On Nov. 14, four industrial deaths at the DuPont chemical plant in La Porte were the result of methyl mercaptan exposure, a toxic product used in natural gas production as well as a feedstock for fungicides and insecticides. Two of the victims were brothers.
The tragedy began when a female employee called for help from the operations building after going to check on a line, according to an article in The Houston Chronicle. Two of the men, including the crew supervisor, were not carrying masks when they rushed inside. They were overcome by the methyl mercaptan. The other deaths occurred when one of the brothers took off his mask to try to help his brother. Both died.
[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]The plant has been cited dozens of times for a number of different violations over the past five years.[/inlinetweet]
Those violations included six fines from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the largest coming two years ago after a pair of reviews found that the company failed to limit methomyl, residual chlorine and other effluents. In that case, the company paid a fine of $91,125, which included 40 percent of the amount as well as a contribution to a project for pollution prevention that aided in the restoration of the Galveston Bay. The company also has a seventh fine pending.
Within the last three years, the La Porte plant has also been fined twice for violating the Clean Water Act. The first fine in 2012 resulted in a $91,000 assessment, while a fine just three months ago cost the company $26,000.
At the Federal level, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined the company a small amount in 2007 for handling of hazardous chemicals that was deemed unsafe. Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) directed the plant to limit excessive discharges just this past April.
The deaths and the plan remain under investigation at the time of this article.
Have You Lost Your Loved Ones as a Result of Industrial Deaths?
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