdale, Minn., and she linked toxic materials by the company to health effects like cancer, infertility and low birth weights.

The Star Tribune has a report on the filing by Swanson, which is the first time in years of disputes over past chemical dumping by 3M that anyone has laid out the potential human cost.

In a statement, 3M said that Minnesota had not sustained any injuries. "3M believes these chemicals present no harm at the levels they are observed in Minnesota,” said 3M’s lead attorney, William Brewer III.

Minnesota sued Maplewood-based 3M (NYSE: MMM) over decades-old practices of chemical dumping back in 2010, arguing that it should pay for widespread water contamination of perfluorochemicals, compounds known as PFCs that were used to make Scotchguard, fire retardants, paints and other chemical products. The trial is finally set to begin next year.

The new filings argue that 3M knew PFCs were dangerous years before it stopped dumping them (some of those findings also came up years ago). The chemicals have contributed to groundwater pollution in several east-metro cities.

An environmental expert hired by the state studied one of those areas, Oakdale, where 3M long had a facility. He found that mothers there were 34 percent more likely to give birth to low-weight babies than elsewhere in the county with different water sources. The rate of low-weight births declined when Oakdale switched to different water.
us_MN  public  follow-up  environmental  other_chemical 
Chemicals linked to fire fighting foam discovered in Lake Margrethe
Chemicals linked to causing ill health effects in humans and animals have been discovered in Lake Margrethe, one of Crawford County’s most treasured natural resources.
Randy Rothe, the district supervisor for the Department of Quality’s (DEQ) Remediation and Redevelopment Division in Gaylord, said a DEQ employee reported seeing foam on the surface water of Lake Margrethe this past summer. 
“We didn’t want to cause a stir out there because we didn’t have any data,” Rothe said in a report to the Grayling Charter Township Board of Trustees on Nov. 15.
In 2016, the National Guard Bureau issued a directive to identify water sources at every training facility, camp, fort, and armory. The order also included every installation which had an airfield where fire crash training occurred or where fires occurred with the use of aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF). 
The foam contains Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), which have been classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as an emerging contaminate on the national landscape.
There are just over a dozen PFCs, which were in common use including Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). The EPA’s health advisory for just those two compounds is 70 parts per trillion
us_MI  public  discovery  environmental  other_chemical 
Safety consigned to flames
Fire safety has seldom been a priority in India, and it is, unfortunately, all too common to see the damage that results from the neglect of this basic norm. Monday’s fire in Amarson Polymers factory in Ludhiana has left in its wake destruction of the five-storied building, damage to adjoining properties, and most importantly, loss of lives among the workers, and even the firemen who were sent to douse the blaze. A tragedy that mocks all our claims on good governance. 
Questions are now being raised about the appropriateness of basing an industrial unit, that too which manufactured polythene bags and polyester pouches and stored flammable chemicals, in a residential area; or the manner in which floors were added to the building. Even the manner in which the fire was tackled needs to be studied. Firemen did not, perhaps, have the requisite equipment and training to attend to what was essentially a chemical fire. Even as we laud the bravery of the firemen who went into the burning building, a thorough review is needed of their operating procedures so as to minimise casualties among them. The departments concerned must make the necessary investment in equipment and training at the earliest.
Ludhiana is no stranger to fires, and industrial units of various kinds have accounted for disproportionately high losses. Such units must have fire safety audits done regularly to prevent mishaps. Not only this, the municipal authorities must also crack down on unauthorised factories that operate in residential areas, and clean these up for people to live in. Any building, government or private, residential, commercial or industrial, should not be allowed to become a fire hazard. It may take a moment to trigger a fire, but a history of shortcomings and violations of basic safety stipulations and routines is what allows it to spread and become a menace. Safety must begin at home, and when that fails, a well-organised, well-equipped force must be available to fight the conflagration. The local administration and the state government should go beyond providing succour to the injured and the families of those who died in the fire. Politicians and officials must dedicate themselves to enforcing the much-needed simple rules and regulations of urban safety.
India  industrial  follow-up  environmental  flammables  plastics 
Multiple Investigations Are In Motion In Cosmetics Factory Fire
Tuesday in Orange County, New York state and local authorities were trying to determine what triggered explosions and a fire at a cosmetics factory Monday morning in New Windsor. One employee was found dead and some 125 others were injured, including nine firefighters, at the plant that was cited for safety violations earlier this year.

Authorities identified the Verla International worker whose body was found Monday night as 57-year-old William Huntington, of the Town of Newburgh.  In a statement, the company said, "Bill was a valued employee and we at Verla are sorry to his friends and his family for their loss.” Juan Pablo Marcos, a co-worker, told The Associated Press that Huntington had gone back inside after the first explosion to make sure everyone had gotten out safely, and was still inside when the second blast occurred.

Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus released a statement Tuesday, saying the tragic event has deeply touched the community. His spokesman, Justin Rodriguez, says nine firefighters were injured — five from the City of Newburgh and four from Vails Gate, and that one of the Newburgh firefighters was taken to Westchester Medical Center for burns. These firefighters were caught in the second explosion, some 25 minutes after responding to the first blast. A St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital spokeswoman says 125 patients affected by the incident were treated.

Brendan Casey is commissioner of emergency services for Orange County. He says 30 different fire agencies responded from multiple counties. He said about 250 employees worked at the 52,000-square foot facility that manufactures primarily nail polish and perfumes.

“We knew that it was a chemical explosion that caused this. It was not a Tier 2 facility so it wasn’t a high-level hazmat [hazardous materials] facility,” said Casey. “We believe that whatever chemicals were in the fire or the smoke were alcohol-based.”
us_NY  industrial  follow-up  death  unknown_chemical 
After Flint, Helping Doctors Recognize Chemical Exposure
Before doctors in Flint, Mich., knew they were dealing with a crisis of lead poisoning, there were warning signs of a problem with the water supply. The doctors just didn’t know what to do with them — including Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the pediatrician credited with uncovering the widespread lead poisoning afflicting that city. She said Flint was exposed to a “toxic soup” for 18 months — with drinking water violations for nine of those months — but no one knew exactly what was in the soup, or more important, what the soup was doing to the health of the people drinking it.

“We knew other things were in this water, but we didn’t do anything because nobody knew what to do about them,” she said. Officials had been advising residents concerned about one group of chemicals, called trihalomethanes, to ask their doctors for advice; the chemicals were elevated for months because of heavy disinfection treatment and are possibly carcinogenic. “And the doctors’ groups in Flint were like, ‘What do we know about total trihalomethanes? We don’t know what to tell people!’ ”

The medical community’s slow response to the water contamination in Flint is a symptom of what Dr. Hanna-Attisha calls one of the largest deficits in the field of medicine today — the omission of environmental factors, like air and water quality, in the way that doctors talk to patients about their health.

The long-term influence of the environment on our health has been a growing focus of environmental and health researchers in recent decades: scientists have shown that lead causes brain damage; bisphenol A and phthalates disrupt the endocrine system, impairing fertility and reproductive processes; some pesticides and flame retardants cause cancer and interfere with brain development in fetuses and children. Yet these variables remain largely overlooked in medical practice. Few doctors, for example, think to ask patients if they use a water filter at home, if they store food in plastic containers or glass, or if their children’s bedding contains flame retardants. That oversight begins in medical schools, which in the United States barely mention environmental factors beyond some acute scenarios like lead poisoning.
us_MI  public  discovery  environmental  pesticides 
Arkema documents: Planning, mechanical failures led to Harvey chemical fires
Prior to the chemical fire at its Crosby plant, Arkema underestimated the potential for storm damage and failed to keep essential backup power protected from rising floodwaters, documents obtained by the Houston Chronicle show.

Poor planning and a series of cascading equipment failures led to dangerous chemicals erupting into flames in late August during the height of Hurricane Harvey. The miscalculations indicate the company's lack of preparation for more than 3 feet of flooding, reflected by an emergency management plan that barely addressed how to handle such a storm.

Those judgments led to the burning of nine trailers containing the company's stockpile of organic peroxides. The resulting inferno exposed first responders and local residents to dangerous fumes and pulled emergency staffers away from hurricane recovery at a critical time.

Arkema officials argue that unprecedented floods made it impossible to prevent its chemicals from catching fire. The site had only seen up to 2 feet of flooding in the past, company officials said.
us_TX  industrial  follow-up  environmental  peroxide 
Scott Laboratory evacuated twice Monday night
The Columbus Division of Fire responded to fire alarms at Scott Laboratory two separate times Monday night due to an outpouring of steam from underneath the building. The building was evacuated on both occasions.
The first incident occurred around 7 p.m. Steam was coming from an open valve beneath the building and set off the alarm, which automatically calls the fire department, said Brock Smith, a second-shift plumber with Ohio State Facilities, Operations and Development, who responded to both incidents.
The second incident occurred around 8:10 p.m. and was caused by steam coming out of safety valves, creating a huge plume of steam blowing up more than a story high from the underground vent on the north side of the building.
Smith said the steam is generated by McCracken Power Plant, which is located a few blocks away. He added that a backup in the underground steam system had likely led to the outpouring of steam.
“There is no immediate safety concern,” Columbus Division of Fire Captain Brian Williams said.
us_or  laboratory  release  response  steam 
2 days ago
Firefighters among dozens injured in chemical explosion & fire at New York cosmetic factory
More than 30 people, including firefighters, were injured as two chemical explosions and a five-alarm fire struck a cosmetic factory in Hudson Valley, New York.
The first explosion occurred at about 10:19am local time Monday at the Verla International cosmetics factory in New Windsor, 55 miles north of New York City.

