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Fluoridated Chemical Accidents in Pennsylvania

Accidents involving water fluoridation chemicals in Pennsylvania:
(Water fluoridation chemical accidents around the country.)
[Note: this is far from a complete list. These are only the spills and accidents reported to the federal government and/or the media.]

12/10/2005: Fairview Township, PA - Fluoride overfeed at Pennsylvania American Water Co. contaminates water supply for 34,000 homes and businesses in York and Cumberland Counties. See: "Fluoride leak shuts the taps" and "Worker's error caused fluoride spill, state says" articles.

9/14/1996: Pittsburgh, PA - Tank of Hydrofluorosilicic Acid Spilled 5,000-7,000 of its 8,000 gallons into the Allegheny River

5/14/1988: Williamsport, PA - National Response Center reported a spill of "Hydrosilicofluoric" (see listing below)

8/20/1975: Lebanon, PA - Tank which held the fluoridation chemicals for Lebanon City, PA ruptured and released all of its contents. (see precedent-setting court case related to this, in which Lebanon City was forced to continue fluoridation against their will)

6/6/1972: Northeast Bradford Elem. School, Rome, PA - Blockage of BIF feeder by-pass occurred sending excess fluoride into water system as high as 67 mg./L. DER (Dept. of Env. Resources), Towanda, Pa. Records show fluoride at 48 ppm in water and 230 ppm in coffee. 150 students attending a school picnic vomited after drinking orange juice made with the water. (source)

Accidents involving any sort of fluoride chemicals in Pennsylvania:

Note: The information below only represents those accidents which have been called in to the National Response Center and includes no follow-up information. For example, the database listing for the Pittsburgh fluoridation chemical spill lists the spill as being only 100 gallons (the initial estimate), even through this was later revealed to be a 5,000-7,000 gallon spill.

In the list below, Allegheny Ludlum and Cabot Performance Materials are tied for the highest number of reported fluoride accidents (6 each), followed by Air Products & Chemicals with four.

