• CHEMICALSChlorine Is a Highly Useful Chemical That’s Also Extremely Dangerous − Here’s What to Know About Staying Safe Around It

    By Aliasger K. Salem

    Chlorine is extremely toxic, and because it’s ubiquitous in many industries across the U.S., it often is released in chemical accidents and spills. As with other household chemicals, it is very important to understand its risks, read labels before using it, store it in its original container in a secure place and dispose of it safely.

  • CHEMICAL SECURITYSenate Fails to Reauthorize Chemical Facility Security Program

    Chemical industry groups are warning that thousands of chemical facilities across the United States could face increased risk of terrorist attacks after the Senate last week adjourned for its summer recess without approving pending House legislation reauthorizing the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism (CFATS) program.

  • Chemical plantsPort Neches Plant Rocked by Multiple Explosions, Was Declared High Priority Violator by EPA

    By Kiah Collier

    The Southeast Texas chemical manufacturing plant, owned by Houston-based Texas Petroleum Chemical Group, has a long history of environmental violations and been out of compliance with federal clean air laws for years.

  • Chemical safetyBudget proposal calls for abolishing the Chemical Safety Board

    Under President Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 budget, the world’s only independent body dedicated to investigating chemical-related industrial accidents would be abolished. A story in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, revisits why the U.S. Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board was initially created, its accomplishments, and what experts say about its potential demise.

  • Chemical spillsFlorida tightens public notification rules for pollution incidents

    Last week Governor Rick Scott instructed Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Jon Steverson to issue an emergency rule that establishes new requirements for public notification of pollution incidents. The rule is to take effect immediately. Scott issued the instruction following the sewage spill in Pinellas County and the sinkhole at Mosaic’s New Wales facility.

  • Chemical spillsMassive 2014 West Virginia chemical spill was preventable: CSB

    The Chemical Safety Board’s (CSB) final report into the massive 2014 release by Freedom Industries of chemicals into the primary source of drinking water of Charleston, West Virginia, concludes that Freedom Industries failed to inspect or repair corroding tanks, and that as hazardous chemicals flowed into the Elk River, the water company and local authorities were unable effectively to communicate the looming risks to hundreds of thousands of affected residents, who were left without clean water for drinking, cooking, and bathing.

  • Chemical safetyChemical safety board may put new investigations on hold while it reboots

    Under new leadership, the Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) is hitting the reset button to put its embattled past behind it. The federal agency charged with investigating and issuing recommendations on chemical accidents wants to set an ambitious timeline for completing reports, but doing so will require a hold on new cases.

  • Chemical plantsNearly 1,000 Chinese chemical plants to relocate in wake of Tianjin explosions

    Local governments across China have submitted plans to relocate or upgrade about 1,000 chemical plants in the wake of the massive explosions in Tianjin earlier this month, which killed 147 people. The blast at a warehouse in which large quantities of chemicals were stored was China’s worst industrial accident in recent years. Chinese health authorities said that the levels of sodium cyanide in several reservoirs in Tianjin were up to ten times higher than allowed, and urged city resident to use bottled water until the level of the toxic chemical subsides.

  • Chemical facilitiesWorries grow about rain-induced toxic chemical clouds from destroyed Chinese facility

    China’s state-run news agency has reported that the warehouse where last Wednesday’s powerful explosions in the Chinese city of Tianjin originated, received a license to handle hazardous chemicals only two months before the disaster. The official count now stands at 114 dead, 700 injured, and 53 missing. Most of the dead, injured, and missing are firefighters. Officials said that more than forty different types of chemicals have now been discovered at the blast site, including 700 tons of sodium cyanide, 800 tons of ammonium nitrate, and 500 tons of potassium nitrate. Chemical engineers said that the heavy rains which began to fall on the city Monday night set off more chemical reactions, creating clouds of toxic gas which would waft over residential areas – some of them less than a mile from the destroyed chemical facility – and hobble rescue and recovery work.

  • Chemical plants safetySodium cyanide stored at explosion site pollutes city’s water

    The Chinese government says that 114 people, most of them firefighters, have been killed and ninety-five still missing after first responders were sent to the Tianjin chemical plant to fight large fires which broke out after a powerful explosion at the plant last Wednesday. Chinese officials say they found 700 tons of sodium cyanide at two locations at the site. Chinese public health officials said on Monday that the health risks of last week’s explosion are spreading, reporting that alarming levels of sodium cyanide have been found at wastewater monitoring stations in and around the city of Tianjin.

  • Chemical plant safetyChemical plants provided incorrect information about toxic release risks: GAO

    A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommends that federal agencies should more carefully verify information provided by chemical facilities and improve compliance with safety standards. DHS collected data on some 37,000 facilities handling dangerous chemicals, and identified 2,900 which were especially risky. Those plants, typically located near residential areas, posed more risk of mass casualty events in case of a terrorist- or accident-induced chemical release. The report criticizes DHS officials for relying on self-reported data — without checking and verifying the information chemical operators provided.

  • Chemical plant safetyCommunities near chemical plants should develop preparedness, response plans: Experts

    Researchers found that despite the 2007 passage of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS), only a few chemical facilities have completed the necessary security measures implementation. The authors recommend that communities should not wait for CFATS to be implemented before developing their own preparedness and response plans in anticipation of possible chemical disasters in the future, whether caused by terrorism or accident.

  • ChlorineNew guidance on estimating area affected by a chlorine release issued

    Arlington, Virginia-based Chlorine Institute (CI) has issued a new version of Pamphlet 74 - Guidance On Estimating the Area Affected By A Chlorine Release. The new version, Edition 6, dated June 2015, reflects CI’s collaboration with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Chemical Security Analysis Center and incorporates information obtained from the DHS “Jack Rabbit I” chlorine release field tests.  

  • Chemical plant safetyU.S. chemical plants vulnerable to terrorist attacks, putting millions of Americans at risk

    The chemical sector is a vital part of the U.S. economy, representing almost 2 percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) and is the nation’s greatest exporter. The prominence and importance of the chemical industry as well as the proximity of its facilities to densely populated areas make it a particularly vulnerable target for terrorist attacks, hence the DHS interest and safety rules. The slow implementation of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) as part of homeland security and anti-terrorism measures is leaving chemical plants vulnerable and putting at risk the safety of American citizens, according to research.

  • Chemical safetyHead of Chemical Safety Board resigns under WH pressure, lawmakers’ criticism

    Rafael Moure-Eraso, the chairman of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board(CSB), resigned after increased pressure from lawmakers and at the White House’s request. Under Moure-Eraso, complaints have risen regarding poor management, his use of a personal e-mail account for agency work, “abuse of power, employee retaliation, and lack of honesty in his communications with Congress,” according to an 18 March letter from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.C