Train Derailments, tanker truck shows hazards of Toxic Chemical Movement

Recent hazardous spills show the dangers of transporting materials such as HF. The toxic, fiery train derailment in Ohio has kept people from their homes since February 3. And, a highway accident near Tucson caused residents to evacuate a half-mile area. A 3-mile shelter-in-place order was imposed, lifted, then reinstated hours later. Since then, another train has derailed in Ohio (no hazardous materials luckily).

The chemicals involved in these instances were nowhere near as threatening as HF. In the East Palestine derailment the toxic cargo included hundreds of thousands of pounds of vinyl chloride, a common organic chemical used in the production of plastics that has been linked to several types of cancer

The EPA classifies vinyl chloride as a carcinogen; routine exposure could increase one’s risk of liver damage or liver cancer. Short-term exposure to high concentrations can cause drowsiness, loss of coordination, disorientation, nausea, headache or burning or tingling, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet numerous fish and animals have died in the area, and residents question the safety of their streams and wells

In Tucson a commercial tanker truck carrying nitric acid hit the highway median and rolled over on I-10 southeast of downtown Tucson on Tuesday afternoon, killing the driver and spilling the acid on the highway, according to KOLD News 13. Nitric acid is a colorless liquid, has yellow or red fumes and acrid odor, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Exposure to it can cause irritation to the eyes, skin and mucous membranes.l

HF is shipped to the local refineries by tanker truck from Louisiana, so the hazards are equivalent, but the potential danger is much worse. HF can kill within a few minutes, unlike the others, so the danger is immediate! What could go wrong?