Updated at: 12/17/2009 5:26 PM | KSAX.com
By: Megan Matthews
Back-to-Work Evacuees Tell
Story of Chemical Spill
SPICER, MINN. - Kandiyohi County Sheriff evacuated
about 50 people from their homes along with several businesses after a
semi-truck rolled, spilling toxic ammonia nitrate.
Power Cooperative was one of those businesses. Their building is only
yards away from where the spill happened.
"All of a
sudden we heard this big bang," Diane Maurice said.
office in the Kandiyohi Power Cooperative building overlooks Highway 23,
and she saw the accident happen.
"I saw this cloud of snow,
and it's like oh wow, there's wheels," Maurice said.
is right in front of the building, and one worker saw that the truck was
"Something...it was yellow...was leaking out of it, so
he said, 'oh wow,'" Maurice recalled.
toxic ammonia nitrate along with other explosive chemicals leaking all
over the ground, and there were 33 people working in the building just
"They heard this big bang as well, so they came
running thinking that something hit the front of our building. Ten minutes later we
received a call from the sheriff's office mandating that we evacuate,"
They had fifteen minutes to evacuate the building, but
Maurice said it went smoothly, because they were having an all employee
meeting that day.
"We knew everybody was safe here, and we didn't have
to call the trucks in and that kind of thing. It's almost like we were
getting prepared for this accident," Maurice said.
who drove by the accident said they didn't realize how serious it could
"I didn't realize anything had happened, or that it
was a chemical spill until I got home," Spicer resident Brenda Sather
Maurice didn't realize there could have been an
explosion until a couple hours after they evacuated.
the 5:30 range, but then they had said that there had been some
explosives...and it's like oh wow," Maurice said.
Thursday everything is cleaned up and business is back to
for the web by Megan Matthews
Waste firm fined
17 December 2009
ISLINGTON-based international waste management company has been fined
=A3150,000 for health and safety breaches following a major chemical
fire which closed two motorways.
Sections of the M6 and M55
were shut for several hours on July 2, 2007, while firefighters tackled
the blaze at the Red Scar Industrial Estate in Longridge Road,
The Health and Safety Executive prosecuted Veolia ES
Cleanaway (UK) Ltd after carrying out a joint 15-month investigation
with the Environment Agency and Lancashire Fire and Rescue
Veolia, which has its headquarters in Pentonville
Road, pleaded guilty to two offences at Preston Crown Court. As well as
the fine, the company was ordered to pay costs of
The court heard the fire started just after 6am in an
open area of the site, which is used to store drums of
Linda Murray, HSE principal inspector for Lancashire,
said: "Our investigation showed that Veolia didn't do enough to make
sure that the dangerous chemicals were stored safely. The company also
failed to provide adequate training for its staff."
Lodge, investigation officer at the Environment Agency, said: "This was
a serious incident which had the potential to cause long-term
environmental damage, as well as posing a risk to staff and the
Veolia was charged with breaching Regulations 6(3) and
9(1) of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations
2002 by failing to take appropriate measures to control the storage of
dangerous substances, and by failing to provide suitable and sufficient
information, instruction and training for its
Dixie Highway Reopens After Acid Spill
Acid Spill Closes Dixie Highway in
The ramp from 71/75 Southbound to Dixie Highway in
Fort Mitchell has reopened after a chemical spill.
trailer hauling four 3,200-pound containers of hydrofluosilicic acid and
a 26,880 pound cylinder of chlorine began leaking just after 8 a.m.
The driver noticed a
container had spilled and the substance was leaking onto the
Mitchell Fire and Kenton County Emergency Management were on the scene
with teams from Boone County, Campbell County and Greater Cincinnati
Hazmat are on scene, keeping a thousand foot perimeter from the leaking
determined that roughly 30 gallons of hydroflousilicic
Nearby Central Trust Bank was evacuated as a
The truck is from Univar USA in West Chester. The
company's web site says it's the leading chemical distributor in the
The road reopened shortly after 2 pm.
Police: Aerosol Can
Explodes; Injures Worker
Emergency Vehicles Respond To Downtown Greenville
GREENVILLE, S.C. -- What was first reported to
emergency officials as some type of explosion at a downtown Greenville
construction site turned out to be an aerosol can accident, according to
The call came in to dispatchers at about 11:15 a.m. on
Friday. Both EMS and hazmat crews were called to 210 South Main in
When crews arrived, they found a construction worker
suffering from minor injuries that happened on when an aerosol can
A spokesman from the Greenville Fire Department said
the worker was trying to warm up can of spray paint with his welding
equipment when the can exploded in his face.
accident happened on the roof of the Courtyard By Marriott, which is
under construction near Greenville City Hall.
was seen with something black on his face but was able to walk to an
ambulance. There was no immediate word of his exact
First responders were seen trying to contact the spray
paint manufacturer to help with proper care of a patient with chemical
injuries to the skin.
Copyright 2009 Houston
Dec. 16, 2009,
If only a
few workers die in an industrial accident, we won't
That seems to be the philosophy of the U.S. Chemical
Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB), the understaffed and
underfunded independent federal agency charged with investigating plant
and refinery mishaps.
