dchas + benzene   46

‘Dangerous for workers’: Study looks at air quality in Colorado nail salons
Boulder, CO — The amount of air pollutants in nail salons can make working in one comparable to working at an oil refinery or in an auto repair garage, according to a study from the University of Colorado Boulder.

Researchers from the university’s department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering monitored levels of volatile organic compounds in six nail salons in the state. Workers studied averaged 52.5 hours a week, and some worked as many as 80 hours.

The most common chemicals salon workers were exposed to were formaldehyde, toluene, benzene, xylenes and ethylbenzene. All six salons had higher-than-expected levels of benzene, which has been linked to leukemia and other cancers of blood cells, according to the American Cancer Society. In one salon, the formaldehyde levels exceeded NIOSH recommendations for exposure limit.

The researchers found that 70% of the workers experienced at least one health issue from the chemical exposures, with headaches (22%), skin irritation (16%) and eye irritation (14%) the most commonly reported.

Chronic air pollution can cause health problems, including an increased risk for cancers such as leukemia and Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The researchers said salon workers face a lifetime cancer risk up to 100 times higher than baseline EPA-issued levels.
industrial  discovery  environmental  benzene  formaldehyde 
10 weeks ago by dchas
Small flash fire reported at ITC facility in Deer Park
DEER PARK, Texas (KTRK) -- A small flash fire was reported at Intercontinental Terminals Company's Deer Park facility on Tuesday.

This incident comes nearly two months after a huge fire erupted at the facility on March 17.

Officials said the flash fire happened while crews were working to deconstruct tank 80-15, which was one of the tanks that burned during the March fire.

Officials released a statement saying that pre-staged firefighters extinguished the fire immediately.

Air monitoring during the incident did not identify any elevated benzene levels during the time of the fire, officials said.

There were no reported injuries.
us_TX  industrial  fire  response  benzene 
may 2019 by dchas
Benzene found in the water supply of fire-ravaged Paradise, California
After the October 2017 Tubbs wildfire, the northern California town of Santa Rosa was blindsided when it discovered that some of its fire-damaged water systems were contaminated with the carcinogen benzene. This phenomenon, never before reported, threatened to add millions and months to recovery cost and time. Little more than a year later, it happened again.

In November 2018, the Camp Fire—California’s most destructive wildfire in history—leveled the town of Paradise. Water officials there now report they have discovered the same problem with benzene and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that plagued Santa Rosa, but on an exponentially greater scale.

Whereas Santa Rosa will be replacing up to 500 service lines at a cost of several million dollars, Paradise has 10,500 affected lines—roughly 280 km of pipe. Paradise estimates replacing the pipes could cost as much as $300 million, and it may be 2 years before the city can provide safe drinking water to its residents. The legal limit in California for benzene in drinking water is 1 part per billion, while average levels in benzene-positive samples in Paradise have been 31 ppb.

The contamination in Santa Rosa and Paradise paints a grim picture for wildfire-vulnerable towns in the western US as climate change increases fire frequency and intensity. When only Santa Rosa was affected, people might have thought it was extra-bad luck. Now that it’s happened in Paradise also, “I have a feeling people are paying attention to this now,” says Jackson Webster, a water quality engineer at California State University, Chico. The need for water scientists and engineers to pay attention is great: there is no standard protocol to test water after a wildfire, let alone courses of action to prevent water system contamination.
us_CA  public  discovery  environmental  benzene  paints 
may 2019 by dchas
Rep. Sylvia Garcia to host ITC fire town hall
HOUSTON - U.S. Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, will hold a town hall Wednesday about the recent fire at the ITC plant in Deer Park.

The meeting will be held from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Milby High School Auditorium at 1601 Broadway St.

According to a press release about the event, Gacia will be joined by representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Chemical Safety Board, Harris County Public Health and the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office.

The discussion will focus on the impacts of the chemical facility fire that burned for nearly a week and released benzene into the surrounding area, according to the press release.
us_TX  public  follow-up  environmental  benzene 
april 2019 by dchas
Water in Paradise, site of worst California fire, contaminated with cancer chemical
PARADISE (Butte County) — The drinking water in Paradise, where 85 people died in the worst wildfire in state history, is contaminated with the cancer-causing chemical benzene, water officials said.
Officials said they believe the contamination happened after the November firestorm created a “toxic cocktail” of gases in burning homes that got sucked into the water pipes as residents and firefighters drew water heavily, causing a vacuum in the system that sucked in the toxic fumes, the Sacramento Bee reported.
Officials say that may explain why benzene, which has been linked to anemia and leukemia, has been found in tests at various spots rather than from one source in Paradise, where 90 percent of buildings were decimated by the blaze.
Paradise Irrigation District officials say they have taken about 500 water samples around town, and they have found benzene 30% of the time.
“It is jaw-dropping,” said Dan Newton of the state Water Resources Control Board. “This is such a huge scale. None of us were prepared for this.”
us_CA  public  follow-up  environmental  benzene 
april 2019 by dchas
City Of Deer Park Says Level Of Benzene Detected In Water Supply Wasn’t Dangerous – Houston Public Media
The company testing Deer Park’s drinking water supply in the aftermath of the massive fire at a petrochemical facility owned by Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC) detected a trace amount of benzene, but the city says the reading was below dangerous levels.
Benzene is a dangerous chemical that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has linked to cancer.
The City of Deer Park posted the information on Twitter on Thursday saying they had received a notification from Environdyne Laboratories Inc. regarding a benzene detection in drinking water that was recorded on March 31.
Please see the attached update…. pic.twitter.com/Nbz8Z01IDa
— City of Deer Park (@DEERPARKTXGOV) April 11, 2019
Nicholas Cook, supervisor of the Surface Water Plant, said the sample that tested positive was “at a level approximately five times lower than the drinking water standard.”
“Although we received reporting of the low-level presence for one day,” Cook said, “all of the results we have received show that our water is –and has been– safe for citizen consumption.” He added he contacted the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and confirmed that the trace amount of benzene detected “would not cause short-term or long-term health effects to residents.”
us_TX  public  follow-up  environmental  benzene 
april 2019 by dchas
Lawsuit: Hundreds of urine samples contaminated in transit following ITC fire
DEER PARK, Texas — Two Deer Park residents have filed a lawsuit against a third-party testing company claiming they contaminated urine samples after mishandling them during transit.

