dchas + environmental   2635

In Depth: Xiangshui Chemical Factory’s Recipe for Disaster (Part 1)
Editor’s note: A devastating chemical blast in eastern China’s Jiangsu province killed dozens of people in March. Weeks later, local communities and businesses are struggling to pick up the pieces while the authorities push to relocate the area’s chemical industry.

In the first of this two-part series, we uncover how a deadly mix of safety violations and cost-cutting layoffs pushed one factory toward disaster. As some of the people who spoke with Caixin asked not to be named because they feared repercussions, pseudonyms are used to identify them.

Ironically, the Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemicals factory was about to undergo a safety inspection the day an explosion destroyed the fertilizer and pesticide plant.

That morning, Xiangshui County in eastern China’s coastal Jiangsu province had gathered managers from the county’s major businesses for a safety training session. Zhang Qinyue, general manager of Tianjiayi, was among the attendees.

At roughly the same time, workers at Tianjiayi’s factories were informed that an inspection would take place in the afternoon. Several workers told Caixin that the “smellier” workshops, including the hydrogen production workshop, were temporarily shut down in preparation for the inspection. The liquid waste treatment area was also prepared.
China  industrial  follow-up  environmental  ag_chems 
4 hours ago by dchas
After Bear Repellent Incident, Amazon Plans to Store Some Hazardous Products at Specialised Warehouses
Following an episode involving discharged bear repellent at an Amazon warehouse late last year that affected dozens of onsite workers, the company plans to store similarly hazardous products in specialised facilities.

Wired reported Friday that Amazon began developing the facilities prior to the December incident, though the event no doubt illustrates why such spaces are needed. A company spokesperson told Gizmodo by email that these warehouses will be outfitted with special sprinkler systems as well as storage areas for different classifications of product, for example flammable and aerosol items.

Of note, however, is that the new warehouses won’t replace existing systems at other fulfilment centres, and hazmat items of a lower safety classification will still be fulfilled at Amazon’s other facilities, a company spokesperson said. But products of a high internal safety classification—meaning those deemed to be a greater risk to employees—will be stored at the new facilities, where employees will receive special training for handling such products and other additional safety procedures will be in place. The first of these new warehouses is set to open in Mississippi.

“While we currently store controlled goods in fulfilment centres that are outfitted with these specific storage areas across the country, and many of our fulfilment centres have similar features—such as fire-rated walls and complex sprinkler systems—this facility will have increased training requirements for all employees, different receive and stow restrictions, and a very distinct standard of operational excellence,” an Amazon spokesperson told Gizmodo by email.
United_Kingdom  industrial  follow-up  environmental 
yesterday by dchas
Comment: Test methods and IP: do we need more transparency from the administrators?
This comment article is a sample and was originally published for Advance members of Chemical Watch. We hope you enjoy this exclusive taster. To find out more about the new Chemical Watch service and how you can access more articles like this one, please visit new.chemicalwatch.com.

Many readers may be unaware that many toxicity test methods for industrial chemicals are not free, and users have to pay to use them.

The reason they aren’t free is they contain elements that are protected by intellectual property (IP) rights.

It wasn’t always like this. Go back a couple of decades and you would have struggled to find any IP at all within the canon of standard methods.

In the intervening time, however, scientists have developed and validated many new methods and some of these contain so-called protected elements.

This could be because of the higher proportion of in vitro techniques in the newer methods: it might be easier to claim IP rights over a cell line than a mouse strain, for example.

In contrast, the older methods are predominantly in vivo and adapted from methods that were already at the time widely used for safety assessment of pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and pesticides.

Whatever the reason, in terms of IP rights, we’re looking at a different situation today compared with 20 years ago. And this situation has important implications.
public  discovery  environmental 
2 days ago by dchas
Atlanta: News, Weather and Traffic
More than 4500 people end up in the emergency room each year because of injuries from pool chemicals, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Inhaling chemicals was the most common injury. CDC examined data on emergency department visits due to pool chemical injuries during 2015- 2017. The top diagnosis was poisoning due to breathing in chemical fumes, vapors, or gases—for example, when opening chlorine containers. 

Additional findings:

Over one-third of these preventable injuries were in children or teens (36%)
Over half of pool chemical injuries occurred at a home (56%)
About two-thirds of pool chemical injuries occurred during the summer swim season (Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day) (65%)
Safety starts with pool owners and operating pool chemicals, like chlorine, protect swimmers from the spread of germs and prevent outbreaks linked to pools and water playgrounds. If you own a pool or operate a public pool (for example, at a hotel, waterpark, or community center), take the following steps to prevent pool chemical injuries:
public  discovery  environmental  pool_chemicals 
3 days ago by dchas
Mosmorran chemical plant: Fife councillors demand compensation for locals
RESIDENTS blighted by air pollution and noise from a petrochemical plant are set for payouts from an oil giant after councillors backed a motion seeking compensation.

In a debate in Fife Council on the future of the Fife Ethylene Plant at Mossmorran, run by ExxonMobil, councillors from all parties condemned the six-day spate of unplanned flaring at the chemical works, beginning on Easter Sunday.

Read more: Oil giants under fire for safety failings at Fife plant

The incident triggered a record number of complaints to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) as local people raised the alarm over huge plumes of black smoke, chemical-smelling fumes and a rumbling noise emanating from the site.

ExxonMobil has insisted the flare posed no danger to the public and blamed the problem on a faulty section of cable.
United_Kingdom  industrial  follow-up  environmental  petroleum 
3 days ago by dchas
KMCO lays off dozens of employees after deadly chemical explosion in Crosby
CROSBY, Texas — KMCO chemical plant in Crosby has decided to eliminate 35 positions a month after the plant caught fire in an explosion.

The fire, that happened in April, killed one employee and hurt several others.

“This decision was painful but necessary to achieve our long-term strategic goals,” said a company spokesperson. “The company is grateful for the contributions made by each of the affected employees and we wish them the best in their future endeavors.”

The plume of smoke was reminiscent of the ITC fire in Deer Park that occurred weeks before.
us_TX  industrial  follow-up  environmental 
4 days ago by dchas
Directorate gets tough on private schools in Jammu
Following criticism for being lax towards private schools in the Jammu province by granting them permission, recognition and extension without verification, the Directorate of School Education has finally started taking strict measures to streamline the process.
There are more than 5,000 private schools in the state and of them, 2,276 are in the Jammu division.

Sources said a majority of the schools affiliated with the J&K Board of School Education lacked safety certificates such as the fire safety certificate, building safety certificate and the chemical safety certificate.
The school safety certificate is to be issued by the public works department while the fire safety certificate has to be issued by the fire and emergency services department. The chemical laboratory safety certificate is to be issued by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate.

The sources said the school directorate had tightened the noose and made it mandatory for all private schools to get all necessary certificates from the authorities. Without the certificates, their cases will not be considered.
India  laboratory  discovery  environmental 
4 days ago by dchas
'Broken system' puts University of Utah lab workers at risk, audit says
SALT LAKE CITY — Two University of Utah students suffered chemical burns in College of Engineering labs the past two years despite safety inspections that identified major deficiencies just before the incidents.

Not correcting the problems is reminiscent of inaction at other universities that led to severe injuries over the past decade, including a death at UCLA, according to a Utah legislative audit released Tuesday.

The Office of the Legislative Auditor General says the problems identified in the 64-page report show a "broken system" that puts lab workers at risk. The audit focused on the occupational hazards in U. academic labs.

"Though the university has not had a fatality, it has experienced serious accidents. Safety deficiencies need to be addressed to ensure future accidents are minimized," according to the audit.

Sen. Karen Mayne, D-West Valley City, said she has seen many audits, but "I've never seen one that says broken. This is a broken system."

Mayne, who requested the lab safety audit, said the problems have not gone on for years but for decades. She said when she asked U. officials five years ago if the school was compliant with Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations, she was assured it was.
us_UT  laboratory  discovery  environmental 
5 days ago by dchas
Beach Park Chemical Spill Health Investigations Continue
The Lake County Health Department is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to investigate the health impacts of an anhydrous ammonia spill that occurred in Beach Park, Illinois on the morning of April 25, 2019.

CDC staff will begin door-to-door interviews on the morning of Saturday, May 11, 2019 at homes within a one-mile radius of the spill. Residents are encouraged to participate in the survey, if asked, to assist the CDC in their analysis and to help improve future incident response. The CDC will also interview first responders and those who were hospitalized during the incident.

At approximately 4:25 a.m. on April 25, 2019, a large release of anhydrous ammonia occurred on Green Bay Road at Clarendon St. in Beach Park, Illinois. The Lake County Sheriff's Office and 39 fire departments responded to the incident. A shelter in place order was issued for residents within a one-mile radius of the leak. The plume released by the anhydrous ammonia spill affected residents of Beach Park, Wadsworth, and Zion, as well as people traveling through the area.

Throughout the morning, emergency crews conducted door-to-door wellness checks, evaluating and treating residents as needed. Approximately 40 people were transported via ambulance to local hospitals. Following an air quality check by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the shelter in place order was lifted at 10:00 a.m.
us_IL  public  follow-up  environmental  ammonia 
6 days ago by dchas
Houston Shipping Channel Ship Collision Cleanup Continues After Toxic Spill, Reports of Fish Kill
The Houston Ship Channel was reopened to traffic Sunday after a collision involving a tanker, a tugboat and two barges dumped 9,000 barrels of a toxic chemical, but concerns linger over possible water contamination.

