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12,000 U.S. Facilities Store Hazardous Chemicals, Raising Concerns of Catastrophic Leaks

It’s no secret that harsh chemicals are used in the manufacturing of everyday products, and they’re even used to treat the water we drink. However, when these chemicals are gathered on an industrial scale, they can pose a potential threat to onsite employees and the local community.

Unfortunately, this situation is more common than you might think. Currently, there are 12,000 facilities registered with the Environmental Protection Agency that store hazardous chemicals on site. Since 2003, nearly 4,000 related accidents have been reported to the EPA. It’s important to note that this number only accounts for facilities that are required to file a risk management plan. These accidents have led to severe injuries and even death.1

Any company storing a large quantity of specific chemicals must register with the EPA and file a risk management plan. Those plans cover what the effects of an accident could be; how they prevent an accident and include an emergency response plan in case an accident does occur.1

How close are you to one of these facilities? Check this map  and make sure to turn on all registered facilities in the map legend.

Using Freedom of Information Act requests, Axios created a map of the registered facilities across the USA. Their inclusion does not mean there will be an accident, only that a large quantity of hazardous chemicals is being stored at this location. You can also view accident reports that include spills, injury, and death from insufficient safety measures at these facilities.2

Purafil offers solutions to prevent disaster for each of the 3 most common chemicals involved in accidents reported to the EPA. Ammonia, Chlorine, and Hydrogen Fluoride : When these chemicals are released, they can all be extremely dangerous.3

  • Ammonia is the most common source of chemical accidents at facilities that have filed a risk management plan with the EPA. “Ammonia is very corrosive and very reactive with human tissues. If it’s breathed in because it’s in the air, it’s highly damaging and irritating to the lungs. It can cause real damage,” said Ted Schettler, science director at the environmental nonprofit Science and Environmental Health Network.”3
  • Chlorine is the second most common source of chemical accidents. They’re commonly used to disinfect and sanitize water, and to process sewage and industrial waste. “High exposure breathing can cause lung damage, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Depending on the extent of the exposure, the length of the exposure, it can cause permanent damage that can result in long-term wheezing and asthma-like symptoms,” Schettler said.3
  • Hydrogen Fluoride (Hydrofluoric Acid) is the third most common source of chemical accidents. It’s commonly used to make refrigerants, herbicides, pharmaceuticals, and also used in oil refineries. “Skin contact can cause severe damage and breathing in hydrogen fluoride at high levels or in combination with skin contact can cause death from an irregular heartbeat or from fluid buildup in the lungs.3

In the case of an unanticipated release of chlorine from a 1-ton cylinder, the lives of employees and residents within a 5-mile radius are at risk. The Purafil Emergency Gas Scrubber is designed to mitigate the risk of any release event of up to 2 tons, whether caused by operator error during cylinder changeout, or equipment failure during storage.

Purafil is a proven and trusted provider of safety equipment. We specialize in providing solutions for toxic levels of chlorine, ammonia, hydrogen fluoride (HF), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and hydrogen sulfide (H2S). Our standard options are designed to mitigate large- and small-scale leaks by providing immediate protection against leaking gas.

Contact us today to talk to an emergency gas specialist.

1) https://www.axios.com/2023/09/22/chemicals-accidents-safety-map-epa-tyson-dow

2) https://www.axios.com/hazardous-chemicals-US-near-you-data

3) https://www.axios.com/2023/09/22/chemicals-accidents-epa-ammonia-chlorine

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