Firefighters were responding to the scene when a second explosion occurred half an hour after the first, injuring seven and causing two firefighters to be transported to Westchester Medical Center for burns, according to Brendan Casey, Orange County commissioner of Emergency Services, during an afternoon press briefing.

Video from the scene showed thick, black smoke spewing from a section of the roof in the sprawling facility, which includes manufacturing and warehouse buildings.

Workers milled about in a parking lot while fire crews looked on. There was no word on what caused the fire.

Among the more than 30 people injured, 15 were Verla employees. The injured either made their own way to hospitals or were brought in by ambulance. None of the injuries were life-threatening, officials said. Among the injuries were burns, smoke inhalation, and falls when the explosion happened.
us_ny  industrial  explosion  injuries  unknown_chemical 
2 days ago
Agent Pink chemical relinquished at HazMobile event
Napier City Council Waste Minimisation Lead Rhett van Veldhuizen said one of the most startling things to have been unloaded at the Napier event on Sunday 12 November was two boxes of chemical sachets containing Agent Pink.

Agent Pink was one of the so-called “rainbow herbicides” used in the Vietnam War alongside the equally powerful Agent Orange. The chemical – more formally known as 2, 4, 5-Trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (or 2, 4, 5-T) – is notorious for having contributed to a number of cancers, birth defects, disease and disability among those that ingested the herbicide during, and a long time after, the conflict. The effects on the environment and the people of Vietnam are still apparent today. “We are very grateful to have received such a dangerous and hazardous substance through the HazMobile event,” says Mr van Veldhuizen. “It’s much better that we take care of the effective disposal of something like Agent Pink, rather than have it languishing in someone’s garden shed!”

In Napier, 324 customers dropped off unwanted chemicals and in Hastings, 357 locals took part. Several tonnes of paint, around 4500 litres of waste oil and unusable fuel, five 200 litre drums of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides, approximately 200 empty gas bottles, thousands of batteries both big and small, and litres of pool chemicals and acids were among the haul. All of the chemicals and materials collected are disposed of in the correct way or recycled – for instance, oil and fuel can be reused as boiler fuel.

However Mr van Veldhuizen says there are concerns at the way members of the public are storing their chemicals. “Many of the chemicals we collected arrived in unlabelled old household fizzy drink bottles. This is a challenge for our team to handle, even though they are experts, but more importantly it’s a very risky method of storing chemicals. Children have died after drinking from a soft drink bottle filled with chemicals. We encourage the community to keep chemicals locked away and in their original bottles or containers so there can be no mistaking the contents.”
new_zealand  public  discovery  response  pesticide 
2 days ago
Students at Concord High School treated for dizziness after school experiment goes wrong
MULTIPLE students are being treated after a science experiment at school went horribly wrong.
Witnesses have reported emergency services travelling at high speeds towards Concord High School in NSW this morning, where seven students were being treated after suffering dizziness, minor respiratory difficulties and light-heads.
It is believed the sick students were in Year 8 but the experiment was conducted by Year 12 students in another classroom.
Ambulance, fire brigade and a HAZMAT team were all seen descending on the high school at approximately 10:15am. There were 30 evacuations across a number of classrooms.
One child has been transported to Auburn Hospital in a stable condition “for assessment”, a NSW Ambulance spokesman told news.com.au.
australia  laboratory  release  injury  unknown_chemical 
2 days ago
Sudden Shift at a Public Health Journal Leaves Scientists Feeling Censored
For much of its 22-year existence, few outside the corner of science devoted to toxic chemicals paid much attention to the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health.

But now, a feud has erupted over the small academic publication, as its editorial board — the scientists who advise the journal’s direction and handle article submissions — has accused the journal’s new owner of suppressing a paper and promoting “corporate interests over independent science in the public interest.”

More is at stake than just the journal’s direction.

IJOEH is best known for exposing so-called “product defense science” — industry-linked studies that defend the safety of products made by their funders. At a time when the Trump administration is advancing policies and nominees sympathetic to the chemical industry, the journal seems to be veering in the same direction.

“There are many scientists who work for corporations who are honest scientists,” said David Michaels, the former head of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration under President Obama. “What we’re concerned about here is the ‘mercenary science’ … that’s published purely to influence regulation or litigation, and doesn’t contribute to public health.”

“I think the IJOEH articles were threatening to that whole industry,” said Michaels, now an environmental and occupational health professor at George Washington University. While Michaels has never served on the journal’s editorial board, he has published an article in the journal and peer-reviewed others.
us  public  discovery  environmental 
2 days ago
OSHA cites two companies for hazardous chemical release
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is proposing a combined $43,458 in penalties against Tampa Electric Co. and Critical Intervention Services following a release of a chemical refrigerant.

OSHA determined that “the ammonia release occurred when a relief valve activated after a pipeline became over pressurized,” after responding to an incident at Tampa Electric’s Gibsonton, Florida-based facility in May 2017. Four workers were taken to the hospital for observation and released, the department said in a Friday statement. The electric company is facing a proposed fine of $18,108 for the serious violations, according to the citations.

The investigation also led to citations for Largo, Florida-based security services provider Critical Intervention Services, which received two serious violations “for not developing or implementing a written hazard communication program and failing to provide information and training on hazardous chemicals in the workplace,” OSHA said in the statement. The company is facing $25,350 in proposed penalties for the serious violations.

“When there is a potential hazardous chemical exposure, the emergency response plan must include all of the minimum safety and health requirements, including appropriate respiratory protection for employees,” Les Grove, Tampa, Florida-based OSHA area director, said in the statement.

Representatives from Tampa Electric Co. and Critical Intervention Services could not be immediately reached for comment.
us_fl  industrial  release  follow-up  hvac_chemicals 
2 days ago
Emergency services are responding to a hazmat incident
UPDATE 4.00pm: Aquazone says no members of the public were at risk during today’s chlorine gas leak.

Manager Ray Smith said last week sensors had alerted staff to the malfunctioning of the chlorination system, which led to them switching the system off and manually chlorinating the pool.

“Today a [chlorine] gas leak occurred while CFA officers and Aquazone staff were investigating the cause of the initial fault,” Mr Smith said.

“To ensure everyone’s safety, the Aquazone car park was closed for about two hours from 11.30am to allow any gas to dissipate. The indoor pool was evacuated and as a precaution cars were unable to enter or leave the site.

“Patrons were provided with free food and drinks while they waited to be given the all-clear by the CFA.

“While this was certainly an inconvenience for some patrons, no members of the public were at risk.
Australia  industrial  release  response  chlorine 
3 days ago
3 Injured After Small Plane Crashes Into House in San Jose
Three people were injured Sunday after a small plane crashed into a house near Reid-Hillview Airport in San Jose, according to fire officials.
The crash occurred about 3 p.m. at 2156 Evelyn Ave., which is just across the street from the airport, San Jose fire officials said.
Two men and one woman were transported to a hospital. One person suffered a major injury, and the other two were lesser injuries, fire officials said.
The plane, a single-engine Cessna 172, crashed into the house's garage, but no one in the home was hurt. About 40 gallons of fuel spilled from the plane, and hazmat personnel were on the scene to clean up, fire Capt. Mike Van Elgort said.
us_CA  public  release  injury  other_chemical 
3 days ago
Chemical alert upgraded at NSW RAAF Base
The Federal Government will extend blood testing, mental health services and other health support to more residents surrounding the RAAF Base at Williamtown in NSW.

The government has so far refused to offer the same support to Katherine residents despite calls from the NT Government.

Yesterday’s move followed a decision by NSW’s Environment Protection Authority’s to extend the PFAS contamination area around the base.

The PFAS chemicals were contained in the same firefighting foams used in training at the RAAF Base as has been used at the Tindal base.

Defence is conducting the same investigation in the Katherine region as has now been updated on this advice from Williamtown.

Katherine’s report is not expect until next year.

