Thursday, February 4, 2010

Are You Paying Attention Yet?

I'm not kidding when I say these chemical plants put us at risk.I write about it a couple times a week because that's how often it happens!
Just a week and a half ago FOUR incidents occurred over a period of just two days at a DuPont Chemical Plant in Belle, WV. To make matters even scarier for nearby residents, this is just 20 miles south of the Bayer Crop Science facility I blogged about a few weeks ago…you know, the one that received FOUR citations for improper maintenance of storage tanks?
The worst of these 4 incidents ended in the death of a worker. On Saturday, January 23rd, an employee of the DuPont facility was hit in the face with a small amount of phosgene. The employee died the following day as a result of the exposure. Phosgene is a highly toxic chemical that is dangerous even in miniscule amounts and was used in World War I as a chemical weapon. Frighteningly, this chemical is also used when building crop protection chemicals. That’s right, they spray our food with this crap and we eventually consume it.
Prior to Saturday’s fatal accident, 1,900 pounds of toxic methyl chloride leaked from a storage tank on Friday, January 22. Unbelievably, this leak went undetected for almost one week! We should be very concerned about facilities housing toxic chemicals yet operating with such a poor safety program in place – how could this leak could go on for almost a week!?
In addition to this (almost) week long leak, on Saturday morning there was sulfuric acid leak and later that night there was a small fire which was later labeled as an electrical “arcing.” A small fire and three chemical leaks, one of which led to a death, all in 48 hours? DuPont’s doing such a bang-up job of following safety protocol that there is now a federal investigation of the facility.
What a scary scenario for residents…a chemical leak in your town followed by a bunch of government officials checking things out. Sounds freaky.
You can read the full story here.

1 comment: