Letter to the Editor: Chemical accident anniversary

The 2nd anniversary of the Nova-Kem LLC chemical incident in Seward (June 2, 2013) brings to mind those who were affected, and how to prevent tragedies like this from happening again.

Chemical facilities are much more common than you might expect. There are 1,281 chemical facilities in Illinois, and many are close enough to schools that they put kids at risk every day. Across the nation, there have been over 350 accidents at chemical plants and refineries in the just the past two years, killing 79 people and sending close to 1,500 to the hospital.

So how do we make these plants safer for our kids, communities, and workers? It might surprise you that there are safer affordable chemicals and technologies already out there. We just need to make sure these plants switch.

That’s why we need to make sure that EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy makes a rule requiring chemical plants and refineries to switch to the safest cost-effective chemicals and technology available. The sooner we have a strong rule, the sooner we can prevent accidents like Nova-Kem from affecting anyone else.

Dev Gowda
Toxics Advocate with Illinois PIRG (Public Interest Research Group)

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