Updated PFAS test results from Williamtown show a wider and more serious PFAS problem around the base.
Australia  public  follow-up  environmental  other_chemical 
3 days ago
Large-scale study finds no glyphosate-cancer connection
The latest data from a long-term study of the health of tens of thousands of people licensed to apply pesticides show no evidence of a link between exposure to the herbicide glyphosate and cancer (J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 2017, DOI: 10.1093/jnci/djx233). The data come at a critical time for Monsanto, maker of the widely used glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup. The company is being sued by hundreds of Roundup users who claim that exposure to the product caused them to get non-Hodg­kin’s lymphoma. The study involves more than 54,000 pesticide applicators from North Carolina and Iowa who enrolled between 1993 and 1997. Initial data from the study were published in 2004 and documented 2,088 cancers through 2001 (Environ. Health Perspect. 2004, DOI: 10.1289/ehp.7340). The latest report finds 7,290 cancer cases through 2013 in Iowa and through 2012 in North Carolina. Neither study found any statistically significant associations between cancer and exposure to glyphosate. The researchers did find, however, a possible association between multiple myeloma and glyphosate exposure that they say should be investigated further.
us_IA  industrial  follow-up  environmental  ag_chems  pesticides 
3 days ago
Tropical Storm Harvey sparked huge huff of air pollution in Texas
Refineries and petrochemical facilities along the Texas Gulf Coast shut down before Tropical Storm Harvey made landfall on Aug. 25. But even with a few days’ warning, such unplanned shutdowns can result in chemical emissions that exceed air pollution permit levels.
In all, 2.6 million kg of chemicals were released from Aug. 23 to Sept. 25, according to an interactive database published by Greenpeace and based on reports that companies provided to Texas environmental officials. Some 690,000 kg of emissions were deemed particularly hazardous by Greenpeace and include benzene, 1,3-butadiene, ethylbenzene, hexane, hydrogen sulfide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, toluene, and xylenes.
Twelve companies emitted 90% of all pollution released, according to the data.
Ten companies released 90% of the most hazardous chemicals. Most of those ten were refineries, but one pipeline and distribution facility, Magellan Midstream Partners’ Galena Park terminal, emitted one-third of all hazardous chemicals.
Among hazardous chemicals released, nearly all emissions were beyond the amounts allowed under the companies’ air pollution permits.
Nearly all facilities are located in communities with above-average rates of poverty and with disproportionate shares of people of color, Greenpeace notes, citing data from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
us_TX  industrial  follow-up  environmental  toxics 
3 days ago
Apartment Building Evacuated After Carbon Monoxide Leak
High levels of carbon monoxide prompted an evacuation at a nine-story apartment building early Saturday in the South Shore neighborhood.
A Level 1 HazMat response was called at 3:07 a.m. at the building in the 7100 block of South South Shore, according to the Chicago Fire Department. It was upgraded to Level 2 HazMat at 3:22 a.m.
Carbon monoxide levels were recorded at 300 parts per million, according to CFD Cmdr. Curtis Hudson. Further investigation revealed that the elevated levels were caused by a boiler that wasn’t ventilating properly.
All of the building’s units were evacuated and all residents were brought down to the lobby, Hudson said. They were allowed back into their apartments by 5:06 a.m. after crews ventilated the building and repaired the problem with the boiler. No injuries were reported.
us_IL  public  release  response  carbon_monoxide 
4 days ago
Scientists urge coordinated effort to study PFOA dangers
More than three dozen scientists are urging key lawmakers to develop a comprehensive national plan to study the potential health dangers of exposure to C8 and similar chemicals. The recommendation was made in a peer-reviewed commentary published last week in the journal Environmental Health.

“Action is needed now to generate the information and evidence integration to enable regulatory decision making,” the scientists said in the paper.

Perfluorooctanoate acid, or PFOA, was made and used at DuPont’s Washington Works plant south of Parkersburg as a processing agent to make Teflon and other nonstick products, oil-resistant paper packaging and stain-resistant textiles. It is also commonly known in the area as C8 and is part of a family of highly fluorinated chemicals also referred to as PFAS or PFCs.

DuPont and other companies have reduced their emissions and agreed on a voluntary phase-out of the chemical, but researchers are still concerned about a growing list of possible health effects and about the chemical’s presence in consumer products, as well as continued pollution from waste disposal practices. Significant concerns have also been raised about new chemicals being used as a replacement for C8.

The settlement of a class-action lawsuit in the Mid-Ohio Valley more than a decade ago already led to a landmark study of the health effects of C8 on more than 70,000 residents who drank water contaminated by DuPont’s emissions. But the new scientific commentary notes that millions of Americans have been exposed to drinking water that may contain unsafe amounts of these chemicals.

“Major sources include production, use, and disposal of PFAS at manufacturing sites, as well as military fire training areas, civilian airports, and wastewater treatment plants,” the commentary said.

The commentary notes that “the possible adverse health impacts are of great concern,” with studies linking exposure to kidney and testicular cancer, decreased birth weight, thyroid disease, decreased sperm quality, high cholesterol, pregnancy-induced hypertension, asthma, ulcerative colitis and decreased response to vaccination.
us_OH  industrial  follow-up  environmental  waste 
4 days ago
U.S. Department of Labor Proposes Over $1.8 Million in Fines Against a Wisconsin Corn Milling Facility After Fatal Grain Dust Explosion
CAMBRIA, WI – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $1,837,861 in fines against Didion Milling Inc. following a May 31, 2017, explosion that killed five workers and injured 12 others, including a 21-year-old employee who suffered a double leg amputation after being crushed by a railcar.

OSHA found that the explosion likely resulted from Didion’s failures to correct the leakage and accumulation of highly combustible grain dust throughout the facility and to properly maintain equipment to control ignition sources. OSHA cited Didion’s Cambria facility with 14 willful – including eight willful per-instance egregious– and five serious citations, most involving fire and explosion hazards. The company has been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

“Didion Milling could have prevented this tragedy if it had addressed hazards that are well-known in this industry,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Ken Nishiyama Atha, in Chicago. “Instead, their disregard for the law led to an explosion that claimed the lives of workers, and heartbreak for their families and the community.”

The egregious willful citations were issued for violating OSHA’s Grain Handling standard by failing to perform required maintenance on operating equipment and implementing a housekeeping program to control dust accumulations. Willful citations were issued for failure to shut down ignition sources, prevent static electricity discharge, provide adequate personal protective equipment to employees, correct malfunctioning dust collection systems, maintain equipment safety controls, and have an emergency alarm system. Serious citations addressed hazards associated with fires and explosions, and the lack of employee training.
us_WI  industrial  follow-up  death  dust 
5 days ago
Police Search For Missing Chemical – The Square
(WINDSOR, ON) – On November 12, Windsor patrol officers were called to an apartment building, in the 100 block of Riverside Drive East, for a report of a stolen vehicle. Police were informed that a Toyota Rav4 had been parked in an assigned parking spot, around 4pm the previous day, but was discovered missing 10:30am Sunday morning.

Officers learned that the vehicle contained 10 half-pound containers of unmixed Tannerite, used in firearm target practice.

On its own, Tannerite is not explosive, but can be combined with other products to cause an explosion when triggered by a high velocity projectile. Windsor Police are advising residents that it is not a threat to public safety.

On Wednesday, a man sleeping in an unplated vehicle was reported to police. Patrol officers investigated the report and discovered the missing Rav4, unoccupied, in the 900 block of Windsor Avenue. The Tannerite was not in the vehicle.
Canada  public  release  response  other_chemical 
5 days ago
State investigating chemical leak into air at Chemours plant :: WRAL.com
RALEIGH, N.C. — State regulators are investigating a reported chemical leak into the air at the Chemours plant in Bladen County, where officials have already threatened a key company permit over liquid discharges into the Cape Fear River.

These chemicals are related to GenX, and officials believe they would have "dispersed fairly rapidly with the prevailing winds and that they would not have caused any health effects as a result of inhalation," state Department of Environmental Quality spokesman Jamie Kritzer said in an email Friday.

Chemours, a chemical manufacturer, told the state Wednesday morning that it found a leak in its vinyl ether manufacturing area and that it believed that leak lasted about 13 hours, DEQ said in a news release Friday. The leak came from a condensation tower, and the company said it repaired a valve believed to be the source, the department said.

Now, DEQ officials are looking into whether the release constitutes a violation of the company's air permit. They {{a href="blogpost-17119686"}}}began proceedings this week{{/a} to revoke Chemours' wastewater discharge permit over an unreported spill in October, the latest in a saga over chemical releases into the river, which feeds municipal drinking supplies in and around Wilmington.
us_NC  industrial  follow-up  environmental  ether 
5 days ago
Chester County chemical plant spills substance in local stream
RICHBURG, SC (FOX 46 WJZY) - A milky stream could be seen behind Specialty Polymers in Chester County on Friday after a tank overflowed, spilling an acrylic-based product into the water. 

The pictures a viewer sent us are even worse, showing very cloudy water on Hooper Creek. 

“Corporately we certainly have an issue we need to resolve, and we will,” said Specialty Polymers sales manager Steve Dobson.

Dobson admitted specialty polymers messed up last Saturday when a tank overflowed, spilling a product made of an acrylic emulsion, which Dobson says is non-hazardous; it’s the same material you'd see in water based house paint. 

Company officials say the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control let them know on Monday that the spill had reached beyond their property. They say they immediately began cleanup and letting neighbors know what's going on
us_SC  public  release  response  plastics 
5 days ago
Hazmat Units Respond to Chemical Fire in Regents Laboratory
Emergency, fire and hazmat units responded to a chemical fire in a Regents Hall science laboratory Friday evening.

