IAR Responds to Media Coverage

Two days after publishing a news story which many in the industrial refrigeration industry felt overstated the potential hazards of ammonia to the public, Pennsylvania-based newspaper, the Times Tribune, ran a follow-up news story presenting the industry in a more positive light.

Dave Rule, president of the International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration, said in an interview with the Tribune for the follow-up story, that industrial plants all over the U.S. prefer ammonia for many reasons, not least of which is the proven safety record of the industry.

The first story published by the Tribune failed to give information on the industry’s safety record or safety resources, and instead focused on outlining worst-case-scenario plans on file at the EPA. The story emphasized that eight facilities that use large amounts of anhydrous ammonia in one region of Pennsylvania could put 46,238 people at risk in a worst case scenario situation.

The Tribune’s follow up article downplayed the likelihood of worst case scenario incidents, and incorporated perspective on safety from the industrial refrigeration industry, including comment from facility general managers and IIAR.

IIAR’s Rule outlined the industry’s safety standards, pointing out that they cover every part of the life cycle of a facility, including design, operation and maintenance, personnel training and decommissioning guidelines. He also emphasized the environmental benefits of ammonia refrigeration and the industry’s critical role in the nation’s cold chain.

“Part of the reason we have such a strong and safe cold chain in the United States is because we’re able to keep food refrigerated from field to table,” he said. The Tribune article can be found archived online at the newspaper’s website.