U.S. Department of Labor Proposes Over $1.8 Million in Fines Against a Wisconsin Corn Milling Facility After Fatal Grain Dust Explosion
CAMBRIA, WI – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $1,837,861 in fines against Didion Milling Inc. following a May 31, 2017, explosion that killed five workers and injured 12 others, including a 21-year-old employee who suffered a double leg amputation after being crushed by a railcar.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The chemical is known to cause cancer in humans.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Firefighting is heavy on tradition,” says MacDonald.

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

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

Soon after that, she started having health problems.

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

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

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

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

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

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

(MORE: A Recap of Hurricane Harvey)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gunilla Ericsson.
Image: ECHA.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

'A workplace free from fear'

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crews responded quickly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Center for Disease Control reports that formaldehyde can irritate the skin, eyes and airways.
us_LA  public  follow-up  environmental  formaldehyde 
8 days ago
3 hospitalized after hazmat situation at Fedex depot in Weston – WSVN 7News
WESTON, FLA. (WSVN) - - Rescue crews took three people to the hospital after a hazmat scare led to the evacuation of a FedEx facility in Weston, Wednesday night.

According to Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue, crews responded to a call for a fall injury at a medication distribution depot for FedEx, located at 2915 Weston Road, at around 8 p.m.

Officials said the patient was compaining of shortness of breath and chest pain. Crews then noticed a haze inside the 152,000-square-foot structure, as well as additional employees with similar symptoms.

A Broward Sheriff’s Office hazmat crew and Sunrise Fire Rescue then responded to the scene.

“As the materials team made entry, and after a battery of different tests, they were unable to determine the cause of the haze,” said BSFR Battalion Chief Michael Kane.

Crews did not find any harmful readings, either inside or outside the facility, and gave the all clear.

First responders evaluated 12 people and transported three of them to the Cleveland Clinic for further evaluation.
us_FL  industrial  release  injury  unknown_chemical 
10 days ago
Columbus Division of Fire respond to minor incident at Scott Lab
The Columbus Division of Fire on Wednesday responded to a call about an active fire on the fourth floor of Scott Laboratory, but the situation had been contained by the time firefighters arrived.
The call came from two students inside the Turbulence and Combustion Research Lab, Captain Brian Williams said.
Williams said the students “experiment with flames and combustion all the time,” but, on Wednesday, a piece of lab equipment burned to the point where the students decided to call 911.
The lab equipment, though, is made in such a way that when it catches on fire, it will shut itself off, which is what happened Wednesday and why the incident remained very minor, Williams said.
“Was there a fire? There might have been a tiny little fire on the instrument equipment,” he said. “But it was contained and [the students] did everything they were supposed to do. They called 911; it was part of their protocol.”
us_OH  laboratory  fire  response  unknown_chemical 
10 days ago
Investigation underway after Rogersville clinic staff members fall ill
Several staff members of a Rogersville clinic were hospitalized Wednesday after they suddenly fell ill while examining a patient who reportedly reeked of chemicals.

Hawkins County authorities responded about 3:30 p.m. to Rural Health Services Consortium off U.S. Route 66 after at least one staff member fell unconscious and others became nauseous, according to County Emergency Management Agency Director Gary Murrell.

The clinic was evacuated. Ambulances took three staff members to the nearby Hawkins County Memorial Hospital; six others transported themselves.

"The patients that we received presented primarily with headaches, nausea (and) vomiting," said hospital spokesman Jim Wozniak, who wouldn't give further details about the symptoms.
us_TN  public  release  injury  unknown_chemical 
10 days ago
Sarnia-area plant evacuated after chemical leak
A chemical plant near Sarnia evacuated workers Wednesday afternoon after a hydrogen sulphide leak, a plant worker said.

Staff at the Nova Chemicals site in Corunna, south of Sarnia, were told to evacuate at about 4:45 p.m., the plant source, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal, told the Star and Global News. An alert issued by the nearby First Nations community of Aamjiwnaang stated the chemical spilled was hydrogen sulphide.

It’s not clear when the leak began. The same source said Nova staff were told Wednesday morning that a leak “happened last (Tuesday) night and (was) still not contained.”

