Bill Filed to Create Texas Amber Alerts for Chemical Emergencies

An example of an incident where the alerts could have assisted the public was the methyl mercaptan gas release that killed three operators and a shift supervisor at the DuPont La Porte, Texas, facility on Nov. 15, 2014.

A Democratic state legislator in Austin, Texas, Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, and a colleague have introduced a bill that would establish a system to send alerts to Texans' mobile phones during a release of toxic chemicals from a manufacturing facility. Rodriguez has said the bill, HB 1927, would increase protection for affected individuals against toxics that threaten human health or the environment.

The bill would set up an opt-out system, so phone users would receive the alerts unless they choose not to and act on that choice. Currently, chemical alerts can be issued by some agencies, but there is no uniform statewide alert system in Texas.

An example of an incident where the alerts could have assisted the public was the methyl mercaptan gas release that killed three operators and a shift supervisor at the DuPont La Porte, Texas, facility on Nov. 15, 2014. The event caused OSHA to place the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board in November 2015 issued recommendations in the case, including that DuPont conduct an inherently safer design review before resuming Insecticide Business Unit manufacturing operations. The board recommended a comprehensive engineering analysis of the discharge of pressure relief systems with toxic chemical scenarios to assess potential inherently safer design options and implementing inherently safer design principles to the greatest extent feasible.

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