Arkema Bristol Plant
In the 1940s, Arkema, Inc., at an Altuglas International plant in Bristol, Pennsylvania, began manufacturing Plexiglas resins as part of Rohm and Haas Company. In October of 1992, Rohm and Haas joined with Elf Atochem S.A. to become AtoHaas. Since June 5, 1998, Arkema has owned and operated the Bristol Plant. The Bristol plant makes a range of acrylic molding resins with superior optics and impact resistance. They manufacture several colors of resin, and they make some that will resist gamma radiation discoloration. The resin is utilized in tail light lenses, lighting applications, decorative items, and many molded parts, such as display cases and faucet handles. The company’s products are known as Plexiglas sheet within Latin and North America and as Altuglas® acrylic sheet elsewhere. The Bristol plant continuously strives to improve its safety performance. It participates in the OSHA Voluntary Protection Program. Every level has a team of employees who evaluate and encourage improvements throughout 19 categories, ranging from training and inspections to protective equipment and emergency drills. They try to pinpoint and rectify safety issues before an accident can occur. The company regularly gives its employees environmental and safety training. The Bristol site also values environmental responsibility. They practice the Responsible Care initiative to raise the environmental and safety performance of the chemical industry. The plant supports the Arkema E3 program, which stands for “Enhancing Environmental Excellence,” and it was recently recognized for its recycling efforts with acrylic. The Bristol Altuglas plant achieved ISO 9002 quality certification. Along with Rohm and Haas, it sponsors a Community Advisory Council. Like so many other chemical plants, the Bristol plant may have used asbestos for its capacity to resist heat, fire, and reactive chemicals. It was used in, insulation, work surfaces, and protective clothing. The mineral did protect equipment from heat damage and corrosion, the health toll it took on those that worked with and around it was catastrophic. When the materials containing asbestos began to age and break down, they released toxic fibers into the air where they could be breathed into the lungs. Over time, an accumulation of these fibers can cause diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma. Reference: Arkema Inc.