Do you live near a high risk chemical plant?
Closest Plants Distance from
One in three Americans is at risk of a poison gas disaster by living near one of hundreds of chemical facilities that store and use highly toxic chemicals. A chemical disaster at just one of these facilities could kill or injure thousands of people with acute poisoning. Of the 12,440 chemical facilities that report their chemical disaster scenarios to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Greenpeace has identified 473 chemical facilities across the U.S. that each put 100,000 people or more at risk. Of those, 89 put one million or more people at risk up to 25 miles downwind from a plant.
The good news is that there are many cost-effective, safer chemical processes already in use that eliminate these risks without sacrificing jobs. Since 1999, more than 500 plants have switched to safer alternatives. But that's not what most chemical plants have done. Even though chemical plant safeguards fail every week, the chemical industry has largely refused to make their plants safer and more secure.
This problem is not new, the world was shocked in 1984 when thousands of people were killed at a chemical plant disaster in Bhopal, India in 1984. Congress even amended the Clean Air Act in 1990 to try and address this problem, but the amendment has gone largely unused. It's time for the Obama Administration to finally create new regulations under the Clean Air Act that will require these dangerous facilities to prevent chemical disasters by switching to safer alternatives.
Find out what you can do to help protect communities: please click here.
The red circle around each chemical plant marks the "vulnerability zone". The size of this zone varies for each facility and ranges from less than a mile to 25 miles. Each zone was determined by the plant owner based on the type and quantity of the toxic chemical on site, local topography and weather patterns. Anyone within this zone could potentially be impacted by a toxic chemical release. Impacts could range from minor injury to fatality depending on the chemical involved and the extent of exposure. The EPA requires chemical companies to determine these zones and report them once every five years in the facility's risk management plan. Find out more about EPA's Risk Management Program.