222376 Refinery Accidents and Public Health: The Fenceline Perspective

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 : 12:45 PM - 1:00 PM

Anna Hrybyk, MPH , Louisiana Bucket Brigade, New Orleans, LA
Mariko Toyoji , Research Analyst, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, New Orleans, LA
Sonyja Thomas, LAT , Reproductive Biology Center, Louisiana State University, St. Gabriel, LA
Refinery accidents are a significant source of toxic exposure for the 209,215 people who live within two miles of refineries in Louisiana. The Louisiana Bucket Brigade (LABB) has worked with refinery neighbors for a decade and has developed the Refinery Efficiency Initiative (REI) . The goal of this program is to reduce statewide refinery accidents and the public health burden of chemical exposure.

Using reports filed by refineries, we have calculated accident rates for each facility, analyzed the accidents for causal factors, and quantified the pollutants emitted, including greenhouse gases. Ten of Louisiana's largest refineries reported 2,116 accidents from 2005 to 2008 resulting in the release of 15,610,177 pounds and 21,886,842 gallons of pollutants near schools and in neighborhoods.

This Initiative represents the first time that: 1. A searchable database of accident data has been created. Visitors can now search accidents by zip code, date, cause and pollutant. 2. We can quantify contributions of Louisiana refinery accidents to greenhouse gas and ground level ozone precursor emissions.

Our statewide Fenceline Neighbors Network (FNN) is using this information to work with refineries to set targets for emissions reduction. In February 2010, LABB and the FNN join forces with the US EPA and United Steelworkers to co-host an unprecedented Accident Reduction Roundtable with area refineries.

Join LABB and our community partners for a session that evaluates lessons learned from REI to date and next steps in the work with industrial giants to implement sustainable solutions for environmental health and justice in fenceline communities.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Environmental health sciences
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related education
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Participants will analyze the nature and causes of accidental emissions from refineries in Louisiana. This lesson is applicable to refineries throughout the U.S. and the world 2. Participants will evaluate the impact of these accidental releases on the health of fenceline neighbors. 3. Participants will discuss the role of civil society organizations in achieving goals of refinery accident reduction and environmental justice. 4. Participants will be able to demonstrate how data generated by the industry can be used to achieve tangible health improvements by those whose health is most impacted by the emissions.

Keywords: Environmental Justice, Environmental Exposures

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I oversee the Refinery Efficiency Initiative, a program that addresses the health impacts from exposure to accidental emissions at Louisiana refineries.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.