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Friday chemical safety round-up

Chemical health and safety news from the past week:

  • As already discussed, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board released its final report on the 2010 incidents at DuPont’s plant in Belle, W.Va.
  • The Laboratory Safety Institute and Dow are teaming up to provide safety training scholarships to school teachers and develop “an online resource library for safety in school science and technology.” Applications for the training scholarships are due by Dec. 31.
  • A profile of Albemarle’s Tyrone, Pa., plant described some of the positive measures the plant takes to promote safety, such as “an annual budget of $10,000 for $150 payments to employees nominated by co-workers for special attention to safety.” It also has my nomination for quote of the week: “‘There’s no cowboy crap around here,’ [Jay] Kisslak said.”
  • Andrew Turley of Chemistry World blogged about a visit to an SAFC plant in Scotland–”First, there was lot of empty space. … Kenny, our host for the day, assured me that what we were seeing was entirely typical. The plentiful empty space, he told me, was there to lower the risk of people tripping over, bumping into things or otherwise getting into a tangle.”
  • Imperial Oil agreed to pay $195,000 for using corrosion-prevention chemical (reportedly Nalco 7390) in pipes at higher concentrations than allowed and letting 3,000 L leak into the Mackenzie River in Canada’s Northwest Territories
  • EPA fined Monson Companies $151,900 for improper storage of hazardous materials at “a warehouse, distribution, repackaging and custom blending chemical manufacturing facility” in Maine
  • Is a clean-up of a U.S. Magnesium site in Utah getting nearer? Maybe, although it sounds like there’s still a lot of testing to be done, never mind having the company, EPA, and community agree on what, exactly, “clean up” means. The company harvests magnesium chloride from Great Salt Lake and “The contaminants that concern environmental regulators include dioxins, hexachlorobenzene (HCB), polychlorinated biphenyls and metals that have been linked to cancer or other dangerous health effects.”
  • The end draws near for chemical weapons incineration in Anniston, Ala., after eight years of “flawless” burning of nerve agent and mustard munitions

Fires and explosions:

Leaks, spills, and other exposures:

  • Nitric acid, in a science lab at New Zealand’s Lincoln University; one staff member suffered acid burns to his face
  • Butadiene and propylene from a Shell/Motiva plant in Louisiana
  • Ethylene, at a Targa Resources storage and shipment center in Texas
  • Acetone, at LM Wind Power in Arkansas
  • Sodium cyanide, “about a quart,” at a jewelry shop in Missouri

Not covered: meth labs; ammonia leaks; incidents involving floor sealants, cleaning solutions, or pool chemicals; and fires from oil, natural gas, or other fuels

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