May 20, 2013 at 10:54 am
ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) Minnesota doesn't have ammonium nitrate fertilizer plants like the one that exploded in Texas last month, but the state does have anhydrous ammonia storage facilities that can be potentially dangerous.
Minnesota has nearly 300 anyhdrous ammonia facilities. The St. Cloud Times reports that inspection records from eight plants in its area show almost all had some problems in their last inspections, some of which were as long as five years ago. In three cases, violations resulted in fines.
Regulators and facility owners say that while anhydrous ammonia fertilizer does pose a health threat, Minnesota's tight regulations protect public safety.
Anhydrous ammonia is not explosive, but exposure can result in severe burns to skin, eyes and lungs, and prolonged exposure can cause suffocation. Handlers need to wear protective equipment.
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