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HPPR Health, Education & Welfare

Many Fertilizer Plants Pose a Danger, Report Finds

LM Otero
AP photo

Nearly three years ago in the Central Texas town of West a fertilizer plant exploded. Fifteen died and more than 260 others were injured in the explosion. The proximity of the plant to homes and schools contributed to the widespread damage and death caused by the blast. Now, according to The New York Times, a lack of regulation is putting other communities at risk of disaster. Officials with the United States Chemical Safety Board released a new report last week warning of the dangers of fertilizer plant locations in Texas and around the country.

The explosion was caused by fertilizer-grade ammonium nitrate. The report found that 19 other Texas plants which store this same fertilizer are within a half-mile of a school, hospital or nursing home.

Despite the danger, state and federal officials have failed to issue regulations governing facility locations. Fertilizer-grade ammonium nitrate is also not categorized as a hazardous material.