The fire involved a “small amount of a chemical” and occurred in a “controlled environment,” according to a spokesperson for D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services. The incident was declared “all clear” by the university at 10:22 p.m.

The fire was extinguished by university staff soon after it started around 8:30 p.m., according to D.C. Fire and EMS. Fire units arrived minutes later. Three staff members were taken to the hospital for medical checkups, and community members were advised to avoid the area.

Hazmat units prepared to enter the building by 9:30 p.m. as firefighters conferred with university officials to identify the materials possibly involved in the fire. Hazmat units remained on the scene to assist university staff with cleanup, with the last units clearing out by 10:22 p.m.

Opened in 2012, Regents houses five floors of research laboratories and the university’s chemistry, biology and physics departments. The labs feature “technologically advanced instrumentation and environmental controls necessary to conduct sensitive experiments and research,” according to the university website.
us_DC  laboratory  fire  response  unknown_chemical 
5 days ago
Lab, county assure safety of drinking water
Los Alamos County officials and the Department of Energy’s Environmental Management office issued a statement Monday assuring residents of the safety of the county’s drinking water.

Public concern was raised over early November press reports stating that Los Alamos National Laboratory officials weren’t sure of the extent of a decades-old toxic chemical spill in Mortandad Canyon.

The revelation was reportedly made at a hearing held between state lawmakers and LANL officials about the status of a toxic chemical cleanup operation in Mortandad Canyon. The spill is decades old and involves hexavalent chromium, an anti-corrosive agent that was flushed regularly into the canyon from the cooling towers of a LANL power plant from the early 1950s into the mid 1970s.

The chemical is known to cause cancer in humans.

LANL has been working to contain the spill, which is thousands of feet underground and threatens a regional aquifer, from reaching drinking water wells in Los Alamos County and the San Ildefonso Pueblo.
us_NM  laboratory  follow-up  environmental  corrosives  toxics 
5 days ago
Harris County Sues Arkema For Hurricane Harvey Environmental And Safety Violations
Arkema, the French chemicals company whose plant was the site of multiple explosions during and after Hurricane Harvey, has become the subject of a lawsuit Thursday by Harris County, Texas.

The explosions and chemical fires resulting from the hurricane’s flooding released toxic emissions into the nearby residential neighborhood that left several residents and first responders ill. The county’s lawsuit seeks a $1 million penalty and would force Arkema to undergo an independent audit of its disaster preparedness plans and implement any recommendations of that assessment.

For the county, the priority is more on making sure such a public health emergency does not reoccur.

"We're not so much interested in the penalties as we are in the audit and emergency response plan so that it’s prepared for flooding in the future,” Assistant County Attorney Rock Owens, who handles environmental cases for Harris County, told International Business Times. “We’d like to see Arkema consider hardening their storage facilities so that there’s not such a risk of uncontrolled chemical ignition. That created a lot of dangerous possibilities.”

Owens told IBT that the suit was brought with the full support of the Harris County Commissioners Court because everyone involved wants to make sure that the county does not become “another West, Texas,” referring to the 2013 West Fertilizer Company explosion that left 15 people dead and well over 100 injured.
us_TX  industrial  follow-up  environmental 
5 days ago
The chemical industry must plan better for severe weather, U.S. Chemical Safety Board says
In light of the impact of Tropical Storm Harvey on an Arkema chemical plant and the greater Houston area, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board is urging companies, emergency planners, and regulators to quickly reassess the chemical industry’s preparedness for hurricanes and floods. The board, an independent federal investigator, made the recommendation Nov. 15 as part of an update of its ongoing investigation into the fires that occurred in late August at the Arkema facility in Crosby, Texas.

Flammable organic peroxides at Arkema's flooded plant in Crosby, Texas, ignited amid rising floodwaters.
Credit: Adrees Latif/Reuters/Newscom
“Harvey shows that companies can’t rely on past experience” when it comes to emergency planning, says CSB investigator Mark Wingard. “More severe weather events are possible, and we need to be thinking about what can happen and how to prepare for it. Companies need to test past assumptions.”

Arkema manufactures and uses organic peroxides, which must be refrigerated for stability, at the Crosby site. The plant lost primary electricity and its generators as it flooded because of Harvey. As its cold-storage warehouses lost power, the company shifted the peroxides to nine refrigerator truck trailers. But soon, three trailers caught fire and eventually Arkema officials deliberately burned the remaining trailers.

The company considered neutralizing the peroxides, but it had 158,757 kg held in 15,000 individual containers, making such actions difficult, CSB investigator Wingard says.

CSB officials say floods, high winds, and hurricanes are becoming more frequent and industry and regulators must be prepared. CSB will look at the adequacy of assumptions in current emergency preparedness requirements as well as approaches of different U.S. federal agencies and those of other countries as it prepares its report on Arkema, Wingard says.
us_TX  industrial  follow-up  environmental  flammables  peroxide 
5 days ago
'Exceedingly unusual' CO leak forces family to evacuate home
A bizarre carbon monoxide leak in Point Grey forced a family to evacuate their home on Wednesday after poisonous gas started leaking from the furnace of a neighbouring house into theirs.
The public information officer for Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services said he's never seen anything like it in his career.
"That is exceedingly unusual," Jonathan Gormick said. "The carbon monoxide was actually coming from a neighbouring house and being pulled into the air intake of the house in which the alarm was going off."

Carbon monoxide detectors started going off in a home on West 11th Avenue near Sasamat Street around 8 p.m. on Nov. 15, 2017.
He says it must have been the perfect combination of exhaust vent placement, air intake placement and air currents that night.
Canada  public  release  response  carbon_monoxide  illegal 
6 days ago
Worker exposed to chlorine gas at power plant site in Birdsboro
BIRDSBORO >> A situation involving hazardous materials brought emergency crews to a power plant construction site in Birdsboro Thursday afternoon.

Emergency crews were called to EIG Environmental, 1 Armorcast Road, just before 2 p.m. Thursday. Authorities say a gas was emitted from a cylinder in the ground prior to construction.

One male reportedly inhaled the chemical after the product exploded and he was quickly moved to a “fresh air environment,” according to first responders.

Emergency medical assistance was then requested. The man’s current condition is not known.

“Crews reported a yellowish liquid coming from the cylinder, when moved cylinder smokes,” read a post from Fire Alerts of Berks on the incident.

At around 3 p.m. Fire Alerts of Berks posted an update saying the Hazmat team confirmed the chemical to be chlorine.
us_PA  industrial  release  injury  chlorine  gas_cylinders 
6 days ago
MultiBrief: California to test firefighters’ toxic exposure
Now that the ash is settling after the California wildfires that engulfed more than 8,000 homes, buildings and businesses — including many in wine country — we turn to the important issue of recovery and rebuilding. Amid the loss of human life, $3 billion in property damage and the rampant dismantlement of neighborhood infrastructures, there is another looming issue: civilian and first responder public health.
The general trauma of the fires is almost indescribable, especially considering the magnitude of these compared with previous large-scale blazes. These fast-spreading 100 mile-wide wildfires certainly made terms like "Airpocalypse" and "Airmageddon" relevant all the way to the San Francisco Bay Area. Now there's a great need for health assessments and treatments — especially for children, the elderly and the infirmed.
Besides direct victims, there's not a group closer to the fires than the first responders. This is why a union-supported University of California study, using $100,000 from the nonprofit San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation, will begin testing up to 200 San Francisco, Santa Clara and North Bay firefighters.
In the research, 25 firefighters who did not participate in fighting recent fires will serve as a control group, and California's Departments of Public Health and Toxic Substances Control is offering testing support and lab services. About 11,000 firefighters were called to duty in the North Bay, but right now it is financially unfeasible to test everyone.
The Cancer Prevention Foundation was founded in 2006, and about 250 San Francisco firefighters have died from cancer since then. This should come as no surprise if you are aware of the kinds of chemicals that first responders are exposed to on duty. For example, toxic heavy metal traces of arsenic, copper, cadmium, and lead were found in a study of a 2008 California wildfire.
us_CA  industrial  discovery  environmental 
6 days ago
Cancer: The leading cause of death among firefighters
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Alarming new numbers show firefighters are *three* times more likely to develop cancer than the average person. In Providence the number of cases is on the rise.

At 27–years–old, Donna MacDonald's childhood dream of becoming a firefighter finally came true. In 2001, she joined the Providence Fire Department, the first one in her family to suit up.

"Firefighting is heavy on tradition,” says MacDonald.

In the next few years, she fought hundreds of fires, but then came one... that would change her life forever.

"It was a chemical fire. I broke out in a rash all over my neck and chest and the next day I came in wore that same gear again and exposed myself again and broke out with that same rash,” says MacDonald.

Soon after that, she started having health problems.

She was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer in her sternum, in the same area where that rash developed.

"They have never seen it in a sternum before, it's usually in an arm or a leg,” adds MacDonald.

