Four killed from DuPont tragedy

On Saturday morning, four Texans were killed and one sent to the hospital because of a foul-smelling gas which overwhelmed DuPont chemical plant workers in La Porte on Nov. 15.

Although these deaths are rare, according to the Texas Tribune analysis, deadly gases have reportedly been released in plants in small amounts accidentally. Millions of toxic gases have released from various plants and some even trigger fatal explosions, releasing even more poisonous gases into the air.

“We have a very high concentration of dangerous industry here, and I don’t think the state has the resources to address it,” said an environmental attorney for Harris County, Rock Owens.

A researcher in Houston who used to work for Shell, Alex Cuclis, stated that plant workers are more likely to be killed driving to work than working at the plant. “It’s been my experience that DuPont probably runs a better shop than most companies, but they clearly dropped the ball here,” said Robert Morse.

“In emergency response events, TCEQ’ s role is to rapidly provide personnel, expertise, and equipment, as necessary, to assess the extent of public exposure to hazardous materials, such as monitoring offsite air quality,” said Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) spokesman, Terry Clawson.

Many people are concerned with the routine exposure of these chemicals as well. Shell Oil’s Deer Park refinery released almost 40,000 pounds of benzene in January 2013. The benzene vented out of a broken valve for 15 days before a worker noticed.

“You’ve got folks that are getting routine exposure to benzene, and after some certain number of years there’s a chance they’re going to end up with cancer,” said health scientist, Elena Craft. “It all adds up.”

If you or a loved one has worked in a plant and experienced side effects you think could be related to the exposure of gases, contact an attorney. The TCEQ has found chemical releases in plants are often higher than what the law allows. If you think you may be a victim of this, you could be entitled to financial compensation. You can get a free consultation at The Carlson Law Firm to see if you have a case.


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