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  • U.S. Chemical Safety Board
    October 30, 2014, Denver, CO – Today the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released a safety bulletin called “Key Lessons for Preventing Incidents from Flammable Chemicals in Educational Demonstrations” based on three recent serious incidents in Nevada, Colorado, and Illinois where children were burned while observing laboratory demonstrations involving flammable liquid methanol. The first incident described in the CSB safety bulletin is the September 3, 2014, accident at the Terry Lee Wells Discovery Museum, known as “The Discovery,” in Reno, Nevada, where thirteen people, most of them children, were injured. Two CSB investigators were deployed to the site and interviewed personnel who were directly involved.    Just 12 days after the fire in Nevada, a second similar accident occurred on September 15th at the SMART Academy in Denver, Colorado, severely burning a 16-year-old high school student. Most recently, on October 20, 2014, less than five weeks after the incident at SMART, three Cub Scouts and one adult were injured during a demonstration using methanol at a Cub Scout event in Raymond, Illinois.
  • UEA dispose of chemicals to prevent repeat of laboratory fire
    A UEA spokesman said: “Following the incident in the Chemistry Building at UEA last week and as part of the university’s ongoing housekeeping in ensuring safety for all, the Science faculty is taking steps to minimise its holdings of certain chemicals and materials. “The University frequently disposes of waste and unwanted chemicals using specialist contractors. Part of this process involved the disposal by specialists of some substances on campus grounds, early today (Wednesday 29 October) at a safe distance from buildings. This is a routine procedure for the specialist company, but exceptional for UEA due to the nature of chemical being disposed of. “The relevant authorities were alerted ahead of the disposal as were staff and students.” The disposal was carried out “a safe distance from buildings”. As previously reported nine fire crews were called to tackle a fire at the chemistry lab. They were called at 10.24am on Tuesday, October 21 and the building, on the main campus off Earlham Road, was evacuated. A cordon was put up around the building. The fire is understood to have broken out on the third floor. Fire crews from Carrow, Earlham, Sprowston, Hethersett, Wymondham, Wroxham, Long Stratton and Attleborough were called to the scene. Two ambulances were called as a precaution but there are not believed to be any casualties.
  • Supreme Court rejects Chinese appeals over deadly chemical arms leaks
    The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by Chinese plaintiffs seeking damages from Japan over a fatal poison gas leak caused when a cache of chemical weapons abandoned by the Imperial Japanese Army during the war was unearthed during construction in 2003. The top court’s third petty bench, which made the decision Tuesday, rejected an appeal filed by 50 Chinese — including relatives of those involved — seeking to overturn a high court ruling that dismissed their claim. The accident occurred at a construction site in Qiqihar, Heilongjiang province, in August 2003, when poison gas leaked from old drums unearthed at the site, killing one person and injuring 43 others. Also Tuesday, the third petty bench rejected a separate appeal filed against a high court decision that denied Japanese government redress sought by two men who were injured by poison gas leaked from abandoned chemical weapons in Dunhua, Jilin province, in 2004.
  • Seventy firefighters tackle Hadleigh chemical warehouse blaze
    A fire has ripped through a warehouse containing household chemicals on an industrial estate in Suffolk. A Suffolk Police spokeswoman said the force was called to the Lady Lane industrial estate in Hadleigh at 05:50 GMT. At its height, 70 firefighters were in attendance. Earlier advice about keeping windows closed because of chemical smoke has been withdrawn, the spokeswoman said. An investigation has been started to find out what caused the blaze. One of the warehouses which was alight, owned by a company called Challs International, contained household cleaning products.
  • HazMat called to Colton diesel spill
    COLTON, Ore. (KOIN 6) — About 190 gallons of diesel fuel seeped into a creek following a semi-truck crash in Colton Wednesday, prompting HazMat and firefighters to respond to the accident and contain the spill. Oregon State Police say truck driver David Tucker was attempting to pass a car on Highway 211 late Tuesday afternoon. That car, driven by Silverton woman Marlene Muhs, herself attempted to pass a slower-moving car and collide into the side of the semi in the process. Muhs’ car then swerved back and into the road’s shoulder while Tucker’s semi was forced off the road and into a drainage ditch. Tucker sustained minor injuries and was treated at a nearby medical center and released; Muhs was not hurt. Emergency responders surmised the truck had ruptured its fuel tanks upon hitting a concrete culvert.