According to a court affidavit, Bruce and Rita Gale sought medical treatment at Community Health First Emergency Center on March 29 after “suffering symptoms consistent with chemical inhalation following the ITC industrial fire.”

During the fire at Intercontinental Terminal Co.’s Deer Park facility, area residents were ordered to shelter-in-place after action-levels of Benzene were detected by air quality monitors.

The plaintiffs said they submitted urine samples to be sent to a third-party testing facility to be tested for levels of Benzene exposure.

Their suit alleges they were told approximately 80 percent of the 500 urine samples couldn’t be tested due to contamination “yielded from LABCORPS mishandling of the samples during transit.”
us_TX  industrial  follow-up  environmental  benzene 
april 2019 by dchas
Houston chemical disaster zone too hazardous for investigators
HOUSTON (Bloomberg) -- Intercontinental Terminal Co. is still trying to drain millions of gallons of volatile oil byproducts from tanks damaged in the four-day blaze that began on March 17. The ground around the tanks is also saturated in dangerous fluids, severely restricting access to the facility 20 mi (32 km) east of downtown Houston. On Friday, the company said they may be able to allow some access early this week.

ITC and its top executive, Bernt Netland, have been chastised by elected officials for their handling of the unfolding disaster that cast a mile-high plume of black smoke over the fourth-largest American city for days, paralyzed its eastern suburbs and severed Houston’s waterborne access to the Gulf of Mexico. Harris County Fire Marshal Laurie Christensen’s probe of the event has so far been restricted to off-site interviews.

“We haven’t been able to gain access to the site yet,” said Rachel Moreno, a spokeswoman for the fire marshal. “They’re still doing emergency operations and we need to wait until it’s safe for the investigators to go in.”

Benzene eruptions

Christensen’s investigators won’t enter the site until the remaining tanks are emptied and other hazards have been mitigated, Moreno said. Clouds of cancer-causing benzene have continued to waft over the disaster site as well as nearby factories and suburbs, including one early Friday, according to ITC.

Oil tankers and other ships headed for the manufacturing nexus along the Houston Ship Channel have been backing up in Galveston Bay and the Gulf because of runoff from ITC’s facility that polluted the waterway. The U.S. Coast Guard commander for the region said he doesn’t know when things may return to normal.

Almost 20 mi of rubber barriers have been deployed to halt the spread of the oily sheen and protect oyster beds. Ferry service in the area remains shut down and the annual re-enactment of the 1836 Battle of San Jacinto that won Texas independence from Mexico has been canceled.
us_TX  industrial  follow-up  response  benzene  petroleum  runoff 
april 2019 by dchas
1,000 Locals Reportedly Seek Treatment After Multi-Day Fire at Houston Chemical Facility
Roughly 1,000 people sought treatment at a pop-up treatment center for symptoms including nausea, headaches, and respiratory problems after Intercontinental Terminals Co.’s (ITC) chemical storage facility in Deer Park, Houston caught fire this week, Bloomberg reported on Friday, with at least 15 cases dubbed serious enough to warrant a transfer to local emergency rooms.

The massive fire broke out on March 17, releasing over 9 million pounds of pollutants into the region, and was eventually extinguished on March 20. The catastrophe also released large amounts of benzene, a carcinogenic chemical, in the form of vapor after the fire was put out. On Thursday, benzene levels detected near the facility spiked to 190.68 parts per billion, exceeding Texas Commission on Environmental Quality one-hour maximum safe exposure limits of 180 parts per billion. (The TCEQ wrote that level of exposure would cause “no lasting effects.”)

On Friday, Bloomberg reported, a wall at the facility collapsed amid another blaze, resulting in contamination of and a temporary shutdown of the busy Houston Ship Channel:
us_TX  industrial  follow-up  environmental  benzene 
march 2019 by dchas
Black plumes replaced by cancer-causing benzene fumes in Houston after chemical fire extinguished, as expected
HOUSTON (Bloomberg) -- Even after the four-day fire is out at a Houston-area chemical storage complex, the real danger has emerged.

Cancer-causing benzene wafted across suburbs of the fourth-largest U.S. city Thursday, shutting roads, schools and industrial plants, and disrupting normal life for half a day. A major oil refinery in the heart of North America’s most important fuel-producing region told workers to stay home and the Texas National Guard deployed troops to assist with air monitoring. The benzene probably arose from charred chemical tanks as overnight winds stirred remnants of their contents, owner Intercontinental Terminals Co. said.

