Toxicity is a Relative Thing

August 31, 2017 By: Juanita Jean Herownself Category: Uncategorized

Arkema Group, one of the world’s largest chemical companies, warned us yesterday that their chemical plant, 30 miles from Houston, was likely to explode this morning because the plant has been without electricity since Sunday.  As a precaution, a one and half mile area around the plant was evacuated.

Early this morning the first in what is expected to be several explosions sent plumes of smoke in the air.

Brock Long, administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Thursday that evacuations are based on “plume modeling,” which is used to predict the geographic extent of a hazard area from an explosion.

“By all means, the plume is incredibly dangerous,” Long said of what’s occurring in Crosby.

However ….

Company officials said the smoke is believed to be a “nontoxic irritant,” authorities added.

This morning, the CEO of the company responded on tv — “Toxicity is a relative thing.”

No it is not.  Either it’s gonna hurt you or it ain’t.  And whether it hurts you or kills you ain’t even relative — it’s one of the other.


Remember when Texas decided it was not going to monitor chemical plants any longer because that was too heavy a burden on free enterprise?  So this right here is your Dan Patrick Memorial Toxic Plume.


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20 Comments to “Toxicity is a Relative Thing”

  1. So why don’t you tie Dan Patrick to a stake on the plant site to ride this one out?

  2. I still remember the cartoon that upset good hair Perry after the West explosion. “Texas business is booming”

  3. Arkema’s talking head is doing quite the tap dance. On the one hand he knows that cold temperature will keep the chemical soup “stable”, but he isn’t sure about the chemistry of its decomposition. Organic peroxides…

  4. They’ve already had to treat a firefighter for inhalation of fumes. Maybe they should call them “Freedom Fumes.” Ya know, like “Freedom Fries.”

  5. Charles R Phillips says:

    How about Freedom ‘Plumes?’ Mr. Trash started something here!

  6. JAKvirginia says:

    Lless! Perfect! Like the old “canary in the coal mine” strategy.
    I like it!

  7. I heard it wasn’t an explosion- something about “overpressurization that was followed by a fire”. My 9th grade creative writing teacher would have been proud.

  8. Sandridge says:

    Sissies, what ever happened to s/he-man macho ‘nads toughing it out?
    I mean who doesn’t luv the smell of toxic plumes in the morning? Ahhhh…sniff…the refreshing smells of capitalistic profit-taking (socialize the losses, privatize the profits).
    Poisonous? You’re just not tough enough, or genetically deficient. You’re expendable.
    Sheesh, a tiny bit of toxic stew whatever floating on the breeze, mebbe a few teensie tiny explosions, a little toxic waste on the land and in the water, and y’all go into panic mode.
    Where’s your patriotic free enterprise spirit?

    I remember years ago in Los Fresnos, TX a big, mostly ag-chemical warehouse caught fire and burned for days, with a huge black “toxic plume” of smoke wafting out on the prevailing SE winds towards San Benito and Harlingen.
    Reckon no further environmental protections for the general public will ever happen unless the Rethugs are replaced.

  9. yeah, its too heavy a burden until one of your own get toxicized.

  10. I worked a job in that plant in 1998 or 99 for a couple of weeks. Anybody want to hazard a guess what we were doing? That’s right! Demolishing piping that had been damaged in the facility’s most recent explosion. Good times.

  11. I grew up in the refinery district south of Philly. If the wind was from the east it sure did stink, and it ate the paint off the VW’s hood. So I have some experience of weird air.

    But toxicity really is relative. It may kill you, it may hurt you, it may make your eyes and throat sore for a while, it may hurt kids and old people and anybody with asthma more than other people.

    That being said, the toxic-plant CEO was very probably talking through his butt and certainly trying to make it sound less dangerous than it is. Especially in a GOP zone, lives and health are less important than profits.

  12. The Arkema CEO was quoted in this morning’s WaPo as saying, “They aren’t ‘explosions’, they are ‘chemical reactions'”.

    Just what, exactly, does he think an “explosion” actually is? Why, a “chemical reaction”, dummy!

  13. WA Skeptic says:

    Obviously someone who lives far away from the “chemical reactions” everyone else is exposed to. It should be a condition of employment for anyone over a basic laborer to live within five miles of these places.

    Maybe make it a condition of holding political office in Texas??

  14. @Charles R Phillips: That’s Mrs. Trash. 🙂

  15. The sonofabitch is correct; “toxicity” is relative – “the dose makes the poison”.

    Therefore, I recommend that he be strung up by the heels downwind of this plant to be used as an empirical measuring device for the toxicity of his company’s products. We’ll see just how toxic the Fumes of Liberty happen to be.

  16. Due to the fact that Arkema had lobbied the Trump republicans
    not to enforce the safety restrictions put in by the Obama administration I hope these crooks do not get a penny from the taxpayers for rebuilding the profits and ill gotten gains they had from their greed.

  17. Tilphousia says:

    Every CEO and all managers must live on site. And remain there during problems until they are solved!

  18. If this “over-pressurization followed by a fire”makes you curious, as it does me, look at one of the many sites that stow MSDS, Material Safety Data Sheet, concentrate on the LD50. I used hydrogen peroxide as an exemplar, although I have no information hydrogen peroxide was one of the “organic peroxides” on-site

    Yep, “Texas business is booming.”

  19. In Texas the Tier II chemical list for each plant is no longer publicly available. A Houston Chronicle reporter asked the CEO if this might be a good time to make it so. He didn’t really see the need.

    There is a chemical that can be dumped on the dangerous ones to keep them from blowing up even when all refrigeration and generators fail. It’s a last resort because it ruins the volatile chemicals for sale. Every reputable business has this system. Oh, but not Arkema. Profits, capitalism, no-evil-burdensome-regulations Texas snacilbuper, ya know.

    (Thanks to the awesome Rachel Maddow for all this. I have a mad crush on her.)