Cuyahoga County Chemical Safety
- In Cuyahoga County (Cleveland, Ohio), about 250 facilities have dangerous chemicals on site in sufficient quantity that an accidental release could send a toxic cloud into the community, in some cases traveling several miles.
- Such a release has the potential to cause deaths, serious injuries and major environmental pollution.
- For several years, EHW has been working with the Cuyahoga County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) to improve emergency response planning and to reduce the risk and consequences of major chemical accidents.
- Cleveland State University Center for Emergency Preparedness Newsletter
- LEPC Report Card: Evaluate your LEPC (To locate your LEPC, see www.epa.gov/ceppo/lepclist.htm).
Chemical Facility Security and Safety: Inherently Safer Chemical Processes
- The traditional approach to chemical process safety is to add control, containment and mitigation layers to an inherently dangerous process. The Inherent Safety Approach looks for ways to make the process less dangerous.
- Chemical Hazard Reduction Hierarchy: With inherent safety at the top, a strategy for improved chemical safety.
- Illustrations of inherent safety concepts [Safe Hometowns Guide]
- Risk Reduction Awards [Cuyahoga County/Cleveland LEPCs]
- Elimination of Chlorine from Greater Cleveland Water Treatment Facilities
- Safer Chemicals Create a More Secure America
Center for American Progress, March 2, 2010
- Benign by Design: Protecting Chemical Facilities from Attacks and Accidents by Stu Greenberg; Citizen Action Newsletter, Winter 2001
Hazardous Chemical Rail Transport
- Video: 10 years after a Baltimore train carrying hydrochloric acid derailed, rail security expert Fred Millar discusses the dangers of transporting hazardous materials. (Courtesy of 9 News Now).
- “10 Years after Baltimore Tunnel Fire, Much Is Unchanged“, Jul. 16 2011, Baltimore Sun
- “Info at Bin Laden Compound Shows Al-Qaida Mulled 9/11/11 Train Attack,” May 6 2011, by Jonathan Dienst, Shimon Prokupecz and Katy Tur
- “Local Officials Say They’re in the Dark on Dangerous Freight Rail Traffic,” Apr. 16 2010, by Jim Morris
- Clorox to stop using, transporting chlorine in US: In a major move toward inherent safety, the Clorox Co. announced it’s changing how it makes its bleach so it can stop transporting chlorine to U.S. factories by rail amid growing safety concerns and regulatory scrutiny. Read the New York Times Editorial.
House Committee Fails to Mandate Chemical Plant Safety & Disaster Prevention
On June 22, 2011, the House Homeland Security Committee approved H.R. 901, the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Security Authorization Act of 2011. The bill does not require increased chemical facility safety upgrades or chemical disaster preparation. In addition, it exempts thousands of potentially high risk chemical and port facilities, including “approximately 2,400 water treatment facilities and 400-600 port facilities, including 125 of 150 U.S. refineries” and prevents plant employees from participating in assessing vulnerabilities and developing security plans. More than 100 million Americans, however, live in disastrous proximity to high-risk chemical plants and a terrorist attack or facility malfunction could kills hundreds to thousands of neighbors within 30 minutes.
Bhopal- 26th Anniversary: The World’s Worst Chemical Plant Disaster
26th Anniversary of Bhopal Disaster: Twenty-six years after a horrific industrial accident killed thousands and injured tens of thousands, the people of Bhopal, India, are still suffering. In 2009, EHW sponsored a U.S. tour which sought support for justice from Dow Chemical and stopped in Cleveland.
Decades Later, Toxic Sludge Torments Bhopal: Hundreds of tons of waste still languish inside a tin-roofed warehouse in a corner of the old grounds of the Union Carbide pesticide factory here, nearly a quarter-century after a poison gas leak killed thousands and turned this ancient city into a notorious symbol of industrial disaster.
Bhopal Disaster Risk at the Institute, West Virginia Bayer Lethal Chemical Explosion
- CSB’s New Safety Video “Fire in the Valley” Shows Catastrophic Explosion and Fire at Bayer CropScience Facility in 2008
March 21, 2011
The 2008 explosion at Bayer CropScience that killed two workers was found to be a result of a runaway chemical reaction inside a residue treater pressure vessel, influenced by inadequately-trained operators, unchecked computer processing equipment and a bypassed safety interlock. In the explosion, the over-pressurized residue treater struck a large tank of methyl isocyanate, the chemical that killed thousands in Bhopal, India in 1984. “Fire in the Valley” shows Bayer’s refusal to provide information to 911 after the explosion and includes CSB’s key safety recommendations for the Bayer facility. To learn more visit: www.csb.gov.
- CSB Contracts Independent Study on Reducing Inventory of Toxic Methyl Isocyanate (MIC) at West Virginia Chemical Site
Chemical Safety Board, News Release
September 02, 2010
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has commenced a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) study on the feasibility of reducing or eliminating the inventory of highly toxic methyl isocyanate stored at the Bayer CropScience pesticide manufacturing complex located in Institute, West Virginia, near Charleston. . . “As long as MIC continues to be stored and used at the Bayer plant in any significant amount, the surrounding community and the workforce have a legitimate right to know whether everything possible has been done to reduce or eliminate the potential hazard,” said CSB Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso. “We hope the National Academy study will serve as an important model for both Bayer and the rest of the chemical industry for how to assess and reduce toxic chemical hazards.”
