chlorine bleach plants needlessly endanger 63 million americans

May 4, 2016

© Robert Meyers/Greenpeace © Robert Meyers/Greenpeace

This article was written by Rick Hind and originally published by The Environmentalist, a place for breaking news and commentary by Greenpeace. 

A new report from Greenpeace USA details how chlorine bleach processing plants threaten our communities — putting 63.8 million people across the country at risk.

Chlorine bleach plants across the country put millions of Americans in danger of a chlorine gas release, a substance so toxic it has been used as a chemical weapon. Greenpeace’s new report on bleach manufacturing facilities examines the problems with using chlorine gas and puts forward safer alternatives already in use.

There are currently 86 commercial bleach plants in the United States that use huge quantities of chlorine gas in their operations. These facilities endanger more than 63 million people living in “vulnerability zones” near the facilities, with the potential to release deadly amounts of chlorine gas in a worst-case scenario. Bleach manufacturers use gaseous chlorine to produce bleach and also repackage bulk chlorine gas into smaller containers for commercial use.

These facilities frequently ship, receive, and store their chlorine gas in 90-ton rail cars that are vulnerable to accidents and acts of sabotage. These rail cars crisscross the country delivering chlorine gas to facilities, endangering the communities through which they travel.

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