"After Deadly Chemical Plant Disasters, There's Little Action"

"You might think that everything would have changed for the chemicals industry on April 16, 1947. That was the day of the Texas City Disaster, the worst industrial accident in U.S. history. A ship loaded with ammonium nitrate — the same chemical that appears to have caused the disaster last month in West, Texas — exploded. The ship sparked a chain reaction of blasts at chemical facilities onshore, creating what a newsreel at the time called "a holocaust that baffles description."

Or you might think everything would have changed on Dec. 3, 1984. That was the day that the U.S.-owned Union Carbide pesticide plant on the edge of Bhopal, India, suddenly began to leak — spewing a cloud of deadly gas over the city. By all accounts, thousands of people died; the Indian government never made an accurate count. Union Carbide paid $470 million damages.

Or you might think the chemical industry would have been forced to reform after March 23, 2005, when an explosion at a BP refinery in Texas City killed 15 workers and injured 180 others, according to a federal report. A BP spokesman says the company paid $1.6 billion to compensate victims and their families. "

Daniel Zwerdling reports for NPR May 17, 2013.

Source: NPR, 05/20/2013