Even after the working-class suburb of Deer Park rescinded an order telling everyone to shut their windows and stay inside around lunchtime, the reprieve may be temporary, scientists warned. Warm temperatures that are swirling the air and dispersing toxic fumes will disappear after sunset, potentially allowing benzene to settle at ground level, said Jeff Evans, the meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service’s Houston office.
us_TX  industrial  follow-up  environmental  benzene  petroleum 
march 2019 by dchas
ITC Deer Park benzene scare: Community near Houston advised to test well water
HOUSTON — The Environmental Defense Fund and Texas A&M University researchers said they will collect water samples from Galveston Bay to measure what pollutants might be flowing from the shipping channel near the ITC fire, according to the Associated Press.

The samples will be collected Friday and will be tested for such chemicals as benzene and toluene.

Elena Craft, a senior health scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund, said the researchers will get real-time results for most pollutants. She said samples will also be collected to test for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl compounds, or PFAS, which are found in foam firefighters were using Thursday to prevent flare-ups at ITC in Deer Park.
us_TX  public  follow-up  environmental  benzene  toluene 
march 2019 by dchas
Deer Park residents try to cope with concerns over air quality
Shannon McDuff tasted something sweet in the back of her throat. She figured it was from the benzene.

While she has faith in those dealing with the aftermath of a chemical blaze at a Deer Park plant, McDuff said she cannot ignore concerns over the detection of the known carcinogen, which Thursday morning briefly triggered a shelter-in-place order in the city .

“I am scared, though,” she said. “I’m scared right now for my body.”

The 48-year-old sat among dozens of others waiting for screenings in the afternoon at Harris County Public Health’s mobile clinic at a Deer Park activity center on West 13th Street. Some seeking treatment at the clinic assumed that their symptoms were triggered by the fire that formed a plume of black smoke over the Houston area.
us_TX  public  follow-up  environmental  benzene 
march 2019 by dchas
California wildfires caused unexpected benzene contamination of drinking water
As the 2018 wildfire season begins in the western U.S., part of Northern California is still grappling with previously unrecognized and wholly unanticipated damage from fires that burned 15,000 hectares and devastated the state’s wine country last year.
In addition to destroying more than 8,000 structures and killing 44 people, those fires unexpectedly also caused persistent contamination by the carcinogen benzene in the water infrastructure in a Santa Rosa neighborhood.
First detected in November, the benzene levels persisted for months, and Santa Rosa city officials feared a large portion of their water system would have to be replaced­—a project they estimated would take two years and cost $43 million. Gradually, however, benzene levels dropped, most dramatically in the past few weeks, and a full system replacement may not be necessary. Nevertheless, the city will still be replacing up to 500 service lines at a cost of $3.4 million and supplying activated-charcoal filters to affected residents to ensure benzene levels fall below California’s limit of 1 ppb for drinking water.
The situation took the water supply industry and government agencies by surprise. Water experts say it’s likely to spur new research on the relationship between fires and water contamination and on ways to prevent such contamination.
us_CA  public  discovery  environmental  benzene 
june 2018 by dchas
Cancer-Causing Chemical Found in Some Santa Rosa Drinking Water
Some drinking water in Santa Rosa remains undrinkable months after the North Bay fires, and pressure is mounting on the city’s water department to locate and control the cause.

“The city is very interested to get people back and rebuilt into their homes, of course, as soon as possible,” says Bennett Horenstein, the City of Santa Rosa’s Water Director.

‘This contamination is certainly attributable to the fire.’
Bennett Horenstein, Santa Rosa Water Department
Fire savaged the neighborhood around Fountaingrove parkway last October. Where more than 350 families once lived, 13 homes remain standing. In November, people returning to the neighborhood complained of foul smelling and tasting water.

Engineers for Santa Rosa’s water department isolated water service for Fountaingrove, in an aim to prevent wider contamination. The department ordered residents not to drink or boil the water there. Then its tests found benzene, a chemical that can cause cancer.
us_CA  public  discovery  environmental  benzene 
february 2018 by dchas
Water Contaminated With Benzene In Santa Rosa Area Ravaged By Wildfire
SANTA ROSA (KPIX 5) — The city of Santa Rosa is urging people in parts of the Fountaingrove neighborhood, where half the homes burned down in the Tubbs Fire, not to drink the water.

Don’t even drink it after boiling it, city officials say.

The water supply is contaminated with benzene.

The city, experts and regulators can’t figure out how the benzene is getting into the supply, let alone how to fix it.

This is just the latest blow for some families recovering from the wine country wildfires.

The highly toxic chemical is found in the water in the Fountaingrove area and the city is stumped about the source.
us_ca  public  release  response  benzene 
january 2018 by dchas
Incidents reported at 3 Chemical Valley sites
Weather is believed to have been a factor in a release of hydrocarbons traced to a pipeline in an industrial incident reported Friday morning at the Imperial Oil manufacturing site in Sarnia.

Sirens at the site sounded at approximately 8 a.m., the company said in a news release.

The Arlanxeo production site in Sarnia also reported an incident Friday morning, and Nova Chemicals said it is investigating a benzene release Thursday evening at its Corunna site where weather was also believed to be a factor.

Imperial Oil said its staff responded to the release involving the pipeline located on the company’s production site.

Air monitoring was initiated and Ontario’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change notified, the company said.

“An initial analysis indicates this release and others we have had at our site recently are related to the extreme cold weather conditions,” company spokesperson Kristina Zimmer said in an e-mail.
Canada  industrial  release  response  benzene 
january 2018 by dchas
Alabama site off EPA Superfund list 52 years after chemical spill
A chemical spill site near the north Baldwin County community of Perdido has been officially removed from a list of the country's most polluted places more than 50 years after a train derailment contaminated the local groundwater with benzene. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced this week it has deleted the Perdido Groundwater Contamination Site from its Superfund National Priorities List, signaling that "no further cleanup is required to protect human health or the environment," according to the EPA announcement. 

