West Virginia DEP releases materials documents on IEI warehouse
PARKERSBURG — The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has posted online 551 pages of documents supplied by Intercontinental Export Import about the inventory of its warehouse that was destroyed in a fire last month.
The information was provided by IEI in response to an order issued by the DEP to provide a detailed inventory of the materials that burned in the fire, sending noxious smoke into the air throughout the area.
“Neither DEP nor Incident Command has concluded that these documents provide a complete and accurate accounting of the site’s contents at the time of the fire. They instead reflect IEI’s answer when asked this critical question,” Lawrence Messina, director of communications for the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, said in an email announcing the posting.
When asked, Messina further clarified “DEP and Incident Command aren’t saying the records are complete or incomplete, just that IEI has represented that this is the best it can do to comply with the order’s directive for an inventory.”
The documents include 69 safety data sheets and a map of the warehouse. The documents, contained within two PDFs, can be found at http://dep.wv.gov/pio/Documents/IEI Inventory 1.pdf and http://dep.wv.gov/pio/Documents/IEI Inventory 2.pdf.
The DEP’s Environmental Enforcement section is also reviewing a proposed Plan of Corrective Action submitted by the company.
The documentation includes a variety of plastics and manufacturing-related products. There also are product safety sheets for cleaning products which would have been used in the warehouse, such as disinfectant wipes and glass cleaner.
The majority of the products included in the documents are considered largely non-toxic through general exposure, though many of the plastics bear warnings they can produce a dark, toxic smoke which can cause irritation and short-term respiratory issues.
The documents also contain general warnings that any inhaled particulate matter can be dangerous to a person’s health.
Some items also indicated the possibility of toxic fumes being released at high temperatures.
For example, a materials data sheet from IEI for Polyphenylene ether/High-impact polystyrene and/or polystyrene blend, a synthetic thermoplastic polymer used to produce molded or extruded articles as a component of other industrial products “can burn in a fire creating dense toxic smoke,” and warns “fumes produced during melt processing may cause eye, skin and respiratory tract irritation. Severe over-exposure may result in nausea, headache, chills and fever.”
The safety data sheet also lists, in the event of a fire, that first responders use protective gear, fight from a safe distance due to potential hazardous vapors and decomposition products.
Other plastics when decomposing or exposed to high temperatures can produce particulate matter or toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde, according to the data sheets.