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Chemical Plant Explosions: Should You Be Concerned?

Craig McClellan

Last week, there were two separate chemical plant explosions in Louisiana. The first blast, in Geismar, Louisiana, killed two people and injured approximately 100 others. The cause of that blast is still under investigation.

The second chemical plant explosion happened just one day after the first. That explosion occurred at a plant in Donaldsonville, Louisiana. It killed one person and injured eight others. According to the plant manager, a small vessel of nitrogen ruptured while workers were offloading it from a tanker truck.

These chemical plant explosions are reminders of the more deadly fertilizer plant facility explosion that killed 15 people (including emergency responders) and injured hundreds more in Waco, Texas in April. That explosion reached far beyond chemical plant workers, causing homes and businesses to collapse within 37 blocks of the plant.

In the wake of these terrible chemical plant explosions, you may wonder: What's next? Are chemical facilities doing enough to keep their workers and the community safe? In addition to immediate injuries, chemical plant explosions can cause lasting environmental damage and toxic air, which can affect hundreds, if not thousands or millions, of people.

In our own backyard, there are approximately 12 chemical plants in Southern California that could expose more than a million people to toxic gases. Thirty more could affect more than 100,000 people in the event of a major accident. Are we safe enough? Chemical facilities are held to rigid standards, but, as we saw in Texas and Louisiana, accidents still occur.

In the event of an injury-causing chemical accident, the chemical plant can and must be held accountable, whether the injuries involved its own employees or its neighbors. Learn more by visiting our pages on industrial accidents.

Source: CNN, " 1 killed, 8 injured in blast at Louisiana chemical plant," Chandler Friedman, Greg Botelho, June 15, 2013