Date: Fri, 18 Dec 2009 08:45:16 -0500
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Subject: 6 Chemical Safety news reports from Google

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Updated at: 12/17/2009 5:26 PM |
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.

Kandiyohi 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.

Maurice's 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.

The ditch is right in front of the building, and one worker saw that the truck was leaking.

" was yellow...was leaking out of it, so he said, 'oh wow,'" Maurice recalled.

It was toxic ammonia nitrate along with other explosive chemicals leaking all over the ground, and there were 33 people working in the building just yards away.

"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," Maurice said.

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.

Others who drove by the accident said they didn't realize how serious it could have been.

"I didn't realize anything had happened, or that it was a chemical spill until I got home," Spicer resident Brenda Sather said.

Maurice didn't realize there could have been an explosion until a couple hours after they evacuated.

"Probably the 5:30 range, but then they had said that there had been some explosives...and it's like oh wow," Maurice said.

On Thursday everything is cleaned up and business is back to normal.

Written for the web by Megan Matthews


=== tory.aspx?brand=ISLGOnline&category=news&tBrand=northlondon2 4&tCategory=newsislg&itemid=WeED16%20Dec%202009%2014%3A44%3A15 %3A007

United Kingdom

Waste firm fined =A3150,000
17 December 2009
AN 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, Preston.

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 Service.

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 =A390,000.

The court heard the fire started just after 6am in an open area of the site, which is used to store drums of chemicals.

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."

Kevin 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 public."

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 employees.

Kentucky lar/story/Dixie-Highway-Reopens-After-Acid-Spill/1-JI6BqzJEmaY_elXJe-hQ.cs px

Dixie Highway Reopens After Acid Spill

Acid Spill Closes Dixie Highway in Erlanger

The ramp from 71/75 Southbound to Dixie Highway in Fort Mitchell has reopened after a chemical spill. 


A tractor 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 roadway. 

Fort 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 truck. 

Crews determined that roughly 30 gallons of hydroflousilicic acid.

Nearby Central Trust Bank was evacuated as a precaution.

The truck is from Univar USA in West Chester. The company's web site says it's the leading chemical distributor in the U.S.

The road reopened shortly after 2 pm.

http://www.wyff4.c om/news/21992302/detail.html

Police: Aerosol Can Explodes; Injures Worker

Emergency Vehicles Respond To Downtown Greenville Location

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 police.

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 Greenville.

When crews arrived, they found a construction worker suffering from minor injuries that happened on when an aerosol can exploded.

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.

The accident happened on the roof of the Courtyard By Marriott, which is under construction near Greenville City Hall.

The man was seen with something black on his face but was able to walk to an ambulance. There was no immediate word of his exact injuries.

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 by


http:/ /

Starved watchdog
Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle
Dec. 16, 2009, 7:57PM

If only a few workers die in an industrial accident, we won't pry.

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.

In 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 shop.

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 decisions.

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 job.

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 investigates.

=== xaminer~y2009m12d17-CDC-Fourth-National-Report-on-Human-Exposure-to-Enviro nmental-Chemicals-released

CDC Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals released

December 17, 4:54 AM
Birmingham Science News Examiner
Paul Hamaker

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. rt

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.

The report does not establish levels of toxicity. No inference is made that small levels of measured exposure are life threatening.

The 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 sex.

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.


Bisphenol 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.


Another 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 U.S. population.

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 it.

Good News

Lead levels are decreasing in children.

Exposure to mercury is lower in younger people by more than fifty percent.

Exposure to cigarette smoke is down seventy percent.

The full report (527 pages) can be read here. 


A summary report can be read here. .pdf

A listing of chemicals examined can be seen here.  http: //

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