Those living beside the chemical plants in the small towns along West Virginia’s Kanawha Valley can breathe a bit easier and maybe sleep a little better.
Bayer CropScience announced that it eliminate 80 percent of the of the country’s largest stockpile of methyl isocyanate.
Ken Ward, the skillful environmental reporter for the Charleston Gazette, writes that Bayer officials say they will eliminate all above-ground storage of MIC and produce the chemical only on a “make-and-use” basis.
Bayer says that it hopes to keep its daily maximum inventory of the highly toxic brew below 50,000 pounds. That, Ward reports, is still more than any other chemical plant in the nation.
Okay, so maybe they won’t sleep that soundly.
A lethal leak of MIC 25 years ago — estimates vary from 50,000 pounds to 90,000 pounds — killed thousands of people who lived near a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India.
Here is a link to Ward’s story.
Also, here is a link to a U.S. Chemical Safety Board update today on an explosion a year ago at the same Bayer plant that killed two workers.