Chemical Security is Community Security

The wealth of our community is the health of our children.

The November 22, 2006 Danvers, Massachusetts chemical plant explosion should motivate policy makers and citizens to assess community vulnerabilities statewide and take steps to reduce chemical hazards, especially in residential areas and schools. The activity would be an opportunity for communities to create a new appreciation for the positive role of government as the protector of public health, safety and the public's right to know and control what the chemical industry puts in our air, water, food, and bodies.

This disaster is also an opportunity for officials to educate the public about hazards to health and safety. If we have learned anything from the aftermath of 9/11, there is an urgent need to stop the false assurances that hazardous solvent vapors and fumes from burning buildings and toxic runoff are "safe."

Recommended Resources

"The Safe Hometowns Guide," How to do a Community Reassessment of Chemical Site Safety and Security after September 11, 2001.

PTA in Action Newsletter: What is your school's chemical IQ? The healthy school check up for national preparedness month. There is an urgent need for responsible leadership to improve school safety and security by eliminating the improper storage and use of hazardous chemicals in our schools.

Why do we need involved citizens?

Dry cleaning chemical detected in school Families of students attending Mildred Avenue Middle School in Mattapan were notified Friday that state officials found traces of tetrachloroethylene, a liquid used for dry cleaning, following an air quality test, according to a copy of a letter sent by the principal, Kris Taylor. Health officials determined that the levels found by officials from the state Department of Environmental Protection would not pose a health threat, the letter said. Authorities believed the trace levels were remnants from a dry cleaning plant once located on the site, the letter said. Recent changes made to state regulations concerning airborne substances in schools triggered the testing and subsequent findings.

WOBURN MA Railway firm found guilty in diesel oil spill
A jury in Massachusetts has convicted a New Hampshire railway company and three of its subsidiaries of failing to report a hazardous waste spill at a rail yard in Ayer. Pan Am Railways Inc. of Nashua was charged with violating state law. Prosecutors said a locomotive spilled hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel at the rail yard in August 2006. Pan Am Railways and its subsidiaries were accused of failing to report the leak to state officials and of attempting to cover it up. A Superior Court jury returned the verdict yesterday after a weeklong trial. Failure to report a spill is punishable by a $100,000 fine. (AP)