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Friday, November 21, 2014

Police station closed due to mold, leaks

Police stations often suffer
from poor IAQ, affecting the
officers' health and well-being.
DARTMOUTH — Cracked glass, water-damaged files, corroded pipes and black mold were some of visible issues police building committee members saw during a recent tour of the closed police station.

“It blows my mind,” said Ken Vincent, chairman of the 12-member committee expected to come up with dollar figures on renovating the facility or building a new station. “It’s important for the committee to see this so we can ask the right questions when we go out to bid.”

The Russells Mills Road station has been closed for more than eight months after an officer became sick with Legionnaires' disease and the bacterium legionella was found in the hot water system.

Custodian David Saulnier said several old pipes that were blocked off during previous expansions allowed the bacteria to fester.

From corroded pipes in the boiler room to soggy boxes in the records room, Saulnier led a group of 14 through the building, identifying issues.

“Over the last three years, I kept getting new leaks in the new HVAC system that did not have some valves,” he said, pulling down drop ceiling tiles to expose dots of mold.

Pointing to a thick grey-green ooze on the floor of the locker room, Saulnier said he had no idea what it could be.

Select Board representative Stanley Mickelson, who recently replaced Lara Stone on the committee, had mixed reactions to the tour. “Discombobulating,” he said. “There’s so much to go through.”

As temperatures drop, the department continues to operate out of six trailers and portable toilets in the parking lot, a situation Traffic Officer Joseph Vieira said is “not ideal.” Representing the police union on the committee, he said the tour was “a great first step” but “long overdue.”

In the recent rains, water dripped through the dispatchers' trailer windows, said Donna Wunschel, also on the committee.

“It’s an indoor job. I don’t even have rain gear,” she said. “We are trying to deal with it the best we can.”

The town has purchased a modular station with plumbing and heat to replace the trailers. Town Administrator David Cressman said he expects it will be in place early January.

“Let’s hope for no snow until then,” Vieira said.

Source: South Coast Today

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Combustible dust to blame for Ontario plant explosion

Companies have to make sure to protect
workers from combustible dust and more.
An explosion and subsequent fire at an industrial facility in Sarnia, Ont. left several employees hospitalized on Oct. 25. One of the workers died of his injuries two days later.

The incident took place at a plant belonging to Veolia Environmental Services, an international company that uses propane and oxygen to conduct thermal spraying of aluminum.

According to information from the provincial Ministry of Labour (MOL), a dust collection system outside of the building exploded and caused structural damage in the middle of the afternoon.

“Five workers were injured in the incident, including two who were critically injured,” confirmed MOL media representative Bruce Skeaff.

“Emergency services were dispatched and attended the scene. The five injured workers were transported to hospital.”

One of the critically injured parties was subsequently airlifted from Sarnia’s Bluewater Health hospital to a London hospital for further treatment.

Eight workers in total were inside the building at the time of the blast, according to media reports.

Skeaff added that MOL inspectors, firefighters and officials from the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office had also attended the scene of the explosion.

“A City of Sarnia engineer attended the scene and declared the building unsafe to enter,” he said.

The MOL issued a requirement to Veolia not to disturb the scene of the incident, under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The fire was extinguished the next day, and a forensics investigator examined the scene as well.

Carol Gravelle, public relations officer with the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management (OFM), told COHSN that the office had seized evidence at the site as exhibits for testing offsite.

The OFM “worked with the Ministry of Labour, the coroner’s office, local police and local fire” to investigate the origins of the explosion, Gravelle said.

On Oct. 27, Const. Les Jones of the Sarnia Police Service (SPS) announced in a press release that one critically injured employee — the one who had been airlifted — had died earlier that morning. “Sarnia Police Service will not be releasing his name,” Const. Jones added.

A media statement from Veolia, issued on Oct. 26, said that the company was cooperating fully with the MOL and other authorities in their investigations.

“The employees of Veolia are deeply concerned for our co-workers,” the statement read, “and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time.”

The MOL continues to investigate, as do the SPS and offsite investigators with the OFM.

Source: OHS Canada

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Monday, November 17, 2014

More chemicals added to EPA watch list

EPA adds 23 chemicals, including BPA, to key list for scrutiny, possible action

Assessing health risks for chemicals
is hard, ongoing work.
The Environmental Protection Agency has added 23 chemicals — including bisphenol A (BPA), seven phthalates and two flame retardants — to a key list of chemicals that will have particular uses carefully scrutinized for possible regulation or other controls.

The agency on Oct. 23 updated the list of chemicals in commerce that meet certain criteria, such as being used in children's products or being carcinogenic, persistent in the environment or harmful to development, reproduction or the neurological system.

Manufacturers of some of the newly added chemicals include Dow Chemical Co., DuPont, Eastman Chemical Co., Mexichem S.A.B de C.V., Momentive Performance Materials Holdings LLC and Webb Chemical Service Corp.

The EPA also removed 15 chemicals and groups of chemicals from the Toxic Substances Control Act Work Plan list.

The updated TSCA Work Plan now lists 90 chemicals and chemical groups.

The agency is assessing the risks of particular uses of chemicals on that list. It already has completed four assessments and has initiated risk management actions for trichloroethylene (TCE) and methylene chloride.

