Ammonium Nitrate: Dangerous Substance not Included in EPA List of Dangerous Substances

Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Misty Lambert, West Fertilizer explosion victim (photo: KWTX)

Ammonium nitrate has been demonstrated repeatedly to be very dangerous. And yet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) still has not bothered to place it on its list of Extremely Hazardous Substances.


Residents of West, Texas, know how dangerous it can be after a fertilizer plant loaded with ammonium nitrate exploded on April 17, killing 15 people and injuring more than 160.


Timothy McVeigh demonstrated the substance’s power on April 19, 1995, when he packed a rental truck with 4,800 pounds of ammonium nitrate fertilizer and blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and injuring more than 600.


Other countries, including China, the United Kingdom, Colombia, the Philippines and Germany, have banned the chemical compound. Even the U.S. Department of Transportation considers ammonium nitrate a “hazardous material.”


But the EPA, under pressure from the fertilizer industry, has refused to list it as extremely hazardous.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Dangerous Chemical in Texas Explosion Poorly Regulated (by Peter Stockton and Lydia Dennett, Project on Government Oversight)

America's Fertilizer Keeps Blowing Up. It Doesn't Have To. (by Tim Murphy, Mother Jones)

Texas Fertilizer Company Hid Dangerous Materials from Regulators (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Fertilizer Tank Collapse Leads Virginia to Consider Regulation (by Erika K. Solanki, AllGov)


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