Several international unions representing hundreds of thousands of chemical industry workers today criticized the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) for abrogating its mandate to recommend strong EPA and OSHA standards to prevent runaway reactions in chemical factories, and urged the board to repeat its prior recommendations in the final report when they adopt it tonight.
The unions were reacting to the CSB’s new report on a deadly chemical incident in Jacksonville, Fla., on Dec. 19, 2007, which destroyed T2 Laboratories, a specialty chemical producer. The explosion killed four people and injured 32 others. According to an earlier CSB news release, the accident occurred when T2 mixed more than half a ton of highly reactive sodium metal with other chemicals in a process to make a gasoline additive, creating a 2000-foot-high fireball.
“The T2 explosion is yet more evidence of the need for stricter regulation and oversight of the chemical industry,” said Leo W. Gerard, International President, United Steelworkers. “For eight years the Bush administration ignored calls for stronger chemical process safety rules, and now American workers are paying for those flawed decisions with their lives ... more