  • Don't touch debris! Antares explosion leaves highly toxic elements beyond hazard area — RT USA
    ​The explosion late Tuesday of the Antares rocket, on a mission from Virginia to deliver 5,000 pounds of supplies to the International Space Station, scattered toxic wreckage beyond a protected ‘hazard area’ that should be avoided, NASA has warned. An unmanned Antares rocket exploded shortly after takeoff late Tuesday from Wallops Island, on Virginia’s eastern shore. Private company Orbital Science Corp.’s rocket was carrying the Cygnus cargo spacecraft, which held about 5,000 pounds (2,200 kilograms) of food, supplies, and other equipment, all of which were destroyed within a fireball just above NASA’s Wallop’s Flight Facility. NASA officials said any debris found near the crash site should be reported to the space agency, as the items may be contaminated with rocket fuel or other hazardous material.
  • OSHA issues 2 citations in Discovery museum flash fire
    A Reno children's science museum has been issued two citations after a tornado demonstration last month led to a flash fire that injured 13 people. Spokeswoman Teri Williams of the Nevada Occupational Health and Safety Administration says each of the citations issued to the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum carries a penalty of $1,050. Reno fire officials said a three- to five-second blaze erupted Sept. 3 after an employee poured alcohol on a cotton ball that had been dusted with boric acid and partially ignited. Nine people were treated at Renown Regional Medical Center. All were released within 24 hours. OSHA says the museum didn't assess personal protective equipment for employees, and didn't train employees on using hazardous chemicals. The museum didn't immediately comment on the citations Monday.
  • 2 Students Splashed By Chemical In Science Lab At Villanova U.
    VILLANOVA., Pa. (CBS) — According to Villanova University, police and fire crews responded to the school after two students were splashed by a chemical on campus. The University says a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide got splashed onto the arms of two students in a science lab. The students suffered skin irritation. They washed the affected area with soap and water and both declined medical transportation.
  • First responders in the Bay Area see rise in 'chemical suicides'
    HILLSBOROUGH, Calif. (KGO) -- First responders cordoned off a Hillsborough neighborhood Sunday night after they found a young man dead in his car. He'd committed what's being called "chemical suicide." Authorities say it's a disturbing trend among young suicide victims. Thousands of cases of chemical suicides have been reported in Japan. It became almost cult-like. "It originated in Japan, and then turned into something that ended up being more significant," said Deputy Chief John Kammeyer with the Central Coast Fire Department. "So it was sort of copycat type of thing and it became significant by way of the Internet." And now, they're on the rise in here. The latest happened Sunday night in Hillsborough.
  • Police: Hazmat response to Wilmington Avenue the result of a hoax
    DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A Hazmat response that forced police to shut down a stretch of Wilmington Avenue Tuesday night has ended. The incident took place in the 900 block of Wilmington Avenue between Shroyer Road and Citation Street. Police and medics were called around 9 p.m. They say a man said his brother had just returned from Liberia and was showing symptoms of the Ebola virus. After investigating for about two hours, police determined the call was a hoax. They say the man in question was at home in a different part of Dayton, had not been to West Africa and is not sick. Police are still trying to track down the person who made the call. “We want people to know that this is going to be zero tolerance on a hoax like this. We can’t afford to have other people get hurt as the result of a prank or a hoax. So we are taking this very seriously and we’re doing everything we can to find this person,” said Dayton Police Lt. Andrew Booher. Lt. Booher says the caller will face criminal charges of inducing panic.
  • Blog de Bioseguridad / Biosafety Blog: The post-normal science of precaution, by Jerry Ravetz
    Science now finds itself in a new and troubled situation. The traditional optimistic picture is problematic and compromised at every turn. The scientific system now faces a crisis of confidence, of legitimacy and ultimately of power. We can usefully distinguish two sorts of science. The ‘mainstream’ is reductionist in style, and increasingly linked to industry. By contrast, the ‘post-normal’ approach embodies the precautionary principle. It depends on public debate, and involves an essential role for the ‘extended peer community’. It is based on the recent recognition of the influence of values on all research, even including the basic statistical tests of significance. It is the appropriate methodology when either systems uncertainties or decision stakes are high; under those conditions the puzzle-solving approach of ‘normal science’ is obsolete. This is a drastic cultural change for science, which many scientists will difficult to accept. But there is no turning back; we can understand post-normal science as the extension of democracy appropriate to the conditions of our age.