The only cure is removing her sternum and replacing it with a prosthetic. Despite that, she stayed with the fire department, but years later the problems came back.
us_RI  public  discovery  environmental 
6 days ago
Mysterious explosion kills one in Patiala
PATIALA: A 21-year-old man was killed by a 'mysterious explosion' that shook the Mirch Mandi area neared the walled city, at around 1am on Thursday.
The impact of the blast was such that structures of two shops were reduced to rubbles, while huge damage was caused to two other shops adjoining the blast site.
The deceased was identified as Rajat Mittal, whose father Rakesh Kumar operated a small mustard oil bottling unit from the shop where the blast took place. Impact of the blast was such that the shutters of two shops were thrown away to a distance of more than 50 metres and the lintels of these shops came down crumbling on the ground.
As the incident was reported to the district authorities, a team of firefighters rushed to the spot to initiate rescue operations during which they spotted the body of Rajat Mittal that had also been thrown out on the road due to the impact of the blast. Doctors said that he had suffered several injuries and had even broken a number of bones that proved fatal for him.
Rajendra Kaushal, one of the fire officers who were first to reach the site, said initially they thought that the blast could have been caused due to an explosion in the gas cylinder kept inside the adjoining welder's shop. But as they started collecting evidence it came to light that there were no splinters of a gas cylinder following which they ruled out the possibility that the blast could have been caused due to blast in a gas or LPG cylinder.
India  industrial  explosion  death  gas_cylinders 
6 days ago
Texas Chemical Plant Had One-Paragraph Flood Plan and Was Unprepared for Hurricane Harvey, Investigations Reveal
There were no signs that a Houston-area chemical plant attempted to move its highly unstable compounds offsite as a precautionary measure before Hurricane Harvey flooded the facility, triggering several fires and explosions, federal investigators said Wednesday.

Located in Crosby, just outside of Houston, the Arkema Inc. facility was officially placed in the 100-year flood plain in 2007. However, the plant's emergency response plan, which was revised as recently as last year, contained minimal instruction for containing floodwaters.

A copy of the plan was obtained and reviewed by the Associated Press, only said "care shall be taken to be sure water is kept out" of buildings at the facility. Arkema kept a log of workers' efforts to make the plant safer, but there was no mention of moving its organic peroxides, used in a variety of products from plastics to paints.

In fact, the plant's flood emergency plan was just one paragraph long, according to an investigation performed by the Houston Chronicle, and the facility's backup generators were too low to the ground.

(MORE: A Recap of Hurricane Harvey)

The company did not answer questions Wednesday about whether it discussed or tried relocating the chemicals.

"The facility was not prepared for such heavy rainfall," U.S. Chemical Safety Board Chairwoman Vanessa Allen Sutherland said during a news conference Wednesday. She mentioned relocating chemicals as a safety measure companies might use.
us_TX  industrial  follow-up  environmental  peroxide 
6 days ago
Chemical company’s unreported spill may lead to waste ban
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina regulators say they’re suspending and may revoke a chemical company’s key permit after it didn’t report the spill of an unregulated compound.

The Department of Environmental Quality said Thursday it is moving to revoke The Chemours Co.’s permit to discharge wastewater from operations at its Fayetteville plant into a neighboring river.

Regulators say the discharge ban could come in 60 days because the company failed to report a spill last month of a precursor of the chemical GenX.

The agency said this week it was considering fining the Wilmington, Delaware-based company for failing to report the spill.

Most Read Stories
us_NC  industrial  follow-up  environmental  other_chemical 
6 days ago
Worker concerned after alert about chemical at St. Paul St. building
Cancer, infertility, nerve damage -- all symptoms of exposure to the chemical TCE. And that chemical is present in a Monroe County building on St. Paul Street.

An internal memo sent last week alerted workers that the levels exceed state health guidelines, but says it falls within the permissible exposure limits. But employees who spend hours there every day aren't buying it.

"I remember being little and coming to visit here before everything was completed," says Anthony LiPetri.

LiPetri has a long history with 691 St. Paul Street. His mom has worked there since the day it opened. He followed her footsteps and works there now.

"She worked almost her entire career here; she was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer," he says.

…A cancer that took her quickly. "She didn’t make it to her 50th birthday... she was dead."

For years, LiPetri questioned the air quality inside the building where his mom spent hours each day. He says he saw people in Hazmat suits doing testing and knew across the street there was a decade-long investigation into the presence of cancer causing chemicals, stemming back to when this area was used for Baush and Lomb's operations.
us_NY  public  discovery  environmental  other_chemical 
6 days ago
Framingham: General Chemical fails to qualify for Superfund program
FRAMINGHAM – State environmental officials are coordinating with a contractor to begin partial cleanup of General Chemical’s former property in South Framingham as soon as June 2018 after federal officials indicated the contaminated site wouldn’t qualify for the Superfund program.

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in June whether the property at 133 Leland St. would qualify as a national priority, making it eligible to receive money from a federal trust fund known as the Superfund.

But the site – a former hazardous waste transfer and recycling facility – failed to score high enough in a preliminary assessment, in part because the chemicals polluting the groundwater there are not currently harming humans or animals, DEP officials said at a meeting of stakeholders Thursday at Town Hall.

With Superfund assistance off the table for now, the DEP has asked its contractor to develop a plan to use the $1.85 million previously set aside by General Chemical to begin removing some of the chemicals through a process known as thermal remediation. That work could start as soon as June 2018.
us_MA  industrial  discovery  environmental  waste 
6 days ago
ECHA Newsletter
Half a century ago, the EU established the Directive on Dangerous Substances, planting the seeds from which the system for classifying, labelling and packaging of chemicals in Europe has steadily grown. We spoke to Gunilla Ericsson and Henk Roelfzema, two experts with decades of experience working on classification, to find out what we have learnt and how the history impacts today’s chemical safety.

Gunilla Ericsson.
Image: ECHA.

With a heightened public awareness about hazardous substances in the 1950s, for instance, due to controversies surrounding thalidomide and asbestos, the need to control them began to emerge.

In the EU, this was done 50 years ago with the introduction of the Dangerous Substances Directive in 1967. The aim was to harmonise the individual laws governing the classification, labelling and packaging of dangerous substances in each Member State.
Europe  public  follow-up  environmental 
7 days ago
Cedar Hill school gas leak sends students, staff to hospital
A gas leak at a school in Cedar Hill sent students and faculty to the hospital on Wednesday. The fire department brought out a hazmat team to find the source of the leak.

The fire chief says 30 people at Collegiate High School & Academy were symptomatic and reported nausea. Of those, six students and two teachers were transported to the hospital as a precaution.

A district spokesperson says some teachers noticed an unfamiliar smell around 1 p.m. That's when they decided to evacuate and call the fire department. Then closed school for the day.

I“They worked with Dallas hazmat, came out also to help them with gas detectors to go through the building,” said Cedar Hill Fire Chief John Ballard. “They believe they found a gas valve in one of the science labs that was partially open. They shut it off. They checked the building and they cleared everything on it.”

The school spokesperson says this school has 500 middle and high school students. The eleventh and twelfth graders take classes at Cedar Hill College and were not present at the time.

That spokesperson says the district will be reviewing policies and procedures to figure out how this valve was left open in the first place.
us_TX  laboratory  release  injury  natural_gas 
7 days ago
5-alarm fire breaks out at St. Louis warehouse
A five-alarm fire burned for much of the day and into the night at a warehouse in St. Louis where at least 80 firefighters responded to battle the flames. At least four people -- including two firefighters -- were rushed to the hospital for smoke inhalation. They were treated and released.

The building in the Botanical Heights neighborhood partially collapsed around 11:30 a.m. local time and damaged a fire department pumper truck, CBS affiliate KMOV-TV reports.

Fire department officials said, in vague detail, that the fire contains hazardous material, KMOV-TV writes. They are advising those in the area to avoid breathing in the smoke.
us_MO  industrial  fire  injury  unknown_chemical 
7 days ago
CSB urges chemical industry to rethink emergency plans after Arkema fires
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board, concerned about the increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters, is warning the chemical industry to rethink its emergency plans in light of the Arkema fires in Crosby.

Hurricane Harvey flooded the site of the Arkema plant with more than 6 feet of water. Floodwaters caused the site to lose the ability to keep volatile organic peroxides cool, leading to massive fires over multiple days.

Arkema asserts in documents obtained by the Houston Chronicle from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that the level of flooding from Harvey could not have been predicted. The Crosby location had not received more than 20 inches of flooding in its history, according to the company.

At a news conference Wednesday, safety board Chairwoman Vanessa Allen Sutherland warned companies to not use the past to predict the impact of future storms.

