The Coalition to Prevent Chemical Disasters published new data today that highlights over 829 hazardous chemical incidents, including fires, explosions, and harmful chemical releases that have occurred since the beginning of 2021, with 270 incidents occurring this year alone.
The data from Coming Clean and the Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform covers hazardous chemical incidents from January 1, 2021, to October 15, 2023, and is available at https://preventchemicaldisasters.org.
Key Findings of the Report:
- More than 100 communities have been advised to shelter in place.
- More than 190 communities have been advised or required to evacuate due to a chemical incident since the beginning of 2021.
- At least 42 people lost their lives in the immediate aftermath of a chemical incident during this time period.
- At least 150 people were injured, hospitalized, or experienced acute symptoms in a chemical incident since the beginning of 2021.
- At least 179 hazardous chemical incidents have occurred at facilities that are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Risk Management Program (RMP).
The BlueGreen Alliance and other members of the Coalition to Prevent Chemical Disasters have urged the EPA to finalize stronger regulations for facilities covered by the RMP rule before the end of this year. In comments to the EPA, the BlueGreen Alliance called for:
- Stronger worker protections and participation in decision-making for safety standards and hazard prevention;
- Requiring all RMP facilities to conduct a safer technology and alternatives analysis and to implement those technologies and/or alternatives that are identified;
- Requiring risk assessments of natural hazards and implementing mitigation strategies for risks identified for all RMP facilities; and
- Ensuring information transparency and transmission for fenceline communities and emergency responders.
Following the release of the data, the BlueGreen Alliance issued a statement from Senior Policy Advisor Harley Stokes:
“The alarming data our partners have compiled is a wake-up call for stricter safety measures immediately. We can’t afford to wait until the next preventable disaster. We need to protect workers and communities now with the solutions at hand. It is the duty and responsibility of our federal agencies to mandate stronger safety measures to prevent any more loss of life and environmental damage.”