Chemical health and safety news from the past week:
- Added to Derek’s “Things I Won’t Work With” list: Selenophenol
- C&EN’s take on the NRC report released last week on chemical manufacturers and inherently safer process design: Promoting safer manufacturing
- The Interior Department proposed disclosure rules for hydraulic fracturing chemicals
- Random inspections improve workplace safety, according to a new study that looked at the effects of random Cal/OSHA inspections in California
- Massachusetts strengthened its regulations for hazardous materials storage and processing, CSB applauded
- OSHA reached a $600,000 settlement with Bostik regarding a March, 2011, explosion from acetone vapor that injured four workers
- The United States Postal Service banned overseas shipments of electronics with lithium batteries. “The batteries can explode or catch fire in certain conditions during overseas transport.”
Mystery of the week:
- Kids collect rocks from beach. Mom puts rocks in pocket. Mom’s shorts catch fire. “The rocks were small and smooth. One was greenish in color and another had rusty orange streaks,” and it looks like phosphorus was involved. Anyone care to guess what happened? Seems like it would have to be related to the rocks rubbing together in the pocket, either bringing together two chemicals or exposing a layer of something. UPDATE: See Arr Oh weighs in.
Fires and explosions:
- Two accidents in two days at a petrochemical production zone in Thailand: One incident involved a fire in just-cleaned toluene vessel; 12 people were injured and another 140 were injured. The other incident was a chlorine leak that led to the hospitalization of 13 people.
- Lightning struck two storage tanks containing ethyl acrylate and butyl acrylate at a Dow Chemical plant in Pennsylvania, “The blast blew the lid off one of the tanks, setting them ablaze.”
- A nitric acid reactor exploded at an LSB Industries/El Dorado Chemical plant in Arkansas; debris from the explosion damaged sulfuric acid equipment and caused a fire
- A vial containing “fluorine potassium chloride and water” exploded and the glass cut a Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, student
Leaks, spills, and other exposures:
- Hydrofluoric acid leaked at a Honeywell plant in Louisiana
- Propylene spilled at a BASF plant in Texas
- Hydrazine vapor was released at a Lubrizol plant in Ohio
- Less than a gallon of hydrochloric acid spilled at a Micron Products plant in Massachusetts
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.