“No one has a crystal ball, but we don’t want people to be lulled into a false sense that the plan they may have done two or three years ago is still going to be adequate,” Sutherland said.
us_TX  industrial  follow-up  environmental  peroxide 
7 days ago
Chemical spill clean-up in Shelton ongoing
SHELTON — City residents should expect the intersection of Poplar Drive and Suren Lane — the area of a chemical spill earlier this month — to be reopened around Thanksgiving, a United Illuminating official said.
On Nov. 5, officers responded to the intersection of Poplar Drive and Suren Lane around 6 a.m. for a report of a motor vehicle that fled the scene of a nearby accident.
Police said the responding officers noticed a telephone pole with a transformer down across Poplar Drive. Officers also noticed a fire hydrant nearby that they said appeared to be hit.
The transformer, according to police, contained PCBs — polychlorinated biphenyls, potential cancer-causing chemicals.
us_CT  public  release  response  other_chemical 
7 days ago
Allentown hazmat call linked to chemical reaction (PHOTOS)
High levels of carbon monoxide that prompted the evacuation Tuesday of an Allentown business resulted from a chemical reaction, a city fire official said Wednesday.

The incident was reported about 3:15 p.m. at 460 Business Park Lane, home to PPT Research Inc.'s laboratory and production facility. 

Authorities initially responded to the report of smoke in a garage bay, fire Capt. John Christopher said. 

Firefighters finding high CO levels evacuated the workers and talked to them about what had been going on on-site.

"It was due to a chemical reaction," Christopher said. "These are products they normally mix together, it's fine, but there must have been an additional chemical in there that caused this. What it did, the hazard it created, was high levels of carbon monoxide."

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death. It is produced any time a fossil fuel is burned.

No one was reported injured Tuesday. Initial reports indicated more than one business was evacuated, but it was only the one where the incident occurred, Christopher said.
us_PA  laboratory  release  response  carbon_monoxide 
7 days ago
Officials uncover Ohio meth lab, find infant inside house fire
CLARK CO., Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio officials have arrested a man after discovering methamphetamines and a newborn infant at the site of a house fire.

Clark County Sheriff’s Office detectives noticed the fire on Tuesday just after 6 p.m. on Gerlaugh Road. Detectives found a large amount of evidence they say pointed to the manufacture and use of methamphetamines.

An infant was inside the residence and was exposed to elements of the meth manufacturing process, investigators said.

Detectives found a laboratory in a trailer in the backyard that was not actively operating.

The owner of the trailer, Larry D. Jenkins, is accused of starting the illegal burn. He was arrested and charged with felony counts of illegal manufacture of drugs and child endangering.
us_OH  public  fire  response  illegal  clandestine_lab 
7 days ago
Federal agency pulls recommendations for whistleblower protectio
A federal agency that investigated the Deepwater Horizon disaster has withdrawn its recommendation to extend whistleblower protections to offshore workers, saying it agrees with the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s reasons for refusing to enact the protections.

In its objections to the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board’s recommendations, BSEE argued it doesn’t have authority to enact the protections, which the agency says are similar to regulations that already exist.

“The information, discussions, and deliberation all highlighted that there is unanimous agreement within the Board and among the staff that worker participation, effective ‘whistleblower’ protections, and stop work authority are vital in any safety management regime,” CSB wrote in a Tuesday report explaining the withdrawal. “However, after extensive analysis and deliberation, in addition to the other issues raised above, the Board determined that this recommendation was most likely addressed to the wrong recipient.”

'A workplace free from fear'

The proposed regulations would have facilitated “a workplace free from fear that encourages discussion and resolution of safety issues and concerns,” according to the recommendation’s text.

Specifically, it would have required worker-elected safety representatives and committees at each staffed offshore facility, with the elected worker granted authority to issue enforceable stop-work orders if an operation or task is perceived as unsafe. It would have also required documentation of major hazards and meetings between workforce representatives, management and BSEE.
us_LA  public  follow-up  environmental 
7 days ago
Arkema plant fire investigation: Animation and timeline released
HOUSTON - The U.S. Chemical Safety Board provided an update Wednesday into their investigation of the Arkema facility in the days before and after Hurricane Harvey.    

Vanessa Allen Sutherland, the Safety Board chairwoman, at one point stated that one of the key takeaways of the investigations thus far is simply, "They did planning and the question is, why wasn't it enough?”

The CSB released a highly produced animation illustrating exactly what took place when Harvey was at its peak, including how power was cut off by man and Mother Nature.  

The animation stated at one point, "Without power those warehouses were at risk of not staying cool enough to prevent decomposition of the peroxide."

This was pivotal since the decomposition could result in explosions. In the days that followed, residents within a mile and a half of the plant were evacuated, and more than a dozen sheriff's deputies were hospitalized responding to the explosions.
us_TX  industrial  follow-up  environmental  illegal  peroxide 
7 days ago
EPA: 'Dr. Evil' comes to defense of beleaguered Dourson -- Wednesday, November 15, 2017 -- www.eenews.net
One of industry's best-known hired guns has joined the fight to confirm President Trump's nominee to lead U.S. EPA's chemicals program.

The Center for Accountability in Science (CAS), a group tied to public affairs executive Rick Berman, is using online advertising and opinion pieces in support of making toxicologist Michael Dourson the next chief of the EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.

Dourson's confirmation bid has stalled in the face of united opposition by Senate Democrats and concerns expressed by some Republicans after constituents say they have been harmed by chemicals whose risks Dourson has downplayed for chemical industry clients.

A CAS-sponsored Facebook ad running this week says Dourson has four decades of experience and is "a strong choice for the job" of leading the EPA chemicals office.

Facebook says the ad targets people interested in EPA. In addition, CAS wants to reach people 18 and older who live in or were recently near Washington.

That description fits Gretchen Goldman, a research director at the advocacy group Union of Concerned Scientists.

"I saw the ad when I was on Facebook and thought, 'Oh, wow, they must be getting nervous,'" she said. "We don't know who funded this ad, but it would indicate that someone is paying Rick Berman to promote Dourson, and the people who would benefit most are the chemical industry."

CAS also posted a video on YouTube on Monday with a similar message.
us_DC  public  discovery  response  other_chemical 
7 days ago
Two GOP senators oppose Trump’s EPA chemical safety nominee
Two Republican senators said Wednesday that they won’t support President Trump’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) chemical safety office.

The opposition from North Carolina Sens. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr puts Michael Dourson’s nomination in danger. If one more Republican votes against him, he likely wouldn’t be confirmed to the post.

Even before Tillis’s and Burr’s opposition, Dourson was one of Trump’s most polarizing nominees. Democrats and environmentalists saw him as a lackey for the chemical industry who, for years, was paid underplay the harms of various chemicals.

The opposition from the North Carolina senators, first reported by the Wilmington, N.C., Star News, stems from a pair of major health controversies in the state surrounding water contamination at the Marine Corps’s Camp Lejeune and the recent discovery of the as-yet-unrelated chemical GenX in the Cape Fear River. The senators do not believe Dourson would be an effective force to protect the victims of those incidents.
us_NC  public  follow-up  environmental  various_chemicals 
7 days ago
Rest stop on I-26 evacuated after cedar oil spill; Hazmat team r
FOX Carolina) -
Henderson County Communications said a rest stop on Interstate 26 was evacuated Tuesday after the leak of an initially unidentified liquid.

According to officials, the rest area in Fletcher was closed due to an 18-wheeler leaking a chemical around 2:10 p.m.

The Fletcher Fire Department, fire marshal and a Haywood County Hazmat team were called to the scene.

Officials said it was determined that cedar wood oil, a non-hazardous material, was leaking from 55 gallon drums housed in the truck. Approximately 10 gallons of the oil spilled.
us_NC  transportation  release  response  oils 
8 days ago
1,000 employees evacuated after acid spill, fire in northwest Austin
AUSTIN (KXAN) — A hazmat situation initially described as an isolated, small chemical spill by the Austin Fire Department led to the evacuation of around 1,000 people at a company in northwest Austin.

Firefighters were called to 3900 W. Howard Ln., just west of MoPac Expressway, at 2:55 p.m. Tuesday. Authorities determined a 30-gallon container of acid was leaking and spilled inside a containment room. AFD says they worked with the company’s response team to mitigate the spill.

The main building of ICU Medical was evacuated after a small fire started in a chemical storage shed, the fire department said. The fire was out as of around 4:20 p.m., firefighters said.

No injuries were reported and the employees were cleared to go back into the building around 6 p.m. A private contractor is currently in the process of cleaning the spill.
us_TX  industrial  fire  response  acids 
8 days ago
Documents show undiscosed EPA health concerns on fracking chemicals
We're about a decade into an oil and gas revolution known shorthand as fracking. It relies on shooting high-pressure water mixed with chemicals down into layers of rock to crack the stone and release oil and gas. Pretty much since the fracking boom began, people who live near these wells have worried about chemicals getting into their water and making them sick.

A new set of documents, obtained from the Environmental Protection Agency by the Partnership for Policy Integrity and shared with Marketplace, shows that the agency has previously undisclosed health concerns that some fracking chemicals might cause things like liver poisoning and tumors.

Bryan Latkanich makes his home in the rural hills of Pennsylvania, smack in the middle of the largest natural gas region of the country known as the Marcellus Shale.

Latkanich sold Chevron the right to drill on his property seven years ago. But he thinks fracking chemicals polluted his water well and made his family sick.
us_PA  public  discovery  environmental  methane  natural_gas 
8 days ago
Unity Fire Department Responds to Hazardous Situation
UNITY, Maine (WABI) Unity fire department responded to a hazardous materials situation at Mac's True Value Hardware.

