Liverpool, UK http://www.clickliverpool.com/news/local-news/127170-two-injured-in-explos ion-at-liverpool-university-chemistry-building.html Two students injured in explosion at Liverpool University Chemistry building by Angela Johnson. Two students have been injured in an explosion at Liverpool University's Chemistry department. Police were called to the building at the University campus on Crown St at around 11.45am. The students, believed to be one male and one female, suffered chemical burns to the skin. They were taken to hospital by paramedics, it is not yet clear how serious their injuries are. The building has been evacuated as a precaution and has been secured for investigation by the Health and Safety Executive. A spokesman for Merseyside Police said: "Officers were called at around 11.45am with reports of an explosion. "Two people were taken to hospital via ambulance for treatment. "The building has been evacuated and secured for investigation by the HSE." A spokeswoman for Merseyside Ambulance Service said: "Two students were taken via ambulance to the Royal Liverpool Hospital. "They received burns to the skin. It remains unclear how serious injuries caused by the chemicals involved may be." === Seabrook, TX http://www.khou.com/news/Huge-explosion-rocks-plant-in-Seabrook-78865017.h tml Huge explosion rocks American Acryl plant near Seabrook by Taylor Timmins / khou.com & Shern-Min Chow / 11 News Posted on December 9, 2009 at 9:04 AM SEABROOK, Texas=97A huge explosion rocked the American Acryl plant near Seabrook Wednesday, shaking buildings and prompting a number of shelter-in-place orders. It happened around 8:45 a.m. in the 12100 block of Port Road at Highway 146 in Pasadena. Two plant employees were taken to the hospital for observation. One has since been released. Officials said the other is being treated for possible inhalation injuries. All other plant employees were accounted for Wednesday afternoon, and there were no reports of any other injuries in the community. A thick, black cloud of smoke was visible for miles over the area after the explosion. The smoke drifted to the south and east, prompting Clear Creek ISD, Dickinson ISD, Kemah, Seabrook and League City to issue shelter-in-place orders. All of the orders were lifted a few hours after the blast. (more at web site) === Texas http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=9293385 Feds Urge Safety Changes at Citgo Refinery Federal officials seek urgent safety changes after acid released at Texas refinery this summer By JOHN McFARLAND Associated Press Writer Federal officials issued urgent new safety recommendations Wednesday for a Texas oil refinery where 21 tons of deadly acid were released this summer and said they are investigating the use of the chemical at refineries nationwide. The head of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board said the inquiry continues into the July accident at Citgo's Corpus Christi refinery that seriously injured a worker, and accidents involving hydrofluoric acid in Illinois and Pennsylvania are also being investigated. In all, about a third of the nation's 150 refineries use hydrofluoric acid, or HF, in the process of making high-octane gas. "We're looking industrywide at the HF use in refineries and the safety of HF at the 51 refineries," CSB investigations supervisor Robert Hall said. The United Steel Workers union and the Sierra Club have been urging a ban on the acid for months, saying it's too dangerous to workers and people who live nearby. The highly corrosive acid can burn eyes, eat away flesh at a rapid rate and is fatal after prolonged exposure. At the Corpus Christi plant, a control valve failed July 19 and released an HF vapor cloud. That cloud caught fire and started explosions that released the additional 21 tons of acid vapor, about 2 tons of which escaped into the sky. The injured worker got caught up in the cloud. Winds helped carry the massive cloud into the ship channel and away from people. The CSB was critical of Citgo's lack of cooperation with investigators, its objection to the public release of surveillance video of the incident and its early reports to state regulators that only 30 pounds of HF escaped into the sky. "We believe the original release was at least 100 times larger than Citgo had originally stated," said Hall. Citgo, a Houston-based refiner and subsidiary of Venezuela's national oil company, said in a statement that it is cooperating and has already taken action on the recommendations. === Washington, DC http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elizabeth-grossman/fixing-our-broken-chemica _b_381927.html Fixing Our Broken Chemicals Policy While Afghanistan, the economy, Copenhagen and health care grabbed headlines this week, on December 2nd, Senators Frank Lautenberg and Barbara Boxer, who chairs the Senate Environment & Public Works committee, held a hearing on an issue that could significantly influence three out of four of those big ticket items. That issue is chemicals - the synthetic and industrial chemicals, largely petrochemical in origin that permeate every aspect of our lives - and the inadequacies of TSCA (Toxic Substances Control Act), the primary law aimed at protecting Americans from chemical hazards Also slipping in under the headlines was introduction of the Endocrine Disruption Prevention Act of 2009 by Senator John Kerry and