"We have received some reports of wildlife impacts," Craig Kartye of the Texas General Land Office's oil spill prevention program told the Houston Chronicle. "Specifically two dead seagulls located near the source of the incident, one dead raccoon in the city of Kemah and some dead fish at one spot along the west shoreline of Galveston Bay."

Kartye said wildlife rehabilitation teams were responding to the reports.

Galveston Bay Foundation President Bob Stokes told weather.com Monday that the dead fish washed up on property owned by the foundation.

“There were a lot of really small juvenile fish, maybe a thousand and then probably about 200 blue crab,” Stokes said.
us_TX  transportation  release  environmental  oils 
6 days ago by dchas
Two years in prison for man who kept chemicals, bomb-making materials in apartment
A man whose Far West Side Madison apartment became a hazardous materials site after police and firefighters last year found it filled with chemical experiments and two small improvised explosives was sentenced Monday to two years in prison.

Dane County Circuit Judge Susan Crawford told Brian Campbell, 31, now of Carol Stream, Illinois, that while prosecutors presented no evidence to support their claim that Campbell was plotting a bomb attack on a public building, Campbell had offered no credible explanation for his experiments that endangered people in his apartment building on Timber Lake Trail.

“What we don’t know is why,” Crawford said. “Why was he teaching himself to isolate chemicals used in improvised explosives? We don’t know that. But we know that these activities placed his neighbors at great risk.”

In a pre-sentence report, written by a state Department of Corrections agent, Campbell said he simply forgot about safety.

“That’s not an adequate explanation,” Crawford said. It also wasn’t an impulsive activity, she noted, but one that went on for weeks and months and had resulted in a prior order by apartment managers to clean up his apartment or be evicted.
us_WI  public  follow-up  environmental  explosives 
6 days ago by dchas
Lithium Ion batteries: safety issues
This relatively new generation of batteries are used in so many devices today that it is hard to imagine not having their convenience.

From portable power tools, to flashlights, mobile phones, computers, toys, and so much more.

In December last year, a fire in a tool storage shed deep in an Ontario mine was contained after some difficulty.

Findings this week determined the fire occurred while charging a number of lithium-ion batteries used by the miners portable tools. While it couldn’t be accurately determined if the fire began in the battery, the charger, the extension cord, the presence of several of the batteries together made the fire much harder to contain once it started.

When conventional dry chemical (ABS) fire extinguisers were tried by two miners who discovered the fire, it only made the fire worse.

The investigation recommended Class D fire extinguishers be used in such cases.

In June last year, a Vancouver-bound flight was forced to return to Calgary shortly after takeoff when a warning light indicated a fire in the cargo hold.
Canada  industrial  follow-up  environmental  batteries  fire_extinguisher 
6 days ago by dchas
Prosecutors to be hired after Houston-area plant fires
Officials have approved the hiring of additional assistant district attorneys to prosecute environmental crimes following two big chemical plant fires that closed schools and leaked poisonous compounds.

Harris County commissioners on Tuesday authorized $850,000 to the district attorney’s office to employ four prosecutors who will concentrate on also two investigators environmental violations and two support personnel.

But Ogg’s request came before a March fire in Intercontinental Terminals Co. that triggered shelter-in-place warnings, and another fire in April at a KMCO plant in which a worker had been killed.
Ogg declared the ITC will probably likely be charged with five counts of water pollution.
us_TX  industrial  follow-up  environmental  petroleum 
7 days ago by dchas
Anhydrous ammonia spill underscores safety push
More than 30 people were hospitalized after an accident in the Chicago suburb of Beach Park last month after tanks of anhydrous ammonia, a compressed gas used to fertilize corn, leaked into the atmosphere.

Jean Payne, president of the Illinois Chemical and Fertilizer Association, said that the farmer in question failed to follow some necessary safety procedures.

That failure, she said, highlights a flaw in what is otherwise a tightly regulated process in Illinois: the transportation of agricultural chemicals – fertilizers and pesticides – from the manufacturer to one of the state’s 350 large storage facilities to the stores that sell to farmers up to the fields themselves.

Most regulations are strict, according to Payne, and overseen by a host of federal and state agencies, including the U.S. and Illinois Environmental Protection Agencies and Departments of Agriculture and Transportation as well as the Occupational Health and Safety Administration and more.

The industry has mandatory training for those who store and sell chemicals but the Achilles heel, as evidenced by the April accident, is that traditionally for farmers, much of the training (although not for the purchase of certain pesticides) has been voluntary.

It’s a weak spot, she said, that the industry and the state are looking to strengthen up.
us_IL  industrial  follow-up  environmental  ammonia 
8 days ago by dchas
In Peabody 35 Years Ago, 'It Sounded Like An Atomic Bomb'
PEABODY, MA — It started with a loud boom, followed by a fireball rising into the sky. Then the 55 gallon drums of chemicals that had been stored in the Henry Leather Company in downtown Peabody shot 150 feet into the air "like missiles," according to witness accounts. But in the end, the most amazing fact to emerge from the fire is that just one person, a 23-year-old roofer from Haverhill, was killed by the fire.

It was 35 years ago Friday, on May 10, 1984, that the Tannery Leather fire leveled two blocks in downtown Peabody. More than 100 people were treated at area hospitals and more than 300 people were instantly out of work. Hundreds more had to flee their homes, with authorities especially concerned about children, senior citizens and pregnant women inhaling the toxic fumes emerging from the disaster site.

"It was just this huge boom and then flames everywhere," a tannery worker told United Press International. "I don't know how so many people got out alive. The windows were blowing out, the door blowing out. I just ran for the door."

For blocks surrounding the disaster, homeowners rolled out garden hoses and watered down the sides of their houses to prevent the spread of the fire. The UPI report on the fire said the heat "turned aluminum siding to the consistency of marshmallows and left panes of glass 500 feet away too hot to touch."
us_MA  public  follow-up  environmental 
9 days ago by dchas
Critics warn chlorpyrifos ban would set dangerous precedent
Critics of a proposed ban on chlorpyrifos insecticides in Oregon argue the bill would not only harm farmers but also set a dangerous legislative precedent.

Supporters of House Bill 2619 argue that it’s necessary for Oregon lawmakers to take action due to uncertainty about the chemical’s regulation at the federal level.

A prohibition on spraying food crops with chlorpyrifos was proposed by the Obama administration but reversed by the Trump administration in 2017.

The federal government’s regulation of the pesticide is currently the subject of a legal fight before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that chlorpyrifos must be banned last year but has more recently reconsidered that decision.
us_OR  public  discovery  environmental  ag_chems 
9 days ago by dchas
China Tightens Screws on Small Chemical Producers
After a deadly chemical explosion, the major chemical producing provinces of Shandong and Jiangsu will close, merge, or relocate more than 2,000 smaller chemical producers by 2022 on orders from China’s central government to address safety and environmental issues.

Shandong circulated a list May 8 of about 1,000 facilities that have started to be shut down or that will be forced to close, relocate, or merge.

This came on the heels of a separate list of 60 larger facilities...
China  industrial  follow-up  environmental 
9 days ago by dchas
Radioactive materials removed from San Carlos home identified
The low-level radioactive materials discovered in the San Carlos home of a scientist who recently died have been safely removed and identified.

The materials found in the property in the 1000 block of Cedar Street, near Burton Park, on Thursday, May 2 prompted authorities to close the park and a nearby youth center. The materials were contained by a county hazmat crew and removed the following morning by state officials for safe disposal.

“Initial survey data indicates that the radioactive materials consisted mostly of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) such as uranium ore samples, a radium clock and other materials with thorium,” according to the city of San Carlos.

County health officials performed two additional sweeps of the home and didn’t find any other radioactive sources. A private firm will head to the property to clean up any household hazardous waste and materials, but there are no threats to the public at the property, the city reported.
us_CA  public  follow-up  environmental  radiation  waste 
10 days ago by dchas
County authorities probe chemical liquid leak scandal
Local authorities in North China's Shanxi Province are investigating the aluminum manufacturer amid a chemical liquid leak scandal, and relocating residents nearby. 

The government of Jiaokou county, Shanxi Province announced on Thursday that they have arranged to help 35 families who had lived in the polluted area move out and have ordered the aluminum manufacture under the Xinfa Group to suspend production.

The announcement came after the Beijing News reported on Wednesday that local villagers since 2017 have reported alkali liquor leaking from the cracks in the red mud dam, which is run by the company on the aluminum oxide project, severely polluting the environment and sparking concern over the possibility of the dam break.

The Beijing News said on Tuesday that the company put up a factory, including gas stations, kilns, bauxite and limestone silos along the river eight kilometers away from the dam. The report said the red mud containing alumina waste is transported by the pipeline from the factory to the dam.
China  industrial  follow-up  environmental  waste 
10 days ago by dchas
Will Regulators Ban a Potentially "Catastrophic" Refinery Chemical?
Hydrofluoric acid has been used in the oil refining industry for many decades to manufacture high-octane gasoline. If accidentally released into the air, hydrofluoric acid can form a highly toxic vapor cloud at ground level with the potential to harm or kill those standing in its way. It can travel for miles. Possible health impacts from acute exposure include severe blistering of the skin, organ damage, heart failure and suffocation. Because of these risks, many oil companies have turned to alternative chemical catalysts like sulfuric acid that significantly reduce the airborne risk to the nearby community.

