UPDATE: Sun Drilling Divinylbenzene Accident

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UPDATE: Sun Drilling Divinylbenzene Accident
The Louisiana Bucket Brigade has been monitoring the situation closely.  In the days following the Sun Drilling accident involving divinylbenzene in Belle Chasse, LABB has had a team in the area evaluating the impacts and the response to this accident.  The LABB team was primarily focused on neighborhoods outside of the evacuation zone.  69% of residents surveyed described smelling odors like burning oil, burning electrical tape, benzene, and chemicals.  46% reported health symptoms linked to the odors like bad headaches, respiratory irritation, eye irritation and skin rashes.  The Material Safety Data Sheet reports that divinylbenzene may be hazardous in acute exposure as a skin, eye and lung irritant.

The Material Safety Data Sheet for divinylbenzene can be found here: http://www.sciencelab.com/msds.php?msdsId=9923873

Residents felt that the response to this accident was poor because they did not receive a call from the parish until an hour and a half after the smells began and nitrogen mist had started rolling through the neighborhood.  The emergency response to this incident was too late because the government agencies were relying on the company for information.  If the LDEQ had air monitors in the neighborhoods closest to this plant, the responders would have known more quickly that there was a problem.  

We are still encouraging residents who experienced any odors or health effects as a result of this accident to report this information to two places:

  1. Louisiana State Police Hazmat Hotline 1 (877) 925 - 6595.  Request the State Police to send an air monitor to the vicinity immediately and have someone from the LDEQ (Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality) and DHH (Department of Health and Hospitals) call you back. 
  2. Louisiana Bucket Brigade's iWitness Pollution Map (504) 272-7645by phone, report@labucketbrigade.org by email or online atmap.labucketbrigade.org.  Timestamped photos or video included in your reports are also extremely helpful.  If we know what is going on on the ground, we can get more resources to help the community.
In Solidarity,

Anna Hrybyk

Program Manager
Louisiana Bucket Brigade
4226 Canal Street
New Orleans, LA 70119
(504) 484-3433

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