Chemical health and safety news from the past week:
- Prof-like substance wants to know: What’s your science war story?
- Butyl mercaptan leaked from a Lubrizol plant in France, creating a stench from Rouen to London, while emergency responders fought a five-day goat cheese fire in a tunnel in Norway. In the Pipeline asked which one would you rather smell?
- From Chemjobber, a Manhattan Project story of how to get people to pay attention to safety issues. Make sure you read the comments, too.
- See Arr Oh thinks that Chemical Abstracts Service needs to be more careful with its stock art (C&EN and others have faced the same criticism)
- OSHA updated its laboratory standard to include the updated Prudent Practices in the Laboratory
- Here’s the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics list of on-the-job fatalities for 2011. Twenty-five people died in “chemical manufacturing,” or 6.6 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. Thirty-eight people died in “educational services,” or 1.0 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers.
- Water produced in extracting natural gas from shale in Pennsylvania “threatens to overwhelm the region’s wastewater-disposal infrastructure capacity,” says a study described in the Sustained Outrage blog at the Charleston, W.Va., Gazette
- C&EN covered the new lithium-ion battery woes in which batteries on airplanes caught fire or started to smolder, as well as an international treaty to curb mercury use
- Agricultural company Cenex Harvest States faces a $500,000 fine for a 2009 fire in a pesticide and fertilizer warehouse in Montana
- Magnablend, now owned by Univar, paid $38,500 in fines for a 2011 fire at a chemical-blending plant in Texas
- The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal “by a woman convicted under a federal law intended to combat chemical weapons in a case where she admitted trying to poison a former friend who had an affair with her husband”
Fires and explosions:
- A fire at a Sulzer Metco plant in Michigan started when molten metal spewed onto nearby equipment
Leaks, spills, and other exposures:
- A 60% methylamine solution leaked when workers were filling a rail car at a Taminco plant in Florida
- Rotting onions led to a hazmat call in Australia. “It was a really pungent smell,” said the local fire and rescue station commander, according to a local news report.
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.