Scientist: In the event of a catastrophic MHF release, “the communities closest to the refineries who would be most impacted and who would have the highest risk of death are communities of color.”
But two facilities in Southern California, the Valero refinery in Wilmington and the PBF-owned refinery in Torrance, resisted taking this action and switched to modified hydrofluoric acid (MHF) instead. They are the only two oil refineries in the state using MHF today, and they both can store huge quantities of the chemical on-site: approximately 25,000 gallons in Torrance and 55,000 in Wilmington. MHF is a chemical mixture that the refinery industry argues reduces the risk of a dense, dangerous vapor forming in the event of a leak. But other experts say the science doesn’t back up this claim. A release can cause “the same health impacts” as unmodified hydrofluoric acid, said the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s (AQMD) deputy executive officer, Philip Fine, at a public meeting earlier this year.

Which is why many politicians, government agencies, and residents who live in the densely populated neighborhoods in L.A.’s South Bay say that it’s time to see the chemical banned altogether. Many note that communities bordering these refineries are already among the most environmentally burdened and poorest in the state—a predicament the California attorney general’s office has called “particularly unfair.”
us_CA  industrial  discovery  environmental  hydrofluoric_acid 
11 days ago by dchas
Contaminated turnout gear: Testing basics and limitations
In “How to Assess Contaminated Turnout Clothing,” we explained the different types of contamination that could occur for firefighters responding to emergency events, with the primary focus on structural fires. We explained that if there were concerns about exposure to different hazardous substances, then it could be possible to test the clothing for levels of contamination to determine whether the wearing the gear posed continued exposure hazards. We suggested several questions to help make this determination.

This column provides guidance for how to answer those questions related to whether to test clothing – and whether the clothing should be considered for early retirement.
industrial  discovery  environmental 
13 days ago by dchas
Jiangsu may face huge environmental, fiscal burden in downsizing its chemical sector: analysts
East China's Jiangsu Province may face a huge environmental and fiscal burden as it pursues a campaign of drastically downsizing its chemical sector, following a blast that killed 78 people in March. 

The province, a heavyweight of chemical production, reportedly aims to shut down some chemical plants in areas along the Yangtze River and those located in chemical parks by 2020, 21jingji.com reported, citing a provincial government circular.

The report said many industrial parks and producers in the sector will face tough regulatory scrutiny, relocation or closure.

An employee at Nanjing Jinxi Chemical Group told the Global Times Monday the company is on high alert for safety inspections by local authorities, but there hasn't been any official notice yet from the government. The company is located on the north bank of the Yangtze River.

Industry experts said the crackdown could push up chemical products prices.

However, a brokerage analyst who wished to remain anonymous questioned the approach taken by the province and warned that the East China province may face a hefty environmental cost once these chemical parks are emptied of their tenants.
China  industrial  follow-up  environmental 
13 days ago by dchas
U.S. Depart. of Labor cites Texas meat-packing plant for exposing workers to hazardous chemicals
SAN ANGELO, Texas - The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited 7 S Packing LLC – operating as Texas Packing Company in San Angelo, Texas – for exposing workers to releases of hazardous chemicals. The company faces $615,640 in penalties.

OSHA determined that the meat-packing facility failed to implement a required Process Safety Management (PSM) program for operating an ammonia refrigeration unit containing over 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia.

The employer also failed to provide fall protection, guard machines and equipment, control hazardous energy, and implement a respiratory protection program.
us_TX  industrial  discovery  environmental  ammonia  illegal 
13 days ago by dchas
Governments endorse global PFOA ban, with some exemptions
A widely used industrial fluorochemical that is linked to cancer and pollutes drinking water around the world is on its way to a global phaseout.

More than 180 countries agreed May 3 to ban production and use of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), its salts, and PFOA-related compounds under the international Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). The International Agency for Research on Cancer considers PFOA possibly carcinogenic to humans. Exposure to the substance is also linked to hormonal disruption.

At a meeting of Stockholm Convention treaty partners in Geneva, governments carved out exemptions that allow some applications of PFOA to continue, including use in fire-fighting foams—a practice that has contaminated groundwater in many areas around the globe. Tons of these foams are in storage, at the ready to help first responders douse petroleum-fueled fires. Some of these foams also contain another fluorochemical, perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), which has been tightly restricted but not banned under the Stockholm Convention for a decade. At their recent meeting, treaty partners agreed to ban the use of firefighting foams containing PFOA or PFOS in training exercises and to prohibit the production, import, or export of foams with either or both chemicals.

Governments created an exemption for use of a PFOA-related chemical used to produce pharmaceuticals, says Pamela Miller, cochair of a coalition of public interest groups, the International POPs Elimination Network. The substance is perfluorooctyl iodide, which can degrade to PFOA. It is used to produce perfluorooctyl bromide, which is a processing aid in making some pharmaceuticals. Although the exemption for perfluorooctyl iodide will expire no later than 2036, treaty partners will review it and could potentially eliminate it before then, Miller tells C&EN.
Europe  public  discovery  environmental  other_chemical 
13 days ago by dchas
San Jacinto Battleground to reopen 6 weeks after ITC fire
PASADENA — The San Jacinto Battleground state historic site and museum will reopen Wednesday, six weeks after a Deer Park chemical fire forced it to close at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars and more than 70,000 visitors.

“It’s been tough,” said Justin Rhodes, executive director of State Parks, a division of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “This happened in our busiest time of the year.”

The ongoing cleanup of a tank farm at Intercontinental Terminals Co. that caught fire March 17 led to the cancellation of the annual Battle of San Jacinto reenactment, which on average attracts 15,000 visitors, he said. The state park and museum also missed Spring Break and Easter weekend.

Based on last year’s data, Rhodes estimated that the department lost $200,000 in revenue, in addition to $320,000 lost by the San Jacinto Museum Association.
us_TX  public  follow-up  environmental 
14 days ago by dchas
OECD Chemical Safety and Biosafety Progress Report Includes Update on Work Regarding Manufactured Nanomaterials
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) April 2019 issue of its Chemical Safety and Biosafety Progress Report includes an update on OECD’s work to determine the safety of manufactured nanomaterials. The Report notes that the applicability of OECD Test Guidelines for nanomaterials continues to be a major concern of the work of the Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials (WPMN). WPMN agreed to work on three new projects related to testing manufactured nanomaterials and addressing: (1) the determination of concentrations of nanoparticles in biological samples for (eco)toxicity studies; (2) the determination of dissolution rates of nanomaterials in environmental media (dynamic method); and (3) supplementary guidance for the use of Test Guidelines 201, 202, and 203 for the determination of the ecotoxicity of manufactured nanomaterials. Work will continue to complete the compilation of information on biopersistent/biodurable manufactured nanomaterials, as well as on the development of a project proposal to address the toxicokinetics of manufactured nanomaterials. In addition, the WPMN identified a number of issues relevant for the development of all the Test Guidelines for nanomaterials (i.e., updating the Guidance on Sample Preparation and Dosimetry and the section on nanomaterials in the Guidance on Grouping).
Europe  public  discovery  environmental  nanoparticles 
15 days ago by dchas
Personal care product makers follow the green gold rush of cannabis
It’s natural, it’s been used since antiquity, and almost overnight, it’s become the ingredient to have in personal care products. Cannabis is the latest sensation showing up in creams, salves, massage oils, and hair care products. Some brands tout moisturizing effects, but many more suggest cannabinoids can relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and treat acne and other skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema.

Call it marijuana or call it hemp, Cannabis sativa and its derivatives have taken off because of easing regulations globally. In the US, passage of the farm bill in December bestowed the federal government’s blessing on industrial varieties of cannabis with low levels of the psychotropic ingredient ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

The bill does not legalize marijuana, a term that designates cannabis varieties with THC levels in excess of 0.3%. However, it is paving the way for widespread use of the low-THC plant, known as hemp, in applications such as food, beverages, clothing, rope, plastics, and paper. Hemp seed oil and hemp derivatives such as the nonpsychotropic molecule cannabidiol (CBD) are increasingly showing up as ingredients in personal care products.

Feeling good
In 2017, personal care was the second- largest US consumer market for hemp derivatives.

Source: New Frontier Data consumer sales estimates. a Includes a small amount of cannabidiol-containing personal care products. b Mostly hemp seed oil.
Start-up ingredient producers such as Lilu’s Garden and Folium Biosciences are rushing to meet the demand for hemp derivatives. They are capitalizing on ingredients that are shedding their counterculture image and becoming part of the mainstream.
us  pubic  discovery  environmental  cannabis 
15 days ago by dchas
Maine Is the First State to Ban Styrofoam
In a major victory for environmentalists, Maine has become the the first state to ban Styrofoam containers for food and beverages. The ban, signed by Democratic Governor Janet Mills on Tuesday, will take effect on January 1st, 2021.

The ban will make it illegal for restaurants to sell or distribute the containers (such as bowls, plates, cups, trays, and cartons), with penalties of up to $100 in fines. In addition, grocery stores and other businesses will be prohibited from using the containers. There are some exceptions: Hospitals, seafood shippers, and state-funded meals-on-wheels programs will still be allowed to use Styrofoam.

According to the Natural Resources Council of Maine, these containers are some of the most commonly littered items in the United States, with the state of Maine using 256 million Styrofoam items every year.
us_ME  public  discovery  environmental 
17 days ago by dchas
API revises standard to reduce worker fatigue in refineries, chemical plants
HOUSTON (Reuters) - The American Petroleum Institute issued on Thursday a revised standard aimed at reducing fatigue among workers in the nation’s refineries and chemical plants, the trade group said.

The fatigue standard, officially called Recommended Practice (RP) 755, was first issued in 2010, based on the U.S. Chemical Safety Board’s finding that worker fatigue was one of the factors in the 2005 explosion at BP Plc’s refinery in Texas City, Texas, which killed 15 workers and injured 180 others.

