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Ariana Kelly's picture

Chemical security is probably not something you think about every day, nor should it be! As parents, we have enough to worry about. That’s why we need government and businesses to do their jobs to minimize the risks our families face from toxic chemicals.

Did you know that this summer in North Carolina, a mom died when she was exposed to an ammonia spill on her way to work? According to The State, a South Carolina newspaper:

“Thirty-eight-year-old Jacqueline Patrice Ginyard — Treecie to family members — died in a bizarre chemical accident as she drove to work. A toxic fog of ammonia leaked from the Tanner Industries plant near Swansea, spread across U.S. 321 and killed Jacqueline, who drove into the cloud not realizing the danger.”

Hazards like this are found across the country at big chemical manufacturers and oil refineries, at water treatment plants, on railroads and highways. Chemical facilities across the U.S. use and transport large amounts of dangerous toxic chemicals that, if suddenly released in an accident or terror attack, can remain dangerous for miles downwind — potentially harming thousands of people at home, work, or school.

The U.S. House will vote this week on important legislation that could significantly reduce risks associated with the production and use of toxic chemicals. You can help by sending a letter today urging support for the Chemical and Water Security Act of 2009. Legislative pressure on this issue has already had a positive impact. Just yesterday The Washington Post reported:

Household products maker The Clorox Co. said Monday it is changing how it makes its namesake bleach so it can stop transporting chlorine to U.S. factories by rail amid growing safety concerns and regulatory scrutiny.

Thousands of facilities and businesses have already found a safer way of doing business-allowing the families around them to rest easier. Solutions can be easy, for example drinking water plants can use chlorine bleach instead of chlorine gas. Power plants can eliminate dangerous ammonia gas. One survey of these facilities found that a third actually anticipated saving money by converting to safer technologies!

Unfortunately, at the current rate, it will take another fifty years to convert all dangerous U.S. facilities and protect American families.

We really need this bill to speed up the process. Please send a letter to your Congressman (or woman!) today, urging them to support the Chemical and Water Security Act of 2009. If you want to learn more about chemical security, USPIRG has a great website on building safer communities.

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