Compiled by a long-term, informed and concerned Kitimat citizen.
What is a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)?
A material safety data sheet is a technical document which provides detailed and comprehensive information on a controlled product related to:
-Health effects of exposure to the product
-Hazard evaluation related to the product’s handling, storage or use
-Measure to protect workers at risk of exposure
-Emergency procedures (for an example-what to do in case of a spill and the consequences).
-They are of the utmost importance to first responders and emergency rooms in hospitals.
The availability of MSDS is the law of the land:http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/occup-travail/whmis-simdut/msds-fs-eng.php
If it is the law for the information contained in MSDS to be made available to workers in the workplace, then surely the residents of Kitimat deserve the same privilege. We could be subjected to the same hazards of exposure.
The following excerpts are cut and pasted from the appropriate MSDS- published on line, so the information can be verified as truthful and accurate.
The below is from the Plains Midstream Canada MSDS for condensate -sourhttp://www.plainsmidstream.com/content/material-safety-data-sheets
EMERGENCY OVERVIEW DANGER!!
EXTREMELY FLAMMABLE- MAY EVOLVE TOXIC AND FLAMMABLE HYDROGEN SULPHIDE GAS 2
- EYE, SKIN AND MUCOUS MEMBRANE IRRITANT - EFFECTS CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM - HARMFUL OR FATAL IF SWALLOWED - ASPIRATION HAZARD.
High fire hazard. Keep away from heat, spark, open flame, and other ignition sources. HYDROGEN SULPHIDE (toxic gas) may be released. High concentration may cause immediate unconsciousness - death may result unless victim is promptly and successfully resuscitated.
Avoid prolonged breathing of vapors or mists. Inhalation may cause irritation, anesthetic effects (dizziness, nausea, headache, intoxication), and respiratory system effects. Contains benzene, which can cause blood disease, including leukemia. Benzene, Hexane and Toluene are readily absorbed through intact skin.
NOTE: There is one thing we do know about a Dilbit spill, which is that upon exposure to atmosphere Dilbit starts outgassing its condensate component. (About 1/3 by volume)Thus I have included excerpts both MSDS. As there will be two pipelines –outgoing Dilbit and incoming condensate It is altogether too likely that if one of the twinned pipelines fails: Then its partner will also. Thus we have to consider the possibility of much higher concentrations of Condensate than inflicted upon the citizens of Marshall Minnesota during the infamous Enbridge spill of Dilbit. Epidemiologists will be watching that situation very carefully for many years.
We have now looked at the properties of Condensate-so let’s look at some excerpts from Dilbit: Imperial Oil MSDS. There may be some duplication as Bitumen and Condensate are partners and go hand in hand. http://www.msdsxchange.com/english/show_msds.cfm?paramid1=2479752
DESCRIPTION AND APPLICATION:
Naturally occurring bitumen (high molecular weight hydrocarbon) Blended with a diluent (Natural Gas Condensate or Diluent). 3
Mixture is "sour" with approximately 3.5% Sulphur by weight.
4. HEALTH HAZARD INFORMATION
Low toxicity. Will enter the body through the skin and produce one or more toxic effects on the body.
Frequent or prolonged contact may irritate the skin and cause a skin rash (dermatitis).
Exposure to hot material may cause thermal burns.
Benzene may be absorbed through damaged skin and may cause blood or blood producing system disorder and/or damage.
Contains polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PNAs). Prolonged and/or repeated skin contact with certain PNAs has been shown to cause skin cancer. Prolonged and/or repeated exposures by inhalation of certain PNAs may also cause cancer of the lung and of other parts of the body.
Contains benzene. Human health studies (epidemiological) indicate that prolonged and/or repeated overexposures to Benzene may cause damage to the blood producing system (particularly the bone marrow) and serious blood disorders including leukemia. Animal tests indicate that benzene does not cause malformations but may be toxic to the embryo/fetus. The relationship of the results to humans has not been established.
Studies indicate that benzene is a known human carcinogen.Contains n−hexane. Prolonged and/or repeated exposures may cause damage to the peripheral nervous system (e.g. fingers, feet, arms etc.).___________________________________________________________________
Eliminate sources of ignition. Keep public away. Prevent additional discharge of material, if possible to do so without hazard.
Vapors or dust may be harmful or fatal. Warn occupants of downwind areas.
Prevent spills from entering sewers, watercourses or low areas.
Contain spilled liquid with sand or earth. Do not use combustible materials such as sawdust. Recover by pumping (use an explosion proof motor or hand pump) or by using a suitable absorbent.
Keep public and other shipping traffic away. Prevent additional discharge of material, if possible to do so without hazard.
Eliminate all sources of ignition. Vapours or dust may be harmful or fatal. Warn occupants and shipping in downwind areas.
Remove from surface by skimming or with suitable
If allowed by local authorities and environmental agencies, sinking and/or suitable dispersants may be used in unconfined waters.
Product will submerge after a few days of weathering.
Note the sinking part is to remind you that Enbridge has for years denied Dilbit sinks- though they seem to be reluctantly “coming around” to this reality.
Equipment handling hydrogen sulphide rich materials can
accumulate black deposits of iron sulphide which, if dry, burn on exposure to air.( this makes housekeeping in a tank farm very interesting as small spills are the norm-leave a CONTAMINATED SHOVEL AND GO OFF TO COFFEE. It bursts into flame in the middle of a tank farm!
Nothing about a Dilbit/Condensate spill is simple or to be taken lightly. The only question is how much and how long?