  • UC Spent Nearly $4.5 Million To Defend Lab Death Case
    The University of California paid nearly $4.5 million to outside law firms to defend itself and UC Los Angeles chemistry professor Patrick Harran from felony charges of labor code violations relating to the death of a staff researcher. The numbers were released by the UC Office of the President in response to a public records request filed by C&EN. Researcher Sheharbano (Sheri) Sangji was using a syringe to transfer tert-butyllithium, which ignites spontaneously in air, when the plunger came out of the syringe barrel. Sangji was not wearing a flame-resistant lab coat, and her clothes caught fire. She died from her injuries on Jan. 16, 2009. She was 23 years old and had received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Pomona College in May 2008. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed charges against UC and Harran on Dec. 27, 2011. The charges cited failure to correct unsafe workplace conditions and procedures in a timely manner, failure to require work-appropriate clothing and personal protective equipment, and failure to provide chemical safety training to employees.
  • Hazmat called to Eau Claire office building
    AU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) The Eau Claire Fire Department says about a dozen people had to be evacuated from an area office Monday afternoon after mercury was dropped under their doorway. It happened around 4:30 pm at the Teamsters Local Union office on Golf Terrace. Crews say the same thing has happened more than once at the same office in the last few weeks. It's unknown if anyone has been arrested.
  • Students at Pomperaug High School evacuated after mercury spill
    SOUTHBURY, CT (WFSB) - Pomperaug High School students were evacuated Monday morning after mercury was spilled in a classroom. Officials from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said a student had an oral thermometer and it broke, and a very small amount of mercury was involved in the spill. The student who reportedly dropped the thermometer has been taken to the hospital as a precaution. DEEP officials were expected to go into the classroom to test the area and clean it as necessary.
  • 18-wheeler spills more more than 2K gallons of gas on Scenic Highway in Baton Rouge
    At least 2,000 gallons of gasoline spilled out of an 18-wheeler Monday (Oct. 27) night on Scenic Highway in Baton Rouge. The spill shut down nearby Wyandotte Street west of Interstate 110 in both directions, according to Baton Rouge Fire Department officials.   BRFD spokesman Curt Monte said just before 9 p.m. that the department's hazmat crews and fire trucks were on the scene.  The 18-wheeler was hauling 8,900 gallons of gas, but only one of its multiple cargo compartments was "compromised," Monte said. The incident occurred near the 3700 block of Scenic Highway along an industrial corridor where a number of plants are located.  Monte said the spill occurred after a four-inch pipe somehow sheered off the bottom of the tanker, causing between 2,000 and 2,600 gallons of gas to leak. 
  • Honeywell probes chemical leak at Illinois plant
    METROPOLIS, Ill. (AP) - Honeywell says there’s no evidence that a weekend leak of a compound used in uranium enrichment at its southern Illinois plant escaped the building. Company spokesman Peter Dalpe says no injuries resulted from the leak of uranium hexafluoride Sunday night at Honeywell’s site in Metropolis. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been notified. The plant helps make nuclear fuel, and still is operating. It was not immediately clear Monday how much of the uranium hexafluoride was released. The leak comes at a time the company and union-backed workers at the Massac County plant are embroiled in a contract dispute. Employees have been locked out of the site since August.
  • Chemical leak in Riverside sends 11 people to hospital
    Nearly a dozen people, including fire and police officials, were hospitalized early Monday after they were exposed to an unknown chemical leaking from a tank near Lincoln High School in Riverside. The leak prompted authorities to shut down the surrounding neighborhood of 130 homes and order residents to shelter in place, said Riverside Fire Division Chief Mitch Wesche. Students arriving at the high school were turned away. The affected area includes from 10th to 14th streets and Victoria Avenue to Commerce Street. Three police officers and a firefighter were among those taken to hospitals for observation, Wesche said. Seven residents drove themselves to hospitals. A chemical odor was reported at 6:16 a.m. to be emanating from a 5-foot-tall welding tank in a resident's backyard, officials said. Crews were able to stop the leak, but the neighborhood remained closed off. Residents who sheltered in place were not allowed to leave or enter their homes.
