“Some states have negligence laws to help prevent situations like these from occurring, but Illinois does not,” Mason said. “I wanted to take a different approach to ensure that our farmers are still taken care of, but to bolster the safety standards and ensure that leaks like these do not happen again.”
House Bill 5172, introduced by Mason, aims to implement a training program for farmers regarding the safe handling and care of anhydrous ammonia which must be re-taken every three years. Currently, farmers are not required to complete an anhydrous ammonia training—only companies that have the chemical in bulk at their facilities are required. The legislation would require farmers that utilize the chemical in their fertilizers to adhere to the same program standards.
Anhydrous ammonia is a pungent gas used in fertilizers nationwide. When people are exposed to the gas, it can cause rapid dehydration, chemical burns and blisters, difficulty breathing, and irritation of the eyes, nose and throat. Long-term effects of exposure are still in question.
“I have fought for this county and this state to have clean, breathable air for all residents. I have backed legislation to keep communities safe, clean and sustainable,” said Mason. “This legislation is no different—when these chemical accidents are sending residents and first responders to the hospital with chemical burns it is beyond time to do something.”
Visit Rep. Joyce Mason’s website
247-E Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
36100 Brookside Dr.
Suites LL 60
Gurnee, IL 60031