According to EPA progress reports, all monitoring wells at the site have showed benzene levels at less than 5 micrograms per liter of water for five consecutive years, as required in the cleanup plan, paving the way for the site to be removed from the list.

Disaster in slow-motion

The site had been on the Superfund list since 1983, but the derailment that caused the pollution occurred in 1965.

It's an event that most anybody who was around at the time would remember, with 21 cars derailing in the midst of the unincorporated community and -- two days later -- sparking an explosion that destroyed three houses and a handful of sheds, sent flames soaring over the trees and ignited a fire that burned for 24 hours. 
us_AL  public  follow-up  environmental  benzene 
january 2018 by dchas
Harvey fallout: First responders sue over chemical plant fumes
The action was taken Sunday evening at the Arkema facility at Crosby, Texas, northeast of Houston, in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The government issued the evacuation of a 1.5-mile radius around the plant.

Two explosions in the middle of the night blew open a trailer containing the chemicals, lighting up the sky with 30- to 40-foot flames.

The Environmental Protection Agency wants answers from Arkema.

The complaint also states that the plaintiffs relied on Arkema executives' assurances during a press conference that the fumes were not toxic, and suffered as a result.

In all, fifteen sheriff's deputies complained of respiratory irritation.

Texas-sized damage followed Harvey's flood: Hundreds of thousands of homes stinking; a million cars wrecked; more than a million pounds of benzene and other unsafe material escaped from factories and refineries.

Arkema identified hurricanes, flooding and power failures as risks to the site almost a decade ago. "Crosby-Plant/" target="_blank">more fires on the afternoon of September 1, as more chemicals began igniting.

An Arkema spokeswoman Thursday afternoon promised the company would release a statement later in the day. It is unclear whether the plant was up to date on its risk assessment protocol, but the company is known to have been up to date with submitting its risk management plan to the EPA, having filed its most recent one for that facility in 2014. A total of twenty-one emergency responders received treatment at hospitals for smoke inhalation and nausea, local officials have said. It came, instead, by way of the plant's workers, who told the Crosby Volunteer Fire Department about it when they were rescued during the hurricane, she said. Arkema denied the allegations.
us_TX  industrial  follow-up  injury  benzene 
september 2017 by dchas
In Harvey's wake, critics see big money behind lax petrochemical reporting
Unlike any past storm — natural or man-made — Hurricane Harvey has exposed the fault lines between the politically powerful Texas petrochemical industry and the public’s right to know what dangers lie within their facilities. 

In Crosby, on the outskirts of Houston, French-owned Arkema refused to provide the public an inventory of the  substances inside its chemical plant even as they were burning and causing mandatory evacuations. Along flood-stricken petrochemical row near the Houston ship channel, meanwhile, city officials detected a huge spike in cancer-causing benzene outside a refinery this week — while the state’s environmental protection agency temporarily suspended certain spill and emission reporting rules in Harvey’s wake.

Critics point to a common thread in the light-handed regulations from state government: campaign money from oil and chemical companies flowing like floodwaters into the coffers of top Texas leaders. Those leaders have said in the past that campaign money has no role in their decision-making process.

The top recipient of industry money in Texas is Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who in 2014 ruled that Texas health officials no longer have to provide citizens with plants’ chemical inventories under state transparency laws. It was also Abbott who granted the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s request to temporarily suspend certain emission reporting requirements for permitted facilities. 
us_TX  industrial  follow-up  environmental  benzene  petroleum 
september 2017 by dchas
Chemical companies have already released 1 million pounds of extra air pollutants, thanks to Harvey
Oil refineries and chemical plants across the Texas Gulf Coast released more than 1 million pounds of dangerous air pollutants in the week after Harvey struck, according to public regulatory filings aggregated by the Center for Biological Diversity.

While attention has zeroed in on the crisis at the Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, Tex., other facilities — oil refineries, chemical plants and shale drilling sites — have been reporting flaring, leaks and chemical discharges triggered by Harvey.

Emissions have already exceeded permitted levels, after floating rooftops sank on oil storage tanks, chemical storage tanks overflowed with rainwater, and broken valves and shutdown procedures triggered flaring at refineries.

The chemicals released in the week after Harvey made landfall, including benzene, 1,3-butadiene, hexane, hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, toluene and xylene.
us_TX  industrial  release  environmental  benzene  hexane  hydrogen_sulfide  sulfur_dioxide  toluene  xylene 
september 2017 by dchas
Storage company Vopak fined for chemical emissions
Vopak Logistics Services USA, part of the Dutch chemical storage company Royal Vopak, was fined $2.5 million for violations of the Clean Air Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Wednesday.

The EPA claims the company’s mismanagement of equipment released chemicals — including acetone and benzene — into a wastewater treatment system. EPA also alleged that Vopak didn’t follow federal regulations for flaring.

As part of the settlement with the EPA, Vopak will install infrared cameras to detect pollution coming from chemical storage tanks at its Deer Park facility in Harris County.

Chemical emissions, such as chemical solvents or car exhaust, can interact with the atmosphere in the presence of sunlight to create ozone, which can be harmful to human health. The Clean Air Act regulates ozone amount present in the atmosphere.

