Date: Thu, 1 Apr 2010 07:33:56 -0400
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Subject: Chemical Safety headlines from Google

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us_wv: Bayer, OSHA settle case over fatal 2008 explosion
We=92ve got the story in today=92s Gazette that Bayer CropScience has agreed to pay OSHA fines of $143,000 related to the 2008 explosion and fire that killed two workers at the company=92s Institute chemical plant.

That=92s the same as the original amount that OSHA fined Bayer following its investigation of the Aug. 28, 2008, incident in the Institute plant Methomyl unit.

But, OSHA agreed to reclassify one of the two =93repeat=94 citations issued to Bayer as a =93serious=94 citation, and dropped four of the other serious citations. For those who want to take a closer look, we=92ve got the original citations posted here and the settlement document from OSHA posted here.

In the other most recent case involving deaths at the Institute plant, OSHA in August 1996 settled a case that originally had a $1.59 million fine attached to it for $700,000, and dropped 11 of the original 27 citations, including 10 that had been listed as =93willful=94 by OSHA inspectors.

us_mn: Mille Lacs County Times - Chemical fire west of Foreston
As firefighters from Foreston, Milaca and Foley tried to put out a chemical fire, the homeowner caused so much interference that he was finally arrested.

On Tuesday, March 30 around 7 p.m., numerous firefighters, sheriff=92s office deputies and troopers with the state patrol responded to the fire at 16698 Highway 23, west of Foreston near the Benton/Mille Lacs County border.

An automotive shop in the garage/barn had a large amount of used motor oil, a 250 gallon diesel fuel tank and magnesium inside. There were several explosions and firefighters used foam through an induction system for the magnesium.

There was also a lot of wood in and around the building. Dave=92s Excavating was called in to help clear wood and other material away from the building.

Sgt. Dan Holada of the sheriff=92s office arrived on scene to learn that the owner, James Arsene Lafore, 57, had pulled a fire hose out of one of the firefighters hand and was in dangerous areas.
us_mn home fire response illegal
us_la: Denham Springs Chemical Fire
A tremendous explosion inside a chemical warehouse operated by Coco Resources in Denham Springs triggered a huge fire Tuesday.

Efforts to bring the blaze under control were constantly interrupted when 55 gallon drums filled with chemicals would periodically explode into the air and then come apart like fragmentation grenades starting more fires where ever they landed.

State police say the warehouse was stacked from the floor to ceiling with 55 gallon drums of chemicals stacked on pallets. Fire officials made the decision to pull back to a safe distance and wait for the fire to begin dying down before moving in to extinguish it.

The fire forced the evacuation of about 200 people and sent smoke so high into the air it could be seen 20 miles off in Baton Rouge.

The cause of the fire won't be known until it has been put out.

us_ca: North Auburn apartment explosion believed drug-lab-related
A chemical explosion rocked a North Auburn apartment complex Tuesday and investigators now say it was caused by a possible clandestine hashish lab in a bathroom.

Four people who had been in the Auburn Court Apartments unit where the explosion took place were taken to hospital with burns, said Lt. Jeffrey Ausnow of the Placer County Sheriff=92s Department.

Another man, who went into the Gateway Court apartment to rescue a dog, suffered smoke inhalation.

Nearby residents of the complex, located next to Rock Creek Plaza at Highway 49 and Bell Road, described the explosion as a sound similar to a car ramming into a building.

us_ca: The King of Hazardous Waste
Marcial Aguinaldo had to manage the biological waste coming from Prusiner=92s and other campus labs.

Aguinaldo is Mission Bay=92s =93king of hazardous waste,=94 according to his boss, D. Travis Clark, an environmental health & safety specialist with the university.

With his team of seven technicians, Aguinaldo is in charge of picking up, consolidating, and packing off radiological, biological, and chemical waste produced by labs and medical offices at 14 UCSF facilities, including all of the Mission Bay campus. It=92s a job that requires a deep knowledge of chemistry and biology, as well as the flexibility to adapt to thousands of researchers and a constantly shifting smorgasbord of chemicals.

=93I still have my ten fingers,=94 the 51-year-old joked recently about his nearly three decades of handling carcinogenic, radioactive, toxic, and explosive materials.

Robert Bunsen, of Bunsen burner fame, born today in 1811

If you told Robert Bunsen his best known scientific contribution would be a heating device, he probably wouldn=92t have taken you seriously. Born today (March 30) in 1811 in Germany, Bunsen made several other discoveries ...Three years later, he became a lecturer at the university and began to study arsenous acid.

As you may imagine, Bunsen=92s studies were not entirely conducive to good health. While experimenting with cacodyl (a compound containing arsenic) during his tenure at the University of Marburg, Bunsen nearly died of arsenic poisoning and lost the sight in his right eye due to a laboratory explosion. Cacodyl has a nasty tendency to spontaneously combust when exposed to dry air.

On the positive side, Bunsen did discover that iron oxide hydrate acted as an antidote for arsenic poisoning. Necessity, as they say, is the mother of invention.

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