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India Chemical Leak Kills 13 - Injures more than 1000

PostPosted: May 7th, 2020, 1:19 pm
by toucana
Thirteen people are reported dead and another thousand have been hospitalised after a massive leak at a chemical plant in India in the early hours of Thursday morning.

The leak occured around 3.30 a.m. at the LG Polymers plant on the outskirts of a city called Visakhapatnam in the province of Andhra Pradesh - a major sea-port on the eastern coast of the Indian sub-continent. Many of the victims were asleep at the time. Other casualties were found collapsed in the streets along with dead livestock. A cloud of vapour was said to have covered an area nearly two miles in diameter including a village with 3,000 inhabitants

The chemical that leaked is believed to be Styrene, an organic compound produced from ethylbenzene that is widely used in the production of polystyrene, fibreglass, rubber, and latex goods. It’s normally a flammable oily liquid that has to be kept refrigerated to prevent it from either evaporating or undergoing spontaneous thermal polymerisation.

Exposure can cause irritation of the eyes nose and throat. Larger concentrations may result in the onset of "styrene sickness", the signs and symptoms of which include headache, nausea, vomiting, weakness, tiredness, dizziness, confusion and clumsy or unsteady motion (known collectively as central nervous system depression).

It is not immediately clear what led to the leak. However, the plant, which is owned by the South Korean company LG Chem, was preparing to reopen after coronavirus lockdown restrictions were eased, with the gas leak occurring during the process of re-starting operations, according to Bharath, the Visakhapatnam district official.

India has previously suffered another catastrophic chemical leak at Bhopal in central India in December 1984 when 500,000 people were exposed to a giant cloud of methyl isocyanate vapour leaking from the Union Carbide pesticide plant in the early morning, resulting in 4,000 or more deaths in what is regarded as the world’s worst ever industrial accident.