The revised RP 755 is intended to further tighten the limits on the number of consecutive hours and days work may be required including during malfunctions and shutdowns.

“The second edition of RP 755 advances unified and condensed requirements to avoid fatigue for all workers involved in safety sensitive processes,” said Debra Phillips, vice president of API’s Global Industry Services division in a statement issued on Thursday.

The United Steelworkers union (USW), which represents 30,000 workers in the oil industry did not reply to a request for comment on Thursday.

USW officials have in the past criticized the standard for being too easy for refinery and chemical plant managers to bypass or abuse.
us_TX  industrial  discovery  environmental  petroleum 
17 days ago by dchas
State sues Shrewsbury man over shed demolition blast that released toxins
A Shrewsbury man has been sued for illegally demolishing a backyard shed containing dynamite, causing a hazardous fire and explosion in the fall of 2016, Attorney General Maura Healey announced Wednesday.

On Oct. 24, 2016, Edgar Muntz Jr. directed P&M Asphalt Services Inc. of Sutton to demolish an old wooden shed at 393 Oak St. and to remove the construction and demolition debris from the property. Mr. Muntz, who lives at 10 Grove Meadow Lane, owned the 393 Oak St. property as trustee of 393 Oak Street Realty Trust.

Inside the shed were about 550 glass jars and other containers holding hazardous materials, including dynamite, hydrofluoric acid, mercury, sodium cyanide, arsenic, chloroform, toluene, and chromium, according to a complaint filed by the attorney general’s office in Suffolk Superior Court.

During demolition the shed caught fire, releasing hazardous materials to the air and soil, according to the attorney general’s office. The fumes caused P&M workers and a neighbor to suffer chest, throat, and respiratory discomfort, the lawsuit says.

After a neighbor alerted authorities to the explosion, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, along with other state and local agencies, took remedial action to secure the site and clean up the hazardous materials.

P&M workers previously had knocked down a house on the property. They backfilled the cellar hole of the demolished house using soil mixed with debris from the shed. That debris included jugs and plastic containers, some labeled “Poison,” that held bright multicolored powders, some of which were spilling out of cracked and broken containers, the lawsuit says.
us_MA  public  follow-up  environmental  asphalt  cyanide  dust  explosives  hydrofluoric_acid  mercury  sodium_cyanide  toluene 
18 days ago by dchas
Environmentalists call for global PFAS ban, including in firefighting foam
(Gothenburg, Sweden): Industry fire-safety experts from the oil and gas and aviation sectors are joining with firefighter trade unions to urge governments to protect human health and the environment with a global ban on the toxic chemical, PFOA, and to reject loopholes for its use in firefighting foams. The use of PFOA and other fluorinated organic compounds (PFAS) is widespread across many industrial and domestic applications including textiles, food packaging, stain and oil resistant treatments, and industrial processes. Fluorinated firefighting foam is a leading cause of water contamination with toxic chemicals that are associated with cancer, endocrine disruption, and harm to fetal development.

The upcoming 9th Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants is scheduled to address a global ban on PFOA as the UN meeting commences next week (April 29-May 10). A key issue will be whether an exemption should be granted for continued PFOA use in firefighting foams. Industry fire-safety experts assert that no exemption is needed because cost-effective fluorine-free alternatives work as well or better than PFOA- and other PFAS-containing foams. Unlike PFAS-containing foams, fluorine-free alternatives do not cause long-term harm to human health and the environment or incur the extremely high cleanup costs of PFAS-containing foams.

The Stockholm Convention's scientific expert body recommended global elimination of PFOA due to its toxicity, persistence, bioaccumulation in the food chain, and ability to travel long distances. They also recommended strengthening the listing of PFOS in the treaty by closing a large number of loopholes. Since PFOA and PFOS have been used in firefighting foams, the expert body addressed alternatives to them, warning against using the entire class of PFAS substances in firefighting foams, "due to their persistence and mobility, as well as their potential negative environmental, human health and socioeconomic impacts." (POPRC-14/2)
Sweden  industrial  discovery  environmental  toxics 
18 days ago by dchas
Harris County Beefs Up DA’s Environmental Crimes Division In Wake of ITC, KMCO Disasters – Houston Public Media
Harris County is taking steps to crack down on environmental crimes, as County commissioners voted unanimously to spend $850,000 to beef up the environmental division of the District Attorney’s Office.

The funds will hire four prosecutors, two investigators and two support staffers to deal with everything from illegal dumping to industrial accidents.

The move comes just two months after Democrats on the Commissioners Court rejected a request by the DA’s Office to hire 102 new prosecutors. Republican Commissioner Steve Radack asked Vivian King, the DA’s chief of staff, whether this latest request had been part of the earlier one.

“I just want to clarify that this is one of these twists of fate, that all of a sudden, you’re going to get what you need when this court rejected what you needed a few weeks ago,” Radack said.
us_TX  industrial  follow-up  environmental 
19 days ago by dchas
Wind turbine maker settles with Iowa over safety violations
NEWTON, Iowa (AP) — A Newton company that builds wind turbine blades has settled with state regulators following an investigation into workplace safety violations.

TPI Composites agreed last month to pay the Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Administration a total of $100,000 in fines, the Des Moines Register reported.

The settlement requires TPI to restrict employee contact with hazardous chemicals, eliminate fall dangers and alter how the factory stores combustible liquids. The company has adopted new polyethylene suits to protect workers against the chemicals.

"I think the settlement has done an effective job of making TPI in Newton, Iowa, a safer place to work," said Don Peddy, who oversees the Iowa OSHA program.

Iowa regulators gave TPI until Aug. 31 to fix all of the residual safety hazards.

Iowa OSHA levied nearly $155,000 in fines against TPI last year due violations that include fire dangers, airborne contaminants, improper record keeping, fall hazards and a shortage of adequate protective gear for employees.

The citations support complaints from dozens of former workers who said TPI didn't properly protect them from dangerous chemicals that caused them severe skin injuries. Some workers said they were fired after reporting the injuries.
us_IA  industrial  follow-up  environmental  unknown_chemical 
19 days ago 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 
19 days ago by dchas
Criminal charges filed against ITC for Houston fire
HOUSTON — A chemical company is facing environmental criminal charges in the wake of last month's plant fire in Texas.

The Harris County District Attorney's office filed five charges against Intercontinental Terminals Company Monday.

A large fire burned for four days at the ITC plant in Deer Park back in March.

The fire was put out but then reignited.

The damage caused a breach at the plant's "make-shift dike."

The DA says large amounts of "highly toxic chemicals" leaked into Tucker Bayou, which flows directly into Galveston Bay.

The county's environmental crimes division chief prosecutor called it "a clear water pollution case."

ITC could face a fine of up to $100,000 for each of the five charges filed in this case..
us_TX  industrial  follow-up  environmental  illegal  toxics 
20 days ago by dchas
Refinery Safety Failures – Attitude or Engineering?
IN 1976, I was the supervisor of the world’s largest alkylation unit. My plant, No. 2 alky in Texas City, had a capacity of 26,000 bbl/d. In mid-June, an explosion that originated on my unit, badly damaged both No. 2 alky and No. 3 FCU (the world’s’ largest, 120,000 bbl/d fluid catalytic cracking Unit). Fortunately, no-one was hurt. Given the argument that we all are obliged to share our safety-related experiences, 42 years on, let me describe what caused this costly incident, and how proper design could have prevented this explosion.
us_TX  industrial  follow-up  environmental 
20 days ago by dchas
Very few volunteer firefighters trained on ammonium nitrate post West explosion
Three years after the West fertilizer plant explosion, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board sent out a list of safety recommendations. They included an unfulfilled requirement for all Texas volunteer firefighters to be trained on fertilizer-grade ammonium nitrate, the same chemical compound that exploded in a deadly fire in 2013 that killed 12 first responders, mostly volunteer firefighters. Only a small number of the 30,000 volunteers statewide have taken the voluntary FGAN course created after the West catastrophe.
us_TX  industrial  follow-up  environmental  ammonium_nitrate 
20 days ago by dchas
IL officials stress need for safety with transportation of chemicals
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Following a significant anhydrous ammonia release in Lake County last week, Illinois officials are stressing the need for safety when transporting chemicals and for motorists driving near such vehicles.

Local officials reported more than 30 patients were transported to local hospitals following an incident involving a tractor hauling anhydrous ammonia in Beach Park. A shelter in place order was given to the residents within a one-mile radius of the incident.

Potentially hazardous materials are transported daily on Illinois highways and roads, and spring and fall see an increase in traffic as farmers work to apply fertilizer to their fields.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture and the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association produced an Anhydrous Ammonia Safety Video outlining proper safety procedures that farmers should take when handling these products. In addition, drivers are asked to use caution, especially when driving near such vehicles.

“This time of year, when farmers are traveling from field to field, it is especially important to keep safety in mind and follow proper protocol when transporting anhydrous ammonia,” said John Sullivan, Director, Illinois Department of Agriculture. “It is equally important that motorist be aware and take extra caution around Slow Moving Vehicles (SMV) and farm equipment that share our roads.”
us_IL  transportation  follow-up  environmental  ammonia 
20 days ago by dchas
Bayer shareholders reproach management over Roundup woes
A majority of Bayer shareholders do not like the way the company has been run over the past year. In a vote at the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting late last week, 55% refused to back management, largely because of Bayer’s problematic decision to buy Monsanto.

The acquisition came with a torrent of lawsuits over the role played by Monsanto’s Roundup brand glyphosate herbicide in incidents of nonHodgkin’s lymphoma and other illnesses among agriculture workers.

