Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion Kills 35, Injures 160

Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion Kills 35 Injures 160Some 35 people — including 10 first responders — died in a massive explosion Wednesday night at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, Mayor Tommy Muska said, according to USA Today. More than 160 people were injured.

‘Very volatile’

The area around the site of the massive explosion at a fertilizer plant that flattened much of the small Texas town remains “very volatile” due to the presence of ammonium nitrate, McLennan County Chief Deputy Sheriff Matt Cawthon said Thursday. Authorities searched through mounds of rubble in hopes of finding survivors of the blast that left shattered homes and wreckage in a wide swath of the town, which has only 2,800 people.

On Wednesday evening, a fire at the plant suddenly exploded with a huge, deafening bang, throwing people to the ground blocks away. About half the town was evacuated, including the nursing home with 133 residents. The explosion tore through the roof of West Fertilizer Co., charring much of the structure and sending massive flames into the air, followed by a plume of smoke bigger than the plant itself. A deafening boom echoed for miles. The blast stripped the apartment complex, with 50 units, of its walls and windows. Between 50 and 60 homes in a five-block area sustained damage, officials said.


‘No chemical escape’

As of Thursday afternoon, authorities had not determined what led to the deadly explosion. Waco Police Sgt. William Patrick Swanton said earlier there were no indications of criminal activity but that wasn’t being ruled out yet.

With help from heavy rains early Thursday, firefighters managed to quell most of the flames in the area, authorities said. The rain and heavy winds also helped dissipate chemicals that may have been released. Swanton emphasized that there was no cause for alarm about the air. There was no “chemical escape” that is “out of control,” he said.

What do you think caused this massive explosion? Was it an accident or could it have been intentional?

Source: Josh Levs and Lateef Mungin, CNN

Image: The Australian

New Study Links Processed Meat To Early Death

New Study Links Processed Meat To Early DeathSausages, ham, bacon and other processed meats appear to increase the risk of dying young, a study of half a million people across Europe suggests. It concluded diets high in processed meats were linked to cardiovascular disease, cancer and early deaths.

‘Opting for leaner cuts’

The researchers, writing in the journal BMC Medicine, said salt and chemicals used to preserve the meat may damage health. The British Heart Foundation suggested opting for leaner cuts of meat.

The study followed people from 10 European countries for nearly 13 years on average. It showed people who ate a lot of processed meat were also more likely to smoke, be obese and have other behaviours known to damage health. However, the researchers said even after those risk factors were accounted for, processed meat still damaged health.


‘Less healthy lifestyle’

One in every 17 people followed in the study died. However, those eating more than 160g of processed meat a day – roughly two sausages and a slice of bacon – were 44% more likely to die over a typical follow-up time of 12.7 years than those eating about 20g. In total, nearly 10,000 people died from cancer and 5,500 from heart problems.

Prof Sabine Rohrmann, from the University of Zurich, told the BBC: “High meat consumption, especially processed meat, is associated with a less healthy lifestyle. But after adjusting for smoking, obesity and other confounders we think there is a risk of eating processed meat. Stopping smoking is more important than cutting meat, but I would recommend people reduce their meat intake.”

She said if everyone in the study consumed no more than 20g of processed meat a day then 3% of the premature deaths could have been prevented. The UK government recommends eating no more than 70g of red or processed meat – two slices of bacon – a day.

Do you eat a lot of processed meat everyday? Are you planning on cutting back?

Source: BBC News

Image: Science Daily