American Scene: CDC says U.S. on track for deadliest West Nile year

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RICHMOND — A corroded pipe that failed and triggered a leak and massive fire at one of California’s largest refineries had walls as thin as a penny in some areas, federal investigators said.

U.S. Chemical Safety Board officials said late Tuesday that a key part of their probe into the fire at the plant in Richmond is why Chevron Corp. didn’t replace the pipe during a routine inspection a year ago.

The board previously found that Chevron had replaced a larger, corroded 12-inch pipe connected to the smaller one that failed Aug. 6.

OREGON

Portland OKs adding fluoride to water

PORTLAND — The City Council has voted to add fluoride to Portland’s water, meaning Oregon’s largest city is no longer the biggest holdout in the U.S.

The ordinance approved Wednesday morning calls for the city water to be fluoridated by March 2014.

Health experts say fluoride is effective against tooth decay. Opponents of public fluoridation say it’s unsafe and violates an individual’s right to consent to medicine.

IOWA

Ex-egg farm manager pleads guilty to bribery

IOWA CITY — A manager at the Iowa egg farms linked to the nationwide salmonella outbreak in 2010 pleaded guilty Wednesday for his role in a conspiracy to bribe a federal inspector to allow the sale of unapproved eggs.

Former DeCoster Farms manager Tony Wasmund acknowledged during a plea hearing in Sioux City that he conspired with at least one other person to bribe a public official in order to sell restricted eggs and misbranded food, prosecutors said.

Wasmund, 61, of Wilmar, Minn., is a former manager in the network of companies owned by Jack DeCoster, whose huge egg production operations in rural Northern Iowa were blamed for the outbreak that caused the recall of 550 million eggs and sickened roughly 2,000 people. He is the first to face charges from the government’s criminal investigation.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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