Vopak’s fine will be split between federal government and the state of Texas. The settlement is still subject to final court approval and a 30-day public comment period. Click here for information on how to comment.
us_TX  public  discovery  environmental  acetone  benzene  illegal  water_treatment 
may 2017 by dchas
Carcinogenic smoke was high during Bethlehem fire, DEC data shows
In the hour around noon last Thursday, the air at the Bocce Courts on Madison Avenue in Lackawanna contained 180 times more carcinogenic benzene than background levels, according to air quality monitoring data.

The data -- which also showed elevated levels of the suspected carcinogens vinyl chloride, butadiene and styrene and higher levels of toluene at air monitoring devices in neighborhoods near the fire -- was revealed Wednesday by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

DEC and state health officials said the results were not unlike what would be expected to occur in the air nearby a large industrial fire like the one that erupted at the former Bethlehem Steel plant coal mill on Route 5 in Lackawanna.

"They found what we expect to be typical constituents of fires," said Dr. Nathan Graber, of the state health department's Center for Environmental Health. during a conference call Wednesday.
us_NY  industrial  follow-up  response  benzene  styrene  toluene 
november 2016 by dchas
Shell faces $133,000 penalty for smelly chemical release in Anacortes
ANACORTES, Wash. — Shell Puget Sound Refinery faces a $133,000 penalty for a 2015 chemical release that prompted complaints from people living near the Anacortes facility.

The Northwest Clean Air Agency, which enforces air quality regulations, on Wednesday also found the refinery failed to follow certain practices to minimize emissions.

In a statement, Shell says that while it regrets this odor incident, the company took immediate steps to minimize the impact. It says it values the safety of employees and the community.

The agency alleged in April that Shell did not follow shutdown and decontamination procedures while cleaning the refinery’s east flare system. It says the refinery released certain chemicals, including benzene, into the atmosphere.

Winds carried those chemicals, and hundreds reported symptoms such as headaches and nausea. Many complaints came from people living in La Conner, or working and living on the Swinomish Reservation.
us_WA  industrial  follow-up  response  benzene  illegal 
november 2016 by dchas
Indigenous mobilization and environmental justice in Canada’s Chemical Valley — Environmental Health News
Home is both refuge and prison for citizens of Canada’s Chemical Valley.

There, human and more-than-human residents dwell on a threshold between a state of normalcy and emergency. Chemical Valley is a heavy industrial zone, located in southwestern Ontario and responsible for approximately 40 percent of Canada’s chemical manufacturing, with sixty-two plants on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border. It is Ontario’s worst air pollution hotspot.

Chemicals from the Aamjiwnaang First Nation’s industrial neighbours include benzene, hydrogen sulfide, and sulphur dioxide. In Chemical Valley, individuals must be prepared for hazardous incidents at any given time. In general, alerts occur in the case of a chemical spill, fire, explosion, nuclear emergency, extreme weather event, or transportation accident. In Aamjiwnaang, such occurrences have become the norm.
Canada  public  discovery  environmental  benzene  hydrogen_sulfide  radiation  sulfur_dioxide 
october 2016 by dchas
Houston Ship Channel reopens after benzene spill
HOUSTON - The Houston Ship Channel has reopened after a benzene spill Thursday afternoon.

Coast Guard crews and a Hazmat team from Harris County worked to clean up about 500 gallons of benzene spilled from a tanker.

The leak was  secured but a small portion of the benzene entered the water, according to the Coast Guard.
us_TX  transportation  release  response  benzene 
july 2016 by dchas
Hazmat Called To Chemical Spill At Pitt Science Building
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A hazmat team was called to a University of Pittsburgh Department of Chemistry building for a chemical spill Saturday afternoon.

Hazmat responded to the report of a benzene chloride spill at the Chevron Science Center on Parkman Avenue around 1 p.m.
us_PA  laboratory  release  response  benzene 
february 2016 by dchas
​Utility understated levels of cancer-causing chemical from gas leak
LOS ANGELES -- The utility whose leaking natural gas well has driven thousands of Los Angeles residents from their homes acknowledged Thursday that it understated the number of times airborne levels of the cancer-causing chemical benzene have spiked during the crisis.

Southern California Gas Co. had been saying on its website and in emails to The Associated Press that just two air samples over the past three months showed elevated concentrations of the compound. But after the AP inquired about discrepancies in the data, SoCalGas admitted higher-than-normal readings had been found at least 14 times.

SoCalGas spokeswoman Kristine Lloyd said it was "an oversight" that was being corrected. The utility continued to assert that the leak has posed no long-term risk to the public.

The company was given repeated opportunities to explain its conclusions but couldn't, CBS Los Angeles reported.

"I don't know what would explain it," spokeswoman Melissa Bailey told the station.

Public health officials have likewise said they do not expect any long-term health problems. But some outside experts insist the data is too thin to say that with any certainty. For one thing, it is unclear whether the benzene fumes persisted long enough to exceed state exposure limits.
us_CA  public  release  response  benzene  natural_gas 
january 2016 by dchas
School closed for testing decades after chemical leak
EL CAJON — Usually the hub of its working-class community, Magnolia Elementary School sits vacant while scientists conduct tests commissioned to ease concerns over a toxic groundwater plume that stretches beneath campus decades after a chemical leak at the neighboring aerospace plant.

All but three of the school’s 21 teachers and 500 of the 700 students packed up and moved into temporary accommodations two miles away at the Bostonia Language Academy for the school year — at a cost of about $800,000 (largely for school bus transportation and portable classrooms) to be picked up by Ametek, the plant’s former owner.

