Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Chemical Explosion in Texas Exposes Larger Issue

One of two observed fires at the Arkema plant in Crosby, Tx.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the residents of Texas affected by Hurricane Harvey. It looks like we might be in for a long hurricane season, and no amount of words can express the hardships many Americans will face after the storms pass this year.

Making life even more challenging for the residents of Crosby, Texas affected by Hurricane Harvey, they also had to evacuate a 1.5 mile radius around the Arkema chemical plant after an explosion there August 31. When the facility lost power, an organic peroxide ignited and caught fire after the refrigeration units failed. The toxic smoke caused one police officer present at the scene to be hospitalized with eye and throat irritation.

While Hurricane Harvey was classified as an 1000 year event, we must take better precautions with dangerous chemicals, where they are manufactured and located. It reminds me of Fukushima and the nuclear locations along U.S. coastlines that are vulnerable to flooding events.

I don't have answers to all these problems, but I do know how to play my part and understand my role. Deforestation caused by poor city planning placed thousands of Houston area residents in harms way. Those low areas were historically known to be vulnerable, and the forestation there was a natural barrier that absorbed flood waters. This is a reflection of how irresponsible oversight and treating the Earth as a limitless source of raw materials without regard to sustainability destroys the natural systems that provide us prosperity and protect us. That mission drives me to find the best ways to manufacture a product that I know, and gives me hope that we can achieve a sustainable balance between humans and the planet we call home.