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  • Tokyo suburb gives bio lab approval to handle most dangerous diseases
    The mayor of Musashimurayama gave approval Monday for the National Institute of Infectious Diseases facility in the western Tokyo suburb to handle the world’s most highly infectious and life-threatening diseases, such as Ebola. The facility was built in 1981 but has never been used for the most dangerous diseases, designated by the World Health Organization as biosafety level (BSL) 4, due to safety concerns among local residents. Mayor Masaru Fujino met Monday with Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Yasuhisa Shiozaki to notify him of the city’s intention to approve the upgrade. The facility will be Japan’s first active BSL-4 laboratory. The decision came as Shiozaki promised to meet four conditions for operating the facility. These include ensuring smooth communications in the event of an accident, high transparency regarding operations and restricting research to diagnoses and treatment. The health ministry will begin procedures this month to upgrade the facility to BSL-4 under the infectious disease law.
  • Lingering questions after mercury contamination
    BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) -- A Bakersfield woman has spoken out for the first time after her house was contaminated with a small amount of liquid mercury. Darlene, who did not want to give her last name, says her house remains in shambles a week after her house was torn apart by emergency crews. They were called to the scene on Monday, July 27 after Darlene's 14 year-old son spilled mercury on their carpet. According to her estimate, only a spoonful of the liquid element was released. She said her son found the mercury in a bottle the day before on one of their neighbor's porches. She was in the hospital getting surgery at the time and did not know her son had the mercury until she saw him playing with it that morning. Knowing it was dangerous, she called poison control. "I just wanted to see if I should take him to the pediatrician and get a blood test," she recalled, never imagining what was about to happen. Bakersfield City Firefighters responded first, followed by Hazmat crews, workers from the county Environmental Health Division and members of the EPA. Darlene says, here son was scrubbed down for two and a half hours while she was forced to wait across the street. She was initially deemed uncomtaminated, but was later told her feet showed signs of mercury. She says, crews then poured washing detergent on her feet, letting the soap flow down her neighbor's driveway.
  • Hazmat teams take on delicate task of capping gas leak
    stretch of Federal Highway was closed for hours Monday as hazardous materials teams from three agencies worked to cap a gas leak in Fort Lauderdale. Crews hit a natural gas line while digging shortly after 1 p.m., allowing the gas to escape into the air, said Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Division Chief Bob Bacic. Hazardous materials teams from Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood and Broward County spent nearly three hours maneuvering their way to the leaking line at 2520 S. Miami Road. Federal Highway from Southeast 28th Street to State Road 84 was closed in both directions while crews worked carefully not to spark a fire in what Bacic called a "delicate excavation." Crews reached the 4-inch gas line and capped the leak about 4 p.m. Authorities began opening lanes along Federal Highway about 30 minutes later.
  • Explosion kills two in Makassar
    Two people have died after an explosion on Monday afternoon at the Puri Pa’tene residence complex in Biringkanaya, Makassar. The Makassar Police said the explosion which occurred around 3:30 p.m. local time in a house at the residential complex killed two women; Romlah, 58, and Sina, 36. The victims’ house was destroyed by the explosion which also damaged 10 other houses, the police said. Two people were injured in the incident and were rushed to a nearby hospital. Makassar Police chief Sr. Comr. Fery Abraham said it was suspected that a homemade device used to catch fish had caused the explosion as local residents had reported a strong homemade-explosive smell following the incident. He said that to confirm the cause of the explosion, the South Sulawesi Police’s Gegana bomb squad investigated the incident site and sent evidence materials to the National Police’s forensics laboratory in Makassar. “From our preliminary investigations, the explosion was caused by a fish bomb, but we will wait for results of both forensic laboratory examination and autopsy of the two victims to confirm the cause of the explosion,” said Fery, adding the bodies of the two victims would be sent to Bhayangkara Police Hospital in Makassar for autopsy.