Explosions at two Houston-area facilities within a
single week have killed one, injured several more and alarmed thousands
of residents near the Valero Energy Corp.'s Texas City oil refinery and
the American Acryl facility in Seabrook.
response to requests for an investigation of the mishaps, CSB chair John
Bresland told the Chronicle's Stewart M. Powell that his agency's staff
was already maxed out with 16 ongoing probes and could not take on the
latest incidents in Texas.
=93We would like to investigate more accidents,=94 he
said, =93but that would require additional resources from Congress.=94
Even when it sends investigators out to the scenes of accidents, the CSB
is limited in what it can do with their findings. It is not empowered to
issue citations or levy fines on plant operators and can only make
non-binding safety recommendations.
The CSB is failing to live
up to its statutory responsibilities specified by the Clean Air Act
passed in 1990, according to officials of the Government Accountability
Office that monitors agency performance. In August the GAO faulted the
CSB for failing to investigate all accidental chemical releases that
caused fatalities, serious injuries, substantial property damage or the
risk of such occurrences. It currently has a minuscule $9.3 million
budget and a staff of 40, hardly the force needed to deal with the 35
chemical plant and 11 refinery accidents that have occurred so far this
year. More than 700 mishaps have occurred since the CSB set up
In a letter sent to the agency last month, the House
Labor Committee criticized the hundreds of secret votes taken by the
five-member panel, which currently has one vacancy. The issue of
transparency came to the committee's attention after a secret deadlocked
vote scuttled a safety recommendation concerning a North Carolina
factory explosion. Lawmakers called on Bresland to institute policies
making board member votes public with an explanation for their
National union leaders have called for greater
participation by their members in CSB investigations at chemical
facilities and refineries.
With Southeast Texas at the epicenter of the U.S.
petrochemical complex, the need for an investigatory agency with the
capabilities to quickly and thoroughly investigate accidents is obvious.
Houston Reps. Gene Green, a Democrat, and Ted Poe, a Republican, agree
that the CSB needs adequate resources and expanded authority to do its
The Harris County congressional delegation should
likewise unite in demanding that this industry watchdog be adequately
fed and empowered to order safety improvements at the facilities it
CDC Fourth National Report
on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals released
17, 4:54 AM
Birmingham Science News
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
announced the release of the Centers for Disease and Control and
prevention's December 10, 2009 report on human exposure to environmental
chemicals on December 15, 2009. http://www.cdc.gov/exposurerepo
The report is based on urinalysis of 2400 volunteers
and examines the exposure to 212 environmental chemicals. Seventy-five
of these chemicals have not been reported previously.
report does not establish levels of toxicity. No inference is made that
small levels of measured exposure are life threatening.
purpose of the report per the CDC is to establish baselines for further
study and to give physicians a reference value that would indicate
overexposure in a given individual to a particular chemical. The report
will also be used to examine exposure based on race and
Wide spread exposure was found in:
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers are fire retardants used in
certain manufactured products. These accumulate in the environment and
in human fat tissue. One type of polybrominated diphenyl ether, BDE-47,
was found in the serum of nearly all of the participants.
A (BPA), a component of epoxy resins and polycarbonates, may have
potential reproductive toxicity. General population exposure to BPA may
occur through ingestion of foods in contact with BPA-containing
materials. CDC scientists found bisphenol A in more than 90% of the
urine samples representative of the U.S. population.
example of widespread human exposure included several of the
perfluorinated chemicals. One of these chemicals, perfluorooctanoic acid
(PFOA), was a byproduct of the synthesis of other perfluorinated
chemicals and was a synthesis aid in the manufacture of a commonly used
polymer, polytetrafluoroethylene(PTFE), which is used to create
heat-resistant non-stick coatings in cookware. Most participants had
measurable levels of this environmental contaminant
Acrylamide is formed when foods containing carbohydrates are
cooked at high temperatures (e.g., French fries) and as a byproduct of
tobacco smoke. Most people are exposed to acrylamide through the diet
and from smoking. Because acrylamide is a reactive chemical, it can bind
to proteins. These reaction products are called adducts. CDC's
Environmental Health Laboratory developed a new method to measure
acrylamide and its metabolite, glycidamide, as adducts of hemoglobin, a
major blood protein. This measure reflects the dose of acrylamide and
glycidamide over the previous several months of intake. The data in the
Fourth Report show that acrylamide exposure is extremely common in the
Other chemicals that showed a high level of exposure
were perchlorate, cadmium and MTBE. The chemical perchlorate is both
naturally occurring and manmade and is used to manufacture fireworks,
explosives, flares, and rocket propellant. Cigarette smoking is the most
likely source for these higher cadmium levels in five percent of the
participants.(Cadmium is a know cause of kidney disease and cancer and
has been out of use in the coatings industry for more than twenty
years.) The gasoline additive methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) was found
to exist in the majority of participants.
The exposure to PTFE may be
due to the use of metal utensils in cooking with non-stick coated
cookware. The manufactures have recommended the use of only plastic
utensils and disposal of cookware that appears damaged for decades.
Manufacturers do not put warning labels on products for the fun of
Lead levels are decreasing in
Exposure to mercury is lower in younger people by more
than fifty percent.
Exposure to cigarette smoke is down seventy
The full report (527 pages) can be read here.