At a biogas plant, a truck driver was overcome by toxic fumes while unloading food waste slurry collected at sites that operate a shredder and tank system. Trucks unload their cargo into a feedstock pit. While unloading, hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide and possibly other toxic gases were released. Ventilation systems were overwhelmed. The driver narrowly escaped death. Several would-be rescuers collapsed. Under marginally different conditions, this accident could have led to five fatalities. The case offers a rich account of the actions of fellow workers who with stubborn determination sought to extract the unconscious driver. Even after having collapsed themselves, been extracted and recovered, they re-entered the building — amazingly still without realizing the gas danger. The article argues that long retention time in the logistics chain may alter the hazard profile of food waste slurry. This emerging risk appears overlooked and under-studied. The case exposes insufficient attention to safety in the rapidly expanding biogas sector. The biogas plant was unprepared. The investigation was quick, superficial and woefully inadequate. Root causes were not identified. Broad information sharing is limited or non-existent.
Material safety data sheets (MSDSs) provide employers, employees, emergency responders, and the general public with basic information about the hazards associated with chemicals that are used in the workplace and are a part of every-day commerce. They are a primary information resource used by health, safety, and environmental professionals in communicating the hazards of chemicals and in making risk management decisions. Engineered nanomaterials represent a growing class of materials being manufactured and introduced into multiple business sectors. MSDSs were obtained from a total of 44 manufacturers using Internet search engines, and a simple ranking scheme was developed to evaluate the content of the data sheets. The MSDSs were reviewed using the ranking scheme, and categorized on the quality and completeness of information as it pertains to hazard identification, exposure controls, personal protective equipment (PPE), and toxicological information being communicated about the engineered nanomaterial. The ranking scheme used to evaluate the MSDSs for engineered nanomaterials was based on the determination that the data sheet should include information on specific physical properties, including particle size or particle size distribution, and physical form; specific toxicological and health effects; and protective measures that can be taken to control potential exposures. The first MSDSs for nanomaterials began to appear around 2006, so these were collected in the time period of 2007–2008. Comparison of MSDSs and changes over time were evaluated as MSDSs were obtained again in 2010–2011. The majority (67%) of the MSDSs obtained in 2010–2011 still provided insufficient data for communicating the potential hazards of engineered nanomaterials.
In the light of recent increased interest in obtaining data on fate of pesticide residues during processing of food commodities for the more realistic estimates of the dietary intake of the pesticides, the present study was carried out to investigate the dissipation of pesticides during bread-making and the effect of pesticide contamination in the substrate on yeast growth required to mediate the fermentation. The bread was prepared from wheat flour spiked at different concentrations (1, 2, 3 and 4 mg/kg) with six pesticides (endosulfan, hexaconazole, propiaconazole, malathion, chlorpyriphos and deltamethrin) belonging to different chemical families. A simple, rapid analytical procedure for the quantification of analytes of interest in the matrix was developed using gas chromatography with electron capture detector. During bread-making process, considerable loss of pesticides (47–89%) was observed. Pesticide degradation during the process showed negative correlation with concentration of pesticides in wheat flour. The presence of endosulfan, hexaconazole and propiaconazole in the matrix suppressed the growth of the yeast in the range 7.5–33.5%, 12.5–44.7% and 11–40%, respectively. Other pesticides (malathion, chlorpyriphos and deltamethrin) did not show any significant effect on yeast growth. This kind of study is among the critical supporting studies required for the more realistic estimates to be made of the dietary intake of the pesticides and would help formulating regulatory guidelines for management of residues on such products by fixing or re-evaluating MRLs for their quality assurance and control.
Almost everyone agrees that recycling is the right thing to do whenever feasible. Recycling prevents the emission of many greenhouse gases and water pollutants, saves energy, supplies valuable raw materials to industry, creates jobs, stimulates the development of greener technologies, conserves resources, and reduces the need for new landfills and combustors [U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, . (accessed 11/22/2006)]. The widespread adoption of Environmental Management Systems (EMS), ISO 14000, executive order 13148, and the growing environmental stewardship movement have all helped increase the popularity of beneficial reuse programs. Biomedical research facilities can offer unique recycling opportunities for the creative manager.
