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Vinyl Chloride

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NEWS
August 29, 1991 | By Marego Athans, Special to The Inquirer
It is a sweet-smelling liquid when it is being transported under pressure, but one touch could give you frostbite. When it leaks, it vaporizes quickly into gas so flammable, nearby static electricity could spark a fire. A good whiff is a general anesthetic; inhaling it over the long term could cause cancer. The product is vinyl chloride monomer, and 100 million pounds of it, encased in about 560 rail cars, rolls along the tracks through Burlington County towns from Palmyra to Burlington Township each year.
NEWS
December 11, 2012 | By Joseph A. Gambardello, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Paulsboro Public Schools will reopen Tuesday, more than a week after they were closed because of the Nov. 30 derailment of freight-train tank cars carrying toxic chemicals. The school district said schools will open at their normal times and what had been scheduled as a half day on Friday will now be a full day of classes. A meeting is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Paulsboro High School Auditorium for any questions and concerns parents and guardians might have. The reopening of the schools follows a weekend during which several hundred people who were evacuated from their homes were allowed to return after officials detected zero vinyl chloride in the air or residents' houses.
NEWS
December 1, 2012 | By Kathy Boccella, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Vinyl chloride, the chemical that leaked from a freight train that derailed in Paulsboro this morning, is used to make so many plastic products that it has become pervasive in modern society. But it is also a toxic substance that can cause respiratory and neurological symptoms, and in extreme cases death. The Environmental Protection Agency has classified it as a human carcinogen that may increase the risk of a rare form of liver cancer. At least 66 people went to Underwood Memorial Hospital this morning to be evaluated for exposure to the chemical.
NEWS
May 15, 1986 | By Edward Power, Inquirer Staff Writer
While investigators searched yesterday for a cause of the explosion that ripped through the B. F. Goodrich Chemical Group plant Tuesday in Pedricktown, Salem County, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection said there was no evidence of any hazard from fumes released by the vinyl chloride that burned. Five plant workers were injured in the blast, one of them seriously, authorities said. Anthony Brown, 33, a plant worker from Penns Grove, Salem County, suffered second- and third-degree burns on his face, hands and a leg. Brown was listed in guarded condition last night at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, where he was transferred after receiving treatment at Sacred Heart Medical Center.
NEWS
April 17, 1990 | By Donna Shaw, Inquirer Staff Writer
A proposed consent decree that would require a Pottstown firm to pay a $687,000 civil penalty for violating clean-air standards was announced yesterday by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia. The proposed agreement between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Occidental Chemical Corp. also requires the firm to install new equipment, implement training programs and conduct regular testing to prevent further discharges of vinyl chloride into the air. The Pottstown plant manufactures polyvinyl chloride, an ingredient in plastics, in a process that can produce vinyl chloride emissions, according to the government.
NEWS
December 1, 2012 | By Robert Moran and Joseph A. Gambardello, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
About 500 residents were evacuated Friday night from about a 12-block radius around the scene of a train derailment in Paulsboro, Gloucester County, after elevated levels of a toxic chemical were detected in the air. A bridge over the Mantua Creek collapsed about 7 a.m., sending four tanker cars into the creek. The cars were carrying vinyl chloride, a flammable, colorless gas that can cause dizziness, drowsiness, and headaches. One car ruptured, sending thousands of gallons of the chemical into the air. The precautionary evacuation was announced around 6 p.m. and the residents were told it was possible they might not be allowed to return for several days, said U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Drew Madjeska, spokesman for agencies responding to the derailment.
NEWS
December 5, 2012 | By Joseph A. Gambardello, Inquirer Staff Writer
Frustration and inconvenience are growing in Paulsboro as a risky cleanup proceeds at a deliberately slow pace following the derailment Friday of chemical-laden train cars on a bridge over the Mantua Creek. After unexpectedly ordering all public schools in the borough closed Monday morning, officials announced later in the day that the schools would not reopen this week. The closure announcement coincided with an order at 6:30 for Paulsboro residents to "shelter in place" - stay indoors and close windows - because of elevated, though not life-threatening, levels of vinyl chloride gas in the air. The order was lifted around 11 a.m., but vinyl chloride remains a threat, as it has since the derailment.
NEWS
July 12, 2013 | By Andrew Seidman, Inquirer Staff Writer
WASHINGTON - More than seven months after a train derailment and chemical spill forced more than 700 people from their homes in Paulsboro, N.J., the borough remains ill-prepared to respond to a similar or worse accident, officials told federal investigators Wednesday. Should another evacuation be necessary, they said, Paulsboro would have difficulty transporting many of its 6,100 residents to safety. Many residents do not have cars, and the borough has only two buses to evacuate residents.
NEWS
August 20, 2008 | By Maya Rao INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A Burlington Township plastic and resin factory has reached a $1.3 million settlement over allegations that it violated state and federal environmental laws. Colorite Specialty Resins of Somerville, N.J., also has agreed to spend $1 million to reduce harmful emissions of vinyl chloride. Exposure to the chemical has been linked to liver cancer and neurological disorders, government officials said. The settlement was announced yesterday by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Justice Department, the state Department of Environmental Protection, and the state attorney general.
