From: Margaret Rakas <mrakas**At_Symbol_Here**SMITH.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] 2012 HAZMAT summary
Date: January 2, 2013 10:47:12 AM EST
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: <35781535-1CD0-490E-B7EE-2F1465D1AFA9**At_Symbol_Here**>

Hello Ralph,

This is wonderful and I am sure that all of us who peruse these stats appreciate the time you and Rob put into analyzing them.

Question: does the "Education" heading mean K-12? Or does that extend to college/university as well?

Many thanks!

On Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 10:42 AM, Secretary, ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <secretary**At_Symbol_Here**> wrote:
I've had a chance to numerically summarize the collection of hazmat headlines from google I've sent to DCHAS-L in 2012. Overall, the profile of these events are very similar to 2011 in most respects.

There was a 17% drop in the number of events reported. Part of this can be attributed to 50 fewer reports of meth lab events, but I also noticed in December 2012 that the number of hazmat headlines google has been reporting started to drop precipitously. I'm not sure why that is - the search terms have remained the same. Perhaps the media are implementing more paywalls that are preventing google from finding local stories?

Anyway, the statistical breakouts are for the 1554 2012 events:
By Country Count Percent
US 1195 76.9%
United_Kingdom 81 5.2%
Canada 57 3.7%
India 49 3.2%
Australia 47 3.0%
China 19 1.2%
New_Zealand 14 0.9%
Ireland 13 0.8%
Others 79 5.1%

By Sector Count Percent
public 564 36%
industrial 503 32%
transportation 224 14%
laboratory 188 12%
education 75 5%

By Type Count Percent
release 737 47%
explosion 343 22%
fire 327 21%
discovery 147 9%

By Extent Count Percent
response 905 58%
injury 491 32%
death 81 5%
environmental 77 5%

By Chemical Count Percent
other_chemical 384 24.7%
unknown_chemical 318 20.5%
acids 96 6.2%
ammonia 77 5.0%
meth_lab 71 4.6%
solvent 62 4.0%
petroleum 53 3.4%
chlorine 46 3.0%
ag_chems 45 2.9%
bomb 41 2.6%
cleaners 39 2.5%
flammables 39 2.5%
pool_chemicals 38 2.4%
waste 37 2.4%
propane 28 1.8%
corrosives 27 1.7%
mercury 26 1.7%
gasoline 23 1.5%
dust 22 1.4%
bleach 17 1.1%
carbon_monoxide 17 1.1%
drugs 17 1.1%
explosives 16 1.0%
diesel 15 1.0%

Some notes on these numbers:
1. The chemical categories require the most interpretation, both because the media reports are generally vague, and possibly incorrect, and there are often multiple chemicals involved. One trend that arose in that category was the number of homemade chemical bombs reported to be discovered in U.S. public areas in 2012; these are usually attributed to pranks by local authorities.

2. There was good consistency between the country, sector, type and extent between 2011 and 2012. The biggest difference was a decrease in the number of transportation events reported (36%). This might be related to the moderate winter improving travel conditions?

3. I did remove all of the reports on the follow up on the UCLA event and Harran trial before running the numbers. There was still a 25% increase in the number of lab related events reported. This was the only increase in the number of events in a category I noticed. If you simply want to review those events, you can go to
This is raw feed, which will include the UCLA follow up reports as well.

I want to thank the ongoing help of Dr. Rob Toreki of with the computer aspects of this work. The system he put together for tagging and organizing these reports has been remarkably robust of the nearly 2.5 years it has been in place.

Let me know if you have any questions about this.

- Ralph

Ralph Stuart
Division of Chemical Health and Safety
American Chemical Society

Margaret A. Rakas, Ph.D.
Manager, Inventory & Regulatory Affairs
Clark Science Center
413-585-3877 (p)

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