Indeed, only two months after the $63 billion acquisition closed in June, a US jury found Bayer responsible for a groundskeeper’s cancer. A second case also went against Bayer; the company is appealing both verdicts. And that’s just the beginning: roughly 13,400 plaintiffs are waiting in the wings.

Disgruntled shareholders feel Bayer did not properly price the financial and reputational risks of the coming litigation. Shareholder countermotions, filed ahead of the meeting, call the Monsanto acquisition “catastrophic,” a “disaster,” and “ill-fated.”
Germany  public  discovery  environmental  pesticides 
20 days ago by dchas
Chemical burns and toxic sludge: workers expose shocking conditions inside the Melbourne factory that blew up
Long before Melbourne's northern suburbs were choked with acrid smoke from a mammoth factory fire earlier this month, workers inside were finishing their shifts covered in toxic sludge and struggling to breathe.

Key points:
Workers have lifted the lid on conditions inside the Melbourne factory that was engulfed in a mammoth blaze in April
Some employees said they suffered physical and respiratory problems as a result of being exposed to chemicals
Workers say the company was advised about EPA inspections ahead of time and hid problems from the regulator

It's now known the factory was home to a vast illegal chemical waste dump — one internal EPA documents allege was linked to a criminal network responsible for more than a dozen similar illicit waste dumps around Melbourne.

But multiple employees at the Campbellfield company describe a warehouse in the lead-up to the fire where chemical drums were not correctly stored and where workers wearing inadequate safety equipment were frequently covered in chemicals that caused physical and respiratory problems.

"I had burns all over my body due to handling some chemicals. They did not tell me what chemicals they were," said one worker, Muththukirishnan Karththikeyan.

"Sometimes, it burns. If I tell them that I got burns from the chemicals, they would say 'that's how it is. It'll just be like that for a short period of time,' and then they would just apply a cream."
Australia  industrial  follow-up  environmental  illegal  waste 
21 days ago by dchas
US Chemical Safety Board urges review of hydrofluoric acid regulations
The US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board has called on the US Environmental Protection Agency to review its regulation of hydrofluoric acid. One-third of the nation’s 150 petrochemical refineries use HF to produce high-octane gasoline. The CSB’s April 24 statement urges the EPA to reexamine and update a 1993 study to determine the effectiveness of existing risk management program requirements as well as the viability of using inherently safer alkylation technologies in refineries. “In the last 4 years, the CSB has investigated two refinery incidents where an explosion elevated the threat of a release of HF,” CSB interim executive Kristen Kulinowski says. “Refinery workers and surrounding community residents are rightly concerned about the adequacy of risk management for the use of hazardous chemicals like HF.” HF is a highly toxic chemical that can seriously injure or cause death at concentrations as low as 30 ppm, the CSB says. The CSB’s recommendation follows its accident investigations at an ExxonMobil refinery in California and a Husky Energy refinery in Wisconsin. After the California accident, the South Coast Air Quality Management District began examining HF regulations and alternatives. That effort is ongoing, a South Coast AQMD spokesperson says. EPA officials say it is reviewing the CSB’s request.
us_WI  industrial  follow-up  environmental  hydrofluoric_acid 
21 days ago by dchas
Cornerstone Chemical, company involved in cyanide plant lawsuit, has history of infractions
The Cornerstone Chemical Co. plant on River Road in Waggaman has produced cyanide on the site for more than half a century.

But until the plant’s owners quietly received approval for a $100 million expansion from the Jefferson Parish Council last year — an approval that was recently rescinded, sparking a legal battle — few residents knew the toxic chemical was being produced there.

Fewer still are likely aware that in the past several years, the plant, known as the Fortier Manufacturing Complex, has been found responsible for two accidents involving the chemical, and has also been found on multiple occasions to have violated federal laws aimed at protecting communities from pollution.

An examination of reports from state and federal agencies, as well as other documents, shows a history of fines and regulatory actions by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality against the plant stretching back decades, with several actions occurring since Cornerstone Chemical took ownership in 2011.
us_LA  industrial  discovery  environmental  cyanide 
22 days ago by dchas
First responders say refinery fire response a success, reflect on lessons learned
As black smoke billowed for miles from the asphalt fire at the Husky Energy refinery in Superior last year, forcing thousands to evacuate, Scott Gordon, a battalion chief for the Superior Fire Department, offered a firm warning during an afternoon news conference: the fire could burn for days.

Hours later at the 7 p.m. news conference, only light smoke rose from the refinery. Gordon declared the fire out.

Extinguishing the April 26, 2018 refinery fire within hours of ignition wouldn't have been possible without prior training and cooperation between the Superior Fire Department, Husky Emergency Response Team and all other responding agencies, Superior Fire Chief Steven Panger said.

"They really need to train together to be able to do that. That's not just something you kind of throw people together for," Panger said. "That fire could have been burning for a couple of days, and to go in there and find an opening to make an offensive attack on that fire and be able to put that out — that was pretty amazing."

The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, the federal agency investigating the refinery explosion and fire, highlighted the firefighting response in an October emergency response safety message and held it up as an example of a proper response to an industrial blaze.
us_WI  industrial  follow-up  environmental 
22 days ago by dchas
First Responders: Husky Refinery one of top five calls we never want to hear
SUPERIOR, WI — Those on the front lines of the Husky Energy refinery fire and explosion say it’s an experience they’ll never forget.

Superior Fire and Police, along with Husky’s Emergency response team, were on the front lines, and say preparing, planning and practicing played key roles in the quick response from hundreds of emergency personnel.

For Superior first responders, it was a call like no other.

“I think everyone remembers where they were that day,” said Superior Fire Chief Steve Panger.

“The initial report we got was that there had been an explosion,” said Superior Police Assistant Chief Matt Markon.

Fire and police crews in Superior didn’t hesitate to jump into action after hearing the Husky refinery was up in flames.

“Certainly in our top five calls we never want to hear, just because of the magnitude of it,” said Fire Batallion Chief Scott Gordon.

“Maybe it’s just a first responder mentality that the explosion happens and we go ‘Oh, we’re going to have to deal with that somehow,” said Markon.
us_WI  industrial  follow-up  environmental 
22 days ago by dchas
Recent chemical fires exposed gaps in Harris County pollution enforcement
Almost two months before a massive chemical fire erupted in Deer Park, sending a dark plume of smoke over much of Harris County, Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia asked the head of the county’s Pollution Control Services Department what additional resources he needed.

County officials were nearing the end of a third day of annual budget hearings and Garcia was concerned the department lacked the manpower and equipment to properly monitor air quality in his eastern precinct, let alone the entire county.

So, he asked Director Bob Allen for a wish list.

“Nobody’s ever asked me that before,” Allen replied at the Jan. 11 hearing in the Commissioners Court chambers. He said the department could use additional air monitors — especially mobile ones — and noted Pollution Control had fewer employees than in the 1990s.
us_TX  public  discovery  environmental 
22 days ago by dchas
SpaceX's Crew Dragon fire sent hazardous chemicals into environment
When a test fire of SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule went up in smoke Saturday, the incident at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station puffed up a reddish plume that was seen for miles.

What few likely knew was just how toxic and potentially deadly that distant cloud could have been if winds had shifted onshore.

The special propellants for the Crew Dragon capsule – designed to carefully supply engine firings during liftoff anomalies and navigate the craft in space – are far more dangerous than those used for the typical launch. The hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide used Saturday are called hypergolic fluids, meaning they react violently when they come in contact with one another. They have been used in rockets and spacecraft for decades because they can be stored over a long period of time and still be reliable.

But they are dangerous to handle.

To prevent any potential exposures to the public, tests like Saturday's are conducted when prevailing winds point away from population centers. 

SpaceX, NASA and the U.S. Air Force have remained tight-lipped on the April 20 incident, offering few details about the fire, which lofted reddish nitrogen tetroxide – sometimes referred to as fuming red nitric acid – into the sky as hundreds spectated a surfing festival at Cocoa Beach. 
us_FL  public  follow-up  environmental  hydrazine  nitrogen_dioxide  nitric_acid 
24 days ago by dchas
Aerosol Chemical Plant Fined Over Flammable Liquid Dangers
A Georgia manufacturer of aerosol chemicals faces federal citations for allegedly failing to protect workers from hazards involving flammable liquids and combustible dust.

PLZ Aeroscience, which operates as Plaze Georgia, was cited and fined a proposed $107,164 for alleged safety violations at its Dalton, Ga., facility, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration said April 25.

OSHA cited the company for two repeat violations for allegedly not ensuring workers wear flame-retardant clothing and not providing adequate safety training to workers...
us_GA  industrial  discovery  environmental  flammables 
24 days ago by dchas
Beware of the thermal runaway danger posed by lithium batteries
Recently, eight Arizona firefighters were injured – three seriously and one critically – when an explosion occurred while they were inspecting a “utility size” lithium battery.

Both the Peoria (Arizona) Fire-Medical Department and the Surprise Fire Department had responded to a report of smoke coming from the APS McMicken Energy Storage facility in Peoria. The explosion apparently occurred as the Peoria Hazmat Team began to enter the building. The explosion knocked the critically injured firefighter unconscious and required three of the firefighters to be airlifted to a burn unit in Phoenix, while the others were transported to a local hospital.

This incident points to the potential hazards of both energy storage systems and the dangers associated with lithium storage batteries.
us_AZ  industrial  follow-up  environmental  batteries 
25 days ago by dchas
Residents seek answers about chemical fire at town hall
More than 100 residents attended a lengthy town hall meeting Wednesday where attendees demanded answers about what the Intercontinental Terminals Company chemical plant fire would mean for their health and communities.

