In a previous post we discussed the tragedy of a fertilizer plant explosion in Texas. An entire community was not only physically but emotionally rocked by the explosion that was caused when a fire started in a plant and led to the explosion of hazardous chemicals within the building.
That deadly incident not only presents a matter of worker safety but overall community safety as well. The amount of the hazardous chemical ammonium nitrate that was detected to have been stored in the facility was way above safety limits. That safety violation had severe environmental implications on the community.
Based on an Associated Press study, the Texas community where the April explosion took place isn’t the only community where a tragedy like that could happen. More than 60 facilities throughout the U.S. admit to having more than the excessive amount of ammonium nitrate stored within them than the Texas plant had.
Many facilities with hazardous chemicals, sometimes an unsafe amount of chemicals, are in areas that put children, the elderly and the sick in danger of getting injured or killed. Therefore, it is so important for safety officials and the leaders of those facilities to have honest, open and informed conversations about the storage of chemicals in their communities.
The AP’s study of chemical storage throughout the U.S. indicates that there is widespread confusion among plant owners over the reporting laws due to conflicting laws regarding terrorism. Also, there is a widespread lack of knowledge among those same people regarding their own facilities and what chemicals they actually have stored there.
Someone who is injured because of the negligent storage or handling of a toxic substance or hazardous chemical might have legal options. An environmental lawyer could listen to the case and explain the possible routes to justice.
Source: The Associated Press, “Hazardous chemicals hidden in plants across U.S.” May 30, 2013