CSB Team Heading to Site of Rhode Island Chemical Incident

February 7, 2003

(Washington, DC - February 7, 2003) The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has dispatched an investigative team to the site of this morning's reported chemical explosion at Technic Inc. in Cranston, Rhode Island, south of Providence.

CSB Board Member Dr. Isadore (Irv) Rosenthal will be accompanying the team, which will be headed by lead investigator Randy McClure. Preliminary reports indicate that a number of injuries occurred and that cyanide, acid, and other materials may have been present. The CSB team will immediately begin examining the nature of the accident.

CSB Chairman Carolyn Merritt said: "We are particularly concerned by the events this morning at Technic because some preliminary information hints at an uncontrolled chemical reaction, possibly leading to gas formation. If so, this is far from a new problem: uncontrolled chemical reactions have caused numerous past accidents. In September 2002, the CSB completed a two-year investigation of reactive hazards, which examined 167 serious accidents and concluded that federal safety regulations are inadequate in this area and need to be strengthened."

The CSB is the independent federal agency that determines root causes of chemical accidents and reports to the public. The CSB does not issue fines or citations or apportion responsibility for accidents. The Board makes safety recommendations to prevent future accidents directed to industry, labor, and professional associations as well as EPA, OSHA, and other federal bodies. Further information about the CSB is available from www.csb.gov.

Media contacts:

Washington: Rhode Island: Sandy Gilmour (202)251-5496 cell Rhode Island: Don Critchfield (202) 494-4517 cell


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