'The Crazies'

About the Campaign

The Social Action Campaign for The Crazies explores the film’s themes of chemical insecurity and disregard of precautionary citizen safety measures, and their intersection with the real-life issues of securing chemical plants across America. We are partnering with a consortium of over 30 environmental groups, led by Greenpeace, who are currently advocating for the passage of a comprehensive Federal Chemical Security Act.

The Story

Crazies: The Story Media Card

In the feature film The Crazies, the toxic chemical Trixie has infected the little town of Ogden Marsh. But that is not the real horror story. In the U.S. alone, over 100 million people are at risk from a security breach at a chemical plant. There are over 300 plants across the country in need of increased security measures at their facilities.


In 1984, a toxic gas leaked from a pesticide factory in Bhopal, India. More than 40 tons of poisonous gas created a dense cloud over more than half a million people. Over 20,000 people lost their lives from injuries related to this inceident, and more lived with devastating effects.

Bayer Cropscience

In August 2008, an explosion occurred at the Bayer CropScience plant in Charleston when a 5,000-pound vessel filled with mthylisocyanide waste ruptured, killing two people. The explosion - had it shot in the opposite direction - would have almost certainly hit a tant containing even more poisonous gas than in Bhopal, potentially affecting 310,000 people in Charleston.

Cancer Alley

In Louisiana there is an 85-mile strip along the Mississippi River dotted with chemical plants notorious for their emissions and elevated number of cancer cases, including a very rare form of childhood cancer. Elevated cancer levels were first noticed in 1987, and by 2002 Louisiana had the second-highest death rate from cancer in the U.S. In 2005 Hurricane Katrina caused massive flooding and chemical spills at these plants, releasing untold amounts of toxic poisons into the region's waterways and water supplies.

Tanner Industries

In 2009, a tanker truck pumping ammonia into tanks at a Tanner Industries chemical plant leaked a vast poisonous mist of a deadly chemical called anhydrous ammonia. Homes were evacuated, seven people hospitalized, and one woman died when she inadvertently drove through the chemical cloud.

The Truth


Ammonia is typically used in fertilizers and household cleaners, but its gas form can be fatal if it gets into your lungs. Touching the concentrated chemical will cause severe black burns on your skin, and can blind you within minutes.

Effects of exposure can include:

  • Excessive burns to lung tissue
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Elevated pulse and blood pressure
  • Bradycardia
  • Exposure to anhydrous ammonia can cause severe burns to tissue

Hydrogen Fluoride

Used in Teflon, in its gas form this chemical can travel quickly through the air and cause death through your respiratory system or cardiovascular collapse.

Effects of exposure can include:

  • Difficultly breathing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Pale skin
  • Spots and rashes
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Slow, abnormal writhing movements, typically of the hands and feet
  • Accute kidney failure
  • Epileptic fits
Information provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention


Through chlorine is rather common as a disinfectant, in its gas form it is toxic. When inhaled, chlorine reacts to moist cells and becomes an acid, and is fatal after a few deep breaths. It was also the first lethal poison gas used in World War I.

Effects of exposure can include:

  • Coughing
  • Chest Tightness
  • Watery Eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath
  • Burning pain, redness, blisters on the skin if exposed to gas
  • Fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema)
Information provided by the Environmental Protection Agency

Sulfur Dioxide

A chemical compound that is used in industrial processes like burning coal. Breathing sulfur dioxide can be life-threatening, as it can obstruct airways. Long-term exposure can cause changes in lung fuction and aggravate existing heart disease.

Effects of short-term exposure can include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Menstrual disorders
  • Loss of smell
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Convulsions
  • Dizziness

The Toxins

Take Action

The good news is that these risks are preventable. In 2009 the Clorox Company announced plans to convert all of its U.S. factories to safer chemical processes, eliminating catastrophic risks to more than 13 million Americans living near their facilities.

The bad news is that 100 million Americans are still at risk. Over 300 plants still need to adopt safter chemical technologies - and they won't until laws are passed that required them.

Write your Senators to get the chemical security:

Send a letter to your representatives.