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Chemical Disasters

Chemical Disasters Heather MelendezProfessor Beam Chem 50H

Global and Individual Perspectives

Most incidents go unreported unless serious damage to people of the environment is involved

We live in a society dependent on chemical reactions to manufacture everything from the food we eat to the cleaning products we use

Many chemical disasters have been devastating to the world that require accountability not cover ups

Even in our own communities, chemical incidents occur daily

Global: Bhopal DisasterAround 1:00 am on Monday December 3, 1984In the City of Bhopal in Central IndiaA highly toxic cloud of Methyl Isocyanate was released from the chimney stacks of the Union Carbide Pesticide Plant2,500 people died immediatelyOver 200,000 people were injured and people are still affected to this day with deformities and cancer

Causes A storage tank containing Methyl Isocyanate (MIC), which is used to make the insecticide Carbaryl was exposed to water that leaked into the storage tank containing 40 cubic meters of MICWhen H2O and MIC mixed an exothermic chemical reaction occurred causing a safety valve to burst due to the pressure and released 20-30 tons of MIC into the atmosphere within 1 hour

Products and ReactionsMethylamine (1) reacts with phosgene (2) producing methyl isocyanate (3) which reacts with 1-naphthol (4) to yield carbaryl (5)

Night of Disaster2CH3NCO + H2O ---> C3H8N2O + CO2 + heatMethyl isocyanate + water yields 1,3-dimethylurea + carbon dioxide and heatCH3NCO + C3H8N2O ---> C5H11N3O2 + heat

Reasons and SolutionsPoorly designed safety system and working equipment To save money a portion of the safety equipment had not been operational in 4 monthsThe hazardous manufacturing plant was built near a highly populated city

Green Chemistry Principles need to be implementedHazardous chemicals like MIC need to be stored in smaller containers Reduce the production of toxic chemicals and use the chemicals during the course of the reaction instead of storing large amountsFinding alternatives to toxic chemicals to use for insecticides

National: IHOP incident At 9:15 am on February 17, 2012 At an IHOP restaurant in South Charleston, West Virginia A toxic cloud of Chloramine gas spread throughout the restaurant50 people had respiratory injuries9 peoples injuries were severe enough to be hospitalized

Causes A kitchen employee mixed chlorine bleach and a delimer, which contained ammonia as its main ingredient, to clean a dishwashing machineThe mixture of the two chemicals created a chemical reaction producing the poisonous Chloramine NH2Cl vapor that spread through the restaurant

Products and ReactionsThe NaOCl Sodium Hypochlorite bleach decomposed to form HOCl Hypochlorous acid, which reacts ammonia to form toxic Chloramine fumesNaOCl NaOH + HOCLHOCl HCl +OThen the Ammonia NH3 and Chlorine gas Cl2 react to form Chloramine NH2CL , which is released as a vaporNaOCL + 2HCl Cl2 + NaCl + H2O2NH3 + Cl2 2NH2Cl

Consequences

U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the IHOP restaurant for 5 alleged serious safety and health violationsFailure to provide training, safety assessments, protective eye wear, eyewash facilities, and display of MSDS information for chemical in the workplaceThe key to avoiding such incidents is education and the use of proper safety equipment, such as gloves and protective eyewear, or this can happen

Solutions Using environmentally friendly green chemical cleanersReading chemical warning labels thoroughly Wearing protective gloves and glasses

Local: UCLA Laboratory FireOne of the most infamous chemical accidents in a college laboratory resulting in death occurred on December 29, 2008

Research assistant, Sheri Sangji, worked in the UCLA chemistry laboratory testing a reaction she had previously tested in the attempt to produce more product.

She had detailed lab notes for the procedure However fatal mistakes were made costing her life

Products and ReactionsSangji planned to generate vinyllithium by reacting vinyl bromide with two equivalents of tert-butyllithium, t-BuLi, as the first step of a larger synthesis. t-BuLi is a pyrophoric chemical, which ignites spontaneously in the presence of oxygent-BuLi + O2 t-BuOOLi t-BuLi + H2O t-BuH + LiOH

CausesAs Sangji was drawing up approximately 50 mL of t-BuLi in a 60 mL plastic syringe, the plunger came out of the barrel and the t-BuLi was exposed to the air igniting into flames

Also in the fume hood was an open flask of hexane, which she knocked over when the t-BuLi reacted and it ignited the solvent catching her synthetic sweater on fire

Instead of using the safety shower, another researcher tried to help by wrapping a lab coat around her to put the fire out, but it caught on fire

Solutions Follow proper procedure including wearing proper protective wear and check that all equipment is functioning properly

Make sure all chemicals from previous work is cleaned up and stored properly

Be thoroughly educated as to what dangerous reactions can occur if the wrong chemicals are combined

When an emergency in the lab happens do not panic, follow emergency protocol by using the safety showers and eye wash stations

Green Chemistry

The lesson that can be learned from these chemical disasters are:Use proper protective equipmentHave regulations being followed and safety equipment in proper working orderBeing educated about the chemicals being used, we can avoid injuries and death

Going green in chemistry and finding new alternatives to antiquated chemical products is by far the healthiest change that can be made for people and the environment

Works Cited

Baxter, Ann, Michael Hyland, Sarah Sager, and Brooks Jarosz. "UPDATE: OSHA Cites South Charleston IHOP for Chlorine Incident." WSAZ RSS. Gray Digital Media, 2 May 2012. Web. 04 Nov. 2013.Gregory, Kathryn. "Chemical Cloud at IHOP; 9 Hospitalized." Chemical Cloud at IHOP; 9 Hospitalized - News - The Charleston Gazette - West Virginia News and Sports -. Wvgazette.com, 17 Feb. 2012. Web. 04 Nov. 2013.Helmenstine, Ph.D., Anne M. "Why You Shouldn't Mix Bleach and Ammonia - Bleach and Ammonia Chemical Reactions." About.com Chemistry. About.com/chemistry, 20 Aug. 2010. Web. 04 Nov. 2013.Distinguished Member, Expert. "Chemical Forum - Chemistry Help :: View Topic - Bhopal - Balanced Equation." Chemical Forum - Chemistry Help :: View Topic - Bhopal - Balanced Equation. Chemicalforum.webqc.org, 22 Feb. 2011. Web. 04 Nov. 2013.Kemsley, Jyllian N. "Learning From UCLA." CEN RSS. American Chemical Society, 3 Aug. 2009. Web. 04 Nov. 2013."Tert-Butyllithium." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 17 Oct. 2013. Web. 04 Nov. 2013.Vijayan, V. K. (2010). Methyl isocyanate (MIC) exposure and its consequences on human health at Bhopal. International Journal Of Environmental Studies, 67(5), 637-653.

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