Friday round-up

Chemical health and safety news from the past couple of weeks:

  • On Reddit, What’s the worst lab accident you’ve ever caused? (h/t to Chemjobber for this one)
  • ChemBark discussed bystander roles in lab accidents
  • From the Pump Handle, NIOSH programs targeted in President’s 2012 spending proposal and White House throws OSHA under a bus
  • Police hunt man asking for lethal chemical–”A man demanding the potentially toxic chemical potassium cyanide approached professors at the University of Toronto twice within three months”
  • Clorox discloses what’s in the bottle–preservative, dye, and fragrance ingredients with CAS numbers at Ingredients Inside
  • Target to pay $22.5 million to settle hazardous-waste dumping case in California:

    Violations included improper storage, transportation and disposal of bleach, paint, pesticides, batteries, lightbulbs and other hazardous materials. Prosecutors accused the retail giant of cutting corners for the bottom line. Chemicals returned by customers or found to be defective were poured down the drain, tossed into dumpsters and trucked to landfills not equipped for hazardous waste.

    Stores also kept incompatible and combustible liquids like ammonia and bleach side-by-side on shelves and poured them into dumpsters mixed together, creating fire and other safety hazards, prosecutors said.

    Target also allegedly fobbed off even more waste in bulk donations to local charities, including the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, which received more than 5,000 pounds of unusable, flammable and toxic products in 2008, prosecutors said.

  • Three states challenge federal policy on storing nuclear waste, regarding waste storage at out-of-service reactors
  • The UK’s Sellafield, which handles nuclear site decommissioning, fuel reprocessing, and waste management, received a citation for a leak of radioactive liquid that went unnoticed for 14 months (until the prime minister showed up for a visit)
  • Rainbow of fireworks leaves blackened bouquets in China after new year celebrations–”In recent days errant fireworks have killed two people in Beijing, injured 388 others and started 194 blazes, about twice as many as last year, according to the state media. On the opening night of the holiday, one Beijing hospital treated 85 people with firecracker-related injuries, the majority of them involving eyes. … In the eastern province of Zhejiang, six people were killed in a forest fire that officials say was sparked by carousing villagers.”
  • Apple admits toxic chemicals disabled employees of Chinese suppliers in its 2011 Supplier Responsibility Progress Report:

    In 2010, we learned that 137 workers at the Suzhou facility of Wintek, one of Apple’s suppliers, had suffered adverse health effects following exposure to n-hexane, a chemical in cleaning agents used in some manufacturing processes. We discovered that the factory had reconfigured operations without also changing their ventilation system. Apple considered this series of incidents to be a core violation for worker endangerment.

    We required Wintek to stop using n-hexane and to provide evidence that they had removed the chemical from their production lines. In addition, Apple required them to fix their ventilation system. Since these changes, no new workers have suffered difficulties from chemical exposure.

    To prevent future incidents at this facility, we required Wintek to work with a consultant to improve their Environmental Health and Safety processes and management systems. We are monitoring the implementation of these corrective actions and preventive measures, and will conduct a complete reaudit of the facility in 2011.

Fires and explosions:

Leaks, spills, and other exposures:

Author: Jyllian Kemsley

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  1. Thanks! I figured nitric acid was probably in there.