  • Report: Chemical plant puts thousands of kids at risk
    LAS VEGAS -- Twenty-six years after a major chemical explosion rocked Las Vegas, more schools than ever before are now at risk. It was 1988 when the Pepcon explosion shook the valley. A map shows dozens of schools in southern Nevada that are vulnerable to potential chemical catastrophe from just one plant in town. The map is based on a report by the Center for Effective Government which found companies like Olin Chlor Alkali in Henderson which makes bleach, can be dangerous because of the amount of chemicals they process. The report found 60 percent of schools in Nevada are close to a facility that uses chemicals. Some people didn't know some of these companies are right down the street from where they live.
  • Site of explosion at alleged Nanticoke meth lab cordoned off
    NANTICOKE — A methamphetamine lab is believed to have been the source of an explosion that blew two doors off their hinges at an apartment building here on Saturday night. The State Police Bureau of Drug Law Enforcement posted and cordoned off the building on Lee Mine Street after the blast, which occurred at about 8 p.m. The posting states: “A clandestine laboratory for the manufacture of illegal drugs and/or hazardous chemicals was seized at this location on 10/25/14 by the Pennsylvania State Police. Known hazardous chemicals have been disposed of pursuant to law. However, there still may be hazardous substances or waste products on this property either in buildings or on the ground itself. Please exercise caution while on these premises.” Several people who allegedly were cooking meth inside the apartment building fled after the explosion. About a half dozen units in the building were evacuated. Emergency personnel in protective hazmat gear removed chemicals from the building.
  • Police investigation on the Jaisalmer shop fire, seven dead
    JAISALMER: Police is conducting a high level investigation on the fire that broke out in a cracker shop on Wednesday late night, near Shastri circle in Balotra town of Barmer district in which seven people died by burning. Six of the dead were from the same family. With the help of forensic experts, police are trying to find out the reasons of fire and have sent the remaining evidence from the spot to the forensic laboratory, Jaipur for investigations. Barmer SP Hemant Sharma said that crackers kept outside the Mahamaya fancy story in the busy market of Balotra caught fire and later crackers in the godown too caught fire. To save the godown, people working in the shop downed the shutter and they took shelter behind the closed shutter, but with the explosions from the crackers, all of them died, burnt alive. Only after six hours, the fire could be controlled. It is yet to be known whether the shopkeeper had any license to sell crackers or not. The SP said that on getting information, he and the district collector reached the spot and took stock of the situation. On the other hand, as per the information, the fire was so severe that people gathered outside the shop on Wednesday late night and efforts were made to rescue the people caught behind the shutter but it proved futile. As per the information, there was a counter outside the Mahamaya fancy story and business was at the peak even at around 1 am. A customer was checking missile gun and when a flame from the gun fell on the crackers kept at the counter and it caught fire and crackers started exploding. The owner of the shop and staff, went inside the shop and closed the shutter so that crackers kept behind the shop, in a godown, do not catch fire. In the meantime, a few rockets flew inside the shop and the fire spread. People, who closed the shutters did not come out. Police, administration, ambulance and fire tenders were immediately called. The fire tender from Balotra reached the spot, but fire could not be brought under control. On the spot, additional SP, deputy SP along with force too reached. Barmer's Cairn energy fire tender was also called. By the time fire was controlled, everything turned to ashes.
  • Liquid bombs thrown in Wentzville
    WENTZVILLE, Mo. - Wentzville Police are warning residents to be on guard. At least six liquid bombs were thrown in various places Saturday night, including the Bear Creek Subdivision and the police department. As of Sunday night, no arrests have been made. KSDK spoke with a man who picked up one of the bottle bombs after it was thrown in his backyard, he did not know what it was. The bottle exploded in his hand. The man says he suffered a mild concussion after the impact of the explosion knocked him against his hot tub. He was treated at a local hospital.
