If y’all aren’t following The Watch Glass, C&EN’s “random walk” through 90 years of C&EN curated by Deirdre Lockwood, go check it out! Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with our archives, because I inevitably get sucked in and lose a couple of hours to reading.
Chemical health and safety news from the past (rather quiet) week:
- Not chemistry, but good insight into the problems with workplace injury numbers: Counting work-related amputations. Of all the workplace injuries to be recorded, you’d think this would be a relatively easy one to get right. There’s not much gray area in amputation.
- On the (weak) links between environmental contaminants and cancer: Cancer cluster or chance?
- Insecurity about chemical plants: Federal officials defend backlogged risk assessment program.
Fires and explosions:
- An explosion at an Enviro-Safe Refrigerants plant in Illinois injured four workers, all of whom suffered burns.
- An explosion and fire at Hexion Specialty Chemicals in Wisconsin injured no one.
Leaks, spills, and other exposures:
- 50 gal of phenol spilled into the Delaware River after an equipment malfunction at Kinder Morgan in Pennsylvania.
- A spill of 300 gal of bleach into a storm drain in Georgia was supposedly resolved by adding some sort of dechlorination agent. I’m curious to know the chemistry here–where did the chlorine wind up?
- Also in Georgia, Albany State University called for a hazmat team when a professor and two lab workers noticed an odor and one got nauseated. There’s no word on which chemicals were involved.
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.