250130 Refining communities at risk: Options for reducing hydrofluoric acid (HF) hazards

Monday, October 31, 2011: 9:00 AM

Rick Hind , Legislative Director, Greenpeace, Washington, DC
Diane Heminway , Strategic Campaigns, Global Bargaining, and International Affairs, United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (U, Pittsburgh, PA
This session will examine the role of the highly hazardous chemical hydrofluoric acid (HF) used in very large quantities in over 50 U.S. petroleum refineries in 20 states. In the event of an accidental release or terrorist event, HF would be a grave threat to health and safety for refinery workers, emergency responders and communities. Depending on the size of the release, many thousands of people could be at risk. We will present information from the perspectives of environmental and labor organizations regarding primary prevention options for policymakers and the refining industry. We will describe the health and environmental risks faced by those working at, or living near HF-using refineries. We will also explore how the requirements for approaches described as inherently safer, such as the potential for use of a solid acid catalyst would greatly reduce or eliminate risks of HF for hundreds of thousands people. And finally, we will also examine right-to-know as an important part of prevention, preparedness and response to an HF catastrophe.

Learning Areas:
Environmental health sciences
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Explain the hazards and policy options to eliminate or contain potential hydrofluoric acid (HF) catastrophes. Identify policy positions of labor and environmental organizations.

Keywords: Environmental Health Hazards, Occupational Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As the legislative director of Greenpeace I have been working on toxic chemical regulations and legislation for the last 20 years and have been working on chemical disaster prevention issues since the 1984 Bhopal disaster. I have also given dozens of presentations on this subject as well as promising safer alternatives.
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.