Date: Wed, 16 Dec 2009 08:28:43 -0500
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From: List Moderator <ecgrants**At_Symbol_Here**UVM.EDU>
Subject: 4 Chemical Safety news stories from Google


Two Thousand Evacuated After Gas Leak in Ohio
December 14, 2009 at 3:00pm
Around two-thousand people were evacuated from buildings near the Port 
Columbus Ohio International Airport today. Authorities worked to contain 
a hydrogen sulfide chemical leak inside a petroleum company. Fire 
officials said several people were treated for breathing difficulties. 
The leak occurred just before 8 a-m, near the Heartland Refinery. One 
official said initially the gas was seeping from pipes located at the 


California personal injury - 10 people hospitalized after inhaling 
chemical fumes during fire

2009-12-15 02:31:16 (GMT) ( - Justice News Flash, 
Personal Injury)

Bakersfield, CA=E2=80=93 A small fire at Primex Farms sent 10 people to 
the hospital after inhaling chemical fumes that were emitted from the 
small fire. The blaze broke out around 4:15 p.m., on Thursday, December 
10, 2009, at the pistachio processing company located in the 16000 block 
of Wildwood Road near Wasco, as reported by

The Kern County Fire Department rushed to the scene to extinguish the 
small toxic blaze at Primex Farms. When fire crews arrived at the scene, 
they discovered several workers who were complaining of dizziness, 
nausea, and headaches. A total of 10 people were rushed by emergency 
medical services (EMS) teams to area hospitals for treatment of their 
illnesses caused by the chemical reaction. Their current conditions or 
extent of their injuries are not available at this time. Apparently 
stored fumigant used to kill rodents and pests at the processing company 
reacted with the rain, which ignited the small fire. The fire was 
quickly extinguished with the help of hand-held fire extinguishers and 
firefighters. The Hazardous Materials unit from Station 66 in 
Bakersfield assisted in determining if the product was safe. Police 
officials and fire officials are reportedly investigating the incident.



Hash oil home explosion not a surprise to one expert

By Michael Roberts in Follow That Story, MarijuanaTue., Dec. 15 2009 **At_Symbol_Here** 

=E2=80=8BThis weekend, an explosion rocked the home of a licensed 
medical marijuana grower in Breckenridge, reportedly because roommates 
of the owner who were injured in the accident were trying to process 
hashish using butane.

If that's what happened, the people in question were taking a 
considerable risk, says Timothy Tipton, founder of the Rocky Mountain 
Caregivers Cooperative.

"I knew one of these days something like this would happen," Tipton 
says. "It's not anything to be playing around with. It's a very 
dangerous process."

According to Tipton, "California, where medical marijuana has been legal 
since 1996, has had prohibitions in place associated with the use of 
petroleum products such as butane in extraction" -- a process probably 
used in this case to produce hash oil, which is often referred to as 
honey oil.

That's not the case with the constitutional amendment that sanctioned 
medical marijuana in Colorado. Still, Tipton feels locals interested in 
using butane to make honey oil -- which can feature as much as 96 
percent pure THC -- should know going in how delicate the procedure is.

"Honey oil is made or extracted using bud or leaf matter in a 
cylindrical metal tube that is set on top of a glass Pyrex plate," 
Tipton explains. "At the end of the tube is a fitting that would 
accommodate a butane cartridge, and as that butane cartridge is released 
into the tube with the marijuana matter, the butane leaks through onto 
the Pyrex plate, which has a film on top of it. Over time, the butane 
airs off and all that remains, with the exception of residual matter, is 
honey oil that is scraped with a razor blade off the bottom of the plate 
after the butane has successfully evaporated."

It doesn't always, though.

"A common problem associated with the use of this therapy revolves 
around the persons participating in the extraction process not having 
gotten rid of all the extracted chemicals," he maintains. "So there's 
very little understanding of the chemical makeup of the honey oil, and 
whether it has residual butane, petroleum or chemical products that may 
be detrimental to our patients' health and welfare."

Similar issues involving the safety of medical marijuana-related 
products were mentioned by Senator Chris Romer in a Monday blog about 
his visit to the Cannabis Holiday Health Fair. In this case, however, 
there's a way around such difficulties -- by using a different method to 
make honey oil.

"Normally, hash medicine is made with bubble bags and an ice process 
that doesn't involve chemicals such as ether or butane," Tipton says. 
"And there are honey oil extraction processes that don't incorporate 
volatile materials."

For instance, "there's a glycerin-based process, and there's also a 
food-grade cylindrical-tube press method, where the raw matter is 
compressed under considerable force to extract any oils without any use 
of petroleum-based products for extraction."