The company, which employs about 500 people at the plant, called an all-clear just after 6 p.m. A spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, which must legally be told about any chemical spills, didn’t say if Nova notified the government of the incident but said it’s now aware of an “alarm” at the plant.
Canada  industrial  release  response  hydrogen_sulfide 
10 days ago
Judge’s ruling hamstrings federal probe into Torrance refinery explosion, critics claim – Daily Breeze
A former official at the U.S. Chemical Safety Board contends a federal judge’s recent ruling could not only hamper the federal agency’s ability to conduct a full investigation into the February 2015 blast at the Torrance refinery, but severely undermine its capacity to conduct future probes.

U.S. District Court Judge Consuelo B. Marshall issued the ruling Friday in a case related to a petition filed by the Department of Justice on behalf of the agency seeking to compel then refinery owner ExxonMobil to fully comply with administrative subpoenas related to the explosion and its cause.

The CSB has said the blast, which showered nearby neighborhoods with industrial fallout, almost caused a near-catastrophic release of potentially deadly hydrofluoric acid that could have killed or injured tens of thousands. The blast catapulted a 40-ton piece of equipment 100 feet that landed within 5 feet of a tank filled with modified hydrofluoric acid.

The agency is trying to find more precise information about the risks associated with the refinery’s use of modified HF, which contains an additive that supposedly inhibits the chemical’s ability to form a dangerous toxic cloud.

Data requests overly-broad

But ExxonMobil objected to some of the requests for data as overly broad, and Marshall agreed.

“Accordingly, the court concludes that CSB has been granted authority to investigate the February 2015 accidental release, but that its subpoena authority is limited to seeking information relevant to that investigation,” Marshall wrote. “The court concludes that CSB’s subpoenas are enforceable to the extent they seek information relevant to the ‘facts, conditions and circumstances and the cause or probable cause’ of the February 2015 accidental release.
us_CA  industrial  follow-up  environmental  hydrofluoric_acid 
10 days ago
Fire Officials: 5 taken to hospital after 'exposed to unknown substance' at Md. highschool
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (ABC7) — Five people were taken to a hospital after they were exposed to an unknown substance at a high school in Silver Spring Tuesday, fire officials said. As of 4:45 p.m. Tuesday, three of those people have reportedly been released while two individuals remain in the hospital.
According to Pete Piringer with the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, the hazmat situation took place at the Kennedy High School located at 1901 Randolph Road.
At around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, it was discovered that a student at Kennedy High School had a "white powdery substance", according to Montgomery County Public Schools.
Officials say the student was taken into a conference room where five staff members were and that's when the substance spilled. The five staffers were taken to the hospital, according to MCPS, but testing on the substance has come back negative for fetanyl.
us_MD  education  release  response  unknown_chemical 
10 days ago
Explosive chemicals were stored at cracker godown: Lab report
A report of Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), Mohali, has confirmed the presence of dangerous chemicals in samples taken from Sullar Gharat firecracker godown, where a blast had killed seven persons on September 19.
Sources said after blast on September 19, the Sangrur police had sent samples to the FSL. A team of the FSL took samples from all five cracker godowns in the vicinity of Sullar Gharat warehouse on October 11.
The report reads, “Samples contained chemicals and other material generally used to prepare crackers and, on explosion, it can cause loss to people and property.”
Apart from confirming the presence of potassium, nitrate, sulphur, carbon and chlorate, the report has confirmed the presence of pressure-sensitive explosive material.
India  industrial  follow-up  death  fireworks  sulphur 
10 days ago
Trailer carrying pool chemicals overturns on U.S. 1 in Indian River County
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — A spill of potentially hazardous pool chlorine and acid on U.S. 1 north of Vero Beach, shut down the highway in both directions during morning rush hours Tuesday.

Three people were transported to a hospital because of exposure to the fumes, according to the Indian River County Sheriff's Office.

That includes the driver of the truck and two people who stopped to help, said Lt. Thom Raulen.

Meanwhile hundreds of vehicles backed up on the highway. 

