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A massive explosion at an old oil refinery shook South Philadephia early Friday morning, causing the city to issue orders for nearby residents to shelter in place, and the fire, while controlled, continued to burn into Saturday until the refinery was able to turn off a valve, according to Philadelphia fire and emergency management officials. The explosion occurred after one of a series of gas blasts at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery sent a fireball into the air and “rocked people awake” for miles at around 4:30 a.m. Four workers at the plant were injured, but the blast, according to Reuters, “renewed concerns about the oil industry’s use of a highly toxic chemical to make high-octane gasoline at plants in densely populated areas.”
Why This Matters: Aging refineries and industrial facilities sited in large urban areas are a real risk and their safety must be very closely monitored and they should potentially be closed if they do not meet strict safety standards.
Reuters reported that “one of the explosions took place in a hydrofluoric acid alkylation unit – a chemical processing unit that has been involved in three near-misses of releases into cities in California, Texas and Wisconsin, according to safety officials.”
Hydrofluoric acid (HF) “can form a toxic cloud at room temperature while exposure can lead to severe health problems and even death.”
“Refinery workers and surrounding community residents are rightly concerned about the adequacy of the risk management for the use of hazardous chemicals like HF,” the CSB told the EPA after its investigations of fires at refineries in Wisconsin, California, and Texas.
This morning, one of our forecasters noticed that the refinery explosion in #Philadelphia was captured on satellite. The heat signature is so large and hot it could be detected using infrared imagery. pic.twitter.com/2zTcSM8n5U
Delegates attending the COP26 conference in Glasgow will get to see a very cool display during their stay. So cool, in fact, that it’s been frozen since 1765. Artist Wayne Binitie and scientists of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have retrieved an Antarctic time capsule containing the world’s purest air. The pocket of atmosphere was […]
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer The European Environment Agency (EEA) found that a majority of EU countries broke at least one air pollution limit last year — despite COVID-19 lockdowns. In addition, 17 EU countries failed to stay below ozone pollution targets, which directly influence global warming; and eight EU countries failed to stay […]
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer An Indonesian district court ruled yesterday that Indonesian President Joko Widodo has neglected Jakarta’s residents right to clean air. In a unanimous ruling in favor of the 32 residents who brought the case, the Central Jakarta District Court ordered Widodo, and six other top officials deemed negligent, to improve […]
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