The company will also foot the bill for a new campus ventilation system, and tests — estimated to cost $300 a day — overseen by the state Department of Toxic Substances Control.

State regulators, Ametek and the Cajon Valley Union School District-hired specialists have done considerable testing of ambient classroom air and soil gases over the years, with both showing the levels of toxins (including trichloroethylene and benzene) at the school are safe under federal and state guidelines. Air and soil monitoring was conducted annually until August 2012, when Ametek started quarterly tests after the state directed the plant to increase the frequency of air sampling because of new regulations.

The school board decided to shutter Magnolia this school year while longer-term tests are conducted in every space — from the cafeteria to classrooms to offices — to put to rest any speculation that the campus might be unsafe.
us_CA  industrial  release  response  benzene  toxics 
november 2015 by dchas
Chemicals Discovered at Industrial Site
Environmental Protection Agency officials released more information about chemicals detected at an abandoned oil drum operation at Marco Avenue and Market Street.

Thousands of steel and plastic containers at the site have been leaking toxins into the ground, contaminating water wells and creating significant fire hazards, NewsWest 9 previously reported.

Approximately 15,000 drums were left on the 4.5-acre plot of land after a company that operated under the names "Ector Drum" and "Lone Star Drum" went out of business in 2011, according to Bill Rhotenberry, a federal on-scene coordinator with the EPA.

"We're seeing some BTEX chemicals [at the site]," he told NewsWest 9. "Those are volatile chemicals that are commonly found in crude oil and oil field chemicals."

"BTEX" chemicals include benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes. Prolonged exposure to the chemicals has been linked to brain damage, increased risk of cancer and groundwater contamination.
us_TX  public  discovery  response  benzene  petroleum  toluene  toxics  xylene 
october 2015 by dchas
Fracking Activities Pollute Nearby Air With Carcinogenic Hydrocarbons
Hydraulic fracturing activities to extract natural gas can release carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) into the air, a new study shows (Environ. Sci. Technol. 2015, DOI: 10.1021/es506095e). In some cases, the estimated exposure of nearby residents to these compounds exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s maximum acceptable risk level for cancer.
Many researchers and community leaders are concerned about the human health impacts of air and water pollution from hydraulic fracturing, often called fracking, and the limited environmental regulation of the industry in the U.S. Fracking can release carcinogens such as benzene into the air along with other volatile organic compounds that are precursors of smog, which can contribute to asthma and other respiratory illnesses (Sci. Total Environ. 2012, DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.02.018).
But few studies have examined the impact of fracking on airborne PAHs, larger molecules that are also linked with cancer and respiratory illness (Atmos. Environ. 2008, DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2007.12.010). The compounds are present in fossil fuels and are also products of their combustion—for example, they’re found in the exhaust of truck traffic near fracking sites.
industrial  discovery  environmental  benzene  methane  natural_gas 
april 2015 by dchas
Water Tests After Oil Spill in Glendive Reveal Toxic Chemical
The first water tests in Glendive, Mont., shows high levels of a toxic chemical after an oil spill on Saturday. According to the city website, Benzene, which is a main component of crude oil, has been found in the water tested last night.

The Dawson County Health Department is advising people not to drink or cook with municipal water.

The city is trucking in clean water and there is 48 hours of water in reserve.

Bridger Pipeline says one of its lines leaked oil for an hour before the leak was found and the line was shut in. The company estimates that up to 12,000 barrels or more than 50,000 gallons leaked.
us_MT  transportation  release  response  benzene  petroleum 
january 2015 by dchas
Woman blames Axiall for benzene exposure
MOUNDSVILLE – A woman is suing Axiall Corporation after she claims she was exposed to a harmful chemical during her employment.

Vicki L. Bowen was a member of the International Chemical Workers Council of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 45C for a number of years, according to a complaint filed Oct. 23 in Marshall Circuit Court.

Bowen claims she was employed by Axiall Corporation and its predecessor PPG from 1977 until June 2013 and was exposed to benzene during her employment.

“Bowen’s exposure to benzene at the Marshall County facility was a proximate cause of her development of myelodysplastic syndrome … diagnosed in January 2014,” the complaint states.

As a direct and proximate result of Bowen’s development of MDS, she has been severely injured, disabled and damaged, according to the suit.
us_WV  industrial  follow-up  injury  benzene 
january 2015 by dchas
Big-Picture Study Of Fracking Operations Suggests Even Small Chemical Exposures Pose Risks
April Lane's work often brings her to Fayetteville, Arkansas, where she monitors pollution from natural gas production sites around the area's rich shale reserves. Exposure to toxins, she says, have left her with chronic headaches, nausea and a hesitancy to have more children.  

"I've decided having another baby is probably not going to happen for me. I'm too scared of what the health effects might be," said Lane, 28, of Little Rock, a mother of one and an environmental health advocate who has led citizen groups in tracking threats from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, operations.

A paper published Friday in Reviews on Environmental Health may give credence to her personal suspicions. The paper suggests that even tiny doses of benzene, toluene and other chemicals released during the various phases of oil and natural gas production, including fracking, could pose serious health risks -- especially to developing fetuses, babies and young children.

"We hear a lot of anecdotal stories all the time," said Dr. Sheila Bushkin-Bedient, of the Institute for Health and the Environment at University at Albany-SUNY and co-author on the paper, "but now that we've had a decade of opportunity to observe the ill effects from these chemicals on people and animals, the evidence is no longer just anecdotal."
us_AR  public  discovery  injury  benzene  methane  natural_gas  toluene  toxics 
december 2014 by dchas
3rd Ld: 3 injured in E China chemical warehouse blasts
WENZHOU, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Three people were injured, two seriously, as blasts ripped through chemical warehouses in east China's Wenzhou City on Monday, authorities said.