As a precaution, motorists were diverted onto other roads including two-lane Old Dixie Highway. Winds were blowing south and U.S. 1 was closed from the scene of the accident, at 57th Street, south to Indian River Boulevard. 
us_FL  transportation  release  injury  chlorine 
10 days ago
Ridley’s Market in Gypsum evacuated because of ‘hazmat’ situation
Emergency responders were called to Ridley’s Market in Gypsum on Tuesday morning because of a suspected hazardous materials leak.

According to fire officials on the scene, there was a “significant leak” in the store’s refrigeration unit. Store employees noticed the leak Tuesday morning and called a repairman who subsequently located the source of the leak and called 911 because of the scope of the problem.

Officials said there was no immediate danger to public health or to nearby businesses. No injures were reported in connection with the incident.

The store was likely to be closed through the end of the day.

“We need to work to contain the product and figure out how to remove it,” Gypsum Fire Chief Justin Kirkland said from the scene.

The exposure risk for the refrigeration chemical that leaked at the store is that it can cause suffocation if people are in close contact, Kirkland said.
us_CO  public  release  response  other_chemical 
10 days ago
State police bomb squad called to Jaffrey for “soda bottle bomb”
The New Hampshire State Police Bomb Squad was called to Jaffrey on Monday afternoon to detonate a “soda bottle bomb” found on Community Field. 

The bomb — also known as a chemical reaction bomb — was safely detonated with the use of a bomb squad tool, according to Bomb Squad Sergeant Jeff Dade, in an interview on scene Monday. 

“These bombs are extremely unpredictable,” said Dade, who said the bombs are typically constructed by juveniles seeking thrills. “The motivation is typically not to hurt anyone, but oftentimes there are unintended consequences.”

Bombs of this nature are made by placing aluminum foil and a mixture of chemicals into a soda bottle or other type of plastic bottle with a lid, according to Dade. The plastic bottle eventually explodes due to a pressure build up caused by a chemical reaction between the chemicals and aluminum foil in the bottle.
us_NH  public  discovery  response  bomb 
10 days ago
2 injured in blast at vodka distillery in northeast Harris County
HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Two people were injured in an explosion at a vodka distillery in northeast Harris County Monday morning.

The blast was initially reported at about 10 a.m. at BJ Hookers Distillery on Richey Road.

"One victim was taken by Life Flight to Memorial Herman, and one victim was transported via ambulance to Houston Northwest Medical Center," said Chief Investigator Dean Hensley with the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office. "The cause of the explosion and fire is accidental. An employee was blending vodka with an electric immersion blender when the fumes ignited, causing an explosion and fire."

Investigators have determined earlier reports of a propane tank explosion at the facility are unsubstantiated. Damage was limited to a single metal warehouse.
us_TX  industrial  explosion  injury  other_chemical 
11 days ago
Pub owner airlifted to hospital after mixed chemical 'explosion' in toilets
An "explosion" involving mixed cleaning products has left the owner of a Bideford pub in hospital.

It is understood Antonio Rodrigues, owner and manager of the Heavitree Arms pub on Mill Street, spilled a "corrosive" liquid on his face and clothing while cleaning the toilets at the bar.

He had to be airlifted to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital via the Devon Air Ambulance helicopter.

Fire, police and ambulance crews were called to the pub just after 11am this morning and reported that someone "had been trying to unblock drains but had mixed two chemicals together".
United_Kingdom  public  explosion  injury  corrosives 
11 days ago
Lawsuit filed alleging chemically tainted Tennessee River water caused cancer, other diseases
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — A new lawsuit has been filed on behalf of 23 plaintiffs who say their illnesses are due to consumption of water contaminated by area chemical companies and sold by the West Morgan-East Lawrence Water Authority.

The lawsuit filed in federal court involves residents of Lawrence and Morgan counties who contend they have either kidney cancer or thyroid disease, or ulcerative colitis, conditions linked to the PFC family of chemicals.

The companies named in the lawsuit include 3M, which used the chemicals PFOA and PFOS for a number of years at its Decatur plant. Particles from the chemicals were discharged into the Tennessee River. Other defendants include companies that either made or used the PFCs, Daikin America and 3M subsidiary Dyneon. It also names the water authority that sold the drinking water.

The chemicals were widely used to make surfaces impervious, such as Scotchguard.