Learning how to do this ain't easy. Indeed, Matt Schnurr, a molecular 
biology grad student, has offered classes to teach the method that 
Tipton describes as "the equivalent of a basic chemistry course."

Of course, people interested in taking a short cut to honey oil 
production can find manufacturing tips on the Internet, too. But those 
who choose this short-cut need to remember something extremely important 
when it comes to the use of butane.

"This process needs to be done outdoors in a safe environment with the 
realization of butane's volatility and the possibility of fire or 
explosion," Tipton says. "Because one spark as all of that butane is 
being released has the potential of creating disaster."


6 Risky Chemicals You're Carrying in Your Body
In the most comprehensive testing to date, the CDC finds Americans are 
exposed to 212 chemicals. Here's how to avoid six of the riskiest.
By Dan Shapley
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released its latest 
assessment of the chemicals we're all carrying around in our bodies. The 
biomonitoring study is the most comprehensive in the world, measuring 
212 chemicals in the blood and urine of 8,000 Americans. That's more 
than 40% more chemicals than have ever been tested for before.

The results: You can find 212 chemicals in the blood and urine of 
Americans if you look for them.

But what does it mean for your health? The CDC highlighted a few 
chemicals because they are both widespread -- found in all or most 
people tested -- and potentially harmful. Here's a look at what they are 
and how you can try to avoid them.

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers
Better known as "flame retardants" PBDEs are used widely in all sorts of 
goods -- from foam furniture to electronics -- to reduce fire risk. They 
also accumulate in human fat, and some studies suggest they may harm the 
liver and kidneys as well as the neurological system. Some states, 
including California, Washington and Maine, have restricted the use of 
certain PBDEs deemed the highest health risk. Short of such bans, 
avoiding them is difficult because the chemicals are integrated into so 
many common products.

Bisphenol A
BPA, which is found in many plastics, in the lining of cans and even 
coating many sales receipts, was found in more than 90% of Americans 
tested. The health concerns about BPA are many and growing. While 
BPA-free products are available, it can be difficult to choose them 
unless you do research ahead of time. The Daily Green has a list of many 
products containing BPA to help.

PFOA and other perfluorinated chemicals found in most Americans are used 
to create heat-resistant and non-stick coatings on cookware, as well as 
grease-resistant food packaging and stain-resistant clothing. Studies 
have linked these chemicals to a range of health problems, including 
infertility in women, and to liver, immune system, developmental and 
reproductive problems in lab animals. Avoiding them can be difficult, 
but avoiding products that contain them is a first step.

Formed when carbohydrates are cooked at high temperatures (French fries 
anyone?) and as a byproduct of tobacco smoke, acrylamide and its 
metabolites are extremely common in Americans. While the risks of 
low-level exposure aren't well known, high-level exposure has caused 
cancer and neurological problems in lab animals and workers, 
respectively. Avoiding it in food comes down to food choice, storage and 
preparation, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Examples 
include boiling or baking potatoes, rather than frying them, or soaking 
them in water before frying; toasting bread only lightly; and moderating 
the drinking of coffee, which gets acrylamide in the roasting process.

The main source of mercury -- a potent neurotoxin that can lead to 
permanent brain damage if young children or fetuses are exposed -- 
continues to be contaminated fish. To avoid mercury, you have to educate 
yourself about which fish are safe. Several guides exist to help make a 
smart choice at the fish counter.

This gasoline additive has been phased out of use in the U.S., in favor 
of ethanol, but it still can be detected widely in American's bodies. 
(It has contaminated many drinking water supplies.) While the health 
risks are not well defined, studies have linked it to a variety of 
potential problems, including neurological and reproductive damage.

The good news in the CDC report is that effective regulation can really 
reduce harmful exposures to chemicals. Testing reveals that secondhand 
smoke exposure has declined 70%, for instance, and lead poisoning (as 
defined by the CDC; some scientists think the acceptable level is too 
high) now affects less than 2% of children aged 1-5.

The bad news is that, not only are Americans being exposed to many 
potentially harmful chemicals, in mixtures that are totally untested, 
but even this most comprehensive testing regimen accounts for less than 
1% of the chemicals most Americans are exposed to regularly. The 
Environmental Protection Agency has identified at least 6,000 chemicals 
that Americans are routinely exposed to.

Until and unless U.S. regulation of chemicals changes, chemicals will 
continue to be used in commerce before rigorous safety testing. That 
means it's up to consumers to avoid chemicals they deem risky.

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