- Lawmakers Say Chemical Company Withheld Information about Explosion
April 22, 2009
When a huge explosion occurred last August at a West Virginia chemical plant, managers refused for several hours to tell emergency responders the nature of the blast or the toxic chemical it released, and they later misused a law intended to keep information from terrorists to try to stop federal investigators from learning what had happened…
Case study: “POLO: Petrochemical Disaster Risks for Buenos Aires: Fires, Explosions, Toxic Gas Clouds” by Fred Millar, Consultant on Chemical Accident Prevention and Homeland Security, Washington D.C. April 2010
- This as yet unpublished draft report by a veteran chemical disaster expert and environmental advocate includes accident history, analyses, risk estimates, photos and charts on worldwide chemical disasters and risks that are valuable for citizens and public officials in all major chemical communities. BP Oil Company’s own prestigious Baker Panel made a statement, in January 2007, after investigating the BP Texas City Refinery explosions disaster that killed 15 onsite workers : “We are under no illusion that deficiencies in process safety culture, management, or corporate oversight [which we found in BP] are limited to BP… Preventing process accidents requires vigilance. The passing of time without a process accident is not necessarily an indication that all is well and may contribute to a dangerous and growing sense of complacency… People can forget to be afraid.”
- The “Polo” report’s focus in on the serious disaster risks posed to workers, residents, and visitors in the densely populated Buenos Aires area by the massive petrochemical complex called Polo Petroquimico [“Polo”] at Dock Sud in Municipalidad Avellaneda. Polo includes scores of large petrochemical storage tanks and the Shell CAPSA refinery which uses the notoriously dangerous Hydrogen Fluoride catalyst. [The transportation of chemicals to and from the site pose another set of serious risks as well, not covered here.] As one of the world’s premier toxic gas dispersion experts Dr. Ron Koopman has said, “[In a very rapid release of hydrogen fluoride from a refinery] it would be possible for thousands of people to die… With regard to [siting of] refineries in the midst of a large population, it’s an extremely bad idea.” [“Mega Disasters: Toxic Cloud” DVD 138840, 50 min, http://shop.history.com/detail.php?p=78002&v=history_show_mega-disasters ]
- The report discusses how citizens, chemical workers, and governments all over the world have been playing catch-up in trying to assess the risks of, respond to serious chemical releases from, and reduce the risks of such oil and chemical facilities, which have for decades rapidly grown more numerous, larger and complex, more polluting and more dangerous, even in metropolitan areas. ® Fred Millar 2010 703-979-9191 email@example.com
More Information on Chemical Safety and Security
- The Danger Downwind
- Use the Clean Air Act to Eliminate Chemical Disasters
- Risk Management Plan Database, Right-To-Know Network
- US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board
- Chemical Emergency Prevention and Preparedness (EPA)
- Risk Management Solutions’ Top Ten Greatest Risks
- RMS Study Assesses Risks from Catastrophic Events
- Clean Production Action
- Chemical and Water Security Act of 2009
- Open to Attack [Progressive Magazine]
- Chemical Security 101: What You Don’t Have Can’t Leak, or Be Blown Up by Terrorists
- Inherent Security: Protecting Process Plants Against Threats, Paul Baybutt, Primatech, Inc.
- Challenges in Implementing Inherent Safety Principles in New and Existing Chemical Processes White Paper, Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center, Texas A & M University
- Chemical Process Safety Publications, Dennis Hendershot, Rohm & Haas Company
- Lessons of Bhopal: 25 Years Later, U.S. Chemical Laws Need Strengthening
- Great Lakes Green Chemistry Network
- Guidelines for Design Solutions for Process Equipment Failures by the Center for Chemical Process Safety of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (1998). (This book challenges the engineer to identify opportunities for inherent and passive safety features early, and use a risk-based approach to process safety systems specification).
- Inherently Safer Chemical Processes: A Life Cycle Approach by Robert E. Bollinger et. al. (1996). (Published by the Center for Chemical Process Safety of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, this is a clear guide for applying inherent safety concepts to chemical accident prevention).
- Plant Design for Safety: a User-friendly Approach by Trevor Keltz (1991).
From the father of inherent safety, a handbook on reducing chemical hazards starting with “what you don’t have can’t leak.” A powerful rethinking of chemical accident prevention.
- The Encouragement of Technological Change for Preventing Chemical Accidents: Moving firms from secondary prevention and mitigation to primary prevention. by Nicholas Ashford and the Center for Technology, Policy and Industrial Development at MI.
- The Logic of Failure by Dietrich Dorner (1996). The Author identifies the roots of catastrophe, the small, perfectly sensible steps that set the stage for disaster. In incisive analysis of real-life situations and often hilarious computer simulations he helps all those involved in any kind of strategic planning recognize and avoid such logical yet devastating errors.
- The Safe Hometowns Guide: How to Do a Community Reassessment of Chemical Site Safety and Security After September 11, 2001 by Sanford Lewis, J.D. A guide for local health and safety officers, elected officials, emergency responders, local emergency planning committees, businesses, workers, and concerned citizens to reassess community safety and security regarding the storage, use, production, and transport of exremely hazardous chemicals.
- The Violence Policy Center Report Sitting Ducks reveals the threat to the chemical and refinery industry from 50 caliber sniper rifles.