One of the two seriously injured victims suffered burns covering up to 94 percent of the body, while another had burns covering 55 percent, according to hospital sources.

The fire was under control as of 5 p.m.

The explosion happened at around 2 p.m. at the Wenzhou Chemical Market on Niushanbei Road. The warehouses are mostly used for storing chemicals.

A tanker inside the market caught fire first and ignited the warehouses, according to market staff.

"The chemicals are mainly methyl alcohol and benzene, and we heard several blasts," said one worker at the market.
China  industrial  explosion  injury  benzene  ethanol 
december 2014 by dchas
Office evacuated after test tubes shatter in Innsbrook
HENRICO COUNTY, Va. — Henrico HAZMAT teams responded to the Department of Environmental Quality offices along Cox Road in Innsbrook after two test tubes shattered.

An “aromatic” chemical was released and prompted the HAZMAT response, Henrico Fire spokesman Capt. Danny Rosenbaum said.

The first chemical is believed to have been in the benzene family, Rosenbaum said. While there was no confirmation on the specific chemical, he said it was not considered a hazard.

Once the HAZMAT team cleaned up the initial spill, crews smelled what the thought was a gas leak in the area. Henrico Fire crews later said there was no gas leak and continued to investigate the source of the smell.

A secondary clean-up contractor was called in to conduct an air quality testing before building will be reopened.
us_VA  laboratory  release  response  benzene 
september 2014 by dchas
Apple bans toxic chemicals from manufacturing
After years of controversy surrounding the treatment of its factory workers, Apple decided Thursday to eliminate the use of two toxic chemicals in its manufacturing process.
Lisa Jackson, vice president of environmental initiatives at Apple (AAPL, Tech30), says the computer company will prohibit the use of benzene and n-hexane in the assembly of its electronics. Benzene is a carcinogen associated with leukemia, and workers who are exposed to high concentrations of n-hexane in large doses can develop nerve damage, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control.
Jackson said the company had recently "received some questions" about whether chemicals were being used at Apple. So she dispatched investigators into Apple's 22 factories and "found no evidence of workers' health being put at risk."
She said the company's restrictions on unsafe chemicals have been updated to make sure the two chemicals are not used in the manufacturing process.
industrial  discovery  environmental  benzene  hexane 
august 2014 by dchas
Chemical stash raises alarm in Byron Bay
NSW Fire Brigade's HazMat unit was called to a housing commission residence in Gordon Street Byron Bay this afternoon after a cleaner found a stash of chemicals and raised an alarm.

The home's occupant had recently passed away and when a cleaner was employed to spruce thing up the quantity of exotic-sounding thinning agents aroused suspicion.

Chemicals included methyl benzene, formic acid, ethyl acetate, glycerine and a petroleum-based solvent.

Fire crews responded to the clean up wearing safety suits and spent several hours at the scene.
Australia  public  discovery  response  benzene  cleaners  ethyl_acetate  petroleum  solvent 
may 2014 by dchas
Hazmat Crews Investigate Benzene Spill on Southwest Side
Hazmat crews were called to the scene of a possible benzene spill Wednesday night at a plant on the city's southwest side.

Captain Mike Pruitt with the Wayne Township Fire Department says officials at the Vertellus Specialties plant at 1500 South Tibbs Avenue were concerned of a possible benzene leak and one of their employees had been exposed.  Hazmat crews found a crack in a 10,000 gallon tank which had been emptied but may have had residual product inside.

Pruitt says the employee had been exposed to benzene vapor.  He was decontaminated and taken to Eskenazi Health in good condition.

Investigators believe the tank was cracked while employees were steam cleaning it.  Pruitt says no actual benzene product spilled out of the tank.

Pruitt says Vertellus officials immediately began monitoring the area around the plant and found no danger.  Fire department crews found no additional danger inside the plant.
us_IN  industrial  release  response  benzene 
january 2014 by dchas
War on Carcinogens: Industry Disputes Human Relevance of Chemical...
Evidence from studies in animals is essential for identifying chemicals likely to cause or contribute to many diseases in humans, including cancers. Yet, to avoid or delay the implementation of protective public health standards, the chemical industry typically denies cancer causation by agents they produce. The spurious arguments put forward to discount human relevance are often based on inadequately tested hypotheses or modes of action that fail to meet Bradford Hill criteria for causation. We term the industry attacks on the relevance of animal cancer findings as the “War on Carcinogens.” Unfortunately, this tactic has been effective in preventing timely and appropriate health protective actions on many economically important yet carcinogenic chemicals, including: arsenic, asbestos, benzene, 1,3-butadiene, formaldehyde, methylene chloride, phthalates, tobacco usage, trichloroethylene [TCE], and others. Recent examples of the “War on Carcinogens” are chemicals causing kidney cancer in animals. Industry consultants argue that kidney tumor findings in rats with exacerbated chronic progressive nephropathy (CPN) are not relevant to humans exposed to these chemicals. We dispute and dismiss this unsubstantiated claim with data and facts, and divulge unprofessional actions from a leading toxicology journal.
industrial  discovery  environmental  asbestos  benzene  formaldehyde  methylene_chloride 
october 2013 by dchas
Hazmat on scene at Hillcrest Industries
ATTICA, N.Y. (WIVB) - Dressed in hazmat gear from head to toe, crews have begun cutting through the burning, mountain of material at Hillcrest Industries in an effort to stop the fire and the spreading stench for good.