  • 22-year-old man injured in ‘chemical’ blast
    Summary: According to preliminary reports, the industrial waste might have caused the explosion. It appears that some industrial waste or chemical might have caused the explosion and injured the employee. Thorat said no casualties were reported in the incident, but the employee has sustained injuries. AURANGABAD: A 22-year-old employee of a private firm sustained serious injuries in an explosion in the Waluj MIDC area on Monday, when he was putting the garbage to flames. According to preliminary reports, the industrial waste might have caused the explosion. Rameshwar Thorat, chief of the MIDC Waluj police station, said it looks like a chemical blast and the possibility of sabotage does not appear at least at this point. "So far, we have not come across any suspicious material. It appears that some industrial waste or chemical might have caused the explosion and injured the employee. However, we are leaving no stone unturned and searching the entire area," he told TOI.
  • Military Ordinance Dumped in Gulf of Mexico
    Texas A& M oceanographic researcher have reported that unexploded bombs and other military ordnance washing up on the Florida coast has brought more awareness U.S. government materials dumping decades ago in the Gulf of Mexico could pose serious threats. Niall Slowey, along with professor emeritus William Bryant, who have more than 90 years of combined research experience, say millions of pounds of bombs and other types of ordnance are scattered over the Gulf of Mexico and also off the coasts of at least 16 states, from New Jersey to Hawaii. The bombs can get caught in fishermen’s nets as they trawl along the ocean seafloor, or wash up on shore such as last week near the Tampa area. The military began a massive dumping of unused bombs into the Gulf and other sites that started in 1946 and continued until 1970, when it was finally banned. “Up until the 1960s, people thought the seafloor was beyond the reach of human activity,” explains Slowey. “They could not imagine the types of activities that are commonplace today. As more and more of these bombs and other ordnance are discovered, it has to be assumed that they are still dangerous until proven otherwise.”
  • Fire crews respond to hotel after pool chemical exposure
    MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue crews responded to the Patricia Grand hotel Monday afternoon for reports of a possible pool chemical exposure, according to Fire Marshal Bruce Arnel. Fire Marshall Bruce Arnel says they discovered that the chemical feeder that supports the hot tub malfunctioned, causing an excessive release of pool chemical (sodium hypochlorite or bleach) into the hot tub.  The patients are being treated and evaluated at this time, Arnel said. A WMBF News photographer at the scene saw at least three people being transported.
  • EPA Sued Over Approval Of Nanosilver Pesticide
    A coalition of environmental and public health groups filed a lawsuit against EPA last week, claiming that the agency failed to assess the risks to humans and the environment when it approved a nanosilver-based pesticide called NSPW-L30SS, or Nanosilva, for use in textiles and plastics. “Novel nanomaterials like this need comprehensive and rigorous analysis. Instead EPA has allowed this product on the market while acknowledging it is missing safety data,” says George Kimbrell, senior attorney for the Center for Food Safety, one of the plaintiffs in the suit. EPA admits that it does not have the data to determine whether antimicrobial nanosilver products pose a risk to workers, consumers, or wildlife. But the agency gave Nanosilva the green light in May under a “conditional” approval process that gives the product’s manufacturer four years to generate the safety data to determine the product’s effects on human health and the environment.
  • Mystery Substance Forces Evacuations Of Hundreds Of Motel Guests
    WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) – A motel in Wheat Ridge was evacuated Saturday because of suspected hazardous materials. The evacuation occurred at the American Motel near Interstate 70 and Kipling Road after a call came in around 6:30 p.m. reporting that several people said they were sick. Hazmat crews showed up and the entire hotel ended up being evacuated. Hundreds of people were forced out and three people were taken to the hospital to be evaluated. Fire officials told CBS4’s Jeff Todd that was precautionary, but one resident said her friend was vomiting after something came through the ventilation system. Hazmat crews suited up and found a room on the third floor with a substance on the wall. Tests showed it was a substance similar to pepper spray “My husband and I came out of the fifth floor and there was kind of an odor and we kind of had a little bit of coughing and a couple minutes later the cops showed up and told us we needed to go,” motel guest Randi Eckman said.