The lawsuit argues the intake source from the authority’s drinking water is 13 miles from 3M’s plant.
us_AL  public  discovery  response  other_chemical 
11 days ago
Truck crash, chemical spill closes I-84 for 8 hours
MEACHAM, Ore. - A truck hauling a corrosive chemical crashed and overturned on icy Interstate 84 in Eastern Oregon early Monday, causing the trailer to rupture and prompting an isolation area and lengthy closure of the freeway, Oregon State Police said.

OSP troopers responded to the crash reported around 4 a.m. on westbound I-84 at milepost 23 near Meacham in Umatilla County, said OSP Lt. Mark Duncan.

Investigators said a green 2006 Freightliner truck hauling tetramethylammonium hydroxide (an ammonia solution, which is a corrosive) was traveling westbound on I-84 when the driver, Dona Carlson, 42, of Prescott, Arkansas lost control of the rig on the icy highway.

The vehicle combination went into the median and the trailer rolled onto its side and ruptured, Duncan said.

Carlson and her male passenger, Morrey Carlson, 42, also of Prescott, were not injured. 

OSP and the Oregon Department of Transportation initially set up an isolation distance of 1/2 mile in all directions due to the hazardous materials concern. 

The Umatilla County Fire District No. 1 Hazardous Materials Unit, the Umatilla Tribal Fire Department and the National Response Corporation Environmental Services responded to the scene. The investigation is ongoing, Duncan said. 
us_OR  transportation  release  response  ammonia  corrosives 
11 days ago
‘Chemical Spills Now Under Control’
After several weeks of investigation into the recent chemical spills in Korkoya District in Bong County leading to 34 persons being injured and the contamination of creeks and other wetlands, the government says the situation has finally been put under control.

The Inter-Ministerial Crisis Management Team (CMT) constituted by the government, in a statement recently, said while it is working with stakeholders to find amicable rehabilitation solutions to the damaged TSF (Tailings Storage Facility) it is safe for residents to carry out normal activities, including farming and schooling in the area.

It may be recalled that there was a chemical spill when a section of the geo- membrane of the TSF ruptured at the MNG Gold facility on September 27 affecting the victims, who were taken to Phebe Hospital in Suakoko for immediate medical attention.

The rupture resulted from an uncontrolled discharge of ‘slurry’ containing a high concentration of cyanide into the Sein Creek and the surrounding environment at MNG Goldmine in Korkoya.

An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) release revealed that much has been done to restore the livelihood of the people of Sayewheh Town.
Liberia  industrial  release  response  cyanide 
11 days ago
Chemical left on playing field leaves childs skin blue
A regular Thursday night on the soccer field lead to some colorful feet.

"The kids were off playing the ones who weren't playing in the game came back to me and they were all shocked like 'oh mom, look-look' and their elbows were blue, their hands were blue, their feet, their knees, and everything that had touched the grass had turned blueish green."

Emily Martin says she was concerned after seeing the dye on her kids.
"Chemicals are readily absorbed into our skin whatever lotion or shampoo or anything we put onto our bodies, it's absorbed into our body very quickly so I wanted to know what it was because it's being absorbed into my kids skin,” Martin said.

The Parks and Rec Director for North Augusta says the chemical is Dithopyr, It's used for weed control on sports turf. The greenish blue color is from a tracker dye called green alert.
Tracker dye allows the person applying the chemical on the ground to see where it's been sprayed.

…"Originally I was told it was applied by the grounds crew, and then I was told ‘oh no’ it was applied by a contractor and the contractor said it was safe," said Martin.
us_GA  public  release  response  dye 
11 days ago
New Limits Threaten EPA’s Asbestos Review
After pushback from the chemical industry, President Donald Trump’s administration is scaling back a congressionally mandated review of asbestos and other deadly chemicals.

Toxic minerals in widespread use will be excluded from the revamped Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which last December included asbestos among the top 10 dangerous chemicals the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must review.

Reducing the scope of the review will potentially leave millions of tons of asbestos and other toxic substances in homes and businesses. The Trump administration reportedly wants to limit risk evaluations of the top 10 toxic threats to new products being imported, sold or manufactured in the U.S.

