Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageThe strange case of the peanut factory fire

By Tim Sandle     Sep 21, 2015 in Odd News
Northampton - England’s health agency has issued a new review into chemical hazards and poisons. Deep within the report is an interesting case of a peanut factory fire. Here there was an unusual risk.
The new report from Public Health England focuses on chemical incident management, evidence-based development and the provision of chronic exposure health risk advice.
In the report there is a section which records how health professionals have been responding to a large number of fires over the past 12 months. These relate to a wide variety of materials including wood, plastics and tires.
One of the most unusual and dangerous fires occurred at a peanut factory, where the peanuts contributed to an unusually high-energy fire. The peanuts were used to manufacture bird food. The factory was located at Cavalry Hill Industrial Estate, located in the town of Northampton.
Due to concerns about risks to fire fighters who suffered from peanut allergy, a decision was taken not to use firelighters who knew they had such an allergy. They risked potentially coming into contact with smoke from the fire or peanut residues from contaminated firewater.
Later laboratory analysis indicated that peanut protein allergen is not deactivated by high temperatures. On this basis, there was a real risk that fire fighters with nut allergies would have been affected. However, the risk is regarded as very small.
Another environmental impact from the fire was that as the water from a nearby pond was recycled to help extinguish the fire, peanut oil was carried and deposited into the pond. Shortly afterwards, a film formed on the pond surface. This led to oxygen depletion and this led to a loss of fish as well as producing a rancid odour.
With the factory itself, after the fire has been extinguished there was a build-up of rotting food on the factory site, and this led to an increase in the number of flies in the area. Specialist remedies were required to return the pond to its former state. One measure was to use hydrogen peroxide in an attempt to re-oxygenate the water.
To assist those interested in poisons and toxins, Public Health England have also issued a useful index of articles on the subject (note: this opens in MS Excel.)
More about Fire, Toxins, Peanuts, Smoke
More news from
Latest News
Top News