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Fishmeal Dust Likely Culprit for Explosion at Seafood Plant

EMSL Analytical, Inc. provides combustible dust testing services to help prevent workplace injuries, deaths and the destruction of property.

Cinnaminson, NJ – WEBWIRE

Several months ago there was a powerful explosion at a seafood plant in Unalaska, Alaska. Fortunately, no one was hurt as the explosion took place in the evening hours when few employees were present. However, the damage caused by the explosion and the automatic sprinkler system is believed to be over $100,000 and resulted in the temporary closure of the facility for repairs. According to media reports, although the event is under investigation, the explosion is believed to be the result of fishmeal dust igniting. 

Combustible dusts can come from many sources. These fine particles can present an explosion hazard when suspended in air under certain conditions. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lists a number of industries at risk for combustible dust explosion hazards, including: agriculture, chemicals, food (e.g., candy, sugar, spice, starch, flour, feed), grain, fertilizer, tobacco, plastics, wood, forest, paper, pulp, rubber, furniture, textiles, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, tire and rubber manufacturing, dyes, coal, metal processing (e.g., aluminum, chromium, iron, magnesium and zinc), recycling operations, and fossil fuel power generation (coal). 

Dust explosions can be catastrophic and cause employee deaths, injuries and the destruction of entire buildings. In many combustible dust accidents, employers and employees were unaware that a hazard even existed.

“Industries that are susceptible to combustible dust explosions need to implement plans to prevent these types of tragedies from occurring,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President, Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “A key preventive component of these plans includes combustible dust testing. At EMSL Analytical, Inc., our industry leading scientists, with access to the most advanced testing instrumentation, help to identify potentially hazardous situations so corrective actions can be implemented to avoid these types of catastrophic events.”

EMSL has sponsored an educational video about combustible dust hazards that can be seen at:

To learn more about combustible dust testing or other environmental, indoor air quality or occupational services, please visit, call (800) 220-3675 or email .

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.

EMSL Analytical, Inc. is one of the leading testing laboratories with over 40 locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP 797, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA LAP, LLC. (AIHA EMLAP, AIHA IHLAP, AIHA ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at for a complete listing of accreditations.  In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.

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 combustible dust
 occupational hazard
 seafood plant

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