For asbestos, this means only a few hundred tons of the toxic mineral imported each year will be up for review, excluding nearly all of the estimated 8.1 million metric tons of asbestos-containing products currently in American infrastructure.
public  discovery  environmental  asbestos 
11 days ago
Chapel Hill Fire Department responds to explosion on McCorkle Place
Dan Reichart, a UNC professor of physics and astronomy, has confirmed that he suffered first and second-degree burns to his face and arms while trying to stamp out a fire at McCorkle place on Thursday afternoon. 

Reichart said he was not aware of the presence of a pipe bomb when he attempted to extinguish the fire. 

"The fire had gotten big, but not so big that I didn't think I could kick it out," Reichart said in an email. 

Reichart said he is being taken care of at UNC Hospital, and that he hopes he'll be back to campus sometime next week. 

Update, 5:25 p.m.: Orange County Emergency Services has sent out an emergency alert in response to a suspicious vehicle parked on West Weaver Street.

Locations evacuated include North Greensboro and Shelton Streets, West Weaver and West Main Streets, Jones Ferry and West Main, South Greensboro and Roberson and East Main and Roberson Streets, according to Carrboro Police Chief Chris Atack. 

The Carrboro Police Department tweeted that an emergency alert has been sent out to those within a police perimeter in Carrboro.
us_NC  public  explosion  injury  bomb 
12 days ago
Sterilization chemical spilled in room at Ben Taub Hospital
HOUSTON - A chemical spill at Ben Taub Hospital disrupted the emergency room operations for several hours Sunday. 

Houston police, firefighters and hazmat personnel were called to 1504 Taub Loop around 9 a.m. Sunday.

Officials with the Houston Fire Department said the spill was small, less than one gallon, and it was contained to a single room. 

The chemical was identified as MINNCARE Cold Sterilant. 

The hospital staff said that the spill occurred around 6:00 a.m. and one  employee was splashed by the product, officials said. 

That employee was decontaminated per hospital procedure, treated in the emergency room and released.
us_TX  public  release  response  other_chemical  cleaner 
12 days ago
As normalcy resumes after fire, Parkersburg residents left with questions
PARKERSBURG — An untouched warehouse stood between massive flames, a fuel tank and nearby homes when the old Ames plant caught fire Oct. 21.

Chris Gregory lives adjacent to the old tool plant. Rumors of an evacuation came and went, but it made no difference to Gregory. Ten dogs, 40 chickens and a family kept her tied to the house. She was especially worried about the nearby fuel tank.

“I figured, ‘Well, if it hits that, we’re out of here — we’re blown up,’” she said.

A black plume of smoke alerted Gregory’s family to the nearby fire. She said birds took refuge in trees and bushes as flames consumed the 420,000 square foot factory in about two hours.

“It was so black, like a bomb or something went off,” she said.

Her husband, Curtis Goff, said tanks exploded out of the factory and into a nearby field. As firefighters held off the approaching fire, water traveled down the hill and then pooled in Goff’s lawn.

Family members are worried about how their health might be affected in the future. Gregory said she thinks it could be years before the full consequences are known.
us_WV  industrial  follow-up  response  other_chemical 
12 days ago
3M says it warned Wolverine about Scotchgard chemicals nearly 20 years ago
PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, MICH. - 3M, which made the Scotchgard product Wolverine Worldwide used to waterproof its shoes, said it warned Wolverine nearly 20 years ago about the PFOS chemical that have polluted Plainfield Township wells near the shoemaker's old dumpsite.

The Minnesota-based conglomerate sent WZZM 13 a letter, which was sent to Wolverine in 1999, mentioning a meeting between the two companies regarding the PFOS chemical and its environmental effects.

3M released this statement in response to Wolverine's handling of the contamination issue:

3M bears no responsibility for the environmental practices of Wolverine,' said William A. Brewer III, partner at Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors and counsel to 3M. 'We are surprised to see that Wolverine claims it was unaware of the fact that PFOS was used at its former tannery and, apparently, that it was unaware of 3M’s voluntary decision to phase out of the chemistries in question. The record reflects otherwise.”
In the letter, 3M mentions it was considering phasing out PFOS from Scotchgard. The company announced the decision in May 2000 and completed the phaseout in 2002.

