Chemical health and safety news from the past week:
- The University of Florida chemistry department has instituted a review panel for potentially dangerous experiments
- OSHA finally released its revised Hazard Communication standard, moving from workers'”right to know” what’s in the workplace to their “right to understand”; the Pump Handle commented on what the change means for workers and how the agency documented the comments it received during the revision process
- Methyl iodide manufacturer Arysta LifeScience suspended production, sales, and marketing of the pesticide in the U.S.
- L’Oreal is working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to validate a high-througput toxicity screening system
Fires and explosions:
- A reactor containing trichlorosilane exploded at a Siltronic silicon wafer manufacturing plant in Oregon, and two workers were treated for respiratory problems; trichlorosilane is air- and water-reactive
- An explosion at a Westlake Vinyls plant in Louisiana occurred when a vinyl chloride monomer unit was being started and caused the release of vinyl chloride, hydrochloric acid, and chlorine
- Three students and a teacher were burned in a fire involving “salt and methanol” at a Wisconsin high school (I feel like I’ve seen several school fires involving methanol in the last couple of years. Do science teachers as a group need to be more respectful of how flammable it is?)
Leaks, spills, and other exposures:
- A batch of polymer in a 6,500-gal tank released some sort of vapor cloud at OPC Polymers in Ohio; no one was injured
- Acryloyl chloride spilled in an engineering lab at the University of Colorado, Boulder, when a student dropped a 100-mL bottle
Not covered: meth labs; ammonia leaks; incidents involving floor sealants, cleaning solutions, or pool chemicals; transportation spills; and fires from oil, natural gas, or other fuels.