EPA Public Affairs Officer Mike Basile says, " it's sad that the company and other agencies involved didn't address an activity like this sometime ago."

Basile from the environmental protection agency says crews are doing live air monitoring at the site. This wasn't until the EPA released results of a recent study showing levels of benzene-- a known carcinogen-- in the Attica air.

"At the present time we don't show anything coming off the site that would inhibit the activities on the site or hurt anyone in the community," says Basile. "What looks like a giant fire hydrant atop the 40-foot high pile, is actually an atomizer. it's one of several set up around the site, spraying water to stop the spread of any particles into the neighborhood."

Crews are also soaking the debris, using water cannons, but neighbor Erin Cecere had to take matters into her own hands.
us_NY  industrial  fire  injury  benzene 
september 2012 by dchas
DEQ investigates benzene spill at ExxonMobil BR
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — ExxonMobil says the benzene release June 14 at its chemical plant in Baton Rouge was far bigger than the 10 pounds reported then, and could be as much as 28,700 pounds.

That estimate is in a required report to the state Department of Environmental Quality about the spill of naphtha, which contains benzene.

The Advocate (http://bit.ly/O34dzK ) reports that DEQ began an investigation Thursday, one day after getting the report.

Assistant Secretary Cheryl Nolan says part of the investigation is finding out when ExxonMobil Chemical Plant officials learned how much bigger the spill actually was.

Inspection division administrator Chris Piehler says initial estimates of releases are usually inaccurate as facilities work to get information out fast. But he says companies must report changed estimates as they learn them.
us_LA  industrial  follow-up  environmental  benzene 
june 2012 by dchas
Suncor refinery leak polluting Sand Creek
Toxic petroleum dissolved in groundwater beneath Suncor Energy north of downtown Denver is seeping directly into the bottom of Sand Creek near the creek's confluence with the South Platte River? and piped drinking water at the refinery may be contaminated with benzene.
State health officials today ordered additional measures to minimize environmental harm and prevent people from ingesting contaminated water. Those measures include posting of "Drinking Water Warning" signs at the refinery.

Benzene levels in Sand Creek are fluctuating but reached 670 parts per billion on Dec. 22 -- 134 times higher than the 5 ppb national drinking water standard.

An anonymous tip from a Suncor employee Thursday alerted state health officials to contamination in tap water on the refinery property.
us_CO  industrial  release  environmental  benzene 
january 2012 by dchas
Two dead in Ningxia road crash causing chemical leak
YINCHUAN, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- Two people were killed in a road accident Tuesday morning that caused a chemical leak in northwest China's Ningxia Hui autonomous region, local police confirmed Tuesday.

The accident occurred at 8:30 a.m. in Yuanzhou district in the city of Guyuan. A van rear-ended a fuel tank truck loaded with 20 tonnes of crude benzene after failing to brake on an icy road, which caused an explosion, local police said.

Villagers nearby have been evacuated due to a poisonous chemical leak following the explosion, according to local authorities.

The gas from the incomplete combustion of the crude benzene was poisonous to humans, local police said.
China  transportation  explosion  death  benzene 
november 2011 by dchas
Chemical Levels High After Buffalo Industrial Fire
esting of air samples taken near the site of a daylong fire July 13 at the Niagara Lubricant plant in Buffalo's Black Rock neighborhood revealed high levels of benzene, a carcinogenic compound, according to the executive director of the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York.
Erin Heaney said her group, which took the air samples from about six blocks away on Amherst Street, received the results of testing Monday.
"The levels were very high," Heaney said, following a meeting Monday with residents in the city's Black Rock and Riverside neighborhoods.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, "benzene is safe at nine parts per million, but our tests show that, on the day of the fire, it was at 100 parts per million."
"That's definely a lot. That and the compound toluene were also above the EPA guidelines for short-term exposure," Heaney added.
She said the results of the testing also found a number of compounds that not over the EPA guidelines, but they are known to magnify the effects of benzine. One of them is xylene, a clear, often colorless flammable liquid.
us_NY  industrial  fire  environmental  benzene  follow-up 
july 2011 by dchas
Chemical spill forces evacuation of U of M facility
Chemical spill forces evacuation of U of M facility

A building on the University of Michigan’s North Campus was evacuated Friday evening after a potentially dangerous chemical spilled on a laboratory floor.

A student working at the Herbert H. Dow Building, located at 2300 Hayward St., reportedly spilled a half gallon jug of Benzene on the floor at about 7:40 p.m., according to reports from the University of Michigan Department of Public Safety. Continued...

us_mi  laboratory  release  response  benzene 
april 2011 by dchas
Shell Has Benzene Release at Deer Park Refinery Complex in Texas - Bloomberg
Royal Dutch Shell Plc had a release of an unknown amount of benzene after an equipment failure on a distilling unit at its Deer Park refinery and chemical plant in Texas, according to a company filing.

Shell’s filing also showed the equipment was repaired.

The Deer Park refinery, a venture between The Hague-based Shell and Mexico’s state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos, can process 340,000 barrels of oil a day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The complex is 21 miles (34 kilometers) southeast of Houston on the Houston Ship Channel.

U.S. refineries must notify the National Response Center if they release hazardous substances in excess of reportable quantities, according to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, commonly known as Superfund.
us_tx  industrial  release  followup  benzene 
february 2011 by dchas

Copy this bookmark: