Ammonia leak evacuates White Castle manufacturing plant
VANDALIA (WRGT) - More than 100 employees at the White Castle manufacturing plant in Vandalia had to be evacuated Tuesday morning for an ammonia leak.

Quality Assurance Manager, Whitney Baker said an independent contractor was working on the ammonia system this morning, May 3, when a small leak was detected. Baker said the leak was contained to one room and everyone was evacuated right away.

"There's no food safety risk at this time," Baker told reporters Tuesday afternoon. "Of course we'll evaluate the product before we resume production." Baker said the plant, which is located on Capstone Way in Vandalia does routine alarm drills. She said those routine drills allowed employees to be evacuated quickly and safely.
us_OH  industrial  release  response  ammonia 
45 minutes ago
Leaking tank car shuts down Iowa Park Road
The Wichita Falls Fire Department Hazmat team responded to a Burlington Northern train car venting argon gas Tuesday morning in the 1500 block of Old Iowa Park Road.

Railroad officials determined the problem to be a malfunctioning pressure relief valve and sent the train on to its next stop in Amarillo to be repaired.

Small amounts of refrigerated argon gas were venting from the tank car Tuesday morning when it was stopped.

Wichita Falls Police were sent to the scene to block off a portion of Iowa Park Road until it was determined the leaking gas was not posing a threat.
us_TX  transportation  release  response  other_chemical 
46 minutes ago
Officials knew fireworks at Mount Rushmore could cause a fire. But they didn’t expect this.
Fireworks at Mount Rushmore were probably a bad idea to begin with. In South Dakota’s woodsy Black Hills, the thousands of onlookers who flocked to the display had to use the same entrance, which is also the exit.

What if the pyrotechnics sparked a forest fire? And what if there were some other emergency? Those are two questions that officials at the national memorial site grappled with during the 11 years starting in 1998 that the event was held. But there was at least one other threat, something officials at the national memorial didn’t consider until a U.S. Geological Survey investigation recently uncovered it in the drinking water.

The fireworks were discontinued in 2011 but they left high levels of a chemical called perchlorate in water used by 3 million people who visit the memorial yearly. The Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t regulate the chemical under the Clean Water Act, but Galen Hoogestraat, the lead author of the investigation, said the agency does provide guidelines that say that any presence over 15 parts per billion is a possible health risk.

According to the report issued two weeks ago and announced by USGS on Monday, percholate in the groundwater is many times higher than that. “We’re finding concentrations of over 50 parts per billion,” said Hoogestraat, a USGS hydrologist in South Dakota. 
us_SD  public  discovery  environmental  fireworks 
46 minutes ago
Study Links Arsenic in Northern New England Wells to Bladder Cancer
Drinking water from private wells in northern New England may increase the risk of bladder cancer, according to a new study from the National Cancer Institute, Dartmouth and the state health departments in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont.

For the past 50 years, rates of bladder cancer in men and women in northern New England have been about 20 percent higher than those in the rest of the country.

The study finds the high cancer rates correlate with high rates of arsenic in private wells.

The Department of Environmental Services says the study is a reminder that homes on well water should test for arsenic and add filters if the levels exceed the EPA threshold.
us_NH  public  release  environmental  other_chemical 
Judge Gives Torrance ExxonMobil Refinery Go-Ahead To Restart Operations, Rebuffing Environmental Group’s Efforts
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A Los Angeles judge Monday rebuffed an effort by an environmental group to delay the planned restart of the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance that was damaged by an explosion more an a year ago.

Members of the Refinery Safety Network filed a lawsuit in hopes of keeping the refinery offline, despite a vote in support of the move by a South Coast Air Quality Management District hearing board. The group contended that restarting the facility without pollution-control systems in operation would violate state environmental laws.

There’s no word from ExxonMobil on exactly when the company hopes to restart the refinery, which suffered extensive damage in an explosion on Feb. 18, 2015, and has been operating in a limited capacity ever since.

“We agree with the decision of the court,” according to an ExxonMobil statement. “We continue to work with the South Coast Air Quality Management District on the approved and stringent safety conditions for restart, so that the Torrance refinery can resume safe and environmentally responsible production of gasoline and other products for California.”

Under the re-start agreement approved by the AQMD hearing board, ExxonMobil must pay about $5 million in penalties for air pollution violations that resulted from the February 2015 blast. It must also follow a multi-step procedure aimed at minimizing emissions during the re-start procedure.
us_CA  industrial  follow-up  environmental  gasoline 
Authorities seek driver who fled chemical spill on 191
Odessa police sought to identify the driver who fled the scene of a hazardous pesticide spill Friday on Highway 191 after the trailer he was pulling loaded with the chemical came unhooked and turned over.
The spill happened at about 6 p.m. Friday in the 6300 block of Highway 191 as a vehicle pulling the trailer merged from a frontage road, said Cpl. Steve LeSueur, police spokesman. No injuries were reported.
 But Odessa police reported investigating the wreck on Monday, while Ector County Environmental Enforcement officers investigated the chemical release.
The chemical that spilled was Bellacide 300, a pesticide also used in the oilfield for work like enhanced oil recovery and hydrotesting pipelines and tanks. The Environmental Protection Agency, which prohibits open pouring of the toxic chemical, describes Bellacide 300 as corrosive and potentially harmful to humans and animals with links to irreversible eye damage.
Emergency responders closed Highway 191 between Billy Hext Road and East Loop 338 for hours Friday while crews cleaned up the spill from the roadway. But the City of Odessa in a Friday news release reported that residents in the area were not in danger.
us_TX  transportation  release  response  ag_chems  pesticides 
Perspectives: Back to the future of chemistry
Cures, not treatments. It is our science that invents new medicines and how to make them. In this, chemists are assisted by biologists and medical researchers doing the testing. Perhaps the most general challenge in drug discovery today is to invent new medicines that will cure viral diseases. The threat is enormous: Imagine a world in which AIDS or Ebola could be passed by a mosquito bite, unless we develop medicines to conquer the diseases. But besides antivirals, other critical needs include inventing cures—not just treatments—for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, schizophrenia, arthritis, and genetic defects.
Tapping the power of the sun. We need materials with improved electrical properties, including superconducting wires that operate at or near room temperature, so that we can transfer electricity from its source to its point of use without loss from resistance. Then we could generate electricity from the sun in the desert and send it wherever it is needed. And we could develop better photovoltaic materials to convert the desert sunlight to electricity; there’s plenty of room for better efficiency. Currently, we use the solar power of the past to generate energy when we burn coal and petroleum. But by developing new materials, we can take advantage of solar power beaming down at the present instead and not cause global warming and air pollution.
Systems, not substances. Another challenge for chemistry is to focus more on interacting chemical systems, not just individual substances. As an example, chemists isolated DNA and learned its structure more than 50 years ago. But that does not really tell us how life works or how we could imitate life. Life is a process in which many substances interact in organized systems, and chemistry is in its infancy in understanding these systems. For example, bacteria are quite simple living organisms, but we don’t yet know exactly how to mimic them or build on their functions with our own created, synthetic systems. Chemists will do this one day, and we will build self-reproducing molecular machines that could change our world.
In thinking about how we might achieve these dreams, one realizes that chemists have a general problem. We are creative scientists constantly making new molecules and materials, which means we must also be mindful of their impacts. That is why green and sustainable chemistry will always be in our future. We have to get better at anticipating and avoiding possible side effects or imparting unexpected toxicities to our air and water. This is yet another good reason to be a chemist: We can understand and solve such problems. Many other scientific fields have no such challenge—who has heard of green astronomy or green algebraic topology?
laboratory  discovery  environmental 
2 days ago
Roof Fire Forces Evacuation of the Diodes/Fabtech Building
On Saturday, April 30, 2016, at 8:02 p.m., the Lee’s Summit Fire Department responded to a reported structure fire at Diodes/Fabtech, 777 NW Blue Parkway, in the north building of the Summit Technology Campus. An employee called 911 to report a fire on the roof and smoke in their chemical/gas storage room.
When the fire department arrived, a small fire was visible on the roof of the 540,000 square foot, mixed use facility. The building was in the process of being evacuated.
The fire was located on the roof and in the gas scrubber room, on the north side of the building. The gasses are used for the manufacturing of semi-conductors for the electronics industry and the scrubbers process the gasses after they have been used. 

After consulting with facility staff to determine the types of hazardous materials involved, crews made an initial investigation inside of the scrubber room and found a piece of ductwork from a scrubber unit burning in a pipe chase near the deck of the roof. A sprinkler head near the fire had activated and controlled the fire in the chase. 

Fire crews finished extinguishing that fire as other crews attacked the fire involving the ductwork on the roof. On the roof, a portion of the ductwork going to an exhaust fan had burned and fallen away leaving burning gasses coming from two scrubber exhaust pipes. Fire crews applied foam and water from the ladder truck to control the fires and protect the exposures around them as the fire department worked with Diodes staff to shut down all of the gasses going into the scrubber. 
us_MO  industrial  fire  response  unknown_chemical 
2 days ago
Neighbors react to chemical leak from train derailed in DC
The CSX train was traveling from Cumberland, Md. to Hamlet, N.C. when it derailed 14 rail cars at 6:40 a.m. on May 1, said a spokesperson with CSX. The train had three locomotives and 175 total cars, including 94 loaded cars carrying mixed freight, and 81 empties. 

Authorities later confirmed there were three chemical spills due to the derailment. The sodium hydroxide leak from one of the derailed cars was plugged this morning.  Clean-up operations will be underway shortly.  During more detailed inspections of the cars, another derailed tank car that was leaking non-hazardous calcium chloride solution has also been sealed. Additionally, a derailed ethanol rail car was found to be leaking slowly from the base of a valve. The ethanol is contained and work is ongoing to re-seal the valve, wrote a CSX spokesperson just before 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

The chemical spills forced some to temporarily stay inside, the incident also shut down stores and shops for much of the day. Metro made clear online, this was not their incident.
us_MD  transportation  release  response  ethanol  sodium_hydroxide 
2 days ago
Visakhapatnam NYOOOZ
Visakhapatnam: More than 48 hours after a major fire broke out at the Biomax manufacturing facility at Visakhapatnam Special Economic Zone (VSEZ), fire and emergency services personnel continued to battle the blaze. According to officials of the fire and emergency services department, almost 90% of the fire has been doused and the remaining 10% is expected to be put out by Thursday night.Meanwhile, APPCB (AP Pollution Control Board) has decided to issue orders to stop production of the facility until further notice.Speaking to TOI, district fire officer J Mohan Rao said, "Only one out of the 12 tanks which caught fire is continuing to burn. We are making all efforts to ensure that the fire is doused by the end of today."In the meantime, another fire department official said they had been trying to spray foam in order to douse the fire at the tanker but were unable to do so because it was not easily accessible to the fire tenders.APPCB chairman GN Phani Kumar has ordered for rejection of consent for operation of the industry for causing environmental pollution.

Reviewing the situation, he also observed that the industry was not treating the effluents as per the APPCB standards and discharging the untreated effluents outside the industry premises through water tankers.He observed that the results of the monitoring carried out by APPCB at two stations indicate that due to the fire accident, there is an increase in the respirable suspended particulate matter to 108 g/NM3 as against the standard of 100 g/NM3.Meanwhile the district administration is planning to undertake a safety audit during the coming week in Visakhapatnam. According to sources, around 10 officials from the factories department will be roped in from other districts as part of the safety audit drive. At the same time, the fire services department is also expected to rope in officials from different districts to be part of its team which would jointly inspect the industries along with factories department and AP pollution control board officials.Meanwhile, officials of the Eastern Naval Command experimented with the use of fire balls, which are made out of dry chemical powder to douse the fire.
India  industrial  fire  response  unknown_chemical 
2 days ago
Firefighters respond to acid spill at GNP plant
COLD SPRING — Two fire departments responded to the GNP Co. production plant Friday night when 260 gallons of acid were spilled.

Battalion Chief Jerry Raymond said the St. Cloud Fire Department responded to assist the Cold Spring Fire Department at 6:10 p.m. Friday. Raymond said a chemical called Inspexx 150, a sanitizing liquid used to treat the company's chicken for salmonella, spilled because of a faulty valve in a pole building on the north side of the property.

Firefighters contained the chemical spill and ventilated the building. Raymond said St. Cloud firefighters were on the scene in case the acid created an explosive atmosphere, but said that did not turn out to be a concern.

"They weren't anywhere close to having an explosive atmosphere," he said.

Firefighters were on the scene until just before 8 p.m. There were no reports of any injuries or harmful exposure, Raymond said.
us_MN  industrial  release  response  other_chemical 
2 days ago
Chemical fumes scare shuts Wimbledon Leisure Centre
More than 100 people have been evacuated from a leisure centre after breathing in chemical fumes.
A man and a child were taken to hospital and five others treated at Wimbledon Leisure Centre after two chemicals were accidentally mixed together, London Fire Brigade said.
The building on Latimer Road was closed and 130 people evacuated to a nearby school just after 10:15 BST.
Police cordoned off the street which reopened at 14:00 BST.
Firefighters said hydrochloric acid and sodium hypochlorite were mixed together, making chlorine gas.
GLL, which runs the facility, said the mistake was "immediately recognised" and the leisure centre was evacuated as a precaution.
United_Kingdom  public  release  injury  chlorine 
2 days ago
Hazmat teams work to identify substance in Janesville chemical spill
he Madison Fire Department said its hazmat incident team was assisting the Janesville Fire Department and Rock County hazmat team at 1:24 p.m. with an investigation of an unknown chemical spill at on Highway 14 near the cross with Kennedy Road.

A Janesville Fire Department battalion chief told News 3 that a passerby had reported liquid leaking out of a truck that was stopped on Highway 14. The truck drove away and officials hadn't found it Friday afternoon. The fire department found a slippery substance where the truck had reportedly been.

The chief said the Rock County hazmat team used all the tools available to them and called Madison fire and hazmat to help identify the chemical. Sand was put down reduce slipperyness.
us_WI  transportation  release  response  unknown_chemical 
2 days ago
Fire damages Belpre chemical plant
An overnight fire in Belpre damages a recycling operation.

Fire Chief Tony Cronin says some non-hazardous material caught fire just before 4 A.M. at the Toll Compaction business behind Fire Station #2 on Farson Street.

Plant Manager John Jewell says it was contained to some pallets on the plant's west side, ignited by a cleaning agent.

Cronin says the damage was not extensive. However, he adds all of the city's fire units responded, and were at the site for three hours.

No injuries were reported. It isn't known how the fire started.

Toll Compaction is located at the site of the former Kaiser Aluminum plant near U.S. Route 50.
us_WV  industrial  fire  response  cleaners  waste 
4 days ago
Property owners sue Bridgeport over perfume factory fire
BRIDGEPORT — Da’nay McBride strolled down Seaview Avenue recently, past the site of the September 2014 fire that destroyed a warehouse and threatened surrounding homes like hers.
Federal contractors are still busy hauling away the remnants of metal drums of chemicals that tenant Rowayton Trading company had stored there.
Some of those 55-gallon containers exploded the night of the fire, adding to the confusion that drew firefighters from Bridgeport, Fairfield and Stratford, as well as state and federal environmental agencies.
But once the smoke cleared, the firefighters were widely praised for keeping the fire contained to the warehouse, with no loss of life or surrounding homes.
“They did pretty good,” McBride said.
us_CT  industrial  follow-up  environmental  metals 
4 days ago
State, US EPAs investigating chemical dumping in Tuscarawas, Stark counties
State and federal environmental agencies are investigating three similar cases of illegal dumping of chemicals that occurred over six days in northern Tuscarawas County and southern Stark County.
The liquids were suspected to have been pesticides, herbicides and surfactants, soapy substances that reduce the surface tension of liquids. They are believed to have killed fish and damaged vegetation.
"It just looked like white foam," said Bolivar Fire Chief Shawn Lynch. His department was involved in the response to the incident around 10 a.m. on April 23, when the substances were found around 9559 Towpath Road NE in Lawrence Township near Bolivar in Tuscarawas County. The location is near the Towpath Trail.
It had rained the previous afternoon and evening; the spill is believed to have occurred in the early morning hours.
The released liquid "scoured" a gulley about a foot wide and two feet deep into the road's north embankment before settling into an approximate 10-by-80-foot area at the bottom of the embankment.
us_OH  public  discovery  response  ag_chems  illegal  pesticides 
4 days ago
At least 11 nuclear facility workers checked for chemical vapor exposure
RICHLAND, Wash. –  Eleven workers at a nuclear facility who reported headaches were sent for medical evaluations Thursday after working near an area where waste from a leaking tank was being transferred, U.S. Energy Department officials said.

The first two workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation to be medically evaluated were wearing oxygen respirators because they were in an area where work was being done that could increase the risk of chemical vapors in the air, The Tri-City Herald reported.

After leaving the area and removing the respirators, both reported suspicious odors and said they had headaches. Both were evaluated and treated at an on-site medical provider.

Two other workers reported odors while walking the transfer line for the waste pumped from the leaking double-shell tank. Seven other employees nearby also reported odors.

Those workers also sought on-site medical evaluations. The results were not immediately available.

Officials said the transfer of waste from the double-shell tank back into the primary tank was stopped Thursday after the workers' reports.

Earlier this month, officials revealed that a tank known as AY-102 had leaked several thousand gallons of radioactive waste from its primary tank.
us_WA  public  release  injury  unknown_chemical 
4 days ago
Man found dead at Dow chemical plant
A contract worker died after being found unresponsive at the Dow Chemical Facility in Freeport.
Officials with the Brazoria County Sheriff's Office directed questions about the fatality to Dow.
The company said in an emailed statement that the victim was found unresponsive and later pronounced dead. The victim's name has not been released yet.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and colleagues during this extremely difficult time," David Winder, a spokesman, said in the email. "An investigation is underway to determine the cause." 
The death comes less than a year after a man died in a Dow facility in Oyster Creek, near Missouri City. 
KTRK reported that the man was believed to be a pipe fitter employed by the J V Group, a petrochemical contractor.
The exact circumstances of the death are still unknown. Separately, Dow has run afoul of federal watchdogs repeatedly in recent years.
In 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated it and found it had violated federal standards. The facility passed two other inspections that year without incident.
us_TX  industrial  discovery  death  petroleum 
4 days ago
Ammonia leak at Munn Arena contained, MSU says
EAST LANSING - Michigan State University officials said they've stopped an ammonia leak that prompted an evacuation at Munn Ice Arena early Thursday afternoon.

The building remains closed, but Chestnut Road had been reopened and there is no threat to public health, the officials said.

Six employees were in the arena when a monitoring system detected an ammonia leak about 1:10 p.m., the university said in a news release. The system triggered an alarm and automatically turned on exhaust fans, the release said. Ammonia is used make and cool the ice.
us_MI  education  release  response  ammonia 
5 days ago
Westmoreland hazmat team credits decline in calls to education, prevention plans
Westmoreland County's volunteer hazmat team responded to just 34 incidents last year, a number officials attribute to better education and prevention plans improving safety in dealing with dangerous chemicals and fuels.

According to a report approved Thursday by county commissioners, no injuries resulted from industrial site chemical spills, leaks or other minor incidents that involved hazardous materials in 2015.

“We are aggressive with our planning, and it allows for better prevention,” said Roland Mertz, the county's director of public safety.

