Federal agency finds lax regulation of chemicals

Federal agency finds lax regulation of chemicals

Credit: Getty Images

WEST, TX - APRIL 18: A Valley Mills Fire Department personnel walks among the remains of an apartment complex next to the fertilizer plant that exploded yesterday afternoon on April 18, 2013 in West, Texas. According to West Mayor Tommy Muska, around 14 people, including 10 first responders, were killed and more than 150 people were injured when the fertilizer company caught fire and exploded, leaving damaged buildings for blocks in every direction. (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)

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by RAMIT PLUSHNICK-MASTI / Associated Press

khou.com

Posted on June 27, 2013 at 9:40 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 8 at 6:01 PM

HOUSTON -- A federal agency investigating a deadly explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant says the regulation of dangerous chemicals falls under a “patchwork” of U.S. standards that are decades old and weaker than those used elsewhere.

The U.S Chemical Safety Board will present preliminary findings Thursday to the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. The Associated Press obtained the report in advance.

The board is the first federal agency to acknowledge lax oversight of ammonium nitrate, the chemical blamed for the April explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. that killed 15 people and flattened swaths of the town of West.

The plant had no sprinkler systems and the chemical was stored in wooden bins. The board says guidelines for firefighters on how to fight such a blaze are vague.

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