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Battling for Bayer

Cross-posted from Sustained Outrage: a Gazette Watchdog Blog   by Ken Ward, Jr. Bayer CropScience hasn’t said yet if it will challenge $143,000 in fines issued by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 13 serious and 2 repeat violations related to the August 2008 explosion and fire that killed two Institute plant workers.  But […]

Bayer’s Secrecy Started with Their 911 Call

Last August 28, Bill Oxley and Barry Withrow, 45 were working at the Bayer CropScience’s plant  in Institute, WV when a massive fireball erupted in an area where methomyl for the carbamate insecticide thiodicarb (Larvin) is produced.  Mr. Withrow was killed immediately in the blast, and Mr. Oxley died after 43 days in a Pittsburgh burn center.   When I first wrote about this disaster, in “911 operator: “I’m […]

Another Worker Dead from Bayer CropScience Explosion

Mr. Bill Oxley was working at the Bayer CropScience plant in Institute, WV on August 28.  At about 10:25 pm, a massive fireball erupted at the facility, killing his co-worker, Barry Withrow, 45.  The dramatic facts surrounding this explosion included that plant officials told the dispatchers that an emergency situation was in progress, but as far […]

Lesson #1: Don’t hang up on Ken Ward Jr

The Charleston Gazette’s Ken Ward Jr. caused my jaw to drop several times this morning with his story “Mine hailed as model of safety faces federal probe.”  At the Patriot Coal company’s Federal No. 2 mine—the underground coal mine that Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis visited in August 2009—a foreman has admitted to falsifying records on levels of explosive gases AND  […]

25 Years After Bhopal, Too Little Progress

Twenty-five years ago, thousands of residents of Bhopal, India awoke in the middle of the night struggling to breathe. A Union Carbide pesticide plant had leaked 40 tons of methyl isocyanate, a highly toxic substance that had escaped in gas form and spread quickly through the densely populated city. The Indian Council on Medical Research […]

Chemical Valley: Who is protecting the residents?

by Ken Ward, Jr., cross-posted from Sustained Outrage: A Gazette Watchdog blog Last August, Kanawha Valley residents lived through the spectacle of their public safety officials practically begging the folks who run the Bayer CropScience chemical plant to tell them what was on fire, and what toxic chemicals residents nearby were being exposed to. Remember […]

OSHA Secrecy? Chemical Safety Board Secrecy?

The Charleston Gazette’s Ken Ward posted two items yesterday at Sustained Outrage: a Gazette Watchdog Blog concerning records related to the August 2008 explosion at the Bayer CropScience plant in Institute, WV that killed two workers  (previous posts here, here, here, here), and OSHA’s and CSB’s reticence in making certain records available to the public.  In OSHA Secrecy? Ward […]

Occupational Health News Roundup

The National Air and Space Museum, part of the Smithsonian Institution here in DC, has asbestos in its wall seams – a situation unlikely to pose harm to visitors, but a potential risk to workers who might be cutting or drilling into walls. Seventeen years ago, managers were informed about the presence of asbestos, and […]

To 911 operator: “I’m only allowed to tell you we have an emergency”

Ken Ward of the Charleston Gazette has been following closely and reporting on the deadly blast on Aug 28 at the multinational Bayer CropScience’s plant in Institute, WV.  His first story (here) indicated that witnesses saw a red fireball at about 10:25 pm, and that thousands of residents were told to shelter in place, and his next story reported on […]

Doing too Little to Save the Bees

We’ve written before about the alarming rate of bee death (or colony collapse disorder) around the world, and last week the British Beekeepers’ Association revealed that one in three of the UK’s honeybee hives failed to survive the winter and spring. Now, the Natural Resources Defense Council says that a new class of pesticides might […]