From Lee's Loss Prevention in the Process Industries: Hazard Identification, Assessment and Control, Volume 2, Third Edition
Serious incidents arising from uncontrolled reactivity have taken place since the inception of the chemical industry. The human toll of such incidents has been staggering. In recent decades, greater recognition and resources have been directed toward preventing and mitigating such occurrences. A number of incidents have been so severe as to prompt regulatory initiatives to force better management of reactivity. It would not be surprising to see additional regulation enacted to address the issues. In any event, it is prudent for any company, organization or other group to scrutinize the chemicals being handled and implement measures to limit the risk of a major reactive hazards event.
A sampling of incidents that have substantially heightened concerns regarding reactive hazards in the general public, in governmental agencies and in industry includes:
The 1976 ICMESA incident in Seveso, Italy in which an uncontrolled chemical reaction generated pressure resulting in relief venting of a highly toxic dioxane into the neighbouring villages and countryside.
The 1984 Union Carbide incident in Bhopal, India in which methyl isocyanate was contacted with water, generating highly toxic cyanide gas and leading to thousands of fatalities.
The 1994 Napp Technology incident in Lodi, New Jersey in which an uncontrolled reaction involving gold ore processing led to the deaths of five fire fighters.
The 1999 Concept Sciences incident in Allentown, Pennsylvania in which an explosion arising from a process concentrating hydroxylamine resulted in five fatalities. Another event involving purified hydroxylamine took...
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