The meeting at Milby High School, about 13 miles from the site of the extinguished fire on Independence Parkway, stretched on for more than two hours. Residents, at times, became emotional.

"I've had a sore throat since this thing happened," Mary Lou Gonzalez said.

"To see and hear our city go through this because companies don't want to spend the money to warn people or to help us, what can we do as people?" she asked. "Something has to be done."

The town hall, co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, included representatives from local, state and federal agencies investigating the massive blaze that started on March 17 and continued for three days.

"We're making sure that agencies involved really do the work here on the ground to make sure we can hold those responsible, responsible," Garcia said, "because it had a great impact to our community and there are still a lot of remaining concerns."
us_TX  industrial  follow-up  environmental 
25 days ago by dchas
Chemical Safety Board calls on EPA to review Hydrofluoric Acid study
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The US Chemical Safety Board is calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to review its nearly 26-year-old Hydrofluoric Acid study in the wake of last year’s Husky Refinery fire.

HF is a highly toxic chemical that can seriously injury or cause death and is used in about 50 of the U.S.’s approximately 150 refineries.

The chemical is used catalyst in the creation of a blending agent for high octane gas.

In a letter just this week, the CSB asked the EPA to start a review and update the agency’s 1993 study to determine whether refineries’ “existing risk management plans are sufficient to prevent catastrophic releases and to determine whether there are commercially viable, inherently safer technologies for use.”

“In the last 4 years, the CSB has investigated two refinery incidents where an explosion elevated the threat of a release of HF, said CSB Interim Executive Kristen Kulinowski. “Refinery workers and surrounding community residents are rightly concerned about the adequacy of the risk management for the use of hazardous chemicals like HF.

In addition to the Husky fire, the CSB investigated an explosion at the former ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance, California in 2015.

In both of its investigations, the CSB conducted a public hearing to all communities a chance to express their concerns about HF.
industrial  follow-up  environmental  hydrofluoric_acid 
25 days ago by dchas
Japanese professor could face prison after teaching students to make MDMA
A professor of pharmaceutical sciences in Japan could face drugs charges after admitting he instructed students and postdoctoral researchers in his lab to make the illegal drugs MDMA and 5F-QUPIC as part of a teaching exercise.

According to a report by the Kyodo news agency, which cited anonymous sources, Tatsunori Iwamura taught around 11 students at Matsuyama University to make MDMA – the main component of ecstasy – in 2013, and 5F-QUPIC in 2018, despite not having the necessary permission from the regional government.

Police began investigating in response to a tip-off, the report says. Iwamura’s home and lab were both searched, and while no MDMA was found, traces of 5F-QUPIC were detected in the lab. When questioned by police, Iwamura acknowledged his actions were illegal, but said they were intended to aid his students’ ‘learning’.

In Japan, academics can make substances like MDMA for research purposes if they have been granted a government licence from the region hosting the research lab. The report says Iwamura did have a licence, but that it had expired and had been issued outside Ehime where Matsuyama University is based.

Iwamura’s case has been referred to prosecutors, and if charged and convicted with making the drugs illegally he could face a prison sentence of up to 10 years. The university has also said it will consider disciplinary action once the police investigation has concluded.
Japan  public  discovery  environmental  illegal  clandestine_lab  pharmaceutical 
25 days ago by dchas
Why Did The State Of Texas Sue ITC And KMCO So Quickly After Recent Fires? – Houston Public Media
After recent chemical fires at an ITC facility in Deer Park and another at a KMCO facility in Crosby, the State of Texas moved rather quickly to file suit against those companies.

This came as a surprise to many, particularly because Attorney General Ken Paxton filed suit against each company shortly after their fires broke out and well before the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality could even finish an investigation and refer a lawsuit to the state.

And, as noted by the Texas Tribune’s energy and environment reporter Kiah Collier, the state did not file suit over a similar — and deadlier — event in 2013 when a fertilizer plant in West caught fire and exploded, killing 15 people.

So, what is it about these two events that caught the state’s eye? Is it indicative of a shift in the way Texas will look at environmental regulations and violations?
us_TX  public  follow-up  environmental 
26 days ago 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 
26 days ago by dchas
Hazmat training offered to help in Camp Fire recovery
BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - There is still a lot to be done in the Camp Fire recovery process, so contractors need workers now more than ever.

That's why many are enrolling in a special "HAZWOPER" course.

"This is day one of the classes," I ask, "Are you nervous?"

"It scares the heck out of me but I'm writing down notes and I have a lot of family support plus I want to motivate my grandkids to get into good positions," said Rick, a Camp Fire Survivor who is soon to be a hazardous waste worker.

"We're working hard to help everybody rebuild, it's an important process for this whole area," said Rick.

Hazmat trainer Derek Dawson trains debris removal workers through Butte College as part of a special "Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response" program, or "HAZWOPER".
us_CA  industrial  follow-up  environmental 
27 days ago by dchas
Toward fire safety without chemical risk
Recent research has drawn attention to human exposure to flame retardants in indoor environments such as homes, with children receiving greater exposure than adults (6). Furniture and electronics appear to be substantial sources of flame retardants in indoor dust and air, as well as in cars (6). Scientists are now increasingly investigating the importance of dermal absorption and inhalation as primary uptake routes compared with diet.

Policy and Regulations
The European Union (EU) issued bans on the production and use of PBDEs and HBCD starting in 2002. More recently, several frameworks and directives have been developed in Europe, including the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), the Restriction of Hazardous Substances, and the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment directives. The current Community Rolling Action Plan of the European Chemicals Agency envisages further possible restrictions on a series of flame retardants, including TDCIPP. These are hopeful signs, but EU frameworks do not yet take account of mixture effects (7).

In 2004, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the manufacturers reached a voluntary phase-out agreement of PentaBDE and octabromodiphenyl ether (OctaBDE). Several U.S. states prohibited the use of these flame retardants in some products sold in their home states. In 2017, a group of organizations petitioned the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to restrict the use of additive, nonpolymeric, halogenated flame retardants in children's products, furniture, and electronics enclosures on the basis of the Federal Hazardous Substances Act. This approach was unusual in that it requested a ban on an entire class of chemicals. The CPSC must now determine whether it considers halogenated flame retardants to be hazardous as a class. It is currently establishing a Chronic Hazard Advisory panel to make this determination.
Europe  public  discovery  environmental  plastics 
4 weeks ago 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 
4 weeks ago by dchas
Lonza plagued by supply problems after China plant explosion
An explosion at a chemical plant in China that killed 62 people not only exposed weaknesses in China’s safety oversight but it also exposed weaknesses in the global ingredient supply chain. The disruption from the blast has exacerbated shortages for Swiss pharma and chemical supplier Lonza.

In a “qualitative look” at its first-quarter results, which included almost no financial figures, Lonza’s new CEO Marc Funk said the company’s CDMO business is rolling along nicely, powered by biologics projects. The disruption from explosion in China, however, contributed to “headwinds” for the company’s specialty ingredient business.

Funk said all of its ingredient businesses face “raw material shortages and supply-chain disruptions” from China’s efforts to clean up chemical pollution in the country as well as by “a major chemical plant explosion in China.” He said the company is taking additional “cost containment” steps to overcome those headwinds.
China  industrial  follow-up  environmental 
4 weeks ago by dchas
Chemistry Test Question Invokes Nazi Gas Chambers; Controversy Ensues After Satirical Newspaper Makes it Public – The Middlebury Campus
A question posed on a chemistry midterm last month asked students to calculate “a lethal dose” of the gas “Nazi Germany used to horrific ends in the gas chambers during The Holocaust.” The test question was brought to public attention last Friday through an article in the student-run satirical newspaper The Local Noodle. The question has garnered widespread condemnation while The Noodle’s article has sparked controversy over the use of satire to respond to such incidents.
Chemistry Professor Jeff Byers, who has taught at Middlebury since 1986, posed the question in early March. Several students reported it to the administration the week before spring break. According to Dean of Faculty Andi Lloyd, the administration responded immediately by reaching out to Byers.
“My reaction was that the question was completely inappropriate and deeply problematic, and that follow-up was needed,” Lloyd said. “We’ve been focusing on the situation within the class itself, and that culminated in an apology to the class by Professor Byers last week.”
In an email to The Campus, Byers said he would not comment further on the incident, which he called an “unfortunate error on my part.”
Several students in the class said they were disturbed by the way the question was framed. One Jewish first-year, who asked to remain anonymous, said that the question was distressing to read, especially in the middle of a test.
“I was pretty rattled when I saw the question, as the Holocaust is not something to make light of, especially since I am Jewish and the problem involved us calculating how much poisonous gas you would need to kill people in a room,” she said.
Most students outside of the class did not know about the incident until The Noodle’s article was published online on April 5. The article, which circulated widely on social media, prompted the Community Bias Response Team (CBRT) — a group that responds to bias incidents involving students on campus — to send an all-school email on Sunday, April 7.
In its email, the CBRT condemned the test question, stating, “The use of this exam question failed to provide any critical engagement with the historical contexts and atrocities of the Holocaust. It asked students to engage in problem solving that mirrors calculations used to implement systematic genocide. Our students should never have been put in this position.”
us_VT  education  discovery  environmental 
4 weeks ago by dchas
Houston chemical fires won’t spur new laws, for now
After three chemical fires ignited in a three-week period in the Houston area — spewing plumes of noxious black smoke into the air for days, shutting down schools and sending entire cities indoors to shelter in place — lawmakers say it’s too soon to know whether new laws are needed to improve prevention or emergency response.

