Tag Archives: spills

1,000 Toxic Chemical Accidents You Have Not Heard Of

9 May

by Mike Ludwig, Cross Posted from Truthout

photo from ashbygirls.blogspot.com

photo from ashbygirls.blogspot.com

The April 17 explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, that killed 15 people and injured 200 was perhaps one of the most severe chemical accidents of its kind in recent memory, but it was by no means the first.

Earlier this month, for example, Tyson Foods and its affiliates agreed to a $4 million civil settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Justice Department for violations of the Clean Air Act at 23 facilities in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri where the toxic chemical anhydrous ammonia was released during several occasions between 2006 and 2010, causing property damage, multiple injuries to workers and one death.

The Tyson incidents did not involve a massive explosion like the disaster in Texas, but the accidents have one potentially deadly element in common: anhydrous ammonia.

Investigators now believe that large stores of ammonium nitrate caught on fire and caused the explosion at the West plant. But the plant also held two 12,000-gallon tanks of anhydrous ammonia that could have exacerbated the disaster in Texas if they leaked or exploded, according to the Center for Effective Government (CEG).

During the past 15 years, 1,000 accidents have occurred nationwide at chemical facilities that hold large quantities of anhydrous ammonia, according to data recently compiled by CEG.

Continue reading

Some Oil Spill Damage Can’t Be Cleaned Up

20 Apr

by Grayson / Earth First! Newswire

OilDamageCan'tBeCleaned

Photo from evelynwithoutoil.blogspot.com

A recent article in Newsweek outlines the shocking health problems, including neurological damage, that workers and residents at the 2010 BP oil spill disaster site have suffered in the three years since the incident. Considering the insane amount of oil spills that have taken place in the last couple months, it was too relevant to ignore.

As Newsweek writes, one victim of the spill, Jamie Griffin, was feeding cleanup crews during the disaster. Representatives from BP told Jamie that the oil tracking into her workspace was “safe,” and that she should “just mop it up,” which she attempted to do, having no idea the pain it was going to cause:

Within days, the 32-year-old single mother was coughing up blood and suffering constant headaches. . . Like hundreds, possibly thousands, of workers on the cleanup, Griffin soon fell ill with a cluster of excruciating, bizarre, grotesque ailments. By July, unstoppable muscle spasms were twisting her hands into immovable claws. In August, she began losing her short-term memory. . . The right side, but only the right side, of her body “started acting crazy. It felt like the nerves were coming out of my skin. It was so painful. My right leg swelled—my ankle would get as wide as my calf—and my skin got incredibly itchy.”

“These are the same symptoms experienced by soldiers who returned from the Persian Gulf War with Gulf War syndrome,” says Dr. Michael Robichaux, a Louisiana physician and former state senator, who treated Griffin and 113 other patients with similar complaints. As a general practitioner, Robichaux says he had “never seen this grouping of symptoms together: skin problems, neurological impairments, plus pulmonary problems.”

Cleanup workers were not the only victims; coastal residents also suffered. “My 2-year-old grandson and I would play out in the yard,” says Shirley Tillman of the Mississippi coastal town Pass Christian. “You could smell oil and stuff in the air, but on the news they were saying it’s fine, don’t worry. Well, by October, he was one sick little fellow. All of a sudden, this very active little 2-year-old was constantly sick.”

Much of this pain and suffering was not caused by the oil alone, but by BP’s response to the spill; as if allowing hundreds of thousands of barrels of deadly crude oil to flow into the Gulf of Mexico wasn’t enough, many of you may remember that BP used a “dispersant” to “clean-up” (read: hide) the oil. The dispersant they used was Corexit, a substance that has now been found to make crude oil 52 times as toxic. Corexit is still a standard dispersant used for oil spill cleanups, as it is approved for use by the Oil Pollution Act. This dispersant likely played a large role in the physical and neurological damage workers and volunteers are still suffering today.

Continue reading

13 Spills in 30 Days

12 Apr

From TckTckTck

Moving oil is a dirty business, and never has that been more clear than this past month. Since March 11, the global oil industry has had 13 spills on three continents. In North and South America alone, they’ve spilled more than a million gallons of oil and toxic chemicals – enough to fill two olympic-sized swimming pools.

Continue reading

Tar Sands Bloopers Part 2!

30 Mar
A crew cleaning 30,000 gallons of tar sands spilled in MN

by Carter / Earth First! Newswire

If you missed the first edition it’s here

The embarrassing industrial gaffs just keep coming! Earlier this week TransCanda had to wipe the toxic egg of their face when a tailing pond from the tar sands spilled into the Athabasca River. As if that wasn’t enough to make you chuckle at the sheer negligence and/or stupidity of these blundering billionaires, the two additional tar sands spills that happened this week should have you laughing until you cry… and then weeping for hours. Continue reading