DateCompanyCity, CountyChemicalAmountCauseMediumNotes
1/31/2005Norfolk SouthernEast Deer, AlleghenyHydrogen Fluoride10,000-20,000 galRailroadWaterTrain car carrying anhydrous hydrogen fluoride derailed into Allegheny River, releasing the gas into the river
5/8/2004HoneywellMarcus Hook, DelawareFluosulfonic AcidUnknownUnknownAirLeakage from the process area at the facility
7/02/2002General ChemicalMarcus Hook, DelawareFluorosulfonic AcidUnknownUnknownLand/AirRelease occured during the loading of a railcar. Release from both car and loading equipment, resulting in release of vapor cloud.
6/18/2002Airborn ExpressMedia, DelawareFluoropolymer Resin225 galUnknownWater (wetland)Caller reported a release from commericial truck due to puncture in container inside vehicle caused by unknown source.
8/1/2001Osran SylvaniaWellsboro, TiogaHydrofluoric Acid170 galEquipment Failure (pipeline)LandThe caller stated that an above-ground pipeline broke at a joint, the cause is unknown.
3/16/2001 I-90 between exits 7 and 8, Eriep-Bromofluorobenzene10 galTransportation AccidentLandThe caller is reporting a vehicle accident when a passenger van slid out of control in the east bound lane, crossed the median and into the on coming tanker truck. the tanker truck then swerved and rolled over into the median. 1 person hospitalized
12/1/2000Verdict Chemical CompanyPhiladelphia, PhiladelphiaAmmonium Silicofluoride Abandoned Chemical Drums 200 drums/500-1000 laboratory containers of hazardous susbstances in condemned building (2314 N. American St), including Acetone, Ammonium Hydroxide, Ethyl Acetate, and Para-Dichlorobenzene.
10/20/2000General Chemical Corp.Marcus Hook, DelawareHydrogen FluorideUnknownEquipment FailureAira rupture disk blew on a storage tank; 1 person hospitalized
8/4/2000General Chemical Corp.Marcus Hook, DelawareHydrogen Fluoride1 lbEquipment FailureAirthe material released while performing maintenace on a rail car unloading line; 6 people hospitalized
8/21/2000 Easton, NorthamptonTrichlorofluoromethaneUnknownDumpingPublic Sewer SystemUnknown amounds of 1-Ethyl-2-Methyl Benzene, Ethyl Benzene, Isoprotyl Benzene, Zylene and other unknown solvents were also dumped. The caller suspects that a unknown party is dumping unknown solvents into the municipal water system.
4/19/2000Jessop Steel CompanyWashington, WashingtonNitric Acid, Hydrofluoric Acid and water mixture50 galEquipment FailureWatermaterial was being transferred from process tub to vacuum box which had developed a leak
3/25/2000Cabot Performance MaterialsBoyertown, BerksHydrofluoric Acid400 lbsEquipment FailureWaterProcess tank has crack.; 3 people hospitalized.
3/16/2000Allegheny LudlumWashington, WashingtonHydrofluoric AcidUnknownUnknownWater (Chartiers Creek)An unknown about of Nitric Acid also leaked. The material released from an above ground waste acid storage tank due to a leak. The cause of the leak has not been determined.
12/11/1999Tosco RefineryTrainer, DelawareHydrofluoric AcidUnknownUnknownAirprocess line / release occured due to unknown causes; Plants emergency response team is responding. County emergency management team is investigating.
7/19/1999Allied ChemicalMarcus Hook, DelawareBoron TrifluorideUnknownEquipment FailureAira leak in a pressure gage release got worse at 6:30pm
6/7/1999Gessup Steel?Smithton, WashingtonHydrofluoric AcidUnknownTransportation AccidentRoadway / Storm Drain / WaterExit 23, I-70 Eastbound; tractor trailer tanker truck / a hole in the cargo tank developed due to unknown cause
4/5/1999Air Products & ChemicalsTamaqua, SchuylkillFluorine18 lbsEquipment failureAirFluorine production plant / tube failure
1/11/1999Armco SteelButler, ButlerHydrofluoric Acid400 galOperator ErrorWaterspilled into water storm drain to Connoquenessing Creek; storage tank overflowed while contractor transferred material from a tank truck / tank is not DOT regulated
6/7/1998Hamilton Precision MetalsLancaster, LancasterHydrofluoric AcidUnknownEquipment Failure evaporator tank / pump seal ruptured / tank is not DOT regulated
3/20/1998Hercules Inc.West Elizabeth, AlleghenyBoron Trifluoride50 lbsUnknownAirtube trailer / hook up with cylinders came loose for unknown reasons causing release producing white cloud visible for 3 plus miles
1/29/1998Cabot Performance MaterialsBoyertown, BerksHydrofluoric Acid3 galOperator ErrorLandalso spilled 5 gallons of sulfuric acid; above ground processing tank/ tank was being taken out of service by cutting up tank when rainwater got into tank and leached out material
