Chemical Industry & Public Safety
As the chemical industry began to grow, concern about the sacrifice of public safety caused many to evaluate the costs of expanding the industry.
- Increase the risk of developing cancer;
- Heighten the number of birth defects in community residents; and
- Place residents at the risk of danger in the event of an explosive accident.
Environmental agencies claim that simply living near a chemical plant puts individuals at risk of contamination and disease exposure. While efforts for promoting a clean industry are always being improved, the risks remain as long as humans are charged with operating the machinery. Equipment malfunction and human error can quickly lead to a chemical spill that contaminates natural resources relied upon by the community.
One obvious risk to the area surrounding a chemical plant at-large is the risk of a plant explosion. Poor maintenance of equipment or the negligence of one worker can set off an unintended catalyst for a chemical reaction of epic proportions. The public has no way of being informed of such a disaster and most occur with absolutely no forewarning.
In seconds, the entire community can experience devastation.
Plant explosion injuries can include severe chemical and fire burns, acoustic trauma, and internal organ damage which can be very severe. Medical treatment for such injuries requires specialized medicine and high-intensity care, the costs of which can quickly pile up. Furthermore, the property damage of a plant explosion can transform one's living situation catastrophically. Destruction of private homes and the interruption of business can have negative financial impacts on the community as a whole and the lives of residents as individuals.
12 Most Dangerous Chemical Plants
A simple glance at a chemical plant, with its gleaming tanks and hissing smokestacks, makes it clear that working at such a location brings with it many hazards, including the potential for inhaling toxic fumes and the possibility of fires or explosions that cause serious injury and even death.
Millions of Americans live and work near high-risk chemical facilities with the potential to kill and injure workers and residents. This reality became all too vivid last spring when a West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion killed 15 people. There are more than 12,000 chemical plants that put people at risk with large amounts of chemicals, and 89 of those endanger more than 1 million people. Unfortunately, those most at risk in the examples below live in low-income communities of color.
12. HOUSTON, TEXAS: SOUTH HOUSTON WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT
The Houston area has more than 40 high-risk facilities, including more than 20 that put at least a million people at risk, and another 20 that put at least 100,000 people at risk in an accidental chemical release. South Houston Wastewater Treatment Plant is one of these facilities. The plant uses sulfur dioxide and chlorine gas to treat wastewater and puts 140,000 people within 3.1 miles at risk of harm.
11. HAMPTON, GA: KIK GEORGIA LLC
Located just south of Atlanta, this plant produces liquid bleach and endangers 370,000 people within 14 miles.
10. ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO: DPC INDUSTRIES, INC
550,000 people are at risk from this facility's storage and use of chlorine to manufacture liquid bleach.
9. EDGEMOOR, DELAWARE: DUPONT EDGEMOOR FACILITY
This is one of 11 facilities in the area that endanger at least 200,000 people and often more than 1 million. This Dupont plant manufactures titanium dioxide for paper products and endangers 660,000 people.
8. NEW ORLEANS, LA: CARROLTON WATER PURIFICATION PLANT
This facility treats drinking water with chlorine and is one of 11 in the New Orleans area endangering residents. This particular facility's bulk use and storage of chlorine puts 900,000 people at risk.
7. SEATTLE, WASHINGTON: PIONEER AMERICAS TACOMA BLEACH PLANT
This Washington plant manufacturers liquid bleach and endangers 900,000 people within 14 miles.
6. CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: PELRON
One of a dozen high-risk facilities in the area, Pelron uses ethylene oxide to produce chemicals for products such as foam mattresses, insulation, and carpet padding. The use and storage of ethylene oxide at this facility endangers 1.6 million people.
5. DETROIT, MICHIGAN: DETROIT CHLORINATION/DICHLORINATION FACILITY
Treating wastewater with chlorine and sulfur dioxide, this Detroit facility puts 2.1 million people at risk with 16 miles.
4. PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA: TRAINER REFINERY
The Trainer Refinery in Pennsylvania uses hydrofluoric acid to refine crude oil into gasoline. The facility puts 2.4 million people within 19 miles at risk of an accidental chemical release.
3. PAULSBORO, NEW JERSEY: PAULSBORO REFINING COMPANY
The Paulsboro Refining Company uses hydrofluoric acid to refine crude oil into gasoline, therefore putting 3 million people at risk.
2. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: KIK SOCAL INC.
One of 12 high-risk chemical facilities in the Los Angeles area, this plant puts more than 4.9 million people at risk.
1. NEW YORK CITY & NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: KUEHNE CHEMICAL COMPANY
The most dangerous chemical facility in the country, this plant manufactures liquid bleach and endangers 12 million people.
Injured by an Industrial Accident? Get the Help You Need: (888) 493-1629.
If you live near a plant, you should know that your well-being is a priority for federal and state authorities. In the interest of those at risk of chemical exposure and industrial injuries, Congress has passed numerous bills on maintaining a clean industry, promoting chemical plant safety, and building effective accident prevention plans. Furthermore, industrial operators are held to extremely high standards in the form of safety regulations to ensure that their work and product does not cause undue harm to innocent members of the surrounding community.
If any of these protocols are compromised and an accident causes damage to private individuals, the company will be held responsible for their plant's failure. You deserve to be fought for by lawyers who understand the complex laws and regulations behind the chemical industry and the elements for pursuing action following a plant explosion. At Arnold & Itkin LLP, our legal professionals have extensive experience representing those injured in a plant explosion, whether they be plant workers or members of the community surrounding the industrial plant.
Contact Arnold & Itkin to learn more about how we can help you claim compensation for your losses. Call (888) 493-1629 for your free, confidential consultation.