Date: Thu, 10 Dec 2009 07:39:53 -0500
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From: List Moderator <ecgrants**At_Symbol_Here**UVM.EDU>
Subject: 6 Chemical Safety news stories from Google

Liverpool, UK

Two students injured in explosion at Liverpool University Chemistry 

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 

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

Huge explosion rocks American Acryl plant near Seabrook

by Taylor Timmins / & 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 

All of the orders were lifted a few hours after the blast.

(more at web site)


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 

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 

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

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)


Exploding Chewing Gum Kills Student
The Ukrainian Man Had a Habit of Dipping Gum in Citric Acid
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 

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 

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 

The authorities are conducting more tests on the unknown substance.


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.
 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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