  • East Bay: Rodeo's Phillips 66 refinery fire extinguished
    RODEO -- A small fire Sunday at the Phillips 66 refinery spurred the county health department to issue a public health advisory for the towns of Rodeo and Crockett. The fire began around 3 p.m. at the refinery site in the 1300 block of San Pablo Avenue, spurring a response from refinery fire staff and Rodeo-Hercules fire district firefighters, Phillips 66 spokesman Paul Adler said in a statement. No injuries were reported, and the fire's cause is under investigation, Adler said. The Contra Costa County incident warning system issued an alert just before 3:15 p.m. that staff concerned with hazardous materials were responding to a report of a fire at the refinery. County officials advise people with respiratory sensitivities to avoid the area or stay inside and rinse any irritated area with water but added that most people should not be affected. A photo shows a fire that broke out Sunday afternoon at the ConocoPhilips fire in Rodeo. (Courtesy of Jason Sutton) The county's hazardous materials incident response site listed the refinery's last major incident as a little more than three years ago. On June 15, 2012, an overpressured sour water tank left splits in two tanks, sending chemical vapors into the air and leaving odors detectable in surrounding communities, according to a tally of major accidents at the county's chemical and refinery plants.
  • WPSD Local 6: Your news, weather, and sports authority
    METROPOLIS, IL - The Metropolis, IL Honeywell plant is not producing product right now as investigators look into why a chemical compound leaked out Saturday afternoon. Honeywell spokesperson Peter Dalpe says they're working to find out how much UF6 or uranium hexafluoride was released. A release of this same chemical happened back in October of 2014. “I guess its 3000 ft. away from our house, and if I can't smell anything yet  I'm going to get as far away from it as I can,” Elliot said. It’s that close distance from the Honeywell Plant that made Jim Elliot leave with his daughter Abigail and two dogs instead of listening to an automated call. “We were told to turn off the air conditioner, close all the windows, and stay in the house,” Elliot said.     Crews spent two hours cleaning up a UF6 chemical leak at the plant reported around 6 Saturday night.
  • Coffee roasters' health at risk from chemical compound
    MILWAUKEE—Tucked inside a burlap sack at room temperature, green coffee beans pose no known danger. Funnel a 90-pound batch into a 430-degree roaster and things change. A chemical reaction between the beans’ sugars and amino acids creates a toxic compound capable of crippling the lungs of anyone nearby. But few, if any, commercial coffee roasters know it. They stand close, smelling the beans periodically during the 14 minutes it takes to turn them into a ready-to-be-ground roast. As the beans spill from the roasting drums into the cooling rack, roasters again inhale the fumes—the aromas made delicious, in part, by the same molecular formula tied to hundreds of injuries and at least five deaths. Most coffee roasters have never heard of the chemical compound diacetyl. Those who have, associate it solely with its devastating effects on microwave popcorn workers and those in the flavoring industry. They don’t suspect that it could be wreaking the same havoc on their own lungs. We don’t make flavored coffee, many in the roasting business say. It’s not a problem for us. But air sampling by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel shows reason to worry.
  • Shallow Fracking Wells May Threaten Aquifers
    Several thousand near-surface hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, operations for oil and natural gas production in the U.S. pose a potentially significant risk of contaminating drinking water sources, according to a new analysis. This first national assessment of fracking focused on well depth raises particular concerns about fracking wells less than a mile deep (Environ. Sci. Technol. 2015, DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.5b01228).
  • Fire damages Guinette Street garage
    A residential garage fire on Guinette Street Saturday morning was extinguished by a neighbor before further damage could be done. On August 1 at 10:47 a.m., Fond du Lac Fire and Rescue personnel responded to a report of a residential house fire that involved a garage on Guinette Street. Prior to the fire crews’ arrival, a neighbor extinguished the fire. His reaction prevented the fire from spreading and limited the damage done. Upon the fire personnel’s arrival, they located the fire and worked on the scene to complete salvage and overhaul operations. The fire was unintentional and was caused from a spontaneous combustion of a chemical-soaked towel.
