RealNews

Growing Potential for Hazmat Accidents

S.C. Train Wreck Caused by Human Error, Sources Say. Human error is to blame for the train collision in South Carolina that caused one of the nation’s deadliest chemical spills in years, sources close to the investigation told ABC News. The accident is raising new concerns about the safety of transporting hazardous materials. Every day, sulphuric and hydrochloric acid, ammonia and chlorine are shipped by the ton via rail and truck. They are among the industrial chemicals used to manufacture everything from purified water to fertilizer, plastics and artificial turf used in stadiums. The chemicals are also lethal, capable of killing everyone in a small city in short order. More than 90,000 shipments of chlorine alone are transported across the country every year. According to a study by the Naval Research Lab, 100,000 people could die in only 30 minutes if there was a major breach of a single chlorine tanker in a populated area. “If this accident occurred in Washington, D.C., or Boston or New York, we would not be talking about a handful of deaths, we would be talking potentially tens of thousands of deaths that would have occurred in a very short period of time,” said Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass. Chemicals are not the only cause for concern. Rocket warheads, bombs and radioactive fuel are also being routinely transported. Full Story

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