Barbados—The birthplace of the chemical industry in the United States and the country’s largest producer of benzene—has seen an explosion in the production of chemical degreasers and other chemicals.
The boom is attributed to an increase in the use of advanced chemical processes and the creation of new chemical companies.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the number of chemical factories in the U.S. increased by 25% between 2010 and 2020.
In a 2015 report, the nonprofit Environmental Working Group found that chemical manufacturing facilities accounted for one-third of all manufacturing in the country.
A chemical company in Barbadas produces 1,100 tons of benzenes and 1,200 tons of other industrial chemicals annually.
Benzoene is the most widely used industrial chemical in the world, according to the American Chemistry Council.
There are more than 100 companies in the Barbadous region that manufacture benzene, according the EPA.
Companies in the region have been buying up land and laying off workers in the past year to make room for new production facilities.
One of those companies, Chemical Engineering Corp., announced in June that it would build a facility on a vacant industrial lot in Barrenton.
“We have been aggressively buying up properties across Barrentons and developing an industrial park,” said Chemech.
“We’ve been looking to acquire additional properties.”
Chemical engineering director Matthew Rader told The Hill that the new facility will be capable of producing up to 1,000 tons of the industrial chemical a day.
Chemical Engineering, a subsidiary of Chemech, is expected to start production on the site in the second half of 2020.
The company has hired about 60 employees, according EPA.
Chemical engineer Mark Johnson told The New York Times that the site is in a very good position.
“It’s going to be a very efficient, clean facility,” he said.
Environmental groups have expressed concern about the potential for benzene pollution in Barreros, where the water used to manufacture the chemical degresive was polluted with benzene.
Barrenton and other coastal communities are in the midst of a drought and have been hit with record-high levels of droughts.
Some residents have complained that the pollution from the nearby refinery is contaminating their drinking water.
to the EPA, the refinery has been operating at about 90% capacity since at least 2013.
While the company has said that the benzene emissions are low, the EPA says that pollution is a concern.
Residents have expressed concerns about the refinery’s operations and the potential pollution.
Last month, a judge ordered the refinery to remove benzene from its waste water, but the refinery said it will not do so until further notice.
An EPA investigation has found that chemicals in the water were contaminated with benzine, a toxic compound that is often found in benzene-containing paints.
Several residents have asked the EPA to ban the refinery from manufacturing benzene in the state.