Wolverine responded to 3M, saying:

Wolverine has known and it was widely publicized that 3M’s Scotchgard contained [PFOS] and we relied on 3M’s representations to us, the EPA, and the public that it had no adverse effects on the environment or human health. We’ve never intended to infer anything to the contrary."
us_MI  public  follow-up  environmental  other_chemical 
12 days ago
ExxonMobil settles U.S. air pollution enforcement case
ExxonMobil will spend $300 million to reduce air emissions from four olefin plants and four polyethylene facilities and pay a $2.5 million fine to settle allegations that it violated U.S. federal air pollution regulations. ExxonMobil had modified the facilities and increased their emissions without getting required air pollution permits, says Patrick Traylor, Environmental Protection Agency deputy assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance assurance. The settlement, announced on Oct. 31, requires the company to curb air pollution emitted from inefficient combustion of waste gases within flares at the plants. Traylor says that when fully implemented by 2020, the upgrades at the eight plants will prevent emissions of about 6,400 metric tons per year of volatile organic pollutants and 1,400 metric tons per year of hazardous air pollutants. The facilities are located in Texas in Baytown, Beaumont, and Mont Belvieu and in Baton Rouge, La. Under the settlement, ExxonMobil will also spend $2.5 million on supplemental environmental projects, including planting trees in Baytown.
us_TX  industrial  discovery  environmental  waste  illegal 
12 days ago
Officials ready to discuss emergency communication improvements in wake of Eastman Explosion
KINGSPORT, Tenn. - Saturday will mark one month since the explosions at Eastman Chemical Company’s coal gassification plant in Kingsport. Officials in Kingsport and Sullivan County are now admitting that emergency communications with Eastman need to be improved.

Emergency advisory notifications and calls were not placed until almost two hours after the initial explosions. Those calls instructed people near Eastman to take shelter indoors and turn off ventilation systems. Sullivan County Emergency Management Agency Director Jim Bean said the delay was the result of a need for coordination between Eastman, Kingsport dispatch and Sullivan County dispatch.

“There was so much information going out,” Bean said. “We didn't want to contradict between the city and the county.”

In spite of officials’ attempts to avoid confusion, social media spread several false rumors about the explosions. Hunter Salyer, who works in Kingsport, said he saw about ten different stories about the explosion on social media before he heard what had really happened. He thinks that official communication should have been faster.

“I believe they need to get a little bit quicker on it,” Salyer said. “Get more serious about it.”

Others agreed that a two hour delay was unacceptable.

“That's not ok because that's a hazard,” Bradley Skeens, a co-worker of Salyer, said. “I mean, you know, that could've hurt a lot of people.”

Bean agrees that communications need to improve and the response time needs to be faster.

“There was definitely a delay in response,” Bean said. “Getting everyone together and trying to get a unified voice is something that needs to be done sooner, and I think everyone can admit that that needs to be done.”
us_TN  public  follow-up  environmental 
13 days ago
EPA issues advisory for household hazardous waste
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has collected more than 8,300 containers of household hazardous waste in Napa and Sonoma counties as part of a multi-agency response to the October Northern California fires, which killed dozens and destroyed more than 7,000 structures, most of them homes, in vast swaths of Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, Lake and parts of Solano counties.

In a press release issued Thursday, Margot Perez-Sullivan, a spokeswoman for the federal agency’s San Francisco office, said the items, which range in size from small paint canisters to large chemical drums, have been transported to EPA staging areas in Windsor (in Sonoma County) and Yountville (in Napa County) before disposal at hazardous waste facilities.

In Solano County, affected residents should visit the following online link: www.solanocounty.com/depts/rm/planning/household_hazardous_waste.asp.

Household hazardous waste includes leftover household products that are unstable, corrosive or toxic. Products such as paints, cleaners, solvents, oils, batteries, herbicides and pesticides can contain hazardous ingredients and require special handling and disposal, Perez-Sullivan noted.
us_ca  public  discovery  follow-up  environmental 
14 days ago
CFPUA asks state for more Chemours chemical data
Jim Flechtner, the executive director of the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, sent a letter to NC Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Michael Regan on Thursday asking for all the data the department has on unregulated contaminants being discharged into the Cape Fear River from the Chemours Company's work site in Bladen County.

