My apology for the quiet space around here this week–I was sick, visiting Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s High Explosives Applications Facility, sick again (not LLNL’s fault!), and playing catch-up. But we’ve got two weeks’ worth of chemical health and safety news to cover, so without further ado:
- From the blogosphere (with some additional call-outs below): The Chemical Worker’s Song at Liberal Arts Chemist, along with the neverending argument about proper safety apparel; via The Pump Handle, a collection of EH&S film clips dating back to the 1920s and new American Public Health Association policy statements on chemical exposure; Chembark’s Caltech safety day recap
- Azmanam at Chemistry Blog nicely summed up this one: Officials in San Diego County are erecting 16′-tall, fire-safe walls so they can burn down a house that contains too many explosives to remove safely. State charges against George Djura Jakubec were dropped today after federal prosecutors filed an eight-count indictment against him.
- Elsewhere in California, Bomb squad spends three hours detonating explosives in Oakhurst home: “Deputies were first called to the home Wednesday, after receiving reports of pipe bomb inside. The pipe bomb turned out to be something else.” But no one is saying exactly what.
- Rensselear Polytechnic Institute graduate student Jason Sanchez charged with reckless endangerment for setting up some sort of lab in the basement of his apartment building: “Confiscated from the basement were acetone, Xylene, sulfuric acid, a propane torch, butane fuel and laboratory-grade nitric acid” (if this is the correct guy, he was studying computational neuroanatomy)
- French chemistry professor fined for deadly lab blast: about $10,700 and a suspended jail sentence after an open bottle of ethylene caused an explosion that killed another professor and injured a high school student in 2006
- Chemist convicted of illegally possessing potassium cyanide at his area apartment: Hessam S. Ghane “testified that he kept the deadly chemical under his sink to use for suicide if his depression became too unbearable. Prosecutors, however, believed that Ghane also had plans to use the cyanide in an elaborate scheme to kill a federal judge in Kansas City who had dismissed some civil lawsuits that Ghane had filed years earlier.”
- Soap maker charged with hazmat violations in Detroit; another site controlled by the same person, Aramais Moloian, apparently required a $2 million clean-up two years ago.
- Kettlemen City, Calif., toxic waste facility fined for violations: $302,100 for failing to properly manage polychlorinated biphenyls
- Chemicals dumped in Connecticut cost CVS $296K: photo-processing chemicals into sewars
- EPA secures $7 million settlement for cleanup at the Omega Chemical site in Whittier, Calif.: “tetrachloroethene (PCE), trichloroethene (TCE), other chlorinated hydrocarbons and Freons”
- DHS panel on at-risk chemical plants is stacked with insiders
- Methyl iodide gains California OK for use on crops (discussed here)
- Who knew Black Friday discounts extended to workplace safety training? The UCLA/UCI Southern California Education Research Center is offering discounts for 2011 classes if you register by Dec. 10.
Fires and explosions
- Tripropargylamine, tetraethylene glycol diazide, and copper (II) disoprophyl salicylate in the University of Colorado, Boulder, Engineering Center: a chemical engineering graduate student was cut on the chin (also mentioned by Terra Sig)
- Potassium chlorate, manganese dioxide, sugar and glycerin at a high school in Ontario, Canada: a teacher and three students were treated for ringing ears and lacerations
- One killed, four injured in Vadodara, India, chemical factory fire: “the company is engaged in manufacture of industrial solvents like hydrogen peroxide”
- China chemical factory blast kills four, injures 37: “the factory produced an array of chemicals ranging from common food additives to compounds used in making plastics and paper”
Leaks, spills, and other exposures:
- Boiling nitric acid at Laboratory Testing in Pennsylvania: a lab employee “was working with nitric acid and had some type of boil over in the container she was working in, and it splashed her on the head… She did have safety glasses on when it happened, and that probably saved her a lot more pain and agony”
- Monomethylamine from a rail car at a DuPont plant in West Virginia: two employees were sent to hospital for evaluation
- Propylene amine from Dixie Chemical in Texas
- Ethylene from Exxon Mobil in Louisiana
- Perchlorate contaminating drinking water in Barstow, Calif.: the source hasn’t been pinpointed but news stories are pointing fingers at a former fireworks company
- Hydrofluoric acid from a Honeywell plant in Ontario, Canada
And those are just the links I collected. I didn’t even go through the DCHAS Pinboard collection this week.
Photo credit: Bob Hirschfeld/LLNL