Hazmat response in Westmoreland rose dramatically after 2001, when anthrax scares nationwide caused panic. For several weeks, the county hazmat unit responded to dozens of calls a day about suspicious substances. No cases resulted in any findings.

Most of the hazmat team's calls last year dealt with small-scale gas leaks, oils spills and the release of other combustible liquids.

“We get calls when there are lives at risk, property at risk and the environment's at risk,” Mertz said.

The unit responded to three incidents through the first two months of this year and had 48 calls in 2014. Its most recent high was 106 calls in 2010.
us_PA  public  discovery  environmental 
5 days ago
Students evacuated after chemical spill at local high school
YUMA. Ariz.-

Yuma High was partly evacuated Thursday after a chemical spill in the research building. Five people including one student were in the room when the chemical spill happened.

A chemistry teacher and staff were checking inventory of the schools chemicals when one of the vials containing a form of mercury fell and broke on the floor. Assistant principal for Yuma High Frank Nunez says, “a very small amount fell on the floor. These chemicals are stored in glass at times which was broken on impact.”

The building was evacuated and items that the chemical touched were left in the building. “A little bit fell on the floor on some shoes. Everything was removed and left there and the fire department was called and we enacted our emergency response plan,” says Nunez. The Yuma Fire Department responded to the scene with a special response vehicle to assess the situation. Mike Erfert with the fire department says, “Personnel that had been trained in dealing with hazardous chemicals entered and checked out what the chemical was comprised of and took the appropriate action.”

Erfert says YFD worked to stop the spread of the chemical fumes from getting to other buildings by shutting of the air conditioning to the building.

Nunez says they were not sure what the side effects of the chemical were but treated the situation with extreme caution. “Essentially it’s a chemical with unknown side effects at the time by the people who were around it so regardless we are going to act as if it were the most volatile substance there even though really it’s not. The doctors cleared both the people that were involved rather immediately.”
us_AZ  laboratory  release  response  mercury 
5 days ago
Ammonia spills at Pearl Valley Eggs in Stockton
STOCKTON — A hazardous materials team and other emergency units responded to a small ammonia leak at Pearl Valley Eggs at 8:30 a.m. today. The leak caused no injures or public health concerns.
The Stockton Police Department, Stockton Community Ambulance, Stockton Fire Department and the Jo Daviess County Sheriff's hazmat team responded to 2125 S. Illinois 78. Protocol requires a hazmat team to clean up ammonia, Stockton Deputy Police Chief Thomas Sheehan said. Police left the egg farm at about 12:30 p.m.
us_IL  industrial  release  injury  ammonia 
6 days ago
Crews respond to South Portland chemical leak
SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- South Portland firefighters and a hazmat team are on scene of a chemical leak at a rail yard, early Wednesday morning.
The leak is happening at Rigby Train Yard on Rigby Street.
Fire officials said the call came in early Wednesday morning about a Chlorine leak. 
Crews are there assessing the situation and working to clean things up. 
It's not known yet if any of the workers at the rail yard have been affected. 
us_ME  transportation  release  response  chlorine 
6 days ago
Fire at trailer shop believed caused by oily rags
A pile of oily rags is believed to be the cause of a fire that damaged a Gainesville trailer-manufacturing business Wednesday morning.

The fire was reported at 6:41 a.m. at the Texas Trailers commercial complex at 1650 NW 55th Place, which was closed at the time, according to a Gainesville Fire Rescue report.

Firefighters used mechanical tools to open the gates and found a 20 by 50 foot paint booth that had caught fire behind the main building. They quickly extinguished the fire, the report said, limiting the damage. No one was reported injured.

The fire is under investigation but the report said the fire appears to have been caused by oily rags that were in a storage bin. This type of fire is caused from spontaneous combustion or a chemical reaction and oily rags are the most common culprit, according to the National Fire Protection Agency.
us_FL  industrial  fire  response  petroleum 
6 days ago
Museum fire: crime, forensic teams inspect premises
Forensic and crime teams visited the National Museum of Natural History on Wednesday to collect samples — a day after it was gutted in a fire.

A police officer said that a crime team as well as one from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) visited the site and collected samples which were then sent for examination.

The reports will take around a month and will be crucial in determining the exact cause.

Meanwhile, cooling operations continued till Wednesday. The police said that almost the entire museum, all three affected floors, were completely gutted. A few taxidermies may, however, be unaffected, said sources.

So far, the assessment of damage has not been made as the police were not allowing anyone, including Museum officials, to enter the premise for safety reasons.

However, DFS officials said that some taxidermies and fauna samples kept on the lowermost floor of the museum may have been saved but the number was too small and dwarfed by the overall destruction figure.

The police may question the officials on fire safety arrangements soon. So far the only person questioned by them is the guard who spotted the smoke and raised an alarm. The case registered is under Section 436 of IPC (mischief caused by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house) against unnamed persons in connection with the fire at the museum.
India  public  fire  response  unknown_chemical 
6 days ago
Man dies in Isle of Wight 'chemical incident'
A man has died after a "chemical incident" at house on the Isle of Wight, police have said.
Police cordoned off a house and closed part of St Mary's Road in Cowes shortly after 19:00 BST on Wednesday.
Hampshire Constabulary said a man in his 20s was initially treated at the scene but later died.
Others living at the property, along with two ambulance service crew, were taken to hospital for checks.
The Isle of Wight Ambulance Service said they were all expected to be discharged later.
United_Kingdom  public  release  death  unknown_chemical 
6 days ago
Chemical factory gutted, narrow escape for workers
Ghaziabad: A fire broke out in a chemical factory in Udyog Kunj, gutting goods worth Rs 1 crore, on Wednesday afternoon. About 15 fire tenders, which were pressed into service, finally brought it under control after six hours of firefighting. No causalities have been reported.There was panic in Udyog Kunj after two massive explosions that ripped apart Bharat Chemical, a paint manufacturing factory, shortly after noon.

While people ran for safety, the factory was completely engulfed in the fire with thick plumes of smoke that could be seen from quite a distance.An eyewitness, Mansukh Lal, said he and some other witnesses had just finished their lunch when they heard a loud explosion and rushed towards Bharat Chemical factory. "We saw the factory in flames even though about a dozen workers were rushing out," said Mansukh Lal, who works in a nearby factory. "Such was the intensity of the fire that in less than half an hour it completely engulfed the factory and also spread in a nearby factory," he said."Around 1.15pm we received a call that a fire has broken out in a chemical factory and initially we rushed five fire tenders to the spot," R K Yadav, fire station officer, said.
India  industrial  explosion  response  unknown_chemical 
6 days ago
Results from independent investigation into UH lab explosion delayed
An independent investigation into the explosion at a University of Hawaii at Manoa laboratory may take a little longer than expected.

The investigation, which is being conducted by the University of California Center for Laboratory Safety, is now expected to be complete by mid to late May instead of the end of April.

According to UH, the center was unable to send materials involved in the explosion for testing until the Hawaii State Occupational Safety and Health Division (HIOSH), the government agency investigating the accident, completed its review of the accident scene. HIOSH released the materials and scene to UH late last week.

A postdoctoral researcher, identified as Thea Ekins-Coward, lost her arm in the explosion on March 16. She was working alone in a Hawaii Natural Energy Institute biofuels research laboratory in the UH Manoa Pacific Ocean Science and Technology building.

A Honolulu Fire Department investigation classified the incident as an accident that occurred in a portable gas cylinder.

HFD also says the equipment that contributed to the blast should not have been there in the first place, and a previous, smaller incident went unreported.

In its preliminary investigation, the UC Center for Laboratory Safety determined that the explosion was an isolated incident and not the result of a systemic problem, UH said.

Following the explosion, the university’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety reviewed and surveyed all of the 500-plus laboratories on campus to ensure similar experiments weren’t being conducted elsewhere.
us_HI  laboratory  follow-up  injury  biodiesel  gas_cylinders 
6 days ago
Firefighters injured in explosion at Biltmore Lake
CANDLER - Phosphoric acid found along the shoreline at Biltmore Lake exploded Tuesday night, injuring two firemen, officials say.

Two residents reported seeing a canister, about 1 liter or 1 quart in size, smoldering along the shoreline of the lake near the Biltmore Lake club house and Lake Drive, said Bill McMannis, on-site manager for Biltmore Lake.

County Dispatchers received a call about 6:46 p.m. reporting a small fire, according to notes at the Buncombe County Emergency Operations Center.

The Enka-Candler Fire Department arrived on scene shortly after to investigate, but in their efforts two firemen were injured, Assistant Chief Josh Howard said.

When firefighters attempted to extinguish the material by kicking dirt over it, the material exploded, McMannis said.

“At that point, they realized they weren’t dealing with the ordinary,” he said.

The firemen were transported to Mission Hospital with first- and second-degree burns to their hands and faces and released later Wednesday night, Howard said.

Following the explosion, the Asheville Fire Department's Hazmat Team performed a test and determined the substance was phosphoric acid. Firefighters then let the material burn on its own until the fire was out.

Officials said there was a small canister near the chemical, but they don't know if the chemical was inside that container or just along the shoreline.

One firefighter described the can as 4 to 5 inches large, similar to the size of a drink can, Howard said.

Officials believe the material began to smolder and burn after it was exposed to the air along the shoreline because of lake levels being down by seven feet, McMannis said. In recent weeks, the lake has been drained to perform dredging, which is part of a restoration project.
us_NC  public  explosion  injury  phosphoric_acid 
6 days ago
Sunnyvale Blotter: Two people injured in chemical explosion
Hazardous materials--April 17, 10:36 a.m. Karlstad Drive. Two employees were injured in a small explosion that resulted from working with chemicals. Both employees were taken to the hospital.
us_CA  industrial  explosion  injury  unknown_chemical 
6 days ago
Hidden Lake High School student injured after chemistry lab explosion
WESTMINSTER, Colo. -- A chemical reaction caused an explosion that rocked Hidden Lake High School in Westminster Wednesday morning.

One student was rushed to the hospital while the rest of the school was evacuated.

Westminster Fire Department officials said the explosion happened before school at around 7:45 a.m. when a student came in early to work on a chemistry project. The student was working with a teacher when he mixed two chemicals together and the explosion occurred.

“The two chemicals mixed together isn’t necessarily an issue. What happened is then the mulling of the substance caused the explosion in a ceramic bowl,” said Courtney Van Marter with the Westminster Fire Department.

The explosion injured the student’s hands. He was rushed to the hospital and into surgery where doctors operated on one of them.

“There were also some minor abrasions up in the chest area from the shrapnel of the injury, but nothing life threatening,” said Steve Saunders, a spokesman with Westminster Public Schools.

Jolene Olivas works at Heavenly Cakes, a bakery across the street from the alternative high school. She said she was walking to work when the blast happened.

“It was a loud boom, yeah. I assumed it was a shooting,” she said. “Thirty seconds later the whole school was surrounded by cops and ambulances.”

The district is now trying to determine exactly what happened and whether the horrible accident could have been prevented.

“Obviously we’ll go back and look at what happened and what protocols were used and try to get to the bottom of it and make sure it never happens again,” said Saunders.

Classes at the school were cancelled Wednesday. However, school will resume on time Thursday morning.
us_CO  laboratory  explosion  injury  unknown_chemical 
6 days ago
Spokane Fire aims to use drones for emergencies
SPOKANE, Wash. – Spokane firefighters have asked City Council to create an exception that would allow them to use drones in the event of an emergency.

If city leaders approve the vote, fire administrators said the drones will respond mostly to hazmat calls, where firefighters come into contact with dangerous chemicals.

By sending a drone into a contaminated area, Spokane Fire said the benefits are twofold. First off, they said it will save precious time because workers will not have to get suited up to deal with chemicals – something that can take several minutes to do.

On top of that, officials said fewer firefighters will be exposed to dangerous materials, possibly saving lives in the process.

Spokane Fire said the cost for a drone is somewhere between $8,000 and $20,000 and most of the costs would come from training the drone’s pilots.

A recent example that officials gave where a drone could have been used was during the chlorine leak at Pacific Steel and Recycling in the summer of 2015.

Had firefighters used a drone in that case, they said the overall investigation would have been much faster.
us_WA  public  discovery  response 
7 days ago
Business Standard-Major fire at bio-diesel co at Visakhapatnam, no casualties: Officials
A massive fire broke out at Biomax Fuels Limited (BFL), a bio-diesel manufacturing unit in the Visakhapatnam Special Economic Zone (VSEZ), Duvvada area in the city, on Tuesday night, officials said.

No casualties were reported in the incident, they said.

Biomax Fuels Ltd has a manufacturing capacity of five lakh tonnes of bio-diesel from multi-feedstock at VSEZ. There are about 15 storage tanks and the blaze spread to the 11 of them.

"Eight fire engines reached the spot and two fire engines with chemical foam were requisitioned from HPCL and Eastern Naval Command to put off the fire," District Fire Officer J M Rao said.

The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained and the fire tenders were unable to reach the storage area, Rao said.

District Collector N Yuvaraj and other rushed to the spot and examined the operations.
India  industrial  fire  response  biodiesel 
7 days ago
Malaysia General Business Sports and Lifestyle News
LABUAN: Hundreds of students of a secondary school here went into panic when a cobra was discovered in the school’s laboratory at about 11am today.

The two-meter long grayish snake was found by the SMK Pantai students who were studying in the laboratory and immediately alerted the teacher.

Labuan Fire and Rescue Department director Zainal Madasin told Bernama the department’s operations room received a call from the school teacher at about 11.25am and immediately dispatched a team to the school.

“Our team sped to the scene before the snake could go somewhere else. It could have been very dangerous if the cobra got onto the school grounds.

“We took extra precaution when dealing with the cobra, as it can be dangerous. Fortunately, no student was hurt,” he said.

He said the team of personnel managed to catch the snake within minutes and the reptile had been surrendered to the Wildlife Department. --Bernama
Malaysia  laboratory  discovery  response 
7 days ago
5,600 fish killed in Big Thompson from chemical runoff
More than 5,600 fish were killed last month in the Big Thompson River, the result of a chemical runoff from a bridge reconstruction project, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

The agency announced Tuesday that the fish, including rainbow and brown trout, suckers and dace, died March 7 in the Big Thompson and its North Fork, in an 8.3-mile section of the river from Drake to West Loveland.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is blaming the massive fish kill incident on the Storm Mountain Road Bridge reconstruction project along Larimer County Road 43, a project that's part of the state's reconstruction plan following the devastating September 2013 floods.

The incident was initially reported by a citizen, who noticed dead fish and gray water in a side creek of the river, according to High Country News, which first reported the fish kill on Tuesday.

CPW waited to to confirm the kill "until data had been thoroughly analyzed."

The loss of the fish is a big blow to the Big Thompson, a premier fly-fishing destination. Prior to the 2013 floods, the river's fishing recreation generated $4.3 million for the local economy.

While details of the fish kill are still being analyzed, CPW said it appears the event was associated with concrete work being performed in building and securing rock walls along Larimer County Road 43 and replacement of the nearby Storm Mountain Road Bridge which spans the lower North Fork.

In Tuesday's release, CPW said site conditions and other factors at the Storm Mountain Bridge allowed chemicals from the concrete to enter the stream, causing a dramatic increase in the acidity of the water which sickened or killed fish in its path.

Since the event, CPW said wildlife officials are working to minimize the chance of another similar fish kill during the County Road 43 project, which is slated for completion late this summer.
us_CO  public  discovery  environmental  runoff 
7 days ago
Chemical spill closes Arkansas Wal-Mart
Shoppers were being told to stay away from the Wal-Mart in Lonoke on Tuesday afternoon after a box being unloaded from a truck in the parking lot tipped, spilling chemicals, the county sheriff said.

Sheriff John Staley said there was no immediate danger, but patrons were being shuttled to their cars and not allowed into the store about 2 p.m.

He identified the chemical as chlorine and said the store at 322 Brownsville Loop would be reopened once the spill is cleaned up.

It wasn't known how long the cleanup would take, Staley said.
us_AR  transportation  release  response  chlorine 
7 days ago
Chemical leak contained at DuPont facility in Chesterfield
CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — The clean-up process has begun after a chemical leak occurred at 2:18 p.m. Tuesday, inside the DuPont Spruance facility in Chesterfield.

The material that leaked was hazardous, according to Chesterfield Fire and EMS spokesman Lt. Jason Elmore, but the leak had been contained. It dissipated before leaving the plant.

The amount released was such that it is not considered a reportable incident to environmental regulators.
us_VA  industrial  release  response  unknown_chemical 
7 days ago
BREAKING: KC Fire responding to chemical spill south of
Kern County Fire Department crews are on the scene of a chemical spill into a canal south of Bakersfield.  A Hazmat crew is also on scene.  

This is on Toro Court between South Union Avenue and Highway 99.  

It appears there are a few homes in the area.  

Fire officials say they think the chemical is Amber Guard 215 which is used in drilling.  

The southbound lanes of South Union Avenue are closed just south of Bear Mountain Boulevard to the 99 interchange, however, the northbound lanes are open. 

Fire officials say there is no threat from the spill to the public by air.  No homes or people are threatened at this time. 
us_CA  industrial  release  response  unknown_chemical 
7 days ago
Search finds super-emitters of methane and hydrocarbons
Certain oil and natural gas sites are known super-emitters of methane and hydrocarbons. Now, using helicopters and infrared cameras, researchers have better characterized these sites and pinpointed the major source of their emissions: leakage from field storage tanks and their hatches (Environ. Sci. Technol. 2016, DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b00705). These leaks could be easily controlled with the appropriate equipment, the researchers say.
Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 100-year time span, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Controlling methane emissions is critical to curbing climate change. About 30% of U.S. methane emissions come from the oil and gas sector, according to the EPA.
In the new study, a team headed by scientists at the Environmental Defense Fund, a nonprofit advocacy group, hired a firm to survey more than 8,000 oil and gas well pads in seven regions of the U.S., using helicopters equipped with IR gas-imaging instruments to detect methane and hydrocarbon leakage. These IR cameras can detect gas plumes emanating from individual pieces of equipment at the facilities, such as tanks and pipes.
public  discovery  environmental  methane 
8 days ago
The Pemex Vinyl Chloride Plant Explosion
Unless you work in the petrochemical industry, you have probably never been near the substance called vinyl chloride. It is a chlorinated hydrocarbon that is made when one of the four hydrogen atoms in the compound called ethylene is replaced by a chlorine atom. 

On the other hand, unless you live in a house whose plumbing is all more than forty or so years old, you probably use products made with vinyl chloride every day. 

Polyvinylchloride (PVC) pipes are used in the plumbing of nearly all new residential and business construction, and about 40 million metric tons (units of 1,000 kg) of PVC plastic were made in 2013. 

But all PVC pipes were once the toxic, flammable liquid called vinyl chloride, and that is what may have got loose at the Pemex chlorinate 3 plant in the Gulf Coast city of Coatzacoalcos, Mexico last Wednesday, Apr. 20. The resulting explosion and fire killed at least 28 people and injured over a hundred, with more still missing as of today.

Besides the immediate human tragedy, this accident raises important questions about the safety record of the state-owned petroleum company Pemex.

At this writing, little is known about the cause of the blast. Coatzacoalcos is a town at the very southernmost tip of the Gulf of Mexico, in the Mexican state of Veracruz between central Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula. 

