Chemical Industry Wrap-Up: LG Chem Breaks Ground on Cathode Plant, Expect More PFAS Lawsuits in 2024

Jan. 2, 2024
Also, Chemical Safety Board closes investigation backlog, and LyondellBasell partners on sustainable baby bottles.

LyondellBasell and Pigeon Singapore to Collaborate on Renewable Baby Bottles

LyondellBasell and baby care products manufacturer Pigeon Singapore said Dec. 22 they are collaborating on advancing sustainable research and development to produce circular baby nursing bottles. The renewed series of the Pigeon nursing bottles will use the LyondellBasell bio-based Circulen Renew polypropylene polymers, as part of Pigeon’s transition away from 100% virgin polypropylene resins. Circulen Renew polymers are made from renewable feedstocks derived from bio-based wastes and residual oils, such as used cooking oils. These feedstocks are used in LyndellBasell’s production processes along with conventional feedstocks, and are allocated to CirculenRenew products using an ISCC PLUS-certified mass balance approach.

LG Chem Breaks Ground on Cathode Plant for EV Battery Market

LG Chem said Dec. 20 it has begun construction on a cathode plant in Clarksville, Tennessee, to serve the battery material market. The facility will produce cathode materials optimized for North American electric vehicles, and the company will collaborate with key partners from development to supply chain. “With the Tennessee cathode material plant as the center, LG Chem will undoubtedly leap to become the top cathode material supplier in North America,” CEO Shin Hak-cheol said in a prepared statement. “LG Chem will execute the vision to become the world's leading comprehensive battery material company, establishing a stable supply chain resilient to any environment.”

Reuters Report: Expect More PFAS Lawsuits in 2024

New federal regulations and a growing public awareness over contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, contamination in the U.S. will lead to more litigation and settlements in 2024, Reuters news service reports. Lawsuits accusing major chemical companies of polluting U.S. drinking water with the so-called “forever chemicals” led to more than $11 billion in settlements in 2023, Reuters noted. Many of the lawsuits have been consolidated in multidistrict litigation (MDL). Experts quoted in the Reuters report say more lawsuits could be filed outside the MDL and more settlements could be on the way between chemical firms and state attorneys general that claim PFAS is damaging natural resources.


Chemical Safety Board Wraps-Up Remaining 11 Investigations in 2023

The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board said Dec. 27 it has eliminated its long-standing backlog of investigations. Since late July 2022, the CSB has issued a total of 17 final investigation reports. The agency issued six of the reports in the last few months of 2022 and the remaining 11 in 2023. This includes an investigation completed on Dec. 21 into the fatal explosion and fire at the KMCO production facility in Crosby, Texas, in 2019. KMCO was producing sulfurized isobutylene as a lubrication additive. The explosion and fire occurred after isobutylene leaked from a fracture in a segment of piping and formed a flammable vapor cloud, which ignited. One employee was fatally injured, and two others were seriously injured.  At least 28 other workers were also injured. Portions of the KMCO facility were substantially damaged from the explosion and subsequent fires. CSB determined that the isobutylene release occurred when a piece of equipment called a y-strainer ruptured due to brittle overload fracture. The agency cited improper emergency response training, lack of proper safety equipment and poor hazard evaluations as contributing factors.

About the Author

Jonathan Katz | Executive Editor

Jonathan Katz, executive editor, brings nearly two decades of experience as a B2B journalist to Chemical Processing magazine. He has expertise on a wide range of industrial topics. Jon previously served as the managing editor for IndustryWeek magazine and, most recently, as a freelance writer specializing in content marketing for the manufacturing sector.

His knowledge areas include industrial safety, environmental compliance/sustainability, lean manufacturing/continuous improvement, Industry 4.0/automation and many other topics of interest to the Chemical Processing audience.

When he’s not working, Jon enjoys fishing, hiking and music, including a small but growing vinyl collection.

Jon resides in the Cleveland, Ohio, area.

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