In CFPUA's Friday afternoon email update, the utility said an Oct. 24 press release by NCDEQ included a response from Chemours assuring the regulatory agency has stopped releasing fluorinated compounds into the river. CFPUA said it has reason to believe more data exists.

"Unfortunately, we have yet to receive data from DEQ on the quantity and identity of unregulated compounds being discharged from the Chemours site," the letter reads. "The data given to DEQ by Chemours would allow the researcher at UNC Wilmington to avoid spending their resources on identifying compounds already known to DEQ.

"It would also allow CFPUA to immediately include those compounds in our pilot testing program -- giving staff the opportunity to make decisions on treatment upgrades with the best, most comprehensive information available."
us_nc  public  discovery  follow-up  enviromental 
14 days ago
House fire pulls crew from chemical tanker crash
OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Fire Department had a long, long day Thursday.

A semi-tanker filled with thousands of gallons of industrial acid rolled over on Highway 63. Almost immediately, it began leaking. About six hours into the 17-hour cleanup effort, a call came in: A house was on fire.

“Myself and three other guys at the rollover responded to the structure fire,” Miller said. “We could see the house from a mile-and-a-half away; it was fully engulfed.”

They were battling the blaze when it caught the neighboring house on fire. Now they were fighting two house fires — and a hazardous material spill.

This was a strange day, Miller acknowledged, the likes of which he hadn’t seen in more than 30 years as a firefighter —not because there were three incidents at once. That’s not unheard of.

What was strange was that 11 of the Hazmat techs were out of town at a Hazmat convention in Ames. They’d left around 5:30 a.m. to get expert instruction on how better to respond to the unintended release of hazardous materials.

“It’s only one day a year,” said Miller. “We were at the annual Hazmat symposium. One of our guys won Hazmat Tech of the Year, but that’s not why we went: The classes are really, really good.”
us_ia  transportation  release  response  acid 
14 days ago
Residents Sue Chemical Maker Over Fires During Hurricane Harvey
Shannan Wheeler was born and raised in Baytown, Texas, an industrial suburb east of Houston that is part of the so-called chemical coast.

Houses are tucked between chemical storage tanks. Parks back up to refinery smokestacks.

"I grew up around five of the biggest petrochemical facilities on the planet," Wheeler says. An uncle worked at Chevron. Another worked at Shell. "With my family's history I'm familiar with every one of them," he says.

The Wheeler name is synonymous with business in the area. Shannan Wheeler's mother, Tracey, is the longtime president of the Baytown Chamber of Commerce, and he has spent his entire career as an engineer designing pipe systems for petrochemical facilities.

So Shannan Wheeler, 52, is as surprised as anyone that he's part of a federal lawsuit against a chemical company, especially one that employs people in the town where he and his family live now.
us_TX  industrial  follow-up  environmental 
15 days ago
Loveland fire department placing a greater emphasis on cancer prevention
Taking steps to prevent cancer in firefighters by limiting the amount of poisonous toxins they breathe in has been emphasized more by the Loveland fire department recently.

For past generations of firefighters, heading back to the fire station still covered in soot and ash from a blaze was a point of pride, but those toxins absorbing into the skin and getting breathed in may have caused cancer in many firefighters.

Loveland Fire Rescue Authority is now urging its firefighters to use a process to mitigate the risks of exposure to such hazardous materials.

Any time after leaving a fire, firefighters are now supposed to have their bunker gear sprayed down by a hose, whisk any remaining ash off each other's equipment with a hand-held brush, then remove their gloves first and put on rubber gloves before removing their oxygen masks, and replace the oxygen masks with cloth masks while stripping off their flame resistant jackets and pants. They are even supposed to use wet wipes to scrub their faces, necks and wrists.

Finally, the ashy gear gets put into a rubber bag that is sealed to prevent any carcinogenic particulates from leaking out into the fire engine cabs on the way back to the station.

That differs from the past, said LFRA Battalion Chief Jason Starck and Capt. Dave Schuetz, when gear still full of contaminants might sit inside a fire engine for up to a week following a fire, still exposing firefighters in the cab to cancer-causing toxins.
us_CO  industrial  follow-up  environmental  toxics 
16 days ago
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