It is one of the main export terminals for Mexican oil and is a logical location for a vinyl-chloride plant, since its manufacture requires large quantities of the petrochemical ethylene. The chlorinate 3 plant is a joint venture between Pemex and a PVC-pipe manufacturer called Mexichem. 
Mexico  industrial  follow-up  death  flammables 
8 days ago
Concern Grows Over Tainted Drinking Water
Officials in Vermont, New Hampshire and New York are expanding their efforts to find out how much of a potentially toxic chemical ended up in drinking water, from private wells to public water systems.

Factories for decades used the chemical, perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA, as a plastic coating and to make consumer products such as Teflon nonstick pans, waterproof jackets and pizza boxes.

Former large manufacturers or users of PFOA, including 3M Co. and DuPont Co., agreed in 2006 to phase out PFOA production and use by December 2015.

Public concern over PFOA has spread through upstate New York and New England since August 2014, when a resident of Hoosick Falls, N.Y., near the Vermont border, tested his drinking water and found high levels of the acid. The man was concerned because his father, a former employee of the town’s plastics plant that used PFOA, died of cancer.

Earlier this month, roughly 200 people crowded into a high school auditorium in Litchfield, N.H., to hear from New Hampshire environmental officials. Attendees voiced concerns about PFOA’s possible effects on children, pets and garden produce.

The worry stems from a Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp. plant in neighboring Merrimack, which New Hampshire officials are investigating as a possible source of PFOA contamination. The state in March sampled PFOA levels up to 620 parts per trillion in private Litchfield wells, well above the 100-parts-per-trillion level at which New Hampshire officials start to consider the amount unsafe. Tests in Merrimack measured as high as 1,600 parts per trillion.
us_NY  industrial  discovery  environmental  toxics 
8 days ago
Flames engulf tyre factory godown
Poddar Tyres Limited, a factory situated in Jugiana, three km from here, was gutted after a major fire broke out this afternoon.
It took five-six hours for five fire brigade teams to bring the fire under control. No loss of life has been reported.
As per information, the fire spread within no time and engulfed the entire raw material godown of the factory.
Kanaganwal chowki in-charge Kulwant Singh said, “Fire brigade teams from Ludhiana were busy extinguishing the fire till evening. The reason behind the fire is yet to be ascertained. The fire brigade teams had a hard time extinguishing the fire as it had engulfed a major part of the godown.”
Factory manager Joginder Singh said short circuit or sudden chemical heating may have lead to the fire.
When questioned about the loss he said, “It is too difficult to assess the exact loss at this stage but according to rough estimates, damage to the tune of Rs 1.5 crore has been done. The labourers, however, are safe.”
India  industrial  fire  response  unknown_chemical 
8 days ago
Two taken to hospital after chemical reaction in Sun Prairie
UPDATE (WKOW) -- Sun Prairie fire officials say they are looking into the cause of a chemical reaction that forced the evacuation of a business this morning.

Sun Prairie firefighters responded to 450 Progress Way around 9:30. That address is associated with Imperial Blades, a company that makes power tool blades and accessories.

Fire officials believe two chemicals used in the manufacturing process were accidentally combined and they contaminated an area of the building.

Three employees were treated and released at a local hospital.

Madison's hazmat team was called in to help.

After mitigation of the chemicals, officials say the building was turned back over to the owners.
us_WI  industrial  release  injury  unknown_chemical 
8 days ago
Water Authority Under Fire For Swapping Lead Preventative Chemicals Without DEP Permission
The city's water authority got a slap on the wrist Monday from the Wolf administration two years after making a critical change to the chemicals added to Pittsburgh drinking water.

State Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Quigley said Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority should have gotten approval from the state before switching from soda ash to caustic soda for corrosion control.

Analysis Friday showed extremely low levels -- one part per billion -- of both lead and copper at PWSA, he said, but regulators hadn't conducted similar tests since September 2013, well before PWSA deployed the new chemical from April 2014 to January 2015.

Based on those results, there is no current threat to the public, he said.

"But we are taking swift action to ensure that this is the case and to begin the process of determining if any threat existed during the time the modifications were in effect,” he said.
us_PA  public  discovery  environmental  sodium_carbonate  sodium_hydroxide 
8 days ago
Hazmat cleans up acid spill in Holly Hill pool supply warehouse
HOLLY HILL — A hazmat team cleaned up a muriatic acid spill Monday afternoon that was discovered inside a pool supply warehouse at the corner of State Avenue and Flomich Street.

Employees tried to clean the spill, which apparently happened over the weekend, when they came into work and saw it. They called the fire department after they realized they couldn't do the job themselves, said Holly Hill Fire Chief Jim Bland.

The chemical's fumes are toxic and in liquid form it can weaken metals and eat through fabric.

The employees at Horner Xpress used sodium bicarbonate, a powdery chemical they had on site. The hazmat team called into the warehouse was going to use the same substance to neutralize what was left of the spill, rescue officials said.

"That initial mitigation helped us tremendously," said Bland, who was astonished at how long the employees worked on the spill.

"I'm glad they did it. ... I sure wouldn't have done it," he said. "They spent about two hours in there before they called (us)."

None of the employees showed any symptoms and no medical assistance was needed. One Horner Xpress employee who was still on site Monday afternoon declined to speak to a reporter.
us_FL  public  release  response  hydrochloric_acid 
8 days ago
2 charged with placing explosive devices in Westfield yards; hazmat scene clear
WESTFIELD - Two men are charged with placing explosive devices in yards on Woodmont Street, prompting a multi-agency hazmat and bomb squad response Monday evening.
Sean Barrett, 18, and Patrick Baker, 19, were arrested after police found four plastic bottles that were foaming and appeared to contain pieces of metal, according to Westfield police Lt. Jerome Pitoniak.

At around 5 p.m., a woman reported finding one of the devices in the front yard of 83 Woodmont St. Authorities found three more in the yard of number 88, where Barrett and Baker live.

Pitoniak said the substances in the bottles have not been identified yet, but he said they were comparable to Drano bombs that can be seen in numerous YouTube videos. The devices will be sent for testing. Massachusetts State Police is assisting in the investigation.
us_MA  public  discovery  response  bomb 
8 days ago
Firefighters seek new law to ban flame retardants
Amid growing concern that flame retardants are responsible for elevated cancer rates in firefighters, Massachusetts lawmakers are pushing legislation that would go further than any other state’s in banning the use of chemicals meant to slow the spread of fires.

Fire officials and environmental advocates, who have joined forces to support the restrictions, contend that at least 10 chemicals used in flame retardants endanger firefighters, while doing little to stop fires. They support two bills that would prohibit manufacturers and retailers from using the chemicals in children’s products and upholstered furniture and authorize state environmental officials to ban other retardants they designate as health risks.
us_MA  public  fire  environmental  other_chemical 
9 days ago
Crews respond to fire, explosion at Butler County plant
Emergency crews were called Thursday afternoon for a fire and explosion at an industrial plant in Petrolia, Butler County.

The incident was reported just before 1:30 p.m. at the Sonneborn Plant, prompting the response of dozens of firefighters.

People reported feeling the explosion from miles away.

“My sister lives in East Brady, and its 10 miles from here. My dad lives in Bruin, and he said it shook his house,” Raymond Jones, who lives across the street, said. “I thought it was a truck hitting my building. I looked out my window. There were flames shooting 40 feet in the air.”
us_PA  industrial  explosion  response  unknown_chemical 
9 days ago
Fire at the University of Leicester medical science laboratory
The fire affected a lab on the second floor in the Maurice Shock Building on University Road. There is water and smoke damage in the vicinity.

The Dean of Medicine at the University of Leicester has praised Leicester Fire and Rescue Service’s quick action in controlling the fire.
I would like to thank and commend the fire service for their excellent response.

Their professionalism and expertise contained the fire to a lab in the medical sciences building which means the vast majority of the building should still be accessible from next week.

Had it not been for the swift action of the fire service, the situation could have been a lot worse.

The University is working with investigators to find out cause of the fire and will continue to assess the building over the weekend to determine to what extent it will impact on staff and students.

Any teaching or examinations scheduled in the building will be re-located or re-scheduled if required, said a statement from the university.
United_Kingdom  laboratory  fire  response  unknown_chemical 
9 days ago
China chemical blaze extinguished, but may affect thousands
A fire caused by an explosion at a chemical and fuel storage facility in the Chinese city of Jingjiang may affect thousands of nearby residents as well as key environmental resources, activists said Saturday.

The initial blast Friday morning recalled huge explosions caused by improper storage of chemicals in the northern city of Tianjin last August, which killed at least 165 and raised fears of toxic contamination.

The blaze, which took place in the eastern province of Jiangsu, raged for 16 hours before it was extinguished early Saturday morning, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Industrial accidents are common in China where safety standards are often lax ©- (AFP/File)

Though no casualties have yet been reported, about 15,000 people live within five kilometres (three miles) of the blast site, which is also close to two drinking water and three ecological protection areas, Greenpeace said in a statement.

Located next to the Yangtze River, the facility stored up to 56 chemicals categorised as "hazardous" by the government, it added, calling the incident "yet another example of the worrying lack of oversight and management of China's chemical industry".

