Houston Chronicle

Chemical Breakdown: Part 1

Just outside Pearland, theater patrons come and go within 200 feet of a warehouse that stockpiles a pesticide so toxic it seeped into a family’s house in Utah and killed two little girls.

A metal forging company about a half-mile from Cy-Fair High School stores 27 chemicals, including titanium, a material that blew up at a golf club manufacturer in Los Angeles and leveled a city block.

And in Crosby, a public sports complex is close to a plant that houses explosive organic peroxides, a class of chemicals used in terror attacks in Paris and Brussels.

All over America and across greater Houston, capital of the nation’s petrochemical industry, hundreds of chemicals pose serious threats to public safety at facilities that may be unknown to most neighbors and are largely unpoliced by government at all levels, a yearlong Houston Chronicle investigation reveals …

The danger is real. Since November 2014, when four employees died after a gas leak at a DuPont plant in La Porte, there have been 12 explosions, fires and toxic releases widely reported around greater Houston, including one on Thursday that destroyed a Spring Branch packing facility that handles hazardous materials. That’s one every six weeks. Nationally, at least 17 people have died and 573 have been hospitalized in more than 93 incidents involving hazardous chemicals in the last year and a half.

(Read the rest here.)