Chemical health and safety news from the past week:
- This list of search terms used by the Department of Homeland security to monitor social networking sites makes me suspect DHS agents are regular visitors here. Hi, guys!
- From the Pump Handle, New, first-of-its-kind Canadian study to chronicle the impact of occupational cancers from workplace carcinogen exposure
- The owner of gunpowder company Black Mag, Craig Sanborn, is scheduled for trail in May on counts of manslaughter and negligent homicide for a 2010 explosion that killed two workers
- The Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board held a public meeting to present and approve its final report on a 2011 explosion and fire in Hawaii that killed five people on fireworks disposal. C&EN will have a story on the report in the Jan. 28 issue. Here’s CSB’s video with an animated reenactment of what happened:
- The New York Department of Environmental Conservation finalized a plan to clean up a former IBM chemical burn pit; the target is a 600-foot plume of “chlorinated solvents and trichloroethylene”
Fires and explosions:
- An explosion in the “choline chloride” room of the Shandong Aocter chemical plant in Shandong Province, China, destroyed much of the plant and caused nearby residential buildings to collapse; a local reporter says several dozen people were injured
- Silane gas + ammonium nitrate inside a pice of pipe in a pile of fiberglass and plastic caused a fire at Micron Technology in Virginia
- A “small chemical explosion” in a UC Davis student housing complex injured a university “researcher.” A student who lives in an adjacent building told the AP that the bedroom window of the apartment had “been modified with a shaft of pipe that vents out onto a walkway next to the building.” Sounds to me like the researcher was making meth. I’ve reached out to the university to see what else I can find out–it certainly wouldn’t be the first time a grad student synthesized something illegal.
- We haven’t had a picric acid sighting in a while: A bomb squad removed a 1950s-era bottle of picric acid from the Burris Laboratory School at Indiana’s Ball State University.
Leaks, spills, and other exposures:
- In New Zealand, a forklift driver pierced a 1,000-liter drum of 45-50% sodium hydroxide. Working with another driver, he quickly got the drum into a secondary containment unit, limiting the spill to about 100 liters.
- Hydrogen sulfide leaked at a metal recovery business in Florida
- A graduate student knocked over a bottle of decahydronaphthalene at Boston University, resulting in evacuation of the school’s Life Science & Engineering Building
Not covered (usually): meth labs; ammonia leaks; incidents involving floor sealants, cleaning solutions, or pool chemicals; transportation spills; things that happen at recycling centers (dispose of your waste properly, people!); and fires from oil, natural gas, or other fuels.