SENCER and Today’s News: Chemical Hazard to Public Health Adds to Harvey’s Impact


As the many impacts of Hurricane Harvey continue to unfold, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board has become involved in efforts to resolve dangerous conditions resulting from the failure of the Arkema chemical plant.

One of the four members of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board is Dr. Kristen Kulinowski, who contributed a background paper and a SENCER Model Course on Nanotechnology to the SENCER project during her time at Rice University.


New Hazard in Storm Zone: Chemical Blasts and ‘Noxious’ Smoke (NYT, August 31, 2017 )

“HOUSTON — A series of explosions at a flood-damaged chemical plant outside Houston on Thursday drew sharp focus on hazards to public health and safety from the city’s vast petrochemical complex as the region begins a painstaking recovery from Hurricane Harvey.

[…] There will be more challenges in the coming weeks and months as the floodwaters recede and closed facilities are made operational again. Some equipment might not be in safe condition, experts said.

The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, an independent federal agency, has issued a notice detailing precautions that should be taken as plants are restarted. The process is complex, the board said, “because numerous activities are occurring simultaneously and many automatic systems are run under manual control.”


Photograph by astronaut Randy Bresnik at the International Space Station, used under Creative Commons license

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