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Preventing Chemical Disasters

Tons of poison gas are routinely stored at chemical facilities in major U.S. cities. President Obama called them “stationary weapons of mass destruction” because they are vulnerable to terrorists and pose a catastrophic accident risk. Yet there are many safer alternatives already widely in use.

Find out where more than 400 high-risk chemical plants are located.

Unfortunately there are no rules or safety standards in place to require the use of safer alternatives. Even with the Obama administration supporting the efforts of a broad coalition to enact new chemical disaster prevention legislation the chemical lobby and their allies in Congress have successfully blocked it. But there is a disaster prevention clause in the Clean Air Act that has never been enforced. In fact there was bi-partisan support for such a policy following the 9/11 attacks but that consensus has been eroded by intense pressure from the chemical lobby.

Take action today! You can help prevent a toxic disaster in your community by signing our petition to President Obama urging him to enforce the disaster prevention clause in the Clean Air Act before it's too late.

Prevent Chemical Disasters

Currently, one in three people in the US live within the danger zone of a chemical facility that stores poison gasses. The chemical industry could use safer alternatives, but they are refusing to take action. Luckily the Obama Administration is considering using its authority under the Clean Air Act to require dangerous facilities to swtich to safer alternatives—the best way to prevent a disaster.

If released by an industrial accident or by a terrorist these chemicals could cause a catastrophe leaving thousands killed or injured, like the Bhopal Disaster of 1984. According to EPA, around 480 chemical facilitie s each put 100,000 or more people at risk in the communities surrounding their fenceline, as well as the workers within the plants. One of the nation's biggest vulnerabilities to terrorists, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has identified more than 4,000 chemical facilities as "high-risk." The EPA has identified about 90 chemical plants that each put one million or more people at risk up to 25 miles downwind from a plant. The U.S. Army Surgeon General estimated that an attack on just one U.S. chemical plant could kill or injure 900,000 to 2.4 million people. Despite numerous warnings since 2001, Congress has done little to neutralize these hazards. Read more

Going Hi-Tech is Highly Toxic

From cell phones to laptops, i-pods to digital cameras, we are buying—and throwing away—more electronic products than ever before. The cost is higher than the impact on your pocket book.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of old computers and cell phones are dumped in landfills or burned in smelters. Thousands more are exported, often illegally, to Asia, where workers at scrap yards, often children, are exposed to a cocktail of toxic chemicals and poisons. Read more

Go PVC-Free

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, commonly known as "vinyl," has become one of the most widely-used types of plastics. It's used in packaging, home furnishings, children’s toys, automobile parts, building materials, hospital supplies, and hundreds of other products. PVC may be versatile and relatively inexpensive, but the price we pay for a low-cost piece of PVC pipe or soft vinyl toy is far steeper than it may seem. Read more

Bhopal Disaster

Since 1984, 20,000 people lost their lives in Bhopal, India after a chemical gas spill from a pesticide factory. More than 40 tons of methyl isocyante (MIC) gas created a dense cloud over a resident population of more than half a million people.

People woke in their homes to fits of coughing, their lungs filling with fluid.  More than 8,000 people were killed in just the first few days following the leak, mainly from cardiac and respiratory arrest. Read more

The latest updates


What Safety?

Blog by Meena Hussain | October 18, 2010

I’m really over all of these chemical plants getting safety awards as of late.  Last week, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) gave The Linde Group’s Sacramento, CA plant a Responsible Care Certification .  The Linde plant creates...

Congress Fails to Prevent Toxic Chemical Disasters

Blog by John Deans | October 1, 2010

The US Congress has done it again: NOTHING . The biggest environmental issues they have been charged with tackling have gone untouched in lieu of playing politics. Among the top overlooked dangers was the security of the nation’s...

Chemical security needed in Freeport, Texas

Blog by hkaye | September 13, 2010 1 comment

Sitting here in Freeport, TX, looking out over the beach, it's easy for me to squint my eyes and focus only on the birds and sparkling Gulf waters.  But if I open my eyes all the way I see oil and natural gas rigs spread across the...

America Can't Wait for Chemical Disaster Prevention

Blog by Kristen Breitweiser | September 9, 2010 2 comments

Kristen Breitweiser, 9/11 widow and activist, is known for pressuring officials in Washington to provide the American people with a public account of what went wrong on September 11th and in the months preceding the disaster that...

Drinking Dry the Sea

Blog by Michelle Frey | August 13, 2010

This blogs comes from Mark Floegel, a senior investigator in Greenpeace USA’s research unit. Consider the environmental woes that confront us. Consider drinking dry the sea. They feel about the same. Global warming, overfishing,...

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