Instead, state Sen. Carol Alvarado and Reps. Ed Thompson and Mary Ann Perez will wait on the results of investigations by agencies such as the Harris County Fire Marshal and U.S. Chemical Safety Board. The fire marshal’s office has said it’s too early to guess how long the inquiries may take. In five weeks, the legislative session ends.

“We can speculate all we want, but I want to see the report and then try to make whatever changes I view are necessary to keep the constituents safe,” said Perez, D-Pasadena, whose district includes some of Deer Park, where a petrochemical storage facility caught fire on March 17.

Still, environmental advocates say the lawmakers should be doing more to support existing bills that would increase accountability for polluters — and to quash bills the advocates say would decrease oversight of chemical companies and restrict local governments’ abilities to take them to court.
us_TX  public  follow-up  environmental  petroleum 
4 weeks ago by dchas
Erie Fire Department Speaks Out on Chemical Leak
After Monday night's chemical leak that shut down a section of West 12th Street, the City of Erie Fire Department is speaking out about how they respond to chemical spills.

Usually, the crew gathers as much information from the 911 Center as possible before getting to the scene. Then, they find a representative of the company responsible for the chemicals to learn what they're dealing with.

"We work hand in hand with them," Fire Chief Guy Santone said, "We do what we're trained, in they do what they're trained in, and we can rectify that situation almost 100% of the time."

However, emergency crews were unable to stop the chemical leak Monday night because they were unable to locate the turn-off valve for the leaking tank.

"The end result was we had to let it bleed out there was 8,500 pounds of liquid nitrogen that we had to let go out into the atmosphere," Santone said. When asked about the environmental effects the leak could have, he said it would be minimal to none.
us_PA  public  follow-up  environmental  liquid_nitrogen 
4 weeks ago by dchas
Six years later: Learning from the West fertilizer plant explosion
WEST, Texas (KXAN) — Thirty minutes before sunrise on a chilly April morning, a bright yellow glow shines out of the windows of the red garage doors that line the front of fire station #2 in Georgetown. All is calm and quiet outside except for the birds singing up a storm.

They're not the only ones up and at 'em so early on a Monday. Several guys emerge from the garage and head to their cars. One crew is coming off a 24-hour shift as a fresh team of firefighters clock-in and start getting the trucks and ambulances ready for the unknown of what the day will bring.

Dylan Karl has a sticker commemorating those who died in the West explosion on his helmet (KXAN Photo/Erin Cargile)
Dylan Karl, 26, hangs his yellow fire suit up in his locker and sets his black helmet on top. You can see a white sticker on the side of it with black letters that read "For those that perished." Above the four words is the West Fire Department badge covered by a black strip that bears the date 4-17-13. That's the day 15 people were killed in an explosion in the small town north of Waco. Eleven of them were West volunteer firefighters.
The Georgetown firefighter and paramedic remembers pieces of that horrific day like it was yesterday. It was the biggest call of his life — one most first responders will never experience over a lifelong career. The second generation firefighter was ready. 
us_TX  industrial  follow-up  environmental 
4 weeks ago by dchas
Husky Energy Discusses Rebuild Efforts at Open House, Residents Voice Concerns
Next Friday will mark a year since fires and an explosion tore through Superior's Husky Refinery. Tuesday night, Twin Ports residents had the chance to learn more about how the company plans to move forward, and also voiced lingering concerns.

Jo Haberman, recalled the incident a year ago.

"Part of my neighborhood, which is Park Point was evacuated. It was close to my apartment and too close for comfort so my granddaughter and I evacuated Duluth and Superior," said Haberman. "She was so terrified, and I was also terrified."

She says lingering concerns for safety brought them out to Husky's open house, as the company presented their rebuilding plans.  

"It's absolutely clear to me that Husky needs to replace Hydrogen Fluoride. They can afford to replace it. It's a public safety issue," said Haberman.

"I'm concerned about the water. I'm concerned about our proximity," said Christina Schleicher, a Twin Ports resident. " If something where to happen what is in place for that."

Monday night, Husky's General Manager said they stand by their decision to continue using the chemical.

"When you look at the gasoline as a product that the refinery really likes to provide for Superior itself, the HF alkylation unit is a vital component of that motor gasoline, so right now we are intending to maintain that operation," said Kollin Schade.

However, he says there will be additional safety measures. Informational booths were set up for that and other improvements they are making.

"We're a learning refinery. We know there are things we can improve on both safety and environmental, and we're going to support those during the rebuild process," Schade added.
us_WI  industrial  follow-up  environmental  hydrofluoric_acid 
4 weeks ago by dchas
Waste Managers Warn of Fire Risk With Lithium Ion Batteries
Lithium-ion batteries are a growing fire hazard at landfills and transfer stations across the region.

The batteries can spark under pressure and heat.

Waste managers are urging residents to properly dispose of electronics at designated recycling centers or hazardous waste collection sites.

The Lebanon landfill, which serves communities across the Upper Valley, has seen seven fires in the past ten months, said Marc Morgan, the facility’s solid waste manager.

The weight of machinery driving over a cell phone or tablet, embedded in a pile of garbage, is enough to cause a small explosion, he said.

The Northeast Resource Recovery Association, a non-profit focused on recycling and waste reduction, is running workshops this spring on proper battery handling. The next N.H. workshop will be May 2 in Plymouth. 
us_NH  public  discovery  environmental  batteries  waste 
4 weeks ago by dchas
Gov't moves to cut chemical plant risks
Special expert to be assigned, factories to be moved away from residential areas

Authorities said special experts will be designated to help govern the hazardous chemical industry in key areas, while ramping up efforts to move plants out of densely populated areas.

The move comes as an investigation into a deadly explosion at a chemical plant in Jiangsu province continues.

Counties listed as key ones for concentrations of chemical factories will be assigned at least two experts as special consultants to offer technical support to local authorities' supervision work, according to a guideline from the State Council's Work Safety Committee.

The document, published on Monday by the Ministry of Emergency Management, said the experts will be chosen based on each of the counties' needs and in light of possible differences in their major types of chemical plants.

It said the experts will also contribute to emergency rescue and safety training work. While assisting enterprises in their construction of safety infrastructure, they are also expected to help enhance grassroots law enforcement capabilities.
China  industrial  explosion  environmental 
4 weeks ago by dchas
Firefighters call for health and safety reform over toxic chemical exposure
When Kevin "Blackie" Black used fire foams back in the 1970s, he never suspected it could affect his health.

Back then, aqueous film forming foam - or AFFF as the firefighters called it - was considered the best way to extinguish an aeroplane fire because it coated the fuel and smothered the flames. Now, the foam is recognised as a toxic substance, contaminating airports, land and waterways across the country, and fire crew are banned from using it.

Nearly 50 years since Blackie took a job with the firefighting crew at Base Woodbourne near Blenheim, he is starting to wonder whether the foam's poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have accumulated in his body.

"Ignorance is bliss. I have to say, I've been trying not to think about it. If you dwell on something like that, it's not good." 
New_Zealand  industrial  discovery  environmental 
5 weeks ago by dchas
EPA races to block gasoline leaking into Popo Agie
An object of heated public debate when it was approved for construction in 2007, a Lander gas station is once again fueling community consternation — and possibly a calamity for the beloved stretch of river that runs through town.

The Lander Fire Department, responding to reports of a strong gasoline odor, discovered an oily sheen on the Middle Fork of the Popo Agie River near its Main Street underpass immediately downstream of a Maverick gas station on April 2, according to EPA reports.

Volunteer firefighters deployed rigid booms to contain the contaminants and maintained a hazardous materials perimeter until a response team from the EPA arrived from Denver on Apr. 4. As a navigable waterway, active threats to the Middle Fork fall under EPA jurisdiction.
us_WY  public  follow-up  environmental  gasoline 
5 weeks ago by dchas
The Chemical Engineer
THE previous three articles in this series focussed on understanding and maintaining the basis of safety for our processes – identifying what could go wrong, establishing measures to prevent or mitigate hazardous events, and maintaining those measures through operational discipline. However, even organisations with strong operational discipline can drift unknowingly into a major process incident. It is important to understand how this can happen in order to try and prevent it.

Imagine that...
Can you imagine a major hazards chemical plant, processing large quantities of toxic chemicals and flammable hydrocarbons, where operators are told to shut down the plant if the wind speed rises above 20 mph? It sounds strange, but I experienced such a situation. How could that have happened? The plant – originally built in in the 1970s – was supported in an open steel structure.

Several months before I visited, management had started a programme of re-painting the structure. But preparatory work revealed significant metal loss under the existing paint. Management was concerned but wanted to continue the work without shutting down the plant and removing the inventory. As preparation work continued, more metal loss was revealed, generating more concern. Studies were commissioned with structural engineering consultants, seeking assurance that there was minimal risk of structural failure; these were regularly reviewed, and up-dated as further metal loss was uncovered, until it was shown that the structure could possibly be de-stabilised by strong winds. This led to the introduction of supporting scaffolding in parts of the structure and the decision to stop production in the event of high wind. The re-painting programme was eventually completed, with a few production interruptions, but fortunately without a structural failure event.
industrial  discovery  environmental 
5 weeks ago by dchas
Delving into Cultural Factors Can Improve Safety
Oil and gas organizations have significantly improved safety over the years, and evaluating a company’s safety culture can identify areas for further gains. But culture is hard to measure and even more difficult to change.

