Dioxin poisons Plastimet plant after fire
HAMILTON, ONTARIO — A July 9 fire at a plastics recycling plant in Hamilton produced dioxin in dangerous levels inside the plant, but the neighborhood around the plant is not threatened, according to a government report issued Aug. 27.
The government samples of dioxin inside the Plastimet vinyl and polyurethane recycling plant were as much as 66 times more concentrated than the Ministry of the Environment and Energy in Toronto allows, and more than twice the levels measured by Greenpeace. The environmental group used the fire to call for tougher rules on PVC.
The 100-year-old plant has been used for other industrial purposes, making it difficult to determine how much of the dioxin is attributable to PVC, said Fred Edgecombe, director of technical and scientific affairs for the Canadian Plastics Industry Association in Mississauga, Ontario. The Toronto Star reported Sept. 5 that Hamilton's fire department found in 1994 that PCB-laden coolant at the site was drained onto an adjacent grassy area.
Government cleanup criteria say workers need to take precautions at levels above 1,000 parts per trillion. Measurements taken at various areas at the Plastimet site were 66,000 ppt, 54,000 ppt, 2,400 ppt and 490 ppt.
An environment ministry spokesman said several members of the opposition political parties are echoing Greenpeace's call for an investigation into the fire.
Hamilton Plastics adding film capacity
CHATTANOOGA, TENN.—Hamilton Plastics Co., a Chattanooga-based film coextruder, plans to expand its plant and capacity, investing about $4 million.
The expansion, to be complete in six to eight months, involves purchasing 6 acres and adding 50,000 square feet of plant space. The firm will add about 30 employees to handle an unspecified number of new extrusion lines.
Currently, the 100,000-square-foot plant employs 100. Its capacity of 30 million pounds per year will increase to 50 million pounds per year with the new equipment.
Harshad Shah, owner and chief executive officer, said the firm has grown 15-20 percent every year since starting up in 1986.
``We're hoping to increase sales 50 percent in the next two years,'' Shah said. He would not disclose the firm's 1996 sales.
Shah will ask the Hamilton County Industrial Development Board to issue as much as $4 million in tax-exempt bonds to finance the plant addition.
The firm makes meat, medical and snack packaging from coextruded polymers, including metallocene-based materials, high-molecular-weight high density polyethylene and nylon.
Uniroyal buys ICI acrylic coating business
SARASOTA, FLA. — In a vertical integration move, Uniroyal Technology Corp. bought the superabrasion-resistant acrylic coating business of ICI Acrylics' Lucite sheet division Aug. 29 and will relocate the operation from Newport, Del., to Stamford, Conn., in the next year.
The business has annual sales of about $6 million, George Zulanas Jr., Uniroyal's chief financial officer, said in a telephone interview. ``This coating protects anything that takes abuse.''
Uniroyal took a license to use the Lucite trade name for two years in connection with SAR applications in transportation, security glazing, commercial signage and display shelves.
Uniroyal's Polycast unit makes cell-cast acrylic sheet and, in the past, supplied material that ICI Acrylics' facility in Newport coated and sold to end users. After the move, Polycast will do the coating at its 81,000-square-foot plant in Stamford.
Uniroyal is based in Sarasota. ICI Acrylics is a unit of London-based Imperial Chemical Industries plc.
Thermoformer Maax expands in bathware
STE. MARIE DE BEAUCE, QUEBEC — Plastic bathware producer Maax Inc. is spending C$2.1 million (US$1.5 million) to expand acrylic bathware production and its research and development center in Ste. Marie de Beauce.
Maax will add a new thermoformer when it completes a 40,000-square-foot addition to its 92,000-square-foot Acrylica division plant by year-end. The project will boost capacity 35 percent and make up about 80 percent of the investment.
Marie-France Poulin, vice president of sales and marketing, said Maax will quadruple research and development space to 6,000 square feet in Ste. Marie de Beauce and hire 10 people.
Acrylica makes medium- to high-end showers and bathtubs.