News Release

Chemical Tragedies Reminder of Need for Better Chemical Safety Rules

For Immediate Release

“The tragedy at the West Fertilizer plant was a catastrophic reminder of the threat posed by hazardous chemicals used in thousands of facilities across the nation, and the need for us to take every step to prevent the recurrence of such tragedies.”

“The recent vinyl chloride spill in Paulsboro, New Jersey sent 71 people to the hospital, and was yet another reminder of the dangers of having these chemicals in our communities.”

“We have a duty to learn from these spills and explosions for the millions of Americans across the country that live near similar facilities. Nationwide, there are almost 500 chemical facilities that each currently put more than 100,000 people at risk of death or illness due to chemical exposure. The Kuehne plant outside Newark, NJ puts more people at risk than any single plant in the country: 12 million would be at risk if there were a spill or accident.”

“The use of high-risk chemicals in plants near populated areas creates a constant danger of accidental release with the potential for catastrophic deaths and injuries— an especially frightening risk if this vulnerability were ever exploited intentionally. Congress, the EPA, and the Chemical Safety Board have a responsibility to ensure that this tragedy is fully investigated, and follow through with the adoption of much-needed improvements in our chemical security rules to protect Americans from the risks of unsafe chemicals. We applaud Senator Boxer and the EPW Committee for taking up this important issue and urge Congress and the EPA to require the use of safer alternatives wherever possible.”

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NJPIRG, the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group, is a non-partisan, non-profit consumer advocacy group. For more information go to www.njpirg.org.

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