An occasional smell in the air has caused some complaints, but at the same time that smell is connected to products we used in our everyday life as well as job.

Taminco, which is located on Highway 90 in Pea Ridge, is a factory employs 84 employees and 35 contract workers, which produces amines.

The Pea Ridge facility is the world's largest producer of methylamines and the world's largest plant.

Amines, which Taminco produces 15 different products, are used by other chemical companies to make products we use in our everyday lives like water treatment, surfactants like shampoo or liquid soaps, pharmaceuticals, crop protection, electronics, fuel additives, inks, and the pulp and paper industry just to name a few.

To make amines, Taminco uses a process to combine ammonia and an alcohol, which have an odor like dead fish.

According to Dwane Brumfield, the Pea Ridge site manager, so far there have only been 10 residents who have called the site to report odors.

"There is no time that the odor should be stronger than other times, but wind direction will play a role in odor detection," Brumfield said. "It is Taminco's goal not to have any odors.

"We take precautions to prevent the release of the amines so the community will not smell the odor."

Unfortunately the threshold for amines is very low, which means it can easily be noticed.

"I live behind Milton High School and if the wind blows just right, the smell travels over here and it is really strong and gross," said Melissa Moore on the Press Gazette's Facebook page.

Another follower has hardly ever noticed the smell.

"We live only one street over from the plant and most days you don't even notice it, but every now and again the smell in the air is horrible and smells like a dead animal or rotten seafood," said Chrissy Cota.

According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) says a worker can be exposed to amines at five parts per million for 40 hours a week with no adverse affects.

The odor is it takes much less to smell them.

"You can smell amines at 0.2 parts per billion," Brumfield said. "That is comparable to 1 teaspoon in 396,000,000 gallons or 2.4 inches of a 238,857 mile trip to the moon."

In the past five years the plant has had only one EPA reportable incident.

"The incident was for not reporting within 15 minutes for an ammonia leak," Brumfield said. "The leak occurred late at night during a heavy rain storm and there were no offsite impacts.

"Management reported the incident the next morning."

While the odor may spark some complains and grumbling it has never caused people to suggest the plant to be closed. In fact they are on the cusp of finishing an expansion at the Pea Ridge facility.

"My dad use to say when I complained about the paper mill, that is your bread and butter your smelling son," said Tom Reynolds as he recalled his father Lou's comments.

And Taminco has been very active in the community as well as being a wildlife sanctuary with many native animals making Taminco their home. School groups and citizens according to Brumfield tour the sanctuary.

"I have to say Taminco has been very good to the community," Pandy Farrell said. "They sponsor foster care children for Christmas every year and without them a lot of Santa Rosa County Children would have very little under the tree.

"For all the good they do, I for one can put up with the smell."


Examples of the general areas and final applications of amines:

•         Surfactants - Taminco offers a wide range of molecules that can be used in the synthesis of surface-active molecules commonly used in personal care products. The amines are used in dish washing liquids such as Dawn, liquid soaps, laundry detergents,  and shampoos.

•         Water Treatment - Taminco supplies amines for the production of flocculants and ion exchange resins. Another amine can be used for heavy metal scavenging from waste streams.  Amines are also used for the prevention of corrosion in boiler water systems.

•         Pharmaceutical Industry - Amines are used as building blocks for active ingredients in drugs, as well as producing solvents used for synthesis and purification of drugs.  Anti acids are one common drug made from amines.

•         Agrochemical Industry - Taminco is a key supplier of amines to the large agrochemical producers.  These amines are used in active ingredients to effectively control the growth of weeds that could be detrimental to certain crops

•         Biocides - Taminco supplies raw materials for biocide production in a variety of applications like food processing, paints, and leather processing.

•         Catalyst - Amines are used as catalysts in phenolic resins, polycarbonates, and polyethers engineered plastics.

•         Crop Protection - Taminco’s portfolio of crop protection products includes fungicides, a plant growth regulator and soil disinfectant.

•         Electronics Industry - Taminco’s high purity solvents are used in integrated circuits processing steps like developing, stripping and cleaning.

•         Feed Additives - Choline chloride - formerly known as vitamin B4 and made from amines  plays an essential role in animal metabolism.

•         Fiber Spinning - Taminco supplies solvents for both wet and dry fiber spinning. The main applications are in acrylic and elasthane (spandex) fibers.

•         Fuel Additives - A variety of amines are used to make fuel additive products that improve the performance of gasoline, diesel, and other fuels. This application leads to lower fuel costs, improved refining and fuel performance and reduced fuel emissions.

•         Inks - Most inks are typically pH buffered with an amine to provide ideal flow.

•         Insecticides - Amines are used in the production of DEET. DEET is the most common active ingredient in insect repellants and important in this area for protection against misquito bites. 

•         Metal Working Fluids - Cooling and lubrication of metal parts during fabrication is essential to the quality of the finished metal part. Amines are used to produce these fluids.

•         Oil and Gas Treatment - Taminco offers a number of products which provide specific solutions to the oil and gas industry even in the new drilling techniques.  

•         Paints, Coatings and Resins - Taminco supplies intermediates for the production of paints, and resins. The amines are also used to produce the  solvents used during synthesis, to apply the paint, and in paint stripping formulations.

•         Petrochemical Industry - Taminco supplies process fluids for a number of key petrochemical operations: gas sweetening, lube oil extraction, butadiene extraction,  and H2S scavenging.

•         Polymer (plastic) Manufacturing - Amines are used to control the molecular weight of a polymer during the polymer’s production making amines  critical to the properties of the finished product. For many polymerization processes, it is essential to be able to stop the reaction quickly and effectively at a specific stage of the polymerization. 

•         Polyurethane Catalyst - Taminco’s range of polyurethane catalysts are used for the production of flexible and rigid foams. End applications include car seats and dashboards, shoe soles, and refrigerator insulation.

•         Polyurethane Coatings and Synthetic Leather - Taminco supplies specialty solvents for processing of synthetic leather and polyurethane - textile coatings. Typical end products are breathable fabrics and shoe soles.

•         Pulp and Paper Industry - Taminco produces intermediates used for the production of cationic reagent. Cationic reagent is used in the production of cationic starch, which is used to improve paper strength.