Unreported Hazardous Chemicals

It is suspected that last week’s West Fertilizer blast was caused when ammonium nitrate was set ablaze. The overriding opinion is that the tragedy was an industrial accident, but other possibilities have not yet been ruled out. When stored properly, the fertilizer is considered safe, but it can explode at high temperatures or when it reacts with other substances. Businesses are responsible for reporting the volume of volatile chemicals that they store, such as ammonium nitrate, to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), who is, in turn, in charge of assessing the risk factors and devising a safety plan. Furthermore, the DHS enforces a set of “CFAT” standards, which are designed to prevent sabotage and to keep the dangerous chemicals from falling into criminal hands. According to a spokesman of the DHS, Peter Boogaard, the agency focuses "specifically on enhancing security to reduce the risk of terrorism at certain high-risk chemical facilities." The DHS did not receive a report from West Fertilizer and was thus unable to regulate or monitor the fertilizer plant under the CFAT program. In addition to the DHS, the fertilizer facility is required to submit safety information to a handful of other state and federal agencies. Critics claim that this patchy network of agencies makes it difficult to ensure sufficient oversight. Sam Mannan, director of process safety center at Texas A&M University, believes "this shows that the enforcement routine has to be more robust, on local, state and federal levels. If information is not shared with agencies, which appears to have happened here, then the regulations won't work." Rep. Thompson believes “that if the proper safeguards were in place, as are at thousands of (DHS) CFATS-regulated plants across the country, the loss of life and destruction could have been far less extensive.”

Where Zinda Law Group Practices:

We were founded in Texas and have a team of Austin personal injury lawyers as well as attorneys in Dallas and Fort Worth.

 As we’ve grown we expanded out west to El Paso, Texas subsequently into Arizona adding Tucson Personal Injury Lawyers to the firm, as well as adding offices in Colorado including Denver Personal Injury Lawyers and the surrounding cities such as Colorado Springs.

Types of Cases We Handle:

We also have a team of attorneys that have experience serious injury cases such as car accidents, wrongful death and truck accidents.   We also have experience handling more complex cases such as gas explosions and drug injury cases, such as the Taxotere® Lawsuits.