Friday, May 30, 2014

Chemical Alternatives in Wire and Cable Industry

AlphaGary Corporation

AlphaGary Corporation AlphaGary specializes in the design and development of plastic compounds for a variety of applications. Internal company initiatives combined with external factors, including European and Massachusetts laws, influenced AlphaGary to collaborate with its supply chain partners and other stakeholders to investigate less toxic alternatives for lead compounds used as heat stabilizers in formulations for wire and cable products. Investments in research and internal capacities for product design, evaluation, and testing resulted in: the development of new lead-free product formulations that maintained quality and performance; reduced risk to workers handling lead-based materials; reduced medical monitoring and personal exposure monitoring for lead; improved product development capabilities; streamlined product certification processes; and enhanced the company’s competitive global supply position.

Transitioning to Safer Chemical Alternatives in Laundry Detergents

Washing Systems, LLC

Washing Systems Washing Systems, LLC is a chemical supplier to the laundry industry in the U.S. and Canada. In 2005, the company’s leadership made a critical decision to focus 100% of all research and development on new chemical technologies that exhibit safer, environmentally sustainable profiles. The initiative to develop a new "green" line of detergents became an immediate outgrowth of this decision and focused heavily on their use of nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs). The challenge of this initiative was set in seven critical project objectives:
  1. Detergents must be 100% free of NPEs
  2. Detergents must be used as one for one direct replacements for NPE detergents
  3. Detergents must have the same ounce for ounce cost to NPE detergents
  4. Detergents must exhibit the same “end-use” cost to the customer as NPE detergents
  5. Cleaning performance must be equal to or improved over NPE detergents
  6. Wash formulas must maintain the same “rapid rate” wash formulas as NPE detergents
  7. Detergents must be certified by the EPA’s Design for Environment (DfE)
At the end of 2007, Washing Systems’ R&D successfully met each of these objectives. In 2008, Washing Systems launched a new line of NPE-Free detergents into the commercial laundry market. Today, the success of this R&D project is evident to all Washing Systems customers, as all are 100% free of NPEs. This effort has reduced over 4.5 million lbs of NPEs/year from being discharged to the environment.
In addition to eliminating the use of NPEs in its products, Washing Systems has eliminated the use of butyl cellosolve and petroleum hydrocarbon based solvents in detergents, eliminated the use of phosphates and ethylenediaminetraacetic acid (EDTA) within the laundry builders, and reduced the petroleum hydrocarbon based solvents by 46% in other specialty products. The new formulations are not only less hazardous to workers and the environment, but also provide economic and efficiency benefits to Washing System’s customers (i.e., reduced water and energy usage, increased wash productivity, lower chemical costs).
To identify alternatives, the company’s scientists and engineers use CleanGredients®, a database of safer cleaning products ingredients that meet specific health and environmental criteria. The company also uses the GreenScreen, a comparative chemical hazard assessment method, to evaluate and compare hazards of alternative chemicals. Washing Systems carries out extensive in-house performance testing as well as field trials in customers’ facilities to ensure that the alternatives demonstrate superior levels of cleaning quality and operational performance compared to the chemistry it replaces.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Transition to safer chemicals success story:Safer Processes

Designing a Safer Process for Chemical Manufacturing

DuPont Corporation

DuPont is a large chemical manufacturer that makes products for many industries — agriculture, marine, healthcare, energy, food and beverage, and mining, to name a few. Methyl isocyanate (MIC) is a highly toxic, irritating and flammable chemical that is commonly used to produce the carbamate pesticide methomyl; it is often manufactured in a separate production unit at facilities and stored in large pressure vessels. Following the 1984 deadly MIC release from the Union Carbide facility in Bhopal, India — where approximately 30 metric tons of toxic MIC escaped from a storage tank into the atmosphere in less than an hour killing thousands and injuring hundreds of thousands — DuPont implemented a new technology for producing methomyl at its plant in LaPorte, Texas. DuPont converted the less acutely toxic chemical methylformamide into MIC as a vapor-phase (rather than liquid) on an as-needed basis, which was immediately consumed in a subsequent reaction, leaving very little MIC in the system at one time and removing phosgene from the production process. DuPont's method reduced worker handling of several toxic chemicals; eliminated the need to transport, store, and transfer MIC and phosgene; and addressed lifetime cost issues.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Executive Order 13650: Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security