10/4/1997Angelica Textile Serv. IncPhiladelphia, PhiladelphiaAmmonium Silicofluoride0 galOperator ErrorLandammonium silicofluoride tank / sodium hypochlorite tank / the two products were mixed together / bubbled out of tank; injuries were treated and released
10/21/1996Cabot Performance MaterialsBoyertown, BerksHydrofluorozirconic Acid (pH 1)55 gal Land (Concrete)55 gal plastic drum leaked material
9/14/1996City Water Treatment PlanPittsburgh, AlleghenyHydrofluorosilicic Acid (25%?)100 gal or 833 lbs (later found to be 5,000-7,000 gallons)Reported As "Unknown" (Really, The Tank Split)WaterHuge Fluoride Spill in Pittsburgh (article)
5/29/1996Cabot Performance MaterialsBoyertown, BerksHydrofluoric Acid100 gal or 900 lbs  Hydrofluoric Acid spill
5/27/1996Cabot Performance MaterialsBoyertown, BerksHydrofluoric Acid100 gal or 900 lbsEquipment Failure (Storage Tank / Valve Failure)Land 
10/24/1995Trinity IndustriesGreenville, MercerHydrofluoric AcidUnknownOperator Error? 
10/1/1994 Tionesta, ForestDichlorodifluoromethaneUnknown Ground Water - Peters Runwet weather spring and rain run off//material is released by rain water; caller has found 116 dead animals in his yard
9/12/1994BP RefineryTrainer, DelawareHydrofluoric Acid100 lbs Cooling Water Towerheat exchanger//leaked due to a tube failure; neutralized material with soda ash and lime
8/26/1994Allegheny LudlumLeechburg, ArmstrongHydrofluoric Acid50 gal or 450 lbsEquipment FailureWaterabove ground storage tank above ground storage tank//leaked due to a hole
1/6/1994Plymouth Mobil Wash, Inc.Philadelphia, PhiladelphiaHydrofluoric AcidUnknownOperator ErrorAiraluminum trailers washing outside trailers and allowing to run-off
1/17/1994Cabot Performance MaterialsBoyertown, Berks3% Hydrofluoric And 1% Sulfuric500 gal or 4,950 lbsImproper Maintenance Of Plant PipingLandflange on 3" waste acid line flange open due to maintenance work; material mixed with water. will notify the DER and LEPC
12/4/1993Atlas Photo & GravePhiladelphia, PhiladelphiaTrifluorochloroethyleneUnknownEquipment FailureOn-Sitedumping in sewer & dumpster; release lasted less than two minutes
8/5/1993ConrailAllentown, LehighFluosulfonic Acid1 gal or 14 lbsOperator ErrorLandtank car dome mat'l spilled from top of car in the process of moving the tank car to another location / process known as "humping"
8/12/1993ConrailPhiladelphia, PhiladelphiaHydrofluoric Acid VaporUnknownEquipment FailureAirrail car ruptured disk/vented due to pressure; a non railroad employee truck driver was taken to the hospital for observations
5/16/1993Custom Compounding CorpAston, DelawareHydrogen Fluoride320 lbs Airoven chemical reaction caused fire
5/15/1993Yellow Freight SystemsSouthampton Twp, ?Fluoro Boric Acid45 gal Landleak of hazardous material/not specified
3/26/1993Allegheny LudlumLeechburg, ArmstrongHydrofluoric Acid 5%1500 gal (300 in water)Equipment FailureLand / Water (Kiskiminetas River)above ground storage tank leaked
2/22/1993West Motor Freight Co.I-78 Eastbound, Allentown, LehighTrichlorofluoromethane50 gal or 417 lbsTransportation AccidentLandtank truck transport accident
9/19/1992Air Products & ChemicalsTamaqua, SchuylkillFluorine116 lbsOperator ErrorAirtube trailer valve was opened.
5/11/1992U.S. Army - Letterkenny Depot SDSLE-ENE Bldg. 663Chambersburg, FranklinDichlorodifluoromethane Gas (Freon)2,000 lbsEquipment Failure (Air Conditioning System Line Broke)Air7 employees evacuated; 1 employee (a painter) was taken to the clinic with complaints of headache; cost $7,074; worst case release is 2000 lbs.; company claims there were no environmental effects
4/16/1992Chevron Oil RefineryPhiladelphia, PhiladelphiaHydrofluoric Acid Liquid (99%)2 lbs (air); 2 lbs (treatment facility)Faulty Process Design / Equipment Failure (Process Vessel)Air / Treatment Facility5 employees and 100 contractors evacuated; cost the facility $10,000; alcolation unit performing routine maintenance; the substance was a hydrofluoric acid-containing material (unk. amt. of acid).
3/18/1992Air Products & ChemicalsTamaqua, SchuylkillFluorine20 lbsCompressor Failure - Unknown CauseAir 
1/3/1992Allegheny LudlumLeechburg, ArmstrongHydrofluoric Acid158 lbs (air); 1,546 lbs (water)Equipment Failure (Pipe)Air / Wateralso spilled 3,612 lbs of nitric acid; cost the facility $12,000; company claims there were no environmental effects
