Earthquakes aren’t the only disaster Californians should be concerned about. According to Greenpeace, chemical disasters could befall us, too. How? An accident or terrorist attack on one of our many chemical plants that store large amounts of poisonous gases could expose us all to noxious chemicals.

Schools and hospitals near JCI Jones Chemical

Greenpeace is pointing the finger at one plant in particular — JCI Jones Chemical, Inc. in Torrance, Calif. — because more than 157 schools and hospitals are located less than five miles from this high-risk plant. “The entire risk zone around this plant extends more than 10 miles, putting 4,500,000 area people at risk of sudden injury or death in the event of an accident or terrorist attack,” according to Greenpeace.

Map of California chemical plants

Change is possible, says Greenpeace, since 28 chemical facilities in California — and at least 287 nationwide — have already converted to safer chemicals to eliminate this risk in the last decade. Yet 45 high-risk plants still remain in California — and according to the Department of Homeland Security, 6,300 remain in the U.S.! Back in June 21, 2006, Obama and Biden argued in the Senate for tougher chemical security!

How can you push for change? The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act of 2009 (H.R. 2868) will be taken up by the Energy and Commerce Committee in September. Read more about those bills — and about the history of the fight for chemical security — at Greenpeace. Then find out how many chemical plants that put people at risk are located in your state — and write your representatives to ask them to support H.R. 2868.

Image courtesy of Greenpeace

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