Texas HB 1927 Warns the Public of Toxic Emergencies

HB 1927: Relating to an Alert System for Notification of the Release of Toxic Chemicals by a Manufacturing Facility (Filed by Eddie Rodriguez)

A recent poll of residents of the Houston region shows that most are concerned about air pollution and its impact on vulnerable populations. Furthermore, 92% of Houstonians support the creation of a public notification system similar to Amber alerts for leaks of hazardous chemicals. These alerts would warn residents via cellular phone of incidents and let them know what action to take to keep safe.

According to an investigative report published by the Houston Chronicle in 2016, an incident involving hazardous materials in the Houston area occurs about every six weeks. Nationally, there have been more than 93 incidents involving hazardous chemicals since late 2015, killing 7 and injuring 573 people.

Houston area residents agree that having a toxic emergency alert system is common sense. It will reduce our exposure to toxic chemicals and cancer-causing compounds and make our region a safer place to live and raise our families.

What does the Toxic Alert Bill do?

The Toxic Alert Bill directs the State Emergency Response Commission to develop a statewide system to inform the public of chemical emergencies in a timely manner using a multi-media approach, including traditional media, social media, and wireless emergency alerts.

This statewide system will eliminate patchwork local approaches and relieve local governments of the burden of developing and maintaining their own systems. Residents will be directed to a hyperlink, which will provide:

  • The geographic area impacted by the release
  • Information on symptoms that could require emergency medical treatment,
  • Directionality of plume movement, and
  • The chemicals involved in and toxicity of the release, and
  • Instructions for protection from exposure to the release.

The toxic emergency alert system will be reviewed every four years and modified as needed to account for advances in technology.

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