11/5/1991Allied SignalMarcus Hook, DelawareBoron Trifluoride5 lbs Air / Land 
9/26/1991Allied SignalMarcus Hook, DelawareFluorosulfonic Acid10 lbs Landtank car supply pump gasket failure; report recieved of a possible pipeline spill - no additional information available. see NRC case 96770
9/11/1991General Chemical Corp.Marcus Hook, DelawareHydrofluoric Acid6 lbs Airvalve / operator error; release lasted for 5 minutes
6/22/1991Lukens SteelCoatesville, ChesterHydrofluoric AcidUnknown Airstorge tank/ leaking valve
6/2/1991Allegheny LudlumLeechburg, ArmstrongHydrofluoric AcidUnknown Water (Kiskiminetas River)pickling facility rinse water sump / pump failure; acid content of release less than 5 gallons
2/2/1991MerckRiverside, NorthumberlandChlorodifluoromethane Gas1250 lbsEquipment Failure (Process Vessel)Aircost the facility $2,960; company claims there were no environmental effects
11/12/1990Mill Service Inc. - on I-70Charleroi, WashingtonHydrofluoric AcidUnknownTransportation accident trailer / leaking, unknown
8/6/1990Flowline DivisionNew Castle, LawrenceHydrogen Fluoride Liquid (52%)206 lbs (land); 103 lbs (water); 132 lbs (treatment facility)Equipment Failure (Storage Vessel)Land / Water / Treatment Facility4,457 lbs of nitric acid also spilled; the HF spill was reported differently to another federal database as 40 gal or 330 lbs; storage tank / discovered a spill release around the tank, cause is unknown; due to heavy rain, material in the water was not located. took sample of water and obtained normal pH results
8/6/1990Allied SignalMarcus Hook, DelawareBoron Trifluoride3 lbsEquipment FailureAirdistillation column pinhole leak
7/14/1990 Springfield Twp., ?Tri-Chlorotrifluoroethane100 lbsDumpingWaterthese two containers had been dumped into the brook; reporter does not know how serious the materials are
4/30/1990Carpenter InsulationFogelsville, LehighTrichlorofluoromethane44,000 lbsEquipment Failure (Pipe)Airmaterial released when in-line filter basket bowl ruptured due to an undetermined cause, possibly pressure build-up due to high temps; company claims there were no environmental effects
4/27/1990BP RefineryTrainer, DelawareHydrogen Fluoride Gas (90%)300 lbsEquipment FailureAirHF alcalation unit/leaking gasket
12/27/1989GrinnellColumbia, LancasterHydrogen Fluoride Liquid (0.022%)16 lbsEquipment Failure (Pipe)Waterhydrochloric acid also spilled
8/9/1989Carpenter TechnologyReading, BerksHydrogen Fluoride Liquid (70%)4,401 lbsEquipment Failure (Storage Vessel)Landcaused soil contamination
2/16/1989 ?, ?Hydrofluoric AcidUnknown Landstorage tank/tank had leak in liner
12/15/1988Air Products & ChemicalsManchester, YorkFluorineUnknownEquipment Failure - Faulty ValveAirReporter claims bad health effects due to exposure to chemicals, also company failed to report release. Release alleged to exceed RQ during the time peroid.
5/28/1988Ashland??, ?Hydrofluoric Acid200 gal or 1,648 lbs Landleaking storage tank/failure of tank-coming through the sidewall of the horizontal tank; Ashland is arranging for a tank truck to remove remainder of the product in the tank;eta unknown at time of report
5/20/1988 Montgomeryville, MontgomeryHydrofluoric Acid 70%10 gal or 82 lbs Landat Stump Rd and Route 309, rupture disk on a transport trailer/failed
5/14/1988 Williamsport, LycomingHydrosilicofluoric2 gal or 17 lbs Landat Newberry Yard: 10 cars derailed, 7 empty's 2 loaded with sand, and the one car leaking is leaning and leaking out of dome
8/3/1987AshlandEaston, NorthamptonHydrogen Fluoride Vapor (92%)500 lbsEquipment Failure (Storage Vessel)Air 
6/25/1987Allegheny LudlumLeechburg, ArmstrongHydrofluoric Acid Solution (70%)15 gal or 124 lbs Landhose broke while unloading from truck to tank; tank truck delivering Hydrofluoric Acid to #8 acid station storage tank/possibly break in delivery pipe.
2/26/1987J&L Specialty ProductsMidland, BeaverHydrogen Fluoride Liquid (70%)9,282 lbs (air) / 168 lbs (water)Equipment Failure (Storage Vessel)Air / Waterthere were unspecified environmental effects
12/19/1986 to 12/22/1986Armco SteelButler, ButlerHydrogen Fluoride Liquid1,590 lbsEquipment Failure (Storage Vessel)Spilled Into Water1 employee injured; caused fish kills

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Last modified: 30 November 2007

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