Increasingly stringent restrictions on mercury concentrations in wastewater discharge may be problematic for aging research laboratory facilities. Relatively high levels of mercury compounds may exist and concentrate deep in the plumbing system and their sediments, resulting in elevated wastewater concentrations. This study was conducted to assess total mercury levels in an aging laboratory building wastewater system. Wastewater outflow, sink trap water, and pipe sediment samples were collected from the building. The Jerome 431 Mercury Vapor Analyzer was assessed as a tool for screening lab sink trap drains for mercury deposition. Results revealed that the three-day average for mercury discharge from this single structure, if not diluted by other waters, would be above the local total release parameters to the wastewater treatment plant. The sink traps did not contain a majority of the mercury; however, the pipe sediment and outflow samples revealed consistently elevated concentrations.
Dissipation behavior of hexaconazole, an effective fungicide, recently introduced in India for controlling blister blight, applied under field condition on tea crop in wet and dry seasons was studied in green leaves, made tea, tea infusion and spent leaves. A simple, rapid analytical procedure for the determination and quantification of hexaconazole in these samples (matrices) was developed using gas chromatography with nitrogen phosphorus detector. Degradation rate in both the seasons followed first order kinetics with half lives in green leave in the range of 1.56-1.67 and 1.80-1.87 days and in made tea half lives were 1.76-1.82 and 1.84-1.91 days for wet and dry season respectively. The transfer of hexaconazole residue to infusion was found to range from a maximum of 8.88% of the residue present in made tea during wet season and to 8.84% during the dry seasons. The residue remaining in spent leaves from made tea was in the range of 46.76-76.12% during the wet season and between 51.82 and 76.96% during the dry season. Balance amount seems to be degraded during the preparation of infusion. A waiting period of 7 days after pesticide application at recommended dose for tea plucking may be suggested from point of hazards due to residues.
Chemical categorization (or banding) of inherent toxicity and potency linked with defined engineering and work practice controls and personal protective equipment has become an integral component of assuring the health and safety of researchers and manufacturing personnel in the pharmaceutical industry.
Safety in the workplace is critical for the welfare of the workforce and the organization. Employees, including chemists, must have knowledge and skills in safety, and a strong safety ethic to work in a safe manner. Many of today's chemistry undergraduates have not been fully prepared with appropriate attitude, skill, and knowledge in safety for jobs in industry, government, other public sectors, or for continuing education in academia. This paper proposes strengthening the undergraduate curriculum so that every new chemistry undergraduate will have a minimum competency in safety at the end of their four-year degree program in chemistry. All undergraduates should be able to recognize hazards in the laboratory, assess the risks of those hazards, and develop and implement a plan to manage, control or minimize the risks. Topics are suggested for each year of a four-year chemistry program to develop this competency. It is suggested that Committee for Professional Training strengthen their evaluation of American Chemical Society (ACS)-approved Chemistry Departments with accountability for teaching safety. Evaluation of this competency is suggested for ACS Certification.
As microwave-assisted reactions become more common in the laboratory, numerous incidents involving fires and explosions have been reported, especially when domestic microwave ovens are used to heat flammable liquids. An evaluation of this emerging technology is necessary to assess the adequacy of the control measures that are currently in place to protect the laboratory worker from exposure to hazardous materials and unsafe work practices. In this report, the unique chemistry associated with microwave heating effects are summarized, the advantages of laboratory microwave ovens over domestic models are categorized, the applicable “Green Chemistry” attributes are discussed, and the risks associated with heating a flammable liquid in a domestic microwave oven are examined. Chemical reactions that involve heating flammable liquids in domestic microwave ovens present unacceptable risks. Scientists seeking to advance the state-of-the-art in chemistry by exploiting the unusual effects that microwave-assisted reactions offer should do so using laboratory-grade microwave ovens that possess requisite safety features. Documentation and publication of unanticipated events that result from relatively common occurrences will decrease risk associated with microwave-assisted reactions with flammable liquids.
