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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

 

Green Jobs, Safe Jobs

Blog by mhussain | February 10, 2011

The Blue-Green Alliance held their annual Good Jobs, Green Jobs conference in Washington, DC this week. Among those in attendance were EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson , International President of the United Steelworkers (USW) Leo...

The State of the Union and the Environment

Blog by Phil Radford | January 25, 2011 4 comments

In these challenging times it will not be surprising if President Obama glosses over critical environmental issues in his State of the Union address January 25. The nation is struggling to find jobs for the unemployed, we are still...

Chemical Industry Continues to Mislead the Public on Chemical Plant Security

Blog by John Deans | December 22, 2010

You would think that almost ten years after 9/11 the chemical industry would be well on its way to making chemical plants safer for the surrounding communities. Instead they have continued to repeat misleading information, and avoid...

Chemical Industry Puppet or Homeland Security Advisory Committee?

Blog by Rick Hind | December 3, 2010 3 comments

Today is the 26th Anniversary of the Bhopal Disaster . Twenty-six years later, we are still storing tons of hazardous chemicals on-site in U.S. chemical facilities, including the toxic chemical released in Bhopal that killed thousands...

Is YOUR life in the hands of Congress?

Blog by Rick Hind | November 21, 2010 4 comments

Just this month, a man drove barreling through the gates of a chemical plant in Texas, shouting, “We’re all gonna die!” before slamming his SUV into an 18-wheeler. On the very same day, one worker was killed and another injured by...

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