On August 1, 2013, President Obama signed Executive Order 13650, entitled Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security. The Executive Order directs the Federal Government to improve operational coordination with state and local partners; improve Federal agency coordination and information sharing; modernize policies, regulations, and standards; and work with stakeholders to identify best practices.
The Executive Order working group includes representatives from:
Executive Order 13650

Federal Workgroups Formed in Response to the Executive Order:

Section 3 - Improving Operational Coordination (Co-chaired by EPA and DHS, U.S. Coast Guard)
Section 4 - Improving Federal Agency Coordination (Co-chaired by EPA and DHS, U.S. Coast Guard)
Section 5 - Improving Information Collection and Sharing (Chaired by DHS, Infrastructure Security Compliance Division)
Section 6 - Modernizing Policies, Regulations, and Standards (Chaired by DOL, Occupational Safety and Health Administration)
  • Request for Information on Process Safety Management and Prevention of Major Chemical Accidents
    • Click here to comment on the OSHA RFI
  • Section 6(a) – Solicitation of Public Input on Options for Policy, Regulation, and Standards Modernization
    • Click here to comment on the EO Section 6(a) Document
Section 7 - Stakeholder Outreach and Identifying Best Practices (Chaired by DHS, Infrastructure Security Compliance Division)

Resource Materials

Public comments and additional materials are available in the public docket for Section 6 of the Executive Order. To access the docket, you can go to and perform a search for OSHA-2013-0026.
Executive Order
  • Executive Order 13650: Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security
  • EPA's Webpage on Executive Order 13650
Request for Information
  • Request for Information on Process Safety Management and Prevention of Major Chemical Accidents*
Guidance Documents
  • Chemical Advisory: Safe Storage, Handling, Management of Ammonium Nitrate*
  • Fertilizer Industry Guidance on Storage and Use of Ammonium Nitrate
Listening Sessions
  • Announcement of Listening Sessions is published in the Federal Register [Docket No. DHS–2013–0075]

Friday, May 9, 2014

Health & Safety for Onshore Emergency Responders

Severe Weather and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill:
Health and Safety for Onshore Emergency Responders

How can operations in response to severe weather be affected by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill?

The high winds associated with severe weather (including hurricanes and tropical storms) may distribute spilled oil over a wider area. Storm surges may carry oil into the coastline and inland as far as the surge reaches. Debris resulting from a hurricane may be contaminated by oil from the Deepwater Horizon incident. (For more information, see the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's factsheet Hurricanes and the Oil Spill [1 MB PDF, 2 pages])
Hurricane responders, such as damage assessors, urban search and rescue teams, debris management contractors, and local fire, police and emergency medical personnel, may come in contact with the deposited oil. Responders need to be aware of their surroundings and, if weathered oil is present, take proper precautions.

What Hazards is the Weathered Oil Likely to Present?

The oil that may be deposited inland by the storm surge is likely to be weathered oil, meaning that any lighter and more acutely toxic components of the crude oil have evaporated. Weathered oil on bare skin can cause rashes.

What Actions Should be Taken to Protect Workers from Weathered Oil?

It is likely that most emergency responders will not need to come in contact with weathered oil. For operations where contact with weathered oil can be avoided, there is no need for additional training and equipment. However, if the operation involves contact with weathered oil (such as cleaning up oil-contaminated debris), employers will need to provide training on the hazards of the operation prior to beginning work.* In addition, the proper personal protective equipment (e.g., boots and gloves) will also need to be provided.

Workers who do not have the necessary training and equipment should avoid contact with the weathered oil.
* For more information, see OSHA's guidance for cleaning up weathered oil and for general protection information on hazards associated with the response to severe weather, see OSHA's Hurricane Preparedness and Response website.