Representative Jim Moran. Endocrine disruptors are synthetic chemicals that can interfere with the body's own endocrine hormones that regulate reproduction, metabolism, development, and other vital systems. Chemicals identified as endocrine disruptors (EDCs) are used in countless consumer products. Evidence of their adverse health effects - such chemicals have been linked to health disorders that include diabetes, obesity, reproductive and neurological problems - has been growing so steadily that the American Medical Association is urging policies to reduce public exposure to these substances. This new bill would increase research on EDCs with the aim of protecting public health by restricting their use. Chemicals identified as endocrine disruptors are among the 80,000-plus chemicals now registered for commerce in the Untied States. While we know a great deal about many o these chemicals, despite the many environmental and consumer protection law on the books, the vast majority of these chemicals' health effects remain unknown or incompletely tested. And while our rivers no longer run with toxics that catch fire and children no longer run behind DDT spray trucks, we have not succeeded in keeping hazardous chemicals out of places they shouldn't be - namely our bodies and those of our infants and children. (more at web site) === Ukraine http://www.abcnews.go.com/International/chewing-gum-explodes-killing-stude nt-ukraine/story?id=9290557 Exploding Chewing Gum Kills Student The Ukrainian Man Had a Habit of Dipping Gum in Citric Acid By ALEXANDER MARQUARDT MOSCOW, Dec. 9, 2009 A Ukrainian man's jaw was blown off after he laced his chewing gum with an unknown substance, local authorities in the country's Sumy region said of the man who died from his injuries. The jaw of a 25-year-old Ukrainian man, Vladimir, was blown off after he laced his chewing gum with an unknown substance, according to local authorities. A chemistry student at the Kiev Polytechnic Institute who was identified only by his first name Vladimir liked to chew gum and dip it in citric acid, his family said. He was working on his home computer Saturday night in the town of Konotop when his mother heard the sound of the explosion, according to authorities. She turned around to find Vladimir, 25, on the floor with his face bleeding and his jaw blown off. Emergency services couldn't do anything to save him. A forensics test revealed that the piece of gum was laced with an unidentified chemical, possibly an explosive, according to Russian state-run news service RIA Novosti. Sumy police officials found an unidentified substance and citric acid near Vladimir's body, saying in a statement that he may have confused the two. Friends and classmates told police that Vladimir was a quiet and level-headed man who, from a young age, enjoyed math, physics and chemistry. He made homemade firecrackers, they said, hoping to be a scientist when he grew up. He was home for the holidays after finishing this semester's exams, spending most of his time on the computer and experimenting with various chemicals. The authorities are conducting more tests on the unknown substance. === UK http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/lancashire/8404129.stm Firm fined after chemical explosion closed motorways Drums flew into the air as the chemicals exploded causing a huge fire at the Red Scar industrial estate in Ribbleton An international waste management company has been fined =A3150,000 after a major chemical fire closed two motorways in Lancashire. Drums of chemicals exploded at Veolia ES Cleanaway on the Red Scar industrial estate in Ribbleton in July 2007. Sections of the M55 and the M6 were closed during the morning rush hour as 66 firefighters tackled the flames. The firm admitted two health and safety breaches at Preston Crown Court. It was also told to pay =A390,000 court costs. A 15-month investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed the company did not do enough to ensure dangerous chemicals on its site in Ribbleton were stored safely, nor did it provide adequate training for its staff. =09 The fire at the waste site put lives in danger and caused gridlock on local roads Linda Murray, HSE principal inspector for Lancashire It was prosecuted by the HSE for breaching two of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002. The court heard the fire started just after 0600 BST on 2 July 2007 in an open area of the site, which is used to store drums of chemicals. Firefighters reported seeing drums rocketing into the air and off the site after setting alight. Emergency services closed the industrial estate and the motorways due to fears that smoke and fumes would travel if the wind changed direction. The fire was extinguished by mid-afternoon after more than 132,000 litres (29,000 gallons) of chemicals were set alight. HSE inspectors believe it was caused by lithium batteries igniting nearby waste materials. Linda Murray, HSE principal inspector for Lancashire, said: "Any businesses that have flammable substances on their premises need to take appropriate measures to minimise the risk of fires or explosions. "The fire at the waste site put lives in danger and caused gridlock on local roads. I hope this case will make businesses think seriously about what they need to do to prevent fires in the future."
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