U.S. grain dust explosions total eight last year

by Emily Wilson
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Eight grain dust explosions were reported in the United States in 2000, causing one death and 12 injuries, according to an annual report compiled by Robert W. Schoeff, a consultant and professor emeritus at Kansas State University at Manhattan, and Mavis Rogers of the Federal Grain Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The one death and four injuries occurred in an explosion at a Rosemont, Minnesota, feed ingredient facility. Dust explosions at a food ingredient facility and a feed warehouse accounted for six of the 12 injured. The other injuries occurred at a sugar processing plant and a fiber processing plant.

Estimated property damage caused by grain dust explosions totaled U.S.$8.2 million in 2000.

The probable ignition source was unknown in six of the eight incidents; welding-cutting and fire were cited in the others. Fuel sources were identified as corn, wheat, sugar, food ingredients, bakery byproduct and wood cellulose.

Dust explosions occurred in seven states, led by Iowa with two. Single explosions were noted in Minnesota, New York, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.