08 February 2007

chemical plant explosions!

...so yesterday a chemical plant in town blew, in a series of multiple explosions. they evacuated the area, to the tune of a mile radius. while the east bottoms is known as being an industrial area, there are a bunch of people that live nearby as well as several schools. they had decided to let the fire just burn itself out, as any water runoff could be potentially hazardous. from what i can gather, it is still burning, but is a much smaller fire.

the sky was this horrible black/gray color, and it blew over the metro area in to kansas. a series of pictures here.

late last night, there were still kids that had been evacuated waiting for their parents to come and get them at a local school that they'd opened up to them. i hope that their parents were able to figure out where they were and that the kids weren't too afraid. in times like this, the media seems to assume that everyone has a phone, or internet access. i also hope they had somewhere to go, though the red cross sprang into action fast...

i found it rather interesting that all of the news reports kept saying that they weren't sure if the burning chemicals were toxic, if they could pose a health hazard. uh. let's see. chemicals + burning = not to be breathed in. period.

here's a list of what they manufacture and who for (this plant has also "been referred to in lawsuits as the world’s largest privately held distributor of industrial chemicals":

3M Energy & Advanced Materials:
3M® Glass Bubbles, High Strength Ceramic Microspheres, Novec® Fluoro Surfactants

Akzo Nobel:
Berols® Narrow Range Nonionics Surfactants (high performance cleaning technologies), PeroxyBlend® (anti-microbial and stabilized hydrogen peroxides) , Napthalene Sulfonates

Albemarle Corporation:
FirstCure® UV Additives, Type I and Type II photo initiators, amine synergists. Ethacure® Polyurethane Curatives

Asahi Glass Co. Ltd. (AGC):
Lumiflon® fluoropolymer resins

BASF Performance Chemicals :
Organic and inorganic pigments, effect pigments, pigment preparations, dyes, UV curable resins, amino resins, crosslinkers, UV absorbers and hindered amine light stabilizers. Aliphatic Isocyanates.

BASF Urethane Chemicals:
Lupranate® MDI and TDI isocyanates and Pluracol® polyether polyols

Baxenden Chemicals, LTD:
Blocked Isocyanates and Moisture Scavengers

Chemtura (formerly Crompton, CK Witco, Uniroyal Chemical) :
Stearates, Waxes

Chemtura (formerly Great Lakes):
Brominated Fire Retardants, Phosphate and Zinc Borate Flame Retardants, Antimony Oxide

Cognis - Coatings Products:
Additives for flow, rheology, dispersing and defoaming, Sovermol® Polyols, G-Cure acrylic polyols, fungicides and epoxy curing agents

Cognis - Plastics:
Internal mold release agent, lubricants, antistatic agents in most engineering plastics and polyolefins.

Columbian Chemicals:
Carbon Blacks, Lampblack Replacements, Channel Black

Coopers Creek Chemical:
Coal Tar Extenders

Dorf Ketal:
Unilink® Secondary Aromatic Amines and Clearlink® Aliphatic Diamines

ActrasolsTM Sulfated Oils, Tall Oil Fatty Acids, Lubricant Additives, Emulsifier Bases, Phenolic Resins, Novares® Rosin Ester tackifiers

Grace Davison:
Syloid®Flatting Silicas, Shieldex®Anti-corrosive pigments, Free-flow silicas, and Molecular Sieves

Huntsman Advanced Materials (formerly Ciba-Vantico):
Araldite® Epoxy Resins, Hardeners, Modifiers, Diluents and Accelerators

Huntsman Performance Chemicals:
Jeffsol® Propolyene Carbonates, Jeffamine® Amines

Imerys (formerly ECC Inc. and Georgia Marble):
Calcium Carbonates, Clays (aluminum silicate)

Itochu Specialty Chemicals:

L.G. Chemical - Surfactants:
Surfactants. Decyl / Poly Glucoside for a variety of cleaning and cosmetic applications.

PTMEG Polyols, 1,4 Butane Diol

Malvern Minerals:
Novacite® Silica, Novacup® treated extender pigments.

Micro Powders, Inc.:
Micronized Polyethylene, PTFE and Fisher Tropsch Waxes

Hydrocarbon, Phenolic Modified and Tackifying Resins, Plasticizers (secondary), diluents, Cumar-Indene Resins

NYCO Minerals:
Nyad® wollastonite (calcium silicate) Micro-Fibre Reinforcing Filler, Wollastocoat® (treated grades)

Mor-Glo® and Mor-Flo® styrene acrylic copolymer emulsions.

Polyurethane Dispersions, Acrylic Emulsions, Polyurethane Solution Resins, Crosslinkers, Polycarbonate Diols

Rockwood Pigments:
Synthetic & Natural Grade Iron Oxides, Umbers, Siennas, Heat Stable Iron Oxide's, anti-corrosive pigments

Aluminum Pigments and Pastes: Leafing, Nonleafing, Acid-Resistant and Special Effect Pigments

Caprolactone Polyols

Southern Clay Products / Sud Chemie:
Rheological Additives, Organic Clays

Fumed Silicas - Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic

Vertellus (formerly CasChem):
Castor Oil, Castor Oil Derivatives, Polycins® Reactive Polyols, Urethane Catalysts


now, call me crazy, but i just ain't buying it - that the air tests that have been done are coming out below the levels that would cause problems for people. but i'm having flashbacks from another chemical spill in my hometown years ago. my parents were asleep and i was still up reading when the air raid sirens started sounding. scared the crap out of me. it was another spill that wasn't dangerous, though it managed to peel paint off the side of an apartment complex and some houses. it wasn't dangerous, although the cancer rates skyrocketed in the years following... in a strange twist, the exact same number of people were evacuated back then as were here yesterday. and the exact same phrasing is being used, that it "won't pose any long term health hazards."

it doesn't help that the official word is that nothing terribly toxic was involved in the explosion yesterday, yet they are telling people to stay away from the ash and debris, the area, and that "you wouldn't want your children out in it." doublespeak reigns.

apparently, the runoff is going not into the missouri river, but into the wastewater supply. do we get to drink that water after it's been treated? how does that work, exactly? and i wonder what this means for the families that live closest to the plant, those living right across the street from it?

i also can't help but think about how completely unprepared we still are for any sort of terrorist attack that would target such a place. there wasn't anything that the fire department could do but to stay back and watch - even when the flames were lapping dangerously close to three full 30,000 gallon tankers that could've turned into rockets if ignited... how is it that i'm supposed to feel safer, but i don't?


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