Today in Hazmat History – March 29

Hazmat History

By Richard T. Cartwright, PE, CHMM, (IHMM, AHMP and APICS) Fellow

The saying, “Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it” is more than a cliché. It is a reminder that we must constantly be learning from the past. Here’s a look back at major historical events that happened today in the world of hazardous materials.

March 29, 1982

Earthquake and volcanic eruption in southern Mexico converted a hill into a crater, where more than 2,000 people died. Volcanic ash was sent flying 60,000 feet in the air. Exposure to pyroclastic flow, a volatile mix of hot particles and gas was the primary hazard.

March 29, 1967

The British Royal Navy continued its attempt to sink the remains of supertanker Torrey Canyon. It hoped to ignite a fire to burn off a massive oil slick. The British Navy dropped 62,000 pounds of bombs, 5,200 gallons of gasoline, 11 rockets and large quantities of napalm onto the disabled ship. The supertanker eventually sank the next day.

March 29, 1886

First batch of Coca Cola was brewed over a fire in the backyard of Dr. John Pemberton in Atlanta. He created it as a cure for hangover, stomachache and headache. He advertised it as “brain tonic and intellectual beverage.” Coke initially contained cocaine as an ingredient until 1904 when Congress banned the drug.

March 29, 1819

“Colonel” Edwin Drake, American entrepreneur and driller, was born. He drilled America’s first commercial oil well in 1859 near Titusville, Pennsylvania. Although use of petroleum dates to the very first human civilizations, striking oil at depth of 69 feet was a landmark achievement. He is known as the “father of the petroleum industry” because his technology revolutionized how crude oil was produced and launched today’s petroleum and petrochemical industry.Historical hazardous materials management events are posted 365 days a year at this LinkedIn discussion group.

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