  • Reported in the News Letter on October 25, 1929: Hollywood rocked by laboratory blaze
    Hollywood, the hub of the American film universe, was shaken by four terrible explosions yesterday morning when the laboratory belonging to Consolidated Film Industries Inc became the scene of one of the most disastrous fires in recent years. Although some 50 persons were at work in the building only one is known to have been killed, and it is believed that all the others escaped. The damage is provisionally estimated at fifty million dollars (£10,000,000). The exact cause of the disaster is not yet known. Several million feet of film are stored in the laboratory, and it is thought that some form of combustion was responsible for the first explosion, the resultant fire from which caused the three explosions which followed. The fire burned furiously but was prevented from spreading to nearby studios, to the saving of which the firemen concentrated their efforts. The laboratory, however, was wiped out. It is believed that 75 per cent of Hollywood’s film companies stored their master films in this laboratory.
  • Jewish Store Owner in Brooklyn Helps Save Man on Fire After Blast From Hookah Pipe Chemicals
    A Jewish store owner helped save a man who was seen running down a street in Brooklyn with his clothes on fire following a small explosion from chemicals used for a hookah pipe, the UK’s Daily Mail reported on Wednesday. The chemical fire broke out shortly before 2 p.m. on Tuesday inside a basement on McDonald Avenue in Brooklyn, across the street from a Jewish seminary. Neighbors said a 22-year-old was drying tobacco leaves using a mixture of acetone and coconut oil for a hookah pipe when fumes from the flammable liquids ignited with a water heater pilot light. Surveillance cameras on McDonald Avenue caught the man running down the street with his clothes on fire while leaving behind a trail of white smoke, according to the Daily Mail. Witnesses said the man fled his building and raced across the street screaming for help before two people passing by were able to put out the fire. Alex Mayer, the Jewish owner of a nearby camera shop, told 7Online. ”I hung up the phone and I started chasing him. And I’m like, ‘Drop and roll! Drop and roll!’ I caught up with [him] a half block up, when he finally dropped.” The victim was still burning until a truck driver named Claudio came and sprayed him with a fire extinguisher.
  • Roadmap For Chemical Release Prevention May Have Some Sharp Curves
    A local environmental group is pushing for a Chemical Release Prevention Program for the Kanawha Valley. People Concerned About Chemical Safety's executive director hopes the Freedom Industries chemical leak that tainted drinking water in nine counties this year will be the catalyst for implimenting earlier safety recommendations for the chemical industry. Maya Nye says those recommendations from the Chemical Safety Board followed a 2008 explosion at Bayer CropScience that killed two workers and rocked a broad section of the Kanawha Valley.  The CSB called for a hazardous release prevention program. CSB suggestions included a local, independent agency that would identify risks. State and local health and environmental officials attended today's meeting in Charleston. It is seen as the first step in creating a "roadmap planning team" for accident prevention. Kanawha County was represented by fire cooridinator C. W Sigman. Sigman made it clear the county commission would have to sign off on any regulations or laws the "team" may eventually suggest. He found problems with the model the CSB recommended. The group assumes some action by the legislature would be needed before major changes could happen. The chemical industry was invited to take part. It did not.
  • Schenectady's SI Group fined 400K by DEC for pollution
    One of the Capital Region's largest chemical plants has been hit with a $400,000 state pollution fine for a host of violations, marking the fifth such instance in less than four years. SI Group, which makes chemical resins in its plant at Main Street in Rotterdam Junction, agreed to the fine under a settlement reached this month with the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The company also agreed to hire an outside engineer to study how pollution control equipment is performing and how it can be improved. That study has to be given to DEC. In an agreement signed by SI Vice President Daniel Tilley, the company also agreed to test its emissions stacks for levels of hazardous air pollution, volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and soot. If tests show "additional controls are necessary," the company would have to provide DEC with a schedule to perform the work. DEC officials were not available late Friday to comment on the agreement and pollution fine, which is one of the largest imposed by the regional DEC in recent years. In four earlier DEC agreements since March 2011, SI Group paid a total of about $275,000 in fines against the Rotterdam plant for air and water pollution violations. On Friday, company president and CEO Frank Bozich said the latest violations and fine were "completely unacceptable and inexcusable to me ... We are moving in a very positive direction to make sure that this doesn't happen again. I am confident that we are headed in the right direction." Among the latest violations, during an August 2013 inspection by DEC, staffers were splashed with liquid from a rooftop pollution control unit that ran off the roof, down a wall, onto the ground and into a gutter leading to an "industrial sewer drain." Tests found that the liquid contained five hazardous air pollutants, according to the DEC agreement.