Washington, DC, April 13, 2004 - The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) announced today it is deploying an investigative team to the site of Monday night's release of toxic allyl alcohol from the MFG Chemical Co. in Dalton, GA, north of Atlanta, which reportedly resulted in the evacuation of residents within a half-mile radius of the plant.
Board member Dr. Gerald Poje, a toxicologist; lead investigator John Vorderbrueggen; and investigator Mark Kaszniak will arrive at the accident site on Wednesday, April 14, and begin a preliminary assessment. Depending on the outcome of the initial field work, the Board may proceed to a full investigation or case study on the accident.
According to CSB Chairman Carolyn W. Merritt: "We are deploying a field team due to the impact of the accident on the public, the potential toxicity of the material released, and the size of the evacuation area. Our immediate priorities will include assessing the size of the release and determining whether it was triggered by an unforeseen chemical reaction."
The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents. The agencyÂ?s board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in safety management systems. Typically, the investigations involve extensive witness interviews, examination of physical evidence, and chemical and forensic testing.
The Board does not issue citations or fines but does make safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA. The Board designates formal responses to its recommendations as acceptable or unacceptable, open or closed. Further information about the CSB is available from www.csb.gov.
For more information, contact Daniel Horowitz, 202-261-7613 / 202-441-6074 (cell) or Sandy Gilmour Communications, 202-261-7614 / 202-251-5496 (cell).