GURNEE, Ill. – State Rep. Joyce Mason, D-Gurnee, is commending the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s decision to approve additional training requirements for the use of anhydrous ammonia in farming. Mason has been advocating for new anhydrous ammonia regulations since the spring of 2019, when a tractor transporting two nurse tanks leaked at least 500 gallons of the chemical near residential homes in Mason’s district. The incident left 83 people in need of medical attention, including 14 who were hospitalized.
“Since the anhydrous ammonia spill that put dozens of Beach Park residents in life-threatening danger last year, enacting more safety requirements for the use of this substance has been a top priority for me,” Mason said. “Hazardous chemicals like anhydrous ammonia need to be used with the utmost care and attention. It is vital that our state regulations call for that level of caution as well.”
Anhydrous ammonia is an odorless substance frequently used to fertilize crops. In high concentrations, the chemical can cause throat and skin irritation, difficulty breathing and death. In response to the 2019 spill, Mason introduced House Bill 5172, a measure that would expand agricultural anhydrous ammonia training.
Mason’s advocacy led the Illinois Department of Agriculture to voluntarily implement new requirements for farmers and tank attendants who use anhydrous ammonia. Under the revised regulations, anhydrous ammonia leaks over 100 lbs. or 18 gallons must be immediately reported to authorities, tanks carrying the substance on public roadways must travel no faster than 25 mph, and farm workers handling the substance must take refresher safety courses every three years.
“It’s up to us as state leaders to ensure we have adequate training in place to prevent dangerous negligence when using anhydrous ammonia and other hazardous chemicals,” Mason said. “I am appreciative to the Illinois Department of Agriculture for taking action to address some of the shortfalls in our state’s anhydrous ammonia regulations and for the peace of mind these new requirements can give to residents who survived the Beach Park spill.”
Visit Rep. Joyce Mason’s website
247-E Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
36100 Brookside Dr.
Suites LL 60
Gurnee, IL 60031