Huntington Beach, California, January 31, 2023
Last month, the County of Santa Clara’s Office of the District Attorney announced that a food manufacturer with a facility in San Jose was convicted and sentenced for a large release of toxic ammonia back in 2021. The company had been criminally charged with negligently discharging an air contaminant, failing to immediately report that release, providing inadequate training to its contractors, and failing to implement an adequate emergency action plan according to a news release from the district attorney’s office.
The anhydrous ammonia was used as a refrigerant and it was reported that approximately 3,400 pounds of it escaped from the plant into the surrounding community, forcing residents to shelter in place. The company was ordered to pay close to $85,000 and is upgrading systems and procedures to prevent future releases.
Ammonia is a chemical compound that is both made by humans and naturally found in the environment. A significant amount of ammonia is produced for use as fertilizer, but it is also used as an industrial refrigerant and to manufacture synthetic fibers, plastics, explosives and other materials. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), each year, there are about 150 accidents at facilities that make, use or store extremely hazardous substances such as ammonia refrigeration facilities.
“Exposure to ammonia typically occurs through inhalation or skin contact,” said Michael Chapman, Laboratory Manager at LA Testing’s Huntington Beach facility. “Contact with it can cause serious injuries and even fatalities at high concentrations. Exposure to even low levels may cause concern for some people with asthma and other health conditions. To help prevent exposure risks and to support health and safety programs at facilities that utilize ammonia, LA Testing offers industrial hygiene and environmental laboratory testing services and sampling supplies to detect it and many other industrial chemicals.”
Several years ago, LA Testing sponsored an educational video about ammonia and exposure risks that can still be seen at: https://youtu.be/JX6wPV4JHJ4
To learn more about this or other industrial hygiene, environmental, health and safety services, please visit www.LATesting.com, email info@LATesting.com or call (800) 755-1794.
About LA Testing
LA Testing is California’s leading laboratory for environmental and indoor air quality testing of asbestos, mold, lead, VOCs, formaldehyde, soot, char, ash and smoke damage, particulates and other chemicals. In addition, LA Testing offers a full range of air sampling and investigative equipment to professionals and the general public. LA Testing maintains an extensive list of accreditations including: AIHA LAP LLC., AIHA ELLAP, AIHA EMLAP and AIHA IHLAP, CDC ELITE, NVLAP, State of California, State of Hawaii Department of Health and other states. LA Testing, along with the EMSL Analytical, Inc. network, has multiple laboratories throughout California including South Pasadena, Huntington Beach, San Leandro and San Diego.