Assessments for the newly added chemicals will begin after 2017, the agency said.

Depending on the findings of its risk assessments, the agency could decide to regulate one or more uses of the chemical, work with industry to reduce exposures or conclude that its analysis showed a particular use raised no concerns.

Richard Denison, lead senior scientist with the Environmental Defense Fund, commended the EPA for updating its work plan to reflect new data.

“The work plan should be a living document that is revised as new information emerges,” he said.

Scientist questions removal of chemicals

Denison questioned the agency's decision to remove 13 chemicals because manufacturers didn't report making them in 2011, the most recent year for which the agency obtained production volume information. The agency said it concluded that these 13 chemicals were no longer in commerce.

“Reporting under the Chemical Data Reporting rule is subject to a high threshold of 25,000 pounds per site in the reporting year. In addition, numerous exemptions from reporting are provided,” Denison said.

Given the threshold and exemptions, the EPA should explain how it determined the chemicals are no longer being produced in or imported into the U.S. at any level by any company, Denison said.

The EPA's selection of some of the 23 newly added chemicals isn't surprising, as the agency voiced concerns about possible health or environmental harms they could cause in action plans it released between December 2009 and April 2011.

Those chemicals and chemical groups are decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE), hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), nonylphenol and nonylphenol ethoxylates and the seven phthalates.

The EPA added the remaining chemicals for reasons such as 2011 Toxics Release Inventory data showing elevated releases into the environment; 2012 Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) rule information showing the chemicals are used in consumer products, including children's products; and the compounds being newly identified as presenting significant health or environmental hazards.

Other newly added chemicals

The 12 chemicals the agency added for such reasons are:

• 1,3-butadiene, Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) No. 106-99-0, a commodity petrochemical that the EPA said increasingly is used to make rocket fuels, plastics, commercial latex paints and other compounds. Manufacturers, including Chevron Phillips Chemical Co., Lanxess Corp. and Michelin Corp., reported making or importing more than 4.3 billion pounds in 2011.

• 2,5-furandione, CAS No. 108-31-6, a chemical intermediate that the EPA said is used to make thousands of adhesives, floor polishes, leather treatments, personal care products, water treatment chemicals and other compounds. Manufacturers, including Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Greenchem Industries LLC and Lanxess, reported making or importing more than 572 million pounds in 2011.

• dimethylaminoethanol, CAS No. 108-01-0, which the EPA said is used to make dyestuffs, pharmaceuticals, corrosion inhibitors and other compounds. Manufacturers, including BASF Corp., Huntsman Corp. and Solvchem Inc., reported making or importing more than 120 million pounds in 2011.

• 2-hydroxy-4-(octyloxy)benzophenone, CAS No. 1843-05-6, which the EPA said is used in rubber and plastic products as well as food packaging. Manufacturers, including BASF Corp., Cytec Industries Inc. and SC Johnson & Son Inc., reported making or importing 2 million pounds in 2011.

•  3,3'-dichlorobenzidine, CAS No. 91-94-1, which the EPA said is a probable human carcinogen used to make dyes. No public manufacturing or production volume data were available from the agency's CDR rule website.

• 4,4'-(1-methylethylidene)bis[2,6-dibromophenol], or TBBPA, CAS No. 79-94-7, which the EPA said is used to inhibit combustion in epoxy resin circuit boards and electronic enclosures. Manufacturers, including Albemarle Corp., LG International America Inc. and Sabic Innovative Plastics US LLC, reported making or importing 120 million pounds in 2011.

• barium carbonate, CAS No. 513-77-9, which the EPA said is used in oil well drilling and used to make products including paper, special glass, ceramics, bricks and electrodes. Manufacturers, including Chemical Products Corp., Ferro Corp. and Solvay America Inc., reported making or importing 36 million pounds in 2011.

• dicyclohexyl phthalate, CAS No. 84-61-7, which the EPA said is used to make plastics and as a heat sealer for paper finishes such as price labels and pharmaceutical labels. Wind Point Partners, Lanxess and a company that withheld its name (saying it was confidential business information) reported making or importing between 500,000 and 1 million pounds in 2011.

• isopropylated phenol, phosphate or iPTPP, CAS No. 68937-41-7, which the EPA said is used as a flame retardant. Manufacturers, including Chevron Corp., ICL-Industrial Products America Inc. and Special Material Co., reported making or importing 15 million pounds in 2011.

• molybdenum and molybdenum compounds, a category of chemical used as alloying agents in cast iron, steel and other metals. Because this is a group of chemicals, Bloomberg BNA could not obtain national production data.

• pentachlorothio-phenol, CAS No. 133-49-3, which the EPA said is used to make rubber more pliable. The EPA withheld production volume data for this chemical to protect the proprietary business information of Strucktol Co. of America, the sole manufacturer, which reported making or importing it in 2011.

• triphenyl phosphate or TPP, CAS No. 115-86-6, which the EPA said is widely used to slow fires in polyurethane foam, polyvinyl chloride, printed wiring boards and children's products. Manufacturers, including Albemarle Corp., Chevron and Ferro Corp., reported making or importing 10.7 million pounds in 2011.

Source: Bloomberg News

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