Our blog recently reported on the first jury verdict concerning alleged ethylene oxide exposure and has previously reported a number of times here generally about ethylene oxide (EtO). Ethylene oxide is a gas commonly used to make other chemicals utilized in a variety of consumer and industrial goods, including fabric, detergents, medicines, and adhesives. It is used to sterilize medical devices and spices and to kill microorganisms in grains. EtO is a well-established sterilizing agent highly efficient at preventing bacteria from growing on, or within, products during …Continue Reading
World’s Next Environmental Superhero is a Plastic-Eating Enzyme
If you aren’t toting a reusable water bottle, bamboo straw, or canvas grocery bag, news of a plastic-eating enzyme may not resonate as revolutionary. Nevertheless, plastic waste ranks up there as one of the most pressing environmental problems we face today. There has been little hope in sight of how to shrink the colossal amount of plastic waste—measured in billions of tons—accumulating in landfills across the globe, plaguing our ecosystems, and generating environmental contamination lawsuits. Last month, however, researchers at The University of Texas at …Continue Reading
Houston-Area Rocked by Second Chemical Fire in Last 20 Days
For the second time in three weeks, black smoke was seen emitting from a Houston-area chemical plant. This time, the fire was at the KMCO plant in Crosby, Texas.
The explosion at the KMCO chemical plant happened when a transfer line ignited a tank full of isobutylene. Isobutylene is a highly flammable colorless gas. The fire also spread to a nearby storage building containing solid goods.
KMCO is a chemical manufacturing and toll processing company. KMCO’s Crosby facility has batch and continuous distillation and multiple …Continue Reading
An Example of Hurricane Harvey’s Aftermath: Energy Company Significantly Underestimates Benzene Emission Levels After Leak
Last week, we wrote about Houston’s long road to recovery from Hurricane Harvey, including the aftermath of the toxic environmental mess that Harvey left. This week, we bring you just one of many examples of environmental headaches that continue to persist following the storm.
According to self-reported emissions to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), refineries, petrochemical plants, and other industrial operations emitted some 2.6 million pounds of pollutants into the air during Harvey-related shutdowns and accidents in the Houston area.
And in one …Continue Reading
Hurricane Harvey’s Devastation Will Be Felt Long After Water Recedes
Hurricane Harvey has decimated the great city of Houston, displacing residents from their homes — and in many cases — destroying homes, investments, and in some scenarios, taking the life of a loved one. It will take billions of dollars to repair Harvey’s destruction, and many people will never replace what the hurricane took. Even with that, the event has more bad news. Not only did Harvey destroy property, and in some instances take human life, it also has created a toxic environmental nightmare.
Houston’s …Continue Reading
Regulated Industry Beware: Citizen Suit Under Clean Air Act Results in Largest Ever Penalty
In late April 2017, ExxonMobil was ordered to pay almost $20 million in penalties for violations of the Clean Air Act in the Houston area. The oil giant was sued in 2010 by environmental groups The Sierra Club and Environment Texas, which alleged that the corporation emitted levels of hazardous contaminants in excess of what is permitted by federal and state law. U.S. District Judge David Hittner stated in his decision that Exxon financially benefited to the tune of $14 million from delaying implementation of …Continue Reading