US House committee opens investigation into Bayer explosion

16 March 2009 13:52  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--The US House Committee on Energy and Commerce will investigate the explosion at the Bayer CropScience facility near Charleston, West Virginia that killed two workers last August, a spokesperson for the US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) said on Monday.

The committee, chaired by Henry Waxman (Democrat-California), said it will pay particular attention to the CSB-led hearing on 23 April.

In that hearing, investigators are expected to examine the causes of the accident, the adequacy of the response, and the scope of information provided to first responders, employees and the public, CSB spokesman Daniel Horowitz said.

According to the Associated Press, emergency responders have said Bayer gave them little information until almost two hours after the explosion.

Likewise, Bayer waited more than two hours to formally report the accident to the US National Response Center.

Bayer has also come under fire for the large amounts of toxic petrochemical methyl isocyanate it holds at the facility.

EPA records show the company stores 100,000-999,999 lb (45-453 tonnes) of methyl isocyanate at the plant. The explosion occurred near a large tank that held about 40,000 lb of the substance.

Bayer has not responded to requests for comment from ICIS news.

For more on Bayer go to ICIS company intelligence
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By: Ben DuBose
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