The call came it around 11:00 Monday morning that a few cylinders of argon had tipped over and one had started leaking inside the warehouse.

The cylinders were sitting next to oxygen and other chemical tanks which could cause a major reaction.

Crews responded quickly.

Captain Blaine Parsons from Unity Fire Department says, "We sent a crew in to assess the situation, find the leaking bottle and the best thing that could happen is for it to be brought outside and dissipate into the air. So, we removed the hazard out of the building and it is fully discharged so, everyone is clear."
us_ME  industrial  release  response  gas_cylinders 
9 days ago
Suspected Overdose Prompts Hazmat Response in Hartford
A person was been found dead of a suspected drug overdose in Hartford Sunday morning, prompting a hazmat response. 
Hartford fire officials said the Drug Enforcement Administration, police, fire and other agencies all responded to the scene at 127-129 Freeman Street.
Fire officials said they responded to a medical call at the address around 3:30 a.m. A person was found dead inside the home. 
Authorities initially said the victim may have died from exposure to the drug, but police later clarified that they believe the incident is a suspected overdose.
Around 7:30 a.m. police determined the situation required a hazmat response. The DEA, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Hartford police and Hartford fire crews all responded.
us_CT  public  release  death  drugs 
10 days ago
Chemicals in Sorrento Valley Business Fire Create Dangerous Situation for Firefighters
San Diego Fire-Rescue crews battled a fire Saturday at a Sorrento Valley business with more than a dozen different hazardous materials on the property.
"This was a very dangerous call for responding crews," SDFD Battalion Chief David Gerboth said. "There were very dangerous chemicals that created very dangerous reactions when they reacted with the water."
Firefighters were called to the business park on Ferris Square, north of Carroll Road and west of Camino Santa Fe, at 9:10 p.m.
The fire was caused by a fuse in the building's fire safety system, Gerboth said. 
The water from the building's sprinklers caused reactions with approximately 17 chemicals used at the business, officials said. 
us_CA  industrial  fire  response  unknown_chemical 
10 days ago
2 hurt as tanker with flammable chemical catches fire
Motorists on National Highway 4 on the outskirts of Nelamangala had a narrow escape when a tanker, laden with flammable and volatile isopropyl alcohol, collided with an electricity pole while trying to avoid a bus, rolled into a ditch, and caught fire.

In what the police describe as a miracle the fire was put out before it engulfed the entire tanker.

The driver and the assistant, who were trapped in the cabin and later rescued by the traffic police, sustained minor injuries.

Isopropyl alcohol is a common compound used mainly in agriculture and medicine. The tanker was ferrying it from Tamil Nadu to Mumbai via Bengaluru.
India  transportation  fire  injury  flammables 
10 days ago
Chemours faces sanctions from North Carolina government
North Carolina regulators will sanction The Chemours Co. for the release of an unregulated chemical into the Cape Fear River –  the latest in a barrage of legal assaults facing the Delaware company in the Tar Heel State.

Officials in September had told Chemours to keep the chemical GenX from flowing into the river from outfall pipes at its Teflon production plant in Fayetteville, North Carolina. 

Regulators learned on Nov. 1 that discharges of GenX had surged following an October spill of a precursor chemical, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality announced last week. 

The state has not determined a sanction yet, but it "could be anything from a violation notice or it could be more than that," said Jamie Kritzer, spokesman for the environmental department.

"We're investigating... to see any and all violations of their permits as well as any other violations that they may have committed in not disclosing this Oct. 6 spill," he said.
us_NC  public  discovery  environmental  other_chemical 
10 days ago
Hazmat crews investigate underground gas tank leak in Buffalo
Buffalo Fire Dept. Hazmat crews are on the scene of a gas tank leak at Main & Winspear.

According to officials, the tank is leaking underground. The Mobil gas station has been shut down and part of Winspear Ave. is also blocked off to traffic.

Fire officials tell News 4 they will continue to monitor the leak throughout the night and will be on the scene until county officials arrive in the morning. Fire officials stress it is important for people to stay away from the area while there is an active scene.They also say there is no threat to the public.
us_NY  public  release  response  gasoline 
11 days ago
Good Policy: Material storage rules should be strengthened
Last month’s enormous fire at the IEI Plastics warehouse in part of the former Ames site in Parkersburg turned out to be an eye-opener for residents and public officials alike. As officials scrambled to find out what, precisely, was burning and sending pungent fumes into the air inside a massive column of black smoke for more than a week, there were no clear answers.

Time and again, reporters and curious citizens were stymied as they asked a simple question: What was in there?

It seems now that perhaps even the owners of the facility were not certain. Safety Data Sheets available to first responders at the time were incomplete and likely did not reflect what was in the building at the time. More accurate sheets were destroyed in the fire. When pressed by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to submit an accurate, current list of what was being stored in the warehouse, IEI Plastics officials submitted information the DEP determined did not satisfy its request for answers.

Meanwhile, research attempts by numerous reporters and citizen groups yielded an upsetting realization. It is possible no one knows what is in all the warehouses that hold industrial material and much more, in West Virginia. There appears to be no publicly available (or even, available to first responders) source for information on what is being stored in deteriorating buildings close to our schools, shopping centers, churches, hospitals and our homes.
us_WV  industrial  follow-up  environmental  plastics 
11 days ago
Areas With No Internet A Challenge For Responders in Belmont County
ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Homeowners and businesses aren’t the only ones experiencing problems with internet access in East Ohio.

Emergency responders in Belmont, Harrison and Monroe counties have issues of their own — often while engaged in tasks where every second counts.

“It can be an issue for us because of the rural area that we’re in. We get into a lot of dead spots, which affects our mapping off satellites,” Belmont Fire Chief Bob Mills said, adding that poor internet connectivity also limits the responders’ ability to transmit a patient’s heart rhythms to the local hospital. “We can hook a patient up in the back of a squad and send it to the hospital we’re going to.”

Mills said this information can be valuable in enabling hospitals to prepare the necessary equipment while the patient is en route. He said hospital personnel can determine if the patient will require a heart catheter or arteries which need unclogged.
us_OH  public  discovery  environmental 
11 days ago
Tardy info flow on chemical scare has Gold Coast airport firefighters union up in arms
THE Aviation branch of the United Firefighters Union has expressed its frustration with Airservices Australia over its continued blocking of Freedom of Information requests on the use of PFAs across civilian airports around the country.

According to Aviation branch secretary Henry Lawrence, Airservices had consistently blocked attempts by the Union to gain access information on PFAS use in four FOI requests, which were specifically revised down in scope to accommodate their requests.

“Due to the nature of their work, which involved fighting chemical and aviation fuel fires, Aviation Firefighters had much greater exposure to the toxic foam over time,” he said.
Australia  industrial  discovery  environmental  other_chemical 
11 days ago
ICE detainee women sickened by chemical fumes
Several women in immigration custody at Otay Mesa Detention Center were sickened by chemical fumes late Friday and evacuated from their housing unit.

About 118 detainees were taken to an outdoor recreational area after the strong chemical odor was reported, said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Lauren Mack. The group was moved back inside about an hour later due to cold weather, she said.

The housing unit was deemed safe after about two-and-a-half hours, she said.

Medical staff were on site in case anyone needed attention, but she said no serious medical issues were reported.

The odor was identified as a floor-stripping agent being used by detainees working near the unit’s entrance. The incident is being investigated by CoreCivic, the contractor that runs the facility.
us_CA  public  release  injury  other_chemical 
11 days ago
‘Refresher course on lab safety’
The National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) organised a lecture titled ‘A refresher course on laboratory safety’ here today to raise awareness among students on working safely in laboratories.
The course was divided into three parts — chemical safety, biological safety and radiation safety.
Professor PP Singh emphasised on guidelines issued by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, on working with pathogenic organisms and types of various bio-safety levels required in biology laboratories.
Bhupesh Upadhyay talked about chemical safety and precautions to be taken while working with toxic and hazardous chemicals.
Dr Ipsita Roy informed the students about issues related to working with radioactive materials.
India  laboratory  discovery  environmental  drugs  pharmaceutical  radiation 
11 days ago
Sydney Airport workers decontaminated after substance 'incident'
Several Sydney Airport workers have undergone decontamination after being affected by a substance on an aircraft, 9NEWS understands.

Emergency crews were called to reports up to 15 people were affected by the unknown substance at the airport about 1am today.

The incident related to an aircraft parked at an international arrival bay.

9NEWS understands up to 15 people were affected by the unknown substance. (9NEWS)
Paramedics and Hazmat crews treated and decontaminated the workers, who were then released without requiring transport to hospital, 9NEWS understands.

The exact nature of the substance remains unclear.
Australia  industrial  release  injury  unknown_chemical 
12 days ago
Hazmat teams respond to chlorine leak at Narrows Wastewater plant
NARROWS, Va. - Hazardous materials teams responded to the Narrows Wastewater treatment plant Friday morning after a chlorine leak. No one was injured in the leak and drinking water was not affected.