Over the past 10 years, ABS Group has conducted HSE/process safety culture evaluations involving more than 80 offshore assets in the Middle East, North Sea, North Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. After a decade of evaluating data insights into the leading cultural factors that contributed to major offshore incidents, ABS Group formulated a next-generation root cause analysis (RCA) methodology and risk management tool called Cultural Cause Analysis (CCA). CCA supports organizations in knowing which changes in cultural factors have the largest positive impact to prevent future losses.

ABS Group believes CCA will allow organizations to create lasting changes that promote sustainable, outstanding performance in safety leadership. ABS Group’s new approach leverages 40 years of incident investigation, RCA and process safety management (PSM) expertise.
Mexico  industrial  discovery  environmental  petroleum 
5 weeks ago 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 
5 weeks ago 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 
5 weeks ago by dchas
ITC impact: Annual festival celebrating Battle of San Jacinto...
HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - For the first time in 80 years, the annual San Jacinto Day Celebration at the San Jacinto Monument has been canceled due to safety concerns after a fire at the ITC facility in Deer Park.

As the cleanup continues, worries about chemical contamination have forced the closure of two of the state’s most popular tourist attractions during what is usually their busiest time of year.

The celebration has been held April 21 every year since the monument was completed in 1939 to commemorate the battle of San Jacinto that won Texas its independence in 1836.

It’s grown to include a weekendlong festival and battle re-enactment, but not this year.

The fire and chemical release at the ITC plant put the monument, as well as the Battleship Texas moored nearby, in the danger zone. The road leading to both remains closed.
us_TX  public  follow-up  environmental 
5 weeks ago by dchas
After Deadly Explosion In China, Raw Materials Are Even More Challenging
The past few years have been extremely challenging in terms of supply of key raw materials for inks and their ingredients. Suppliers in China have been closed temporarily or permanently due to tightening environmental regulations. In 2018, the shuttering of a key intermediate for photoinitiators creates a shortage of TPO and TPO-L, leaving ink companies scrambling to find materials for UV inks and coatings, often having to pay much higher prices for what they could find. As a result, many leading ink manufacturers have looked to diversify their supplier base.
The tragic explosion at Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical in China in March serves as a reminder of the need for tight regulation in China as well as concerns over doing business in the country.
China  industrial  follow-up  environmental  paints 
5 weeks ago by dchas
Brazil shelves chemicals bill ‘until further notice’
Brazil’s environment minister has shelved the country’s draft chemicals bill, according to a government source.

The bill, which has been sitting with the Civil House since January, was awaiting review by the country’s president, Jair Bolsonaro.

However, Mr Bolsonaro, who took office on 1 January, has sent the bill back to his environment Minister Ricardo Salles (pictured), who has shelved it without review, the source says.

All scheduled meetings of the working groups tasked with reviewing and shaping the draft bill for final approval have been cancelled "until further notice". Some Brazilian industry sources say that they have been dropped for the rest of the year.

OECD accession

The source says this "demonstrates that there is no intention to send the proposal back to the presidency, despite being informed about its importance under the OECD membership process".

In 2017, Brazil applied to become a full OECD member country. It has not yet been invited to start the process of accession but if it is, the country will have to show its ability and willingness to implement the OECD council acts related to chemical safety.
Brazil  industrial  discovery  environmental 
5 weeks ago by dchas
China's chemical industry set for massive changes
China's chemical industry could see major relocations and closures of plants and industrial parks this year amid a nationwide safety crackdown following a couple of deadly factory blasts in East China. 

Experts said that the industry is shifting to a greener, more efficient model, with a focus on developing high added-value materials.

Initial assessments by regulators have revealed that about 30 percent of the country's 676 chemical industry parks have no safety regulation platforms, the Economic Information Daily reported, citing an unidentified official with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

Two-thirds of the industrial parks lacked proper facilities to handle hazardous waste, and nearly 9 percent of industrial parks lacked proper sewage treatment facilities, according to the report.

The MIIT is reportedly working with other government agencies to set up standards to evaluate chemical industrial parks and conduct a thorough assessment of safety risks, which could result in relocations and even closures.

The chemical sector has been under close regulatory scrutiny after a pair of deadly explosions at chemical plants in East China's Jiangsu Province killed a total of 85 people and injured dozens more in March.
China  industrial  follow-up  environmental 
5 weeks ago by dchas
Why jury verdicts get overruled in US industry cancer trials
Why do guilty verdicts get overruled by judges in trials linking chemical products to cancer?

High-profile lawsuits against large pharmaceutical, personal care and agrochemical companies, whose products are alleged to cause cancer, are a regular fixture in US courtrooms. Johnson and Johnson (J&J) is facing around 13,000 lawsuits relating to its talcum powder products, for example, while Bayer has assumed liability in over 11,000 cases relating to Monsanto’s glyphosate herbicide. A few years ago, Takeda and Eli Lilly faced a similar slew of suits over diabetes drug Actos (pioglitazone).

The outcomes of these trials appear to follow a familiar pattern. A jury returns a guilty verdict and awards very large damages to plaintiffs, only for the decision to be overruled by a judge, or at least the amount of damages slashed. Experts suggest that this pattern reflects the scientific complexity of the legal cases involved, and they predict that these cases will continue to be primarily appealed rather than settled.
public  discovery  environmental  dust  pharmaceutical 
5 weeks ago by dchas
‘Nothing ever changes’: Life after one of China’s deadliest chemical disasters
deadly factory explosion in 2007 didn’t kill Ren Guanying. Nor did the chlorine gas leak that sparked mass panic in 2010.

When countless smaller industrial accidents struck Xiangshui County, a smog-choked belt of Jiangsu province in China, over the years, they spared her, too.

The 58-year-old factory worker’s luck ran out on 21 March. An explosion at Tianjiayi Chemical Co ripped through an industrial zone and the surrounding countryside, killing at least 78 people and injuring more than 600.

Ren’s body was found on a country road not far from a 300-foot-wide crater, says her daughter, Ma Li.

“We used to always worry whenever we heard a blast, until we got numb to it,” Ma says in her shattered home about half a mile from the chemical plants. “This place was like a time bomb. This time, it finally got my mom.”

Watch more

Explosion kills seven people at metal-moulding plant in China
To the residents of Xiangshui County, about 200 miles north of Shanghai, the Tianjiayi explosion wasn’t so much an accident as an inevitability.

Over the past two decades, local officials have transformed this once-overlooked coastal expanse of wheat and rice farms into one of China’s major chemical-production centres, tripling the region’s economic output in the process.
China  industrial  follow-up  environmental 
5 weeks ago by dchas
EPA ‘Can’t Do’ Green Chemistry, Agency Official Says
Research on designing chemicals that produce less waste, use less energy, and are safer is being cut at the EPA to increase the focus on chemical recycling and disposal.

“With a limited budget and resources, there are things we can’t do,” Jeff Frithsen, national director for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Chemical Safety for Sustainability research program, told agency advisers April 10.

“Sustainable chemistry: Can’t do it,” he said. “We’re not saying it isn’t important, but in terms of all...
public  discovery  environmental 
5 weeks ago by dchas
Texas chemical plant employee charged in explosion in aftermath of Hurricane Harvey
DALLAS — Another senior employee at a chemical company is facing criminal charges connected to a 2017 explosion at a Houston-area plant following Hurricane Harvey.

Michael Keough, vice president of logistics for Arkema Inc.'s North American subsidiary, was indicted on felony assault charges tied to his actions ahead of a chemical fire and explosion at the company's Crosby facility, the Harris County District Attorney's office announced Wednesday. The company was also charged.

Keough falsely told officials that Arkema was monitoring potentially explosive chemical tanks in real time when the company had insufficient data to give early warning, according to District Attorney Kim Ogg. These "misrepresentations" led two sheriff's deputies to drive directly into a toxic cloud, which then spread to exposing others, she said.

An attorney for Keough, Dan Cogdell, called the indictment "absurd" and "beyond rational thought."
us_TX  industrial  follow-up  environmental  illegal 
5 weeks ago by dchas
Investigators to enter ITC tank farm for first time since...
PASADENA, Texas - It has been over a month since a massive fire broke out at the Intercontinental Terminals Co. in Deer Park.

After burning for multiple days and two flare-ups, crews were able to put the blaze out and begin the cleanup process.

n the following days, a benzene detection forced a shelter-in-place order for the area, nearby waters were polluted with oily residue from runoff and residents in Channelview even saw some flyaway foam landing in their yards. 

ITC was also hit with multiple lawsuits over the fire, including lawsuits filed by the Texas attorney general and Harris County.

According to the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office, investigators are expected to enter the tank farm Tuesday for the first time since the blaze erupted.

"Investigators will conduct an initial scene examination," said Harris County Fire Marshal Laurie L. Christensen. "Investigators will make entry into the tank farm with the appropriate level of personal protective equipment (PPE), which will include hazmat suits and air purifying respirators." 
us_TX  industrial  follow-up  environmental  petroleum 
5 weeks ago by dchas
Dunbar Hall, 'It stinks'
Dunbar Hall is an unsafe eyesore. The university doesn’t want to showcase it, the state hasn’t been able to pay for it for the last two decades, no private investors want to invest because of the lack of chemistry companies in the area and no one in their right minds would want to work or study in it.

Simply put, Dunbar Hall is a burden to the chemistry department here at North Dakota State for both students and staff. Furthermore, it is a hindrance to the potential of the state economy. Dunbar is gross, it smells, the bathrooms are outdated and it has been cited as a potential fire hazard for years.

And this isn’t a uniquely NDSU problem; there are buildings like Dunbar Hall all across this country.
us_ND  laboratory  discovery  environmental 
5 weeks ago by dchas
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