The prudent management of hazardous materials, from their procurement to their proper disposal as chemical waste, is a critical element of a departmental laboratory safety program. A successful chemical management program includes standard operating procedures to ensure the safe handling, storage, and transport of chemicals and the proper disposal of chemical waste. The chemical inventory process is a critical element of chemical management in academia. The amounts of hazardous materials should be carefully monitored in the laboratory. A physical chemical inventory should be performed at least annually, or as requested by the Chemical Hygiene Officer. A thorough inventory will ultimately facilitate the elimination of unneeded or outdated chemicals and provide more efficient use of laboratory storage space.
Tracking chemical inventory is necessary for safety management as well as regulatory compliance. However, this task is especially challenging for diverse and decentralized research and laboratory organizations. Safety and compliance, waste minimization, emergency preparedness, and facility planning design all benefit from knowing what chemicals exist at a facility, who has responsibility for them, and where they are located. Stanford University developed a web-based application for chemical inventory information management and compliance reporting throughout its research and service support operations. After successful implementation and use at Stanford, and significant interest, approval and use by other organizations, Stanford's chemical management solution is now accessible to other not-for-profit institutions through a consortium member arrangement. The chemical information management system is currently used by twelve colleges and universities and one hospital clinical laboratory. This system provides powerful tools for users to control their chemical inventory, access safety information, maintain inventories, review compliance and generate complex regulatory reports. Since all users operate from a hosted, centrally located application server site via their own desktop web browsers, minimal local IT support is required. This collaborative system support approach encourages rapid user acceptance, facilitates single click compliance reporting and supports best in class lab safety management in a cost-effective and efficient manner for higher education.
Most chlorine production is obtained by electrolysis of NaCl aqueous solution. Other processes to produce chlorine involve the electrolysis of KCl or HCl aqueous solutions, the electrolysis of molten NaCl at high temperature and the Deacon process. In most cases, chlorine is a by-product in the production of caustic soda, potassium hydroxide, sodium metal or is recovered from HCl using HCl aqueous solution electrolysis or gas–solid reaction in the Deacon process. Chlorination reactions are part of various processes in the chemical industry, to manufacture heavy chemicals, specialty chemicals, pesticides and pharmaceuticals, in inorganic and organic chemistry. They are valuable tools in organic synthesis. The hazards of chlorine production and chlorination processes involve: Gas phase explosion hazard with chlorine as an oxidizer is present in the production of chlorine by electrolysis, in gas phase chlorination processes and in chlorination reactions carried out in the condensed phase. Gas phase chlorination processes are continuous processes operating either in the flammable range like burners or outside the flammable range in loop reactors or loop processes where chlorine is the controlling reactant. When chlorination is carried out by chlorine injection in the liquid phase, gas phase explosion hazard is related to chlorine evolution in the vapour phase, giving a flammable mixture with the solvent or reaction mixture vapour. Hazard assessment is achieved by comparing the gas phase composition with the flammable area of the gaseous mixture. Self-ignition is also considered because the self-ignition temperature of gaseous fuels in chlorine atmosphere is lower than in air or oxygen and often close to the ambient temperature. The relevant flammability data is the flammability limits, LFL, UFL, minimum oxidizer concentration (MOC), auto-ignition temperature (AIT), of fuels in chlorine and the explosion characteristics and for deflagration in chlorine. A collection of flammability data is given for the reader convenience, collected in the literature or obtained in our own experimental facility, a specially designed 20 L Hastelloy C 276 sphere with 200 bar pressure resistance, ambient to 300 °C initial temperature, easily opened for frequent cleaning. This apparatus allows precise determination of the flammability limits, self-ignition temperature, explosion overpressure, rate of pressure rise and flame speed. Runaway reaction hazards in chlorination reactions are related to a series of dangerous process situations or process deviations such as: A full review of runaway reaction hazards in chlorination reactions is given with examples from the literature and from the laboratory.
Federal, state, and other agencies issue authoritative instruments for the purpose of establishing and applying sound business management principles. These external instruments establish management objectives and expectations (requirements) and assign responsibilities. The requirements from these external instruments are numerous, subject to interpretation, and are not easily applied by workers. In the field of chemistry, being burdened with ensuring that these safety requirements are being met can quickly become an exercise in complexity. Management walkarounds (MWAs) are performance-based evaluations of work activities. MWAs are conducted to gauge conformance to safety performance expectations. This presentation outlines how MWAs can be used as proof that everything possible is being done to meet requirements and presents case studies of this approach.