"The government must urgently investigate the dangers hazardous chemicals in China pose to people and the environment and act to prevent these all-too-common incidents from occurring again," its East Asia toxics assistant manager Cheng Qian said.
China  industrial  follow-up  death  toxics 
9 days ago
High-containment labs need more oversight
Federal research leaders need stronger oversight of laboratories that handle highly contagious agents, a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report says. The review by Congress’s investigative arm comes after dangerous biological agents were mishandled at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the Department of Defense, and the National Institutes of Health during several incidents in 2014 and 2015. At a hearing of the House of Representatives Energy & Commerce Committee’s Oversight & Investigations Subcommittee last week, committee members were especially critical of NIH and the Food & Drug Administration for a 2014 incident, in which many previously unknown vials of smallpox were found at an FDA lab on the NIH campus. “Past policy reviews have not brought about the changes necessary to improve safety,” said Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), the subcommittee’s chair. That’s what prompted the committee to ask for the GAO report. Investigators identified six elements that they consider essential to managing contagious biological agents: incident reporting, defined roles and responsibilities, safety training, inventory control, inspections, and top safety guidelines. They then reviewed the policies of 23 federal departments or agencies that oversee high-containment laboratories, also called biosafety level (BSL) 3 and 4 sites. Of those, 14 did not address all six GAO requirements, and six did not have policies at all. Another seven had policies that had not been reviewed in years.
laboratory  follow-up  environmental 
10 days ago
Five Arrested As Death Toll From India Temple Fire Rises
Police said they were investigating who was responsible for the fireworks display going ahead, even though authorities in Kerala's Kollam district had refused to grant permission for it.

Two middle aged youths succumbed to their injuries at the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital where 124 people are still being treated, doctors said. "In the past, there's been fireworks but not on this scale".

Kerala houses many temples that are maintained by wealthy trusts with huge power and influence. Permission was denied over fears that the temple gets overcrowded during the festival and that competing sides would try to outdo each other with more and more fireworks.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the scene of the disaster on Sunday.

The Governor conveyed his condolences to the bereaved family members of those who lost their lives and has prayed to the Almighty for heavenly peace of the departed souls. Large parts of the metropolis were under water for days before government help arrived. Previously, the RSS volunteers on Kolkata were seen helping in the relief operations that were carried out soon after the flyover collapse in the city.

Samples of chemicals taken from the site would be sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory for confirmation of the substances. Numerous victims were charred beyond recognition.
India  public  follow-up  injury  fireworks 
10 days ago
Woman killed, three injured in fire in chemical godown
A 22-year-old woman was charred to death while three men sustained burn injuries when a fire broke out in a chemical godown in Seegehalli on Friday. The godown had been rented out by its owners to Ramlal, a city-based businessman, to store inflammable material such as paint thinners, solvents and other chemical used to prepare toilet cleaners. It also had a small manufacturing unit. There were around 10 employees working in the godown when the fire broke out around 10. 30 a.m.

A few employees rushed out of the unit even as the fire, fuelled by the inflammable products, spread rapidly. It took six fire tenders four hours to put out the fire. Gayathri, a worker who was trapped in the godown, was unable to escape. The police have registered a case of death due to negligence, and efforts are on to trace Khaniram and Kailish, the owners of the godown. The police are also verifying whether the owners had got permission to store the chemicals in the first place. According to the police, Gayathri and three other employees were unloading chemical barrels when one of them slipped and rolled into a drain nearby.
India  industrial  fire  death  flammables  solvent 
10 days ago
Firefighter Injured In Incident At East Tulsa Industrial Company
TULSA, Oklahoma - One firefighter was hurt in an incident at an industrial company in East Tulsa Friday afternoon. Officials said his gear malfunctioned and he inhaled fumes.
The company is called Precise Machining and Manufacturing and is located near 129th East Avenue and Pine.

The call came in as a small building fire around 3:30 Friday afternoon.

Firefighters determined they couldn't use water on the fire because of chemicals and had to use a dry solution. They said it took longer to put out the flames because they had to go back and forth getting the foam.

"That's what took them so long to put the fire out because they had to keep bringing dry chemical fire extinguishers inside," said Captain John Sawyer with TFD.

Video from Osage SkyNews 6 HD showed a firefighter brought out on a stretcher and breathing oxygen. Other firefighters had to be washed off as a precautionary so they wouldn't inhale the chemicals.
us_OK  industrial  fire  injury  unknown_chemical 
10 days ago
Hawaii lab explosion linked to safety failings
An explosion at a University of Hawaii Mānoa laboratory, which took the arm of a visiting postdoctoral researcher last month, appears to have resulted from an inappropriate piece of equipment and unheeded warnings.

The incident at the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute biofuels research laboratory occurred on 16 March when visiting research fellow, Thea Ekins-Coward, was transferring hydrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide into a low pressure gas cylinder to be used a bacterial growth medium. The explosion was the result of a pressure gauge sparking, setting off the flammable gas mixture, the Honolulu Fire Department has concluded in a report.

‘The gauge was not meant to be in a placement of where it was … and that was the source of the … leak of vapours that ignited,’ stated Terry Seelig, the Honolulu Fire Department’s battalion chief, during a press conference at the university. The switch sparked when it was operated, and ignited the gas that came out of the pressure gauge, he explained.
us_HI  laboratory  follow-up  injury  biodiesel 
10 days ago
EU bans endocrine disrupting herbicides
Three herbicides—amitrole, isoproturon, and triasulfuron—will be banned in the European Union, effective Sept. 30. An EU standing committee voted April 15 against renewing approval of the chemicals, citing potential groundwater contamination and risks to aquatic life.
Two of the herbicides—amitrole and isoproturon—have been heavily scrutinized because of their ability to mimic hormones and disrupt the endocrine system. The European Food Safety Authority previously raised concerns about the endocrine-disrupting effects of the two herbicides, as well as data gaps related to their toxicity.
EU officials had the option of banning the pesticides as endocrine disruptors. Under a 2009 EU pesticide regulation, endocrine-disrupting pesticides are not allowed on the EU market. But under that legislation, industry can apply for exemptions for “negligible exposure” and “serious danger to plant health.”
Switzerland  public  release  response  pesticides 
12 days ago
300-Gallon Chemical Spill in Flagler Beach Closes A1A
A truck carrying diluted sulfuric acid spilled some 300 gallons of the liquid at the intersection of State Road 100 and State Road A1A in Flagler Beach earlier this morning.

The spill soaked into the dunes on the east side of A1A, but caused no injuries. But because of the hazardous nature of the liquid, authorities closed A1A to traffic between North 4th Street and South 5th Street, Flagler Beach City Manager Larry Newsom said. The closure zone also includes side streets to Central Avenue.
Flagler County Fire Chief Don Petito said some 300 gallons spilled. The sulfuric acid was diluted by 50 percent. “It’s an inhalation hazard and it’s corrosive, so you can imagine what it can do to you,” Petito said, likening the liquid to what’s found in vehicle batteries. “It’ll destroy any vegetation that it comes in contact with.”
The company hauling the chemical is Dumont Chemical Company of Apopka. The truck was hauling several drums, only one of which fell and spilled. “I would prefer to see something that’s actually in writing that identifies what they’re hauling,” Newsom said.
us_FL  transportation  release  response  sulfuric_acid 
12 days ago
Hazmat investigation at Spokane Valley home after woman reports uranium
Thursday morning a woman in Spokane Valley called the fire department to ask for help getting rid of uranium and blasting caps. The woman reported that the materials had been in her home for at least 35 years because her husband and extended family had been involved in the mining business for 35 years in the Silver Valley. 

The woman’s husband recently passed away and while cleaning out his belongings, she came across the hazardous material and contacted authorities so it could be removed safely. 

The home is located at 15th and Walnut in Spokane Valley and the materials are now on the woman’s front porch.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department, Spokane County Sheriff’s Office and the Spokane Hazardous Materials Response Team are all on scene but they are in stand-by mode, waiting to hear from the federal government on how to safely remove the uranium. First responders have a 5ft. radius around the hazardous materials and once they are notified of the proper procedures to take, the Sheriff’s Office will go ahead and remove the blasting caps.

A radius of 1-2 blocks has been made around the home and residence nearby have been asked to shelter in place and use caution. Melanie Rose, the Community Affairs Officer with the Spokane Valley Fire Department says there’s no word on how long this Hazmat investigation will take and because they have to wait on instructions from the federal government, authorities could potentially be on scene all day.
us_WA  public  discovery  response  explosives  uranium 
12 days ago
OPCW Convenes Inaugural Experts Group Meeting on Green Chemistry
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) hosted the first Expert Group Meeting on Green/Sustainable Chemistry Applications in Industries Involving Toxic Chemicals in The Hague on 15 April 2016. The group includes representatives from industry, academia, and international organisations from across the globe.
OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, underlined the relevance of this Expert Group Meeting for the chemical weapons agenda by emphasising, “The promotion of peaceful uses of chemistry and a culture of safety and security among chemistry professionals is at the heart of the OPCW mandate.” The Director-General also expressed his hope to get as close as possible to eliminating the need for toxic chemicals used in industrial and other applications.
During this inaugural meeting, the participants presented their activities in the field of green chemistry, including scientific research as well as educational and capacity building initiatives. They shared thoughts on avenues of collaboration between science and industry and they debated the needs, feasibility and benefits of application of green chemistry in industry.
Netherlands  public  discovery  environmental 
12 days ago
Huge explosion & fire at chemical facility in eastern China (PHOTOS, VIDEO) — RT News
A powerful blast has struck a chemical storage in eastern China’s Jingjiang province, causing a massive ongoing blaze. A plume of black smoke is rising from the storage reservoir engulfed in flames. The factory stores chemicals and petrol.

China’s media outlet 163.com says there are a total of 42 reservoirs at the oil processing facility where the explosion occurred.
China  industrial  explosion  response  gasoline 
12 days ago
Another 'toxic school' case leads to closure of Chinese chemical works
Authorities have ordered the closure of a chemical industrial complex in eastern China after children at a local primary school came down with mysterious nosebleeds and skin complaints that their parents blamed on pollution.

The case comes just days after hundreds of students in the same region were revealed to have fallen ill, some severely, after attending a school built on a toxic waste dump.

