http://www.lubbockonline.com/stories/010910/loc_544542009.shtml Police Briefs Lubbock Avalanche-Journal Saturday, January 09, 2010 Story last updated at 1/9/2010 - 12:12 am A Texas Tech graduate student still was in a Lubbock hospital Friday after he was burned in a chemical explosion Thursday on the campus. Preston Brown, 29, received severe burns to his face and hands when a mixture of elements - nickel hydrazine perchlorate - he was working with exploded about 4 p.m. in room 218 of Tech's Chemistry building, said Cory Chandler, a spokesman for the university. Brown was taken University Medical Center where he remained in critical condition Friday night, according to a hospital supervisor. Another student was taken to UMC with minor injuries, Chandler said. No other people were exposed to dangerous chemicals from the blast, he said. The blast also damaged a work bench but did not produce a fire. Tech's Department of Environmental Health & Safety was investigating the accident Friday. === http://www.huliq.com/9501/90375/morehead-city-nc-chemical-alert Morehead City, NC on Chemical Alert Morehead City, NC closes after nine containers of the highly explosive material (PETN) were punctured. PETN was the same material found in Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab underwear. The chemical has not caused any injuries or damaged the environment, but authorities are still urging residents to evacuate the area. U.S. Highway 70 between Radio Island and 5th Street will be closed while emergency crews work to secure the area and continue to investigate the accident. The Morehead City police and fire departments and the Cherry Point emergency operations division are handling the accident. Even though details of the incident are under investigation, the NC State Ports Authority say the accident occurred during a vessel operation, which are handled by private Stevedoring Companies. No comments have been made from the private company regarding how the accident occurred, but the handling of explosive materials is nothing new to the port. Hazmat materials are handled under strict regulations and in conjunction with local and state emergency management agencies. The eastern port is mostly known for importing sulfur and exporting phosphate, but PETN is used for something other than a highly explosive material, it's used to treat heart conditions as well. Either way, PETN is one of the highest explosives known to man. The most common use of PETN is as an explosive that develops its maximum pressure quickly. The material is more sensitive than TNT or tetryl, but is more difficult to detonate than primary explosives, so mishandling it or using incendiary devices around it, will not normally cause an explosion. PETN was recently in the news when Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian, boarded an airplane with 80 grams of the explosive in his pants. Only a small fire resulted after he injected liquid into the material with a syringe, but the potential damage could have been catastrophic for the people on board. History shows that the material was first synthesized in 1891 by German chemist Bernhard Tollens and P. Wiegand after the nitration of pentaerythritol. However, it wasn't until the German government patented the material in 1912, that the production of PETN had not only started but was used in World War I. The material is contained to land and hasn't affected the water, but authorities are continuing to have voluntary evacuations as well as closing incoming traffic in and out of Morehead City, NC because of the obvious potential risks to the local population and environment. === http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/01/12/23572.htm Tuesday, January 12, 2010Last Update: 7:05 AM PT Troubling Record at Waste-Disposal Firm By DAVID LEE (CN) - After investigating a deadly explosion at CES Environmental Services in Houston in July 2009, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed penalties of $1.5 million. An employee cleaning a tank was killed when an altered piece of equipment ignited flammable vapors inside the tank. OSHA said it was the third fatality in less than a year at CES facilities. CES is a waste management company. Among other things, OSHA found that 15 pieces of electrical equipment were unsafe to use in the tank wash area due to the presence of flammable and combustible vapors. It claims that CES failed to ventilate tanks in which employees worked, exposing them to toxic air. And it claims that CES stored flammable and reactive chemicals together, creating hazards of fire and explosion. The company already has been fined more than $224,000 for two hydrogen sulfide exposure-related deaths at another facility, Port Arthur Chemical & Environmental Services, on Dec. 18, 2008 and April 14, 2009. Those citations were contested and are being litigated before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. CES was sued a year ago by neighbors of the Houston facility, who claim CES is "illegally changing labels on hazardous material barrels," and "engaging in the illegal trafficking of hazardous substances" that made the residents sick. CES and Port Arthur Chemical together employ 155 workers. === New Zealand http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/3226397/Chemical-spill-sparks-Li chfield-emergency Fire crews from around the South Waikato were called to a chemical spill at Fonterra's Lichfield cheese factory yesterday. Northern fire communications spokesman Jaron Phillips said about 1400 litres of ammonia reacted with 10,000 litres of caustic soda in a silo at the southern hemisphere's largest cheese factory, causing a tank to overflow around 2pm. The immediate area and 25 Fonterra staff were evacuated. Fire appliances from Putaruru and Tokoroa were first on the scene. A hazardous materials team wearing chemical protection suits was also called in from Rotorua. The chemical reaction sent a large gas cloud into the air, which was quickly dissipated by a southerly wind. Wood Rd outside the factory was cordoned off, but nearby State Highway 1 remained open. One fireman was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure with what were though to be ammonia burns to his armpit. "(Ammonia) is pretty nasty stuff if you get it on you," Mr Phillips said. Exposure to high con-centrations of ammonia can cause severe burns in a very short time. Reacting with the water in the skin, it forms a substance that in sufficient quantities can be very corrosive. By 3.15pm the spill had been contained in a cylinder. Neighbouring Wiltsdown Rd residents spoken to by the Times said they were not aware of the chemical spill. They heard fire sirens, but thought little of it. A Fonterra spokeswoman said a full investigation was under way. The spill happened while chemical transport company Orica was unloading chemicals at the site. Orica spokesman John Redwood said the company was investigating how the spill occurred to ensure it didn't happen again.
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