At approximately 7:03 a.m. on Friday morning a Narrows Wastewater treatment plant operator noticed a chlorine alarm at the Narrows plant at 141 MacArthur Lane in Narrows, according to Giles County Administrator Chris McKlarney. The operator notified Giles County dispatch at approximately 7:13 a.m. and a perimeter was immediately established around the plant by the Narrows Police Department, Giles County Sheriff’s Office as well as Narrows and Pearisburg Fire Department.  

Route 61/ MacArthur Lane, which borders the plant, was closed. Norfolk Southern was also notified and stopped train traffic on nearby tracks. 

Hazardous materials teams from Giles, Celanese, Salem, and Roanoke responded and determined that a 150-lb. cylinder of chlorine utilized for disinfection was the source of the leak.  Hazmat teams have contained the leak and will be removing the tank. Norfolk Southern has resumed service but Route 61/ MacArthur Lane is currently still blocked in order to provide access to the plant by emergency services personnel.
us_VA  industrial  release  response  chlorine 
12 days ago
EPA wraps 75% of cleanup of Napa, Sonoma fire-scorched household hazardous waste
Thousands of containers identified as household hazardous wastes have been pulled from fire-scared sites in Napa and Sonoma counties, according to the EPA which also noted fire victims have reported people posing as EPA agents seeking financial information and offer bogus grant opportunities.

The collected hazardous materials, which range from small paint canisters to “large chemical drums” have come from the approximately 5,570 properties the EPA states it has surveyed so far following the early October wires were ravaged the Wine Country. The removal has reachd three-quarters of the burned out properties, the agency estimated.

What was left behind by the fire that is deemed hazardous household waste has been removed and taken to staging areas in Windsor in Sonoma County or Yountville in Napa County for eventual removal to permitted waste facilities.

Household hazardous waste includes leftover unstable, corrosive or toxic household products such as paints, cleaners, solvents, oils, batteries, herbicides, and pesticides that can contain hazardous ingredients and require special handling and disposal. Taking away those materials, allow other agencies and contractors to follow behind for ash and debris cleanup.

In announcing the progress so far on hazardous household waste cleanup, the EPA also report it has received reports of “fraudulent calls from individuals posing as EPA staff and asking for financial information or offering grant awards.”

EPA officials said Wednesday that in their current work responding to the North Coast wildfires, they are not requesting such information.
us_CA  public  follow-up  environmental  waste 
12 days ago
Ukraine at risk from chemical disaster, water safety in escalating conflict: UN experts
GENEVA, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) -- Ukraine is facing new risks of chemical disaster and water safety after an escalation of conflict near water supply facilities in the east of the country, two UN special rapporteurs warned Friday.
"We are alarmed by recent reports of shelling around water installations containing chlorine gas and other extremely dangerous chemicals in Donetsk region," said Baskut Tuncak, whose mandate includes hazardous substances, and Leo Heller, whose mandate covers safe drinking water and sanitation.
Their warning came two days after the UN resident humanitarian coordinator in Ukraine Neal Walker said there is deep concern at the recent escalation of hostilities near water, electricity and gas supply infrastructure in Donetsk province, eastern Ukraine.
He warned: "As we enter winter, any disruption of essential services, such as water and heating amid freezing temperatures could have grave consequences for millions of Ukrainians."
Ukraine  public  discovery  environmental  chlorine 
12 days ago
Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries can raise safety concerns
(CBS 12) — A camera battery exploded at Orlando International Airport Friday, causing flight delays and pandemonium for passengers.
Rechargeable lithium batteries are in so many devices, such as cell phones and laptops.
But when something goes wrong, it can be horrific.
There have been at least 8 deaths reported worldwide due to battery fires or explosions.
Evan Spahlinger, 21, from Naples suffered third degree burns and spent a week in the intensive care unit.
“It was like a fire extinguisher being shot in my face,” Spahlinger said.
us_FL  transportation  explosion  injury  batteries 
12 days ago
Firefighters: 7 taken to hospital after Hazmat situation at Spar
DUNCAN, SC (FOX Carolina) -
Firefighters said seven people were taken to the hospital via ambulance after a hazmat situation Thursday morning at a large industrial facility in Spartanburg County.

Firefighters said  the incident was reported around 9:20 a.m. at Pratt Industries on Morley Court.

The building was evacuated and firefighters said they determined gases were leaking from canister in the plant.

Seven people were taken to the hospital due to respiratory complaints. No one was hurt.

The canister contained some sort of household cleaner and was removed from the building for further testing and proper disposal by DHEC, firefighters said.
us_SC  industrial  release  response  cleaners 
13 days ago
Chemical tests planned near Kansas border raise questions
Congressman Ron Estes, R-Kansas, announced on Thursday night he has “numerous questions” about chemical tests the Department of Homeland Security wants to conduct just across the state line in Oklahoma.

Homeland Security officials plan to execute a “low level outdoor release” of inert chemical and biological simulant materials at the old Chilocco Indian School campus north of Newkirk, Okla., after the first of the year and again next summer. The campus is just south of the Kansas border, a few miles south of Arkansas City.

“The purpose of this study is to gather data that enhances our predictive capabilities in the event of a biological agent attack,” a statement on the Homeland Security web site says. “Specifically, this work will help in predicting the extent to which an intentional release of a biological agent may penetrate single family and multi-family structures.”

The environmental assessment of the proposed chemical tests states low concentrations of particles will be released at two buildings on the now-abandoned Chilocco campus.
us_KS  public  release  environmental  unknown_chemical 
13 days ago
Nine people taken to hospital after possible exposure to mystery chemical
HAWKINS COUNTY, Tenn. - It was a normal afternoon at the Rural Health Consortium in Rogersville, as a man arrived for a routine doctors appointment. Soon after, staff member began falling ill.

"When we went in, we actually observed at least three nurses pretty much on the floor that were sick," says Rogersville chief of police Doug Nelson.

Rogersville police immediately alerted the Kingsport Fire Department Hazmat Team, treating the situation as a potential chemical exposure due to the symptoms of the staff.

"Symptoms Iike, lightheaded, sick, like they were going to pass out kind of feeling, couldn't breath. So, they started transporting all of them to the hospital," Chief Nelson says.

The Kingsport Fire Department Hazmat Team tested the air quality and surfaces at the Rural Health Consortium building and each patient's clothing, but no trace of harmful chemicals was found.

"From the time they're exposed to the time we actually start testing this could have dissipated. We know that the gentleman in question has been doing stripping and waxing floors, so it could be something associated with stripping and waxing the floors," says Chief Deputy of the Kingsport Fire Department Jim Everhart.
us_TN  public  release  injury  unknown_chemical 
13 days ago
Buildings on UA campus re-open after evacuation because of chemi
An all-clear has been issued and the three buildings evacuated and closed earlier this evening have reopened on the University of Alabama campus.

According to an alert from the University of Alabama sent Thursday evening, three buildings were evacuated because of what was called a chemical storage issue.

An official with the University said the three buildings were Shelby Hall, the Science & Engineering Complex, and the McMillan Building.

No injuries or issues were reported as part of the evacuation.

Authorities with Tuscaloosa Fire responded to the scene and removed the chemicals. They were then destroyed in a controlled explosion in an empty lot on campus.

Folks were asked to avoid the area around the buildings until the 'all-clear' was issued.
us_AL  laboratory  discovery  response  unknown_chemical 
13 days ago
US senator introduces bill authorising FDA to regulate cosmetics
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has introduced a bill that would allow the US Food and Drug Administration to regulate cosmetics ingredients. The bill is a less ambitious alternative to one favoured by NGOs.

S2003, the proposed FDA Cosmetic Safety and Modernization Act, introduced on 25 October, would give the agency the authority to review chemical ingredients in cosmetics and regulate them.

However, the bill would not mandate reviews, and it would require the FDA to declare a substance safe "if there is reasonable certainty that the cosmetic is not injurious to users" under typical circumstances.

In addition, the legislation would prohibit states from taking action to regulate any cosmetic chemical that the FDA had identified for review.
us_UT  public  discovery  environmental 
13 days ago
Hurricane Survivors Sue EPA Over Delayed Formaldehyde Ban
Survivors of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina are suing the Environmental Protection Agency for upending the enforcement of rules governing the safe use of formaldehyde.

An article from The Advocate explains why the issue is so important to some Louisiana residents, including members of the advocacy group “A Community Voice.”

“Formaldehyde is so dangerous for our health that A Community Voice is fighting to have it regulated more, not less,” explained the group’s secretary-treasurer, Debra Campbell. “We believe many of us have had harms to our health due to living in FEMA trailers after Hurricane Katrina […] We need more regulations of toxins, not less.”

According to Campbell and The Advocate, formaldehyde was used in the construction of emergency trailer shelters deployed to New Orleans and its surroundings after the city was ravaged by hurricanes in 2005.

The Center for Disease Control reports that formaldehyde can irritate the skin, eyes and airways.
us_LA  public  follow-up  environmental  formaldehyde 
13 days ago
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