According to reports in the Chinese media, more than 20 primary school children at the Hai’an Chengnan Experimental Primary School in Jiangsu province have complained of rashes and other medial complaints in recent days.

Residents of the surrounding area, which is about 200km north of Shanghai, told reporters they suspected toxic emissions from the industrial complex were responsible.
China  industrial  discovery  response  unknown_chemical 
12 days ago
Pemex blast: Explosion at Mexican chemical plant kills 24
(CNN)The death toll from a huge explosion at a Mexican petrochemical plant that forced the evacuation of surrounding neighborhoods has risen to 24, authorities said.
Mexico  industrial  follow-up  death  petroleum 
12 days ago
FDA Official Testifies on Lab Safety After Smallpox, Anthrax Incidents
At a Congressional hearing on Wednesday, an official from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that the agency has taken "direct and definitive actions" to improve laboratory safety after a new report highlighted deficiencies at a number of federal agencies in their oversight of bioresearch laboratory safety.

The report, issued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), comes after recent incidents involving the mishandling of dangerous biological materials, including smallpox and drug-resistant strains of anthrax and plague at high-containment laboratories operated by federal agencies.

In one instance in 2014, an FDA researcher discovered twelve "overlooked" boxes which contained 327 laboratory samples, six of which contained Variola, the virus that causes smallpox.

In addition to the GAO report, Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations subcommittee conducted their own investigation into FDA, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) handling of the events.

Kicking off the hearing, subcommittee Chairman Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) chastised the agencies, saying, "These failures just defy common sense, this is a culture of complacency."

"If NIH or FDA had done just a little more than what their policies required, or thought outside the box just a little bit, those agencies could have discovered the smallpox vials years earlier," he said.
laboratory  discovery  environmental 
12 days ago
Fire hits JAC naphtha storage tank in Singapore
SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Jurong Aromatics Corp’s (JAC) naphtha tank at Tembusu, Jurong Island in Singapore was the one that caught fire on Wednesday afternoon, traders said.

The tank is meant for storage of naphtha, a petrochemical cracking feedstock, they said.

Traders said the fire will not have any impact on the market as the company’s production facilities are currently idle.

The company could not be reached for comment.

According to the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), a fire at an oil tank on Jurong Island was reported to them at about 15:00 Singapore time (07:00 GMT) on Wednesday. Firefighters were deployed to contain the blaze at the site.
Singapore  industrial  fire  response  naphtha 
13 days ago
Fire scorches Temple City garage; firefighter injured
TEMPLE CITY >> Firefighters made quick work of a fire in a residential garage that may have been sparked by the spontaneous combustion of varnish-soaked rags, authorities said.

The fire was reported just before 12:15 p.m. in a detached residential garage in the 5200 block of Halifax Road, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Nick Yslas said.

Firefighters arrived within minutes, and declared the flames “knocked down” about 10 minutes after that, he said.

No one was home at the time, he said. One firefighter was hospitalized with heat exhaustion, the captain said. The injury was considered minor.

The officials cause of the fire remained under investigation, Yslas said.

But firefighters suspected that varnish-soaked rags, left behind after the residence varnished furniture in the garage, he said.

Rags soaked with oil or other chemicals can spontaneously ignite via chemical reaction in a phenomenon known as “pyrolysis,” the captain explained.

Officials estimated the fire caused $65,000 worth of damage to the garage and its contents, Yslas said.
us_CA  public  fire  injury  other_chemical 
13 days ago
Teen, police injured in chemical incident in Cottage Grove home
COTTAGE GROVE — A chemical-related suicide attempt injured a teenager Wednesday, sent three Cottage Grove police officers to the hospital and required a bomb squad’s assistance, authorities said.

Police were called about 1:45 p.m. to a home in the 8600 block of Hale Avenue for a report of a suicidal 17-year-old male. The teen was found semi-responsive in the backyard with an unknown white compound on his shirt and pants. Police found a bucket near his feet and smelled a strong chemical odor.

The teen was treated and transported to United Hospital in St. Paul. His condition was not known Wednesday evening, police said.

Three officers who had responded to the call experienced symptoms from chemical inhalation and were transported to Woodwinds Hospital in Woodbury. They were treated and released.

Firefighters with protective breathing devices entered the home to make sure there were no other victims. Police said the firefighters found identified and unidentified chemicals believed to have been used in a suicide attempt.
us_MN  public  release  injury  unknown_chemical  suicide 
13 days ago
Emergency crews respond to Cassopolis chemical fire
CASS COUNTY, Mich. — Emergency crews repsonded to a chemical fire at a Cassopolis silicone manufacturer Wednesday night.

Cass County dispatch tells FOX 17 News that some type of chemical fire happened shortly before 9 p.m. at ICM Products, located at 805 Wolfe Avenue. Fire crews left the area around 10:30 p.m. after clearing the scene.

Two ambulances were sent to the scene, but no one was hospitalized.

Air quality tests are being conducted around the facility as part of the response.
us_MI  industrial  fire  response  unknown_chemical 
13 days ago
Mexico Chemical Plant Explosion Kills 3
An explosion Wednesday at a chemical plant in southeastern Mexico killed three people, sent dozens more to the hospital and released a toxic cloud into the sky.

The cause of the blast in Coatzacoalcos, in Veracruz state, was not immediately clear.  The site is jointly run by the national oil company Pemex and a company called Mexichem to make chemicals used in plastic pipes.

Pemex said a total of 136 workers were hurt, including 88 who remained in the hospital early Thursday. 

The company warned people to stay away from the site as a precaution, but said that the fire there was under control, the toxic cloud rapidly dissipated and that by Thursday the situation was under control with no risk to the public.

A fire at the same facility killed a worker in February.  Weeks later, two people died and others were injured in a fire at a Pemex offshore oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico.
Mexico  industrial  explosion  death  unknown_chemical 
13 days ago
Editorial: Lessons from West explosion, forgotten so soon
When it comes to dealing smartly with the risks of ammonium nitrate, some Texans have short memories.

Storing highly explosive ammonium nitrate fertilizer near schools, homes and other businesses has never been a good idea. Texas learned that the tragic way just three years ago. When a fire broke out at the West Fertilizer Co. warehouse, which stored an estimated 30 tons of the fertilizer, the resulting fireball was among the most destructive ever investigated by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board.

This newspaper and others rightly called for stricter rules to prevent another disaster.

After West, one would think other communities would require houses, schools and other population centers to be buffered from plants, that tougher rules would be followed to reduce the risk of an ammonium nitrate explosion.

So why have city and school district officials in Whitewright, a small town between Sherman and Bonham, backed a plan to build 48-unit low-income housing just 1,000 feet from El Dorado Chemical, a producer of ammonium nitrate? Why are there still up to eight Texas businesses selling fertilizer within a half-mile of a school, nursing home or hospital?

You can’t help but shake your head in disbelief. A U.S. Chemical Safety Board review couldn’t have been clearer about the causes of the West tragedy. The town, several federal agencies, the state and plant officials all missed opportunities to protect residents from catastrophic damage.
us_TX  industrial  follow-up  environmental  ag_chems  ammonium_nitrate 
13 days ago
Oil, natural gas operations are now top U.S. methane emitters
U.S. greenhouse gases emissions held nearly steady from 2013 to 2014, increasingly a mere 1%, according to a newly released annual inventory by the Environmental Protection Agency. But in a key change from previous years, EPA’s report raised methane emissions figures for oil and natural gas drilling and production by 34%. For oil production alone, methane emissions more than doubled.
The agency attributed the increase in methane to new data and more accurate calculations. This sector now accounts for one-third of U.S. methane emission, outpacing landfills and livestock production.
Methane makes up 10.6% by mass of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions but is a crucial compound because it has 25 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas emitted in largest amounts.
The U.S. is experiencing a drilling and production bonanza in oil and natural gas, the latter of which is composed primarily of methane. As a result, natural gas prices have plummeted and supplies have exploded.
industrial  discovery  environmental  methane 
14 days ago
Chemical Fire in North Brunswick Tuesday Morning
North Brunswick, NJ - A two-alarm fire broke out at a paint factory early Tuesday morning in North Brunswick township, firefighters there reported.

The call of the fire came in at 3:35 a.m. to 1999 Elizabeth Street, a factory just off Rt. 1 for a company that produces paint for trucks.

The fire had originated in the paint and chemical mixing room, and some pallets with chemicals on them had also caught on fire, fire crews said. The chemical mixing room where the fire started is pictured, in this photo provided by North Brunswick Fire Dept. Station 3.
us_NJ  industrial  fire  response  unknown_chemical 
14 days ago
Chemical plants feared to have made children ill at another school in eastern Chinese province
An industrial park that is home to dozens of chemical plants in eastern China were ordered to suspend operations early on Wednesday after children at a nearby school began to complain of nosebleeds and itching, according to a news website.
The report comes amid a public outcry in China after nearly 500 pupils at a school not far away were reported to have fallen ill, allegedly due to industrial pollution.
Chemical plants near a primary school in Hainan county in Jiangsu province were ordered to temporarily close down by the local authorities after some pupils suffered nosebleeds and severe itching of the skin, ThePaper.cn reported.

The school is a little more than 100km from the Changzhou Foreign Languages School where 493 pupils have fallen ill, according to a report by state television.
Some are suffering from cancer and parents blame soil pollution from a toxic waste dump on an adjacent field, which formerly housed several chemical plants, CCTV said on Sunday.
China  industrial  release  injury  unknown_chemical 
14 days ago
Obama’s ‘timid’ legacy on chemical safety
This past weekend marked three years since the massive fire and explosion that killed 15 people at the West Fertilizer Co. in West, Texas. Yet despite this disaster and the time that’s gone by, the Dallas Morning News reports:

On the one hand, many of the ag-supply and feed stores that used to stock a lot of the fertilizer have stopped selling it, a Dallas Morning News investigation found. Others have beefed up safeguards, such as moving the chemical out of dilapidated buildings and into fire-resistant concrete structures. Fire officials now have the power to inspect sites, and fire departments are more likely to have had training to handle the hazardous material.