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NEWS
December 4, 2014 | By Barbara Boyer, Inquirer Staff Writer
A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of 16 emergency responders seeking compensation and medical monitoring for health concerns stemming from a 2012 train derailment and toxic spill in Paulsboro. The lawsuit names Conrail, CSX, and Norfolk Southern, which operate a bridge that malfunctioned and caused the accident. It also names the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health, a consulting firm hired to assess medical problems. A lawyer representing the workers said the firm, hired by the railroad companies, either failed to take urine samples for medical monitoring or lost them.
NEWS
July 31, 2014 | By Clark Mindock, Inquirer Staff Writer
There was fog outside the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ in Paulsboro when Jesse Campbell left morning prayer service around 7 a.m. on Nov. 30, 2012, to go home. He said Tuesday he didn't know at the time that the fog was vinyl chloride that leaked during a train derailment or that it could contaminate the borough's air. It was several days before he was stopped by Paulsboro police from going to his shop, where he details cars and does auto repair work, and told he needed to evacuate the area, he said.
NEWS
July 31, 2014 | BY JASON NARK, Daily News Staff Writer narkj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5916
AN AFTERNOON TRAIN rolled out of Paulsboro yesterday, a moving chain of black and gray chemical tankers curving away after passing over Mantua Creek, just a few hours after some long-awaited news had rolled into the Gloucester County town. Earlier in the day, 130 miles away in Washington, D.C., the National Transportation Safety Board met to review the developments that had occurred before, during and after a Conrail train derailed and released a toxic cloud of vinyl chloride in the tough, 2-square-mile town along the Delaware River on Nov. 30, 2012.
NEWS
June 3, 2014 | By Angelo Fichera, Inquirer Staff Writer
A state study conducted in the aftermath of the 2012 train derailment in Paulsboro found that more than half of those interviewed reported new or intensified health issues in the days after the accident. Most commonly, residents noted experiencing headaches, respiratory symptoms, and coughing in the week after the Nov. 30 accident, according to the Department of Health report, based on two surveys. In its findings, 58 percent of those interviewed in person and 66 percent of those responding to a mail-in survey said they experienced "new or worsening symptoms" in the week after the derailment, which leaked about 20,000 gallons of toxic vinyl chloride into the atmosphere.
NEWS
August 9, 2013 | By Andrew Seidman, Inquirer Staff Writer
Three more first responders to last year's train derailment in Paulsboro filed suit Wednesday against Conrail and its parent companies, raising fresh allegations against the companies that came to light last month during hearings with federal investigators. The responders, who are police officers in Paulsboro and Greenwich Township, joined 15 other plaintiffs, including first responders, already involved in separate litigation against Conrail. At least 15 other suits have been filed against Conrail.
NEWS
July 12, 2013 | By Andrew Seidman, Inquirer Staff Writer
WASHINGTON - More than seven months after a train derailment and chemical spill forced more than 700 people from their homes in Paulsboro, N.J., the borough remains ill-prepared to respond to a similar or worse accident, officials told federal investigators Wednesday. Should another evacuation be necessary, they said, Paulsboro would have difficulty transporting many of its 6,100 residents to safety. Many residents do not have cars, and the borough has only two buses to evacuate residents.
NEWS
July 11, 2013 | By Andrew Seidman, Inquirer Staff Writer
WASHINGTON - Federal investigators on Tuesday questioned Paulsboro first responders and Conrail officials on why they failed to use protective emergency equipment during last November's train derailment and also expressed skepticism over whether they had received adequate training to handle such an accident. Four tank cars tumbled into Mantua Creek after a movable bridge failed about 7 a.m. Nov 30. One car breached, releasing about 20,000 gallons of toxic vinyl chloride into the atmosphere and eventually forcing nearly 700 people from their homes.
NEWS
May 30, 2013 | By Andrew Seidman, Inquirer Staff Writer
Conrail and its parent companies, in a substantive response to one of a flood of lawsuits filed against them after the November train derailment and chemical leak in Paulsboro, maintain that they are "exempt from strict liability" for injuries and damages because they are common carriers legally obliged to transport hazardous freight. The companies filed the response last Wednesday in the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia, where Conrail has its headquarters. The strict standard of liability holds that the defendant is legally responsible for injuries regardless of intent or carelessness.
NEWS
March 8, 2013 | By Joseph A. Gambardello and Andrew Seidman, Inquirer Staff Writers
For the first time, a lawsuit alleges that the derailment of a freight train and subsequent chemical leak Nov. 30 in Paulsboro claimed the life of a resident of the waterfront industrial town. The children of Wessie L. Hardy, 77, who had an underlying cardiovascular condition, charge that she died in a hospital three days after she was enveloped in a cloud of vinyl chloride gas from the derailment. Their lawsuit, filed Feb. 25 in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, names as defendants Conrail, its joint owners CSX Corp.
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