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A First Look At The 600K Report: Commercial Chemical Incidents In The United States, 1987 - 1996

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<-- Terrorism and Industrial Chemicals

Related Resources:
ATSDR Report: Industrial Chemicals and Terrorism: Human Health Threat Analysis, Mitigation and Prevention.
Risk Management Plan Resources from the National Safety Council.
Background on Risk Management Plans (RMP and "Worst Case Scenarios").
Chemical Plants Are Feared as Targets: Concerns grow that terrorists might hit toxic inventories.

Update: On December 22, 2000 the Chemical Safety Board refocused their work and withdrew the 600K Report claiming that it had data problems. Their website or recent 5-year plan makes no mention of updating or correcting this report. It remains here for research and education purposes.

Another Study: Similar analysis from Wharton School researchers shows that from 1994 through 1999, these accidents injured nearly 2,000 people and required the evacuation of more than 200,000 nearby residents. Property damage from the 1,913 chemical accidents the industry reported over those five years: $1 billion. The study using Risk Management Plan (RMP) data says, "In two cases, it was discovered that a facility had changed its [RMP] report ... In one case, 9 public deaths had been reported and in the other case 5 deaths ... in both cases, these reports were resubmitted and changed to 0 deaths." Click here to download, "Accident Epidemiology and the U.S. Chemical Industry: Preliminary Results from RMP*Info."


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Download 600K Summary Report Here (1.43MB, PDF Format).

A First Look At The 600K Report: Commercial Chemical Incidents In The United States, 1987 - 1996

Special Congressional Summary Final Document Available in March

Why The 600K Report? Why, indeed? Why does the industrial equivalent of two 737 airplanes "crash" year after year, killing all passengers (256 people)? And why does no one seem to notice? While these remain questions today, the United States recently embarked on a journey whose destination is precise answers to the causes of and means of preventing chemical incidents . . .over 600,000 from 1987 through 1996 . . . , answers to help government and business take steps benefiting everyone.

Commercial chemical incidents occur tens of thousands of times each year, often with devastating and exorbitantly expensive consequences. They are indiscriminate in their effects. Workers, companies, the public, emergency response organizations, and all levels of government pay the figurative and literal price. Yet, until now and with few exceptions, chemical incidents have been invisible. Perhaps it is due to their pervasiveness, or to the common tendency to overlook what is taken for granted. More likely, however, their invisibility results from our nation's lack of definitive knowledge about the picture of chemical incidents in the United States. The 600K Report, the product of the unprecedented analysis of reports of chemical incidents recorded in five federal government databases, and the baseline it establishes fill that gap. It is the first federal study that casts a wide net over the problem, looking at its magnitude and characteristics, and using . . .and highlighting the limitations of . . .the government's own acknowledged "best" databases of reported chemical incidents at fixed facilities and during transit.

The 600K Report was prepared by the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB), an independent, nonpartisan, quasi-legislative agency that performs a unique role within and, domestically and internationally, on behalf of the federal government. Created as part of the Clean Air Act (Act), 42 U.S.C. 7412, the CSB began operations in Fiscal Year 1998. Its mission, accomplished through a variety of programs and partnerships, is clear, focused and measurable: reduce the occurrence of chemical incidents, thereby protecting workers, the public and the environment and lessening associated economic consequences.

The CSB assists Congress with public policy analysis through its technical work, its evaluation of the performance and effectiveness of federal chemical safety programs, and its assessment of the cost and benefits of those programs to government and business. It makes recommendations for administrative and regulatory changes to other agencies' programs to enhance their effectiveness, and the overall effectiveness of the federal government, in promoting chemical safety. The CSB's work is done in support of Congressional direction contained in the Act, that it is to issue periodic reports (1) recommending measures to reduce the likelihood or consequences of accidental releases and (2) proposing corrective steps to make chemical processing, handling and storage as safe and free from injury as possible.

Many parties have a stake and role in preventing chemical incidents. This report, and the complementary information the CSB will produce in the future, is designed to give those parties a common basis on which to productively discuss and work toward the resolution of chemical safety concerns. Their collective, cooperative efforts can make the United States the world leader in chemical incident prevention . . . and the workplace as safe as an airplane.

<-- Terrorism and Industrial Chemicals

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