But many of the recommendations made by safety investigators have gone unheeded. None of the sites that responded to News inquiries said they had installed sprinklers systems. The state does not require them, but the U.S. Chemical Safety Board has said such a system could have stopped the West accident before it became a fatal explosion.

And despite calls for keeping stockpiles of ammonium nitrate away from populated areas, in up to eight communities tons of the chemical still sit near schools, houses, nursing homes and even a hospital, according to a News analysis of state data.
us_TX  industrial  follow-up  environmental  ag_chems  ammonium_nitrate 
14 days ago
Meth-in-a-bottle supermarket explosion remains under investigation
COLUMBIA TWP., MI -- Police cleared a father and his young son of involvement in an explosion at a supermarket in Jackson County's Columbia Township last week that investigators say was caused by a plastic bottle containing ingredients used to make methamphetamine.

Surveillance video shows the father and son placing bottles into a return machine about 11 am Monday, April 11 at Country Market, 11301 Brooklyn Road in Columbia Township when the blast occurred.

They appear startled and take a step back from the machine, but soon return to inserting bottles to collect deposit, says Columbia Township Police Chief David Elwell.

Elwell doesn't believe they brought in the bottle responsible for the explosion and said he "can't fathom" anyone would have intentionally. It's more likely someone collecting bottles for their deposit value unknowingly grabbed one -- possibly along a ditch -- used in a meth production operation.

The explosion caused the release of caustic gasses that burned the skin and eyes of employees working in the grocery store's bottle room, Jackson Narcotic Enforcement Team Detective Lt. Lisa Gee-Cram said. They were treated and released from the hospital.

Meth "cooks" sometimes use the "shake-and-bake method" -- what narcotics police call the "one-pot" vessel method -- to produce the addictive street drug also known as "crystal meth."
us_MI  public  explosion  injury  meth_lab 
14 days ago
Ontario boy, 7, suffers chemical burns using school bathroom
A southern Ontario mother says her child suffered painful second-degree chemical burns after he used a school toilet seat cleaned with a harsh disinfectant.
The seven-year-old boy was unable to wear pants for 11 days due to the pain and missed nearly two weeks of school, his mother says. She is now speaking out in hopes that a similar incident doesn’t happen to other children.
The incident happened March 31 when the child went to the washroom at Stewart Avenue Public School in Cambridge, Ont.
Later that day, the boy noticed a red rash similar to a sunburn on his legs. Shortly after, the rash began to ooze and bubble.
“It had progressed to a second-degree burn,” the boy’s mother said.
The mother has since launched a $250,000 lawsuit against the school board.
...In response, the school sent a letter home on April 1 warning parents that some students suffered “varying levels of skin reaction” after using a bathroom.
The affected bathroom was thoroughly cleaned and all the school’s cleaning products were inspected.
The mother says the school provided her with a material safety data sheet describing the cleaner, ED Everyday Disinfectant, which can be “harmful in contact with skin,” according to the sheet.
The school board says the situation was taken very seriously.
Canada  education  release  injury  cleaners 
15 days ago
Chemical canister set off in McDonald's
Twelve people have been assessed by paramedics after a chemical canister was set off in McDonald's.

Emergency services were called to the McDonald's, on Eccleshall Road in Stafford shortly after 8.30pm tonight.

A total of 12 people, who were inside at the time, were scene by paramedics at the scene - with two expected to be taken to hospital with breathing difficulties.

Staffordshire Police, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue and West Midlands Ambulance service all attended the scene.

Staffordshire Police said they were looking to speak to three people in connection with the incident.
United_Kingdom  public  release  injury  unknown_chemical 
15 days ago
Multiple patients treated for chemical exposure
Crews responded to a hazardous material situation near Five Points in Fresno County late Monday morning.

According to a statement by the Fresno County Sheriff's Office, 12 workers building a solar farm in the area of Mt. Whitney and Siskiyou Avenues were exposed to chemicals. According to the statement, a tractor operator spraying on a neighboring field got close to the workers, and wind blew the chemicals onto them.

According to officials, Cal Fire crews rinsed off the exposed workers, and they were taken to the hospital for further evaluation.
us_CA  industrial  release  injury  ag_chems 
15 days ago
The consumer game of whack-a-mole with chemical dangers — Opinion — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine
An announcement last month by the Campbell Soup Co. that it would stop using BPA in the lining of cans containing its soup and other food products again focused attention on the chemical that studies suggest is harmful to humans. Campbell said it began using an alternative lining in March and would phase out BPA in all its cans by the middle of next year.

This is a welcome announcement, but it inadvertently highlights the shortcomings of U.S. chemical regulations.

In 2011, Maine was hailed as a national leader for passing a law that banned BPA in some containers. BPA is an endocrine disruptor that can interfere with the reproductive, immune and developmental systems. The National Toxicology Program’s Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction has “ some concern for effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and children at current human exposures to bisphenol A.” “Some concern” is midrange on the program’s hierarchy from “negligible” to “serious” concern.

Maine’s BPA ban was the first prohibition to stem from the 2008 Kid-Safe Product Act, a state law that directed the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to develop a list of chemicals used in children’s products that were of high concern. BPA, or bisphenol-A, which is used to harden plastics and coat the inside of metal food containers, was the first chemical identified.

Now, it turns out, some of the chemicals used in place of BPA also are dangerous. This highlights a major shortcoming in U.S. policy regarding chemical safety. Essentially, chemicals are presumed safe until they are proven not to be. BPA has been the subject of extensive study. Its alternatives have not.

The European Commission, on the other hand, relies on the precautionary principle: If a risk to human health is suspected, then chemicals must be proven not to cause harm before they are approved for use.
us_ME  public  discovery  environmental  metals  plastics 
15 days ago
Fire department calls Hawaii lab explosion an accident
HONOLULU (AP) — A visiting researcher who lost an arm last month in a laboratory explosion at the University of Hawaii told fire investigators the blast occurred after she turned off a digital pressure gauge she was using to check the pressure in a gas cylinder.

A report released by the Honolulu Fire Department on Monday said the researcher told investigators she didn't hear gas leaking before the explosion. Photos in the report showed torn pieces of a metal gas cylinder sitting on a floor strewn with debris.

Compressed hydrogen, carbon dioxide and oxygen detonated inside an air tank in the laboratory, fire investigators said in their report. Fire investigators concluded the blast was an accident.

The school has hired the University of California Center for Laboratory Safety to investigate. School spokesman Dan Meisenzahl said more details about the explosion would become known when this probe is completed, which he said was expected by the end of the month.

Fire investigators say the body of the gauge is missing, but Meisenzahl said the school knows the make and model of the gauge. He said it's not a question of whether this particular gauge was faulty but whether the gauge was being appropriately used.

The researcher told fire investigators a small internal explosion occurred earlier in the same week when she conducted a similar experiment using a smaller air tank assembly nearly identical to the one that failed. This experiment also used similar components, the fire department's report said.

Fire Battalion Chief Terry Seelig said that explosion was not reported to the university.
us_HI  laboratory  follow-up  response  gas_cylinders 
15 days ago
HFD releases investigation report into UH Manoa lab explosion
The Honolulu Fire Department released Monday the investigation report into the cause and origin of a laboratory explosion at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

The explosion occurred on March 16 in a Hawaii Natural Energy Institute biofuels research laboratory in the Pacific Ocean Science and Technology (POST) building.

A visiting researcher, identified in the report as Thea Ekins-Coward, was injured. The report confirms she lost an arm in the explosion.
us_HI  laboratory  follow-up  injury  other_chemical 
15 days ago
A tale of two explosions
In January 2010, an explosion in a chemistry lab at Texas Tech University (TTU) in Lubbock seriously injured a graduate student and touched off an investigation by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board that led to a groundbreaking report on laboratory safety. In response, TTU undertook a number of administrative and procedural changes to improve its safety performance and ability to learn from mistakes. Now, a 10 March 2016 TTU lab explosion—which fortunately produced only “superficial” injuries, according to a report issued by the university’s Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR)—highlights some of those changes in action.

The report on the 2010 explosion explained the factors that contributed to the catastrophe in illuminating detail. It described deficiencies, including lack of clear procedures for carrying out experiments and of hazard analysis before beginning work, and analyzed what had gone wrong at the lab bench and at many levels of the university as a whole, from inadequate oral communication between the grad student and the principal investigator to deficient training and administrative organization. The research group had experienced other dangerous incidents but had repeatedly failed to learn from them because it had not effectively communicated the lessons that emerged either within the lab or with the larger community. Beyond this, the grad student scaled up a reaction despite a lab policy—which he was not adequately aware of—to make only small quantities of the potentially explosive material he was working on, used improper technique to handle it, and failed to wear protective goggles.

The report on the recent incident, which an undergraduate student apparently brought on by skipping a step while carrying out a reaction and using a metal tool rather than a safer plastic one, illustrates notable improvement. “The student was, appropriately, not working alone and all personnel in the laboratory were wearing appropriate personal protective equipment including lab coats, safety goggles and gloves,” OVPR’s report states. Other good news is that, following a 2-week clean up and investigation, university Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) staffers developed recommendations for preventing similar events. They emphasize the importance of keeping the “regular hazard analyses [now routinely] conducted at the outset of experimental work” up to date, the report states. Next, “EH&S staff met with the Institutional Laboratory Safety Committee and the Principal Investigator involved to convey these recommendations and review updated procedures.” The lessons learned have also been disseminated to the university community and beyond.
us_TX  laboratory  follow-up  environmental 
15 days ago
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