Congress Chiefs Want Probe into Secret Bayer Poison Gas

May 7, 2009

 

 

 

 

 

The chairmen of the House and Senate Commerce Committees have called on the U.S. Chemical Safety Board to deepen its investigation of safety problems revealed by an August 28, 2008, explosion at the Bayer CropScience plant in Institute, WV.

Bayer had tried to keep secret some findings of an investigation into the incident by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) — claiming that it wanted to protect the community from terrorists. But the CSB investigation showed that Bayer's own safety failures were the real danger.

The 2008 Institute explosion happened right next to a tank of methyl isocyanate (MIC). That is the same chemical that killed thousands of people in Bhopal, India, when it leaked there in 1984. The August 2008 Institute explosion happened some 80 feet away from Bayer's MIC tank, which only escaped rupture by good luck.

In their May 4, 2009, letter to CSB Chairman John Bresland, House Energy & Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Senate Commerce Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) called for investigation of whether Bayer could use safer chemicals at the Institute plant.