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Air Products and Chemicals / Solkatronic

Air Products produces many fluorinated chemicals for many industries and is the leading producer of such chemicals for the electronics industry.

Air Products has a "Fluorine Technology Center" in Allentown and a "World-Class Fluorination Facility" at its Hometown, PA plant. They have also described their Hometown facility as "the largest, global electronics specialty gas manufacturing center and the only domestic producer of fluorine."

To serve the needs of the semi-conductor electronics industry, Air Products has expanded their production of fluoridated chemicals at two plants in Pennsylvania and one in Oklahoma.

  • Hometown (Schuylkill County): The company's existing tungsten hexafluoride plant was expanded in the third quarter of 1999 to produce 300,000 pounds per year. In April 2001, Air Products began building a second tungsten hexafluoride production plant. The new plant will duplicate the original.

  • Morrisville (Bucks County): In March 2001, Air Products' subsidiary, Solkatronic, doubled production capacity of silicon tetrafluoride, increasing the allowable amounts of silicon tetrafluoride, hydrogen chloride and hydrogen fluoride that they are allowed to release into the air.

With their history of accidents, is this a company you trust to be playing with fluoridated chemicals?

Air Products' Fluoridated Chemical Production Facilities
Hometown, PA
(Schuylkill County)
Easton, PA
(Northampton County)
Morrisville, PA
(Bucks County)
Solkatronic Plant
Catoosa, OK
Solkatronic Plant
Specialty Gas ExpansionsTungsten hexafluoride production expanded; second plant to be built.
Source: Allentown Morning Call (4/24/2001)
  Silicon tetrafluoride (SiF4) production doubled in Morrisville; new SiF4 plant built in Catoosa. Ammonia capacity doubled in Morrisville. Arsine capacity doubled in Catoosa.
Sources: Chemical Online (12/11/2000); Air Products News Release (March 27, 2000)
Major Accidents   Hydrogen Selenide Cloud Released Over Morrisville:
At least 13 injured in chemical mishap (Bucks County Courier Times 1/17/2001)
Overfilled tank caused explosion (Bucks County Courier Times 1/30/2001)
Arsine Gas accident sends nearly 140 people to hospital (July 11th, 2001)

Note: Arsine is also used at the Morrisville plant.

Worst Case Scenario
Risk Management Plans
1999 Plan; 2004 Plan
2004 Plan
1999 Plan; 2004 Plan
2004 Plan
Toxic Releases
(click on company name for details on emissions for each year)
Summary Data
Summary Data
Summary Data (2001-present) / Summary Data (1989-2000)
Summary Data (2002-present) / Summary Data (1998-2001)

Air Products' Chemical Accidents in Pennsylvania:
National Listing of Air Products' Accidents)

[List goes through 2001; newer data can be found in the raw ERNS and ARIP files that go through 2003.]

Air Products - Allentown Plant (Lehigh County)
3/9/1993Halon 13011,820 lbs Airhalon fire fighting system accidental release while testing the system; fewer than 20 facility personnel were evacuated from the building
Air Products - Creighton Plant (Allegheny County)
4/26/1992Compressor Oil200 gal (100 in water)Operator ErrorLand / Wateroil demister routine maintenance, over-pressurized; spilled into Allegheny River
Morrisville Plant (Bucks County) - This plant is managed by Solkatronic, which was bought by Air Products from Solvay in May 1998.
10/1987Silicon Tetrachloride"severe leak" Air1 injury; a toxic cloud of silicon tetrachloride leaked from two 50 gal containers, forcing the evacuation of 300 Falls & Morrisville residents
10/1988Diborane"severe leak" Air5 injuries; noxious gas emitted from a cracked drum of diborane sent five people to a hospital for observation
7/19/1991Silicon Tetrachloride5 gal or 62 lbsEquipment FailureOn-Sitecontainer valve container valve broke during transfer operation.
4/6/1995Chlorine1 lbHuman ErrorAir1 injury; No residential notification or evacuation
3/21/1996Arsine1 lbHuman ErrorAir1 injury; No residential notification or evacuation
3/31/1997Hydrogen Selenide1 lbHuman ErrorAir1 injury; No residential notification or evacuation
1997Hydrogen Chloridespill   
1/16/2001Hydrogen Selenide160 lbsHuman Error / Cylinder BurstAir13-14 workers injured and were taken to area hospitals, several were in critical condition. Flammable Poison Gas Cloud released over Morrisville. Neighbors report difficulty breathing and eye irritation. Made people want to vomit.
7/10/2001Chlorine50 lbssafety valve malfunction No residential notification
Air Products - Hometown Plant, Tamaqua (Schuylkill County)
2/10/1989Hydrogen Chloride65 lbsEquipment Failure (valve)Air 
7/25/1989Hydrogen Chloride36 lbsEquipment Failure (pipe)Air 
11/2/1990Waste Material D002, D004150 gal or 1,250 lbsUnknownLandtransfer system on scrubber/ cause is under investigation
12/2/1991Aqueus Hydrogen Chloride Waste Water (Concentration: 0.015%)150 gal or 1,250 lbsOperator ErrorLandwaste storage tank/overflow due to operator error
3/18/1992Fluorine20 lbsCompressor Failure - Unknown CauseAirno action taken by company to address the accident
4/3/1992Anhydrous Hydrogen Fluoride210 lbsEquipment FailureAirHF supply system/valve failure
9/19/1992Fluorine116 lbsOperator ErrorAirtube trailer valve was opened.
5/17/1993Potassium Hydroxide45 gal or 765 lbsOperator ErrorLandabove ground storage tank - special fill area tank farm valve to the sight glass was closed
4/5/1999Fluorine18 lbsEquipment FailureAirfluorine production plant / tube failure
Air Products - Manchester Plant (York County)
12/15/1988FluorineUnknownEquipment 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.; no action taken by company to address the accident
6/9/1993Potassium Hydroxide Solution - 8%5 gal or 85 lbsUnknownLandnot specified chemical spill - unknown cause
Air Products' Transportation Accidents in Pennsylvania
2/9/1993Hydrogen ChlorideUnknownUnknownAirMiddlesex Twp., PA (either in Butler, Cumberland or Mercer Counties): chemical release on dock
8/31/1993Lube Oil2 gal or 15 lbsTransportation AccidentLandReading (Berks County): highway related - truck leak unknown cause
1/3/1995Diesel FuelUnknownUnknown?Straban Twp (Adams County): unknown diesel fuel spill on Rt. 30
11/19/1996Liquified Oxygen1,800 gal or 17,118 lbsTransportation AccidentAirCenterville (Bedford County): liquified oxygen tank truck/single vehicle highway accident; driver was injured in the accident and was taken to hospital Rt 220 was closed in both directions for approx. 10 hours
4/7/1997Hydraulic Fluid10 gal or 65 lbsUnknown Columbia Boro (Lancaster County): oil spill onto macadam
9/12/2000Unknown MaterialUnknownUnknownLandLancaster (Lancaster County): On-ramp 30 West off of Centerville Road headed towards York County. The material was leaking from a tanker truck due to unknown causes.

Sources: This list was compiled from the ERNS and ARIP databases, news clippings and personal knowledge. The databases cannot be relied on for complete information. ERNS is merely a phone log of incidents called into the National Response Center and ARIP is a similar list for the worst accidents with a few more details. If you can supplement or add to this list, please email us at

Last modified: 27 April 2006

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