Is This A Terrorist Strike In The United States?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by TradeOff, Apr 24, 2004.

  1. 06:24 AM EST - April 24, 2004

    Illinois Plant Explosions Kill at Least Two


    "ILLIOPOLIS, Ill. - A series of explosions rocked a plastics factory in central Illinois, killing at least two people and injuring a number of others. Two people remained missing Saturday, authorities said.

    "The cause of the explosions was unclear."

    "A witness who was driving on the interstate said he saw an orange flash similar to lightning, followed by a muffled boom, then an enormous fireball 100 feet high."

    What is your speculation?

  2. snip

    Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a widely-used plastic. In terms of revenue generated, it is one of the most valuable products of the chemical industry. Globally, over 50% of PVC manufactured is used in construction. As a building material PVC is cheap, and easy to assemble. In recent years, PVC has been replacing traditional building materials such as wood, concrete and clay in many areas. Despite appearing to be an ideal building material, PVC has high environmental and human health costs.
    Polyvinyl chloride is produced from its monomer, vinyl chloride (chemical formula CH2=CHCl). PVC is a hard plastic that is made softer and more flexible by the addition of phthalates (plasticizers).

    There are many uses for PVC including vinyl siding, gramophone records (hence called vinyl records) pipe/plumbing/conduit fixtures; and, in its soft form, for clothing, upholstery (car seats), etc.

    Polyvinyl chloride was accidentally discovered on at least two occasions in the 19th century, first in 1838 by Henri Victor Regnault and in 1872 by Eugen Baumann. On both occasions, the polymer appeared as a white solid inside flasks of vinyl chloride that had been left exposed to sunlight. In the early 20th century, the Russian chemist Ivan Ostromislensky and Fritz Klatte of the German chemical company Griesheim-Elektron both attempted to use PVC in commercial products, but difficulties in processing the rigid, sometimes brittle polymer blocked their efforts.

    In 1926, Waldo Semon of B.F. Goodrich developed a method to plasticize PVC by blending it with various additives. The result was a more flexible and more easily processed material that soon achieved widespread commercial use.

    Dangers of PVC
    Most vinyl products are believed to be generally harmless when used properly. However, some of the additives and softeners leach out of certain vinyl products. Even though soft PVC toys have been made for babies for years, studies find that these additives leach out of soft toys into the mouths of the children chewing on them. Vinyl IV bags used in neo-natal intensive care units have also been shown to leach DEHP (di-2-ethyl hexyl phthalate), a phthalate additive. In Europe, phthalate additives in PVC toys for children under the age of three have been banned and in the USA, most companies have voluntarily stopped manufacturing PVC toys for this age group or have eliminated the phthalates. However, alternative softeners have not been properly tested to determine whether they are safe. Other vinyl products like brand new car interiors, shower curtains, and flooring, to name a few, initially release chemical gases into the air. Some studies indicate that this off gassing may contribute to health complications, but the information on this is preliminary and needs further study.
    According to some, the plasticizers added to PVC may cause chronic conditions such as Raynaud's syndrome, scleroderma, angiosarcoma, and acroosteolysis.

    The environmentalist group Greenpeace has advocated the global phase-out of PVC because dioxin is produced as a byproduct of vinyl chloride manufacture.

    Resin identification code
    The symbol for polyvinyl chloride developed by the Society of the Plastics Industry so that items can be labled for easy recyling is ♵(3) and indicated in Unicode by ♵ .
  3. So Bin Laden hit a petroleum plant in the US?

    Oh great, that should do wonders for my long USD position.
    *rolling eyes*

    Has anybody claimed resposibility yet?

    "According to some, the plasticizers added to PVC may cause chronic conditions such as Raynaud's syndrome, scleroderma, angiosarcoma, and acroosteolysis."

    Poison chemical gasses. Hm... Is this the "Winds Of Black Death"?

    Lauren, if you're scared you can crawl into my bed. ;)


  4. Does anyone recall a terrorist warning for the state of Texas, then there was a refinery explosion that weekend, and we heard nothing more about it?

    Would GW and company silence news of terrorist activity here at home if they knew?
  5. I don't think they could. Besides, what advantage would they gain by doing so?
  6. Advantage?

    Advantage to the terrorists, or the administration?

  7. To the administration!
  8. and when PVC burns it gives off a nice deadly hydrogen cyanide gas that is explosive at concentrations over 56,000 ppm
  9. If the terrorists are seeking attention then one effective way to dampen their party is to deny them publicity.
  10. rgelite


    This caught my attention; thank you.

    While I was able to find information blasting PVC on a lot of pro environmental sites, green guides, friends of the earth, greenpeace, etc., oddly enough there was nothing for PVC (or polyvinyl chloride, or vinyl as it's colloquially known) in the U.S. government's HAZMAT directory. And there's a lot listed in that directory of immediate consequence to protecting public safety.

    Furthermore, as aphie thoroughly posted, PVC is (and has been for decades) commonly used in construction, furniture, toys, etc. Vinyl siding, anyone? In other words, it's everywhere.

    So it seemed reasonable for me to question whether PVC gives off "hydrogen cyanide gas" since the same government HAZMAT site insists that extreme measures be taken when dealing with the release of such gas, even a small amount; it's very toxic. Such precautions include evacuating everyone within 200 meters of its release (within 1 mile if bulk transport), wearing complete protective suits, etc. Would seem a bit unusual if at nearly every home and commercial fire citizens anywhere near the blaze were dropping in the streets like flies, clutching their throats gasping for air as cyanide poisoning rapidly blocked their bodies' oxygen utilization.

    It would surely preempt Fox News' usual coverage of criminal car chases. "Look, dear, Fox is running another neighborhood fire and cyanide disaster. Hey, that house has vinyl siding! Look, there's a tell-tale sign--the first firemen on the scene have already died; they weren't suited up when their trucks rolled in. Let's see if we can beat our old body count of 150 neighbors dead in the streets trying to flee." Humorous? Not really. Note here in the reference below that only 300 ppm (parts per million) are enough to kill a human being in minutes. Surely that's something we'd all have noticed by now.

    Perhaps PVC gives off other toxins when burned, as do many products. (As do exploding volcanoes and in larger quantities than the entire combined history of modern industrialization.) I'm not a specialist in hazmat nor a chemist and I invite other comments more knowledgable about it than I am. For starters, I would like to examine the source of the claim that "burning PVC releases hydrogen cyanide gas" and then trace back its references to empirical studies.

    Not referring to fxtrading with my next comment; it might be an error that was posted, or maybe I don't understand the chemistry. But on principle, the problem with environmentalists is that ultimately they are nihilists; which is to say, they're their own worst enemy--they hate themselves. And by saying anything to justify an agenda, they end up saying nothing.
    #10     Apr 24, 2004