  • Man airlifted to hospital after suffering chemical burns
    SALT LAKE CITY — A man was taken to University of Utah Hospital Friday after he suffered chemical burns on his body while doing work for Kennecott. Unified Fire Authority said the 43-year-old male employee was unloading something when dry chemicals spilled and the man was hit by quick lime under pressure. The dry chemical was forced into the man’s skin, and he suffered burns from his shoulder to his waist. Kennecott decontamination teams washed the chemical from the man, who was then airlifted to U of U Hospital in stable condition. The man was conscious and alert, and fire officials said he complained of a burning sensation in his eyes and lungs.
  • American Motel occupants evacuated due to hazmat spray
    WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. — At least 100 people were evacuated from an American Motel on Saturday evening due to a substance sprayed in a room that spread through the building. Wheat Ridge and Arvada Fire Departments responded to calls of multiple ill parties at the location at 10200 West 49th Ave at 6:20 p.m. At least 100 had been evacuated from the motel and were in the parking lot. Paramedics checked out and treated multiple patients exhibiting symptoms. At least three people were transported as a precaution with very minor symptoms, according to an Arvada Fire spokesperson. Firefighters in hazmat gear were able to determine that one room had a substance discharged. The spray dissipated through the building and into other rooms, according to Arvada Fire. Investigators are still working to determine what the substance is and how to deal with it. After the nature of substance is determined, they say they will then seal off the room and ventilate the building.
  • Hazmat scare at Johnston County truck stop
    KENLY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Authorities closed a stretch of road in Johnston County on Saturday night due to a hazmat scare. It happened at the Flying J truck stop off of I-95 at Princeton Kelly Road in Kenly. Our crew on the scene said a truck is leaking some sort of corrosive material. Authorities were still working to clear the scene at 11 p.m. on Saturday. The road has since been reopened.
  • US government science institute's one time police chief linked to campus meth lab
    When an explosion rocked a laboratory in the special projects building on the US National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) campus in Maryland on 18 July, news spread quickly that the incident was connected to a secret methamphetamine lab. Suspicion soon fell on a member of the NIST’s security force who was injured in the explosion, and he resigned the next day. It has now emerged during a congressional briefing that this individual had at one point been the agency’s acting police chief, according to NIST director Willie May. News reports indicated that pseudoephedrine and drain cleaner were found in the building, along with a recipe to make methamphetamine. The lab where methamphetamine was synthesised was in an isolated part of the facility and had been used for combustion research in the past. The suspect, who received non-life threatening injuries, was not named at the briefing and no charges have been filed. After the Montgomery County Police Department in Maryland stepped in to handle the case, it soon requested the assistance of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), according to an aide to the House science, space and technology committee that requested and received the briefing. The panel has jurisdiction over the NIST, as well as all government activities relating to non-military research and development. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is now leading the investigation of the NIST explosion, working jointly with the police, DEA, and the inspector general of the Department of Commerce, where the NIST is housed.
  • Phoenix fire crews douse blaze at pool company
    hoenix fire crews extinguished a large warehouse fire near 23rd and Peoria avenues late Friday morning. Crews Friday afternoon continued to deal with hazardous materials at the site. The fire broke out at about 10:30 a.m. in an outside storage area of Cloud Pool Supply. Witnesses said an employee tried to contain the blaze, but it spread too quickly. Building materials and pool chemicals were involved in the fire, but there were no evacuations ordered in the immediate area. There was originally concern about the runoff from all the water the fire department used because it may have included pool chemicals but fire officials said the chemicals, which included a cement/latex bonding agent, fertilizer and chlorine, weren't dangerous in that situation.
  • Chemical Mix-Up Damages Boeing Tanker
    In a new setback just weeks before the planned first flight of a fully outfitted KC-46 Air Force tanker, the Boeing plane's fueling system has been damaged by a chemical mix-up, temporarily grounding the jet. The jet -- the first test plane outfitted with working air-refueling systems and designated as a tanker -- was at the fuel dock on Paine Field last week when mechanics used the wrong chemical during a test of the fuel system, according to people familiar with the details. The chemical, supplied by a vendor and mislabeled, caused corrosion and damaged the fuel system, including the advanced new fuel boom designed to offload gas to fighter aircraft, the sources said. The fuel boom as well as the auxiliary fuel tanks in the fuselage of the airplane have been removed from the aircraft for inspection and any necessary repairs. The Air Force has been informed of the incident. The auxiliary tanks appear to be undamaged, one source said.
  • Jang Cautions Plateau Water Board
    The Immediate past Governor of Plateau State, Senator Jonah David Jang, has cautioned the personnel of the Plateau State Water Board to take Pre- cautionary measures in the way they dispose Chlorine Cylinder used for water treatment at the Lamingo plant. Jang's warning came on the heels of the last Saturday's chemical explosion at Lamingo plant where no fewer than 14 persons died leaving over hundred people severely injured. Senator Jang who was at Plateau Specialist hospital to commiserate with the victims of the accident at the weekend, cautioned the workers of the Water Board to find a way of handling their empty gas cylinders so that they are not just left carelessly. According to him, "Maybe somebody didn't know what it was and just went and pull the nozzle out. Now look at what it has caused. So, the Water Board should have been more careful in the way they handle empty gas cylinders and cylinders that carry such dangerous liquids. "We were hoping as a matter of time before I left government to stop using that kind of gas within the Water Board.
  • Several Treated In NE Austin For Possible HAZMAT Exposure
    UPDATE: EMS officials say the possible irritating substance has been located and removed. Two more people refused treatment at the scene. ----------------- EARLIER: Three people were treated by EMS Thursday afternoon at a Northeast Austin business for a possible allergic reaction to an unidentified hazardous material. It happened at around 1:30 p.m. at ProLogis, located east of the intersection of Cameron Road and East Rundberg Lane. Austin-Travis County EMS says they initially received a call for one patient. When they arrived two others walked out of the ProLogis building requesting help. All three were transported to University Medical Center Brackenridge for possible allergic reaction symptoms. The cause is still under investigation. The Austin Fire Department HAZMAT team responded to the scene to monitor air quality. Authorities say they do not considering the incident an ongoing threat to public safety. 
  • 'Regrettable substitutions' fail to knock hazardous chemicals out of products — NewsWorks
    Although diacetyl exposure was primarily hazardous for workers who continually inhaled it, in one extreme case a man who consumed microwave popcorn about twice a day for 10 years developed the same disease. In reaction, some big food companies vowed to stop using it, and they did. But some replaced it with a chemical called 2,3 pentanedione, which could be just as hazardous, according to a report released earlier this month by The National Institute For Occupational Safety and Health. Swapping one hazardous chemical in for another is what experts call a regrettable substitution. "We've discovered recently that a lot of these substitutions that have been made, while functionally equivalent, also have hazards associated with them," says Julie Zimmerman, assistant professor of chemical and environmental engineering at Yale University.
  • Chemical spill from Marysville Water Plant triggers swim advisory
    Chrysler Beach in Marysville was closed for about three and half hours Wednesday due to a spill of hydrofluorosilicic acid from the city's water treatment plant. Fluorosilicic acid is used by the plant to fluoridate the water. The chemical exists in liquid form only. "We're just about to lift the chemical spill warning," Steve Demick, environmental health director of the St. Clair County Health Department, said at 3:45 p.m. Demick issued the no-swim advisory at 12:17 p.m. Ironically, the beach remained closed after the spill notice had been lifted due to high levels of the bacteria E. coli, which is caused by raw sewage in the water. "We called the health department to see if they could send someone down to test the river water for the fluoride," said Marysville Public Safety Chief Tom Konik. "They said the beach was already closed due to E. coli."
  • Emergency units simulate a chemical explosion at NU
    Suppose a student in the research labs at Northwestern University mixed up a couple of chemicals that didn't like each other and an explosion occurred, resulting in injuries. How would you handle it? That was the scenario that formed the basis of a multi-agency training drill on the campus Thursday morning, involving the Evanston Fire Department, Northwestern police, the university's Office of Research Safety, and the regional Hazardous Materials Response Team that consists of personnel from a number of surrounding fire departments. First, the "injured" students, portrayed by actors, were loaded into ambulances and whisked off to nearby hospitals. Then the alarm went out for the regional haz-mat team to arrive, complete with an array of tools and protective gear that would make them look like creatures from another galaxy.