(ReliableNews.org) – The nation’s chemical plants play a vital role in everyday American life. From fertilizers for the farming industry to the necessary components to manufacture the COVID-19 vaccine, the contributions to society by the chemical industry are plenty. However, when things go wrong at a chemical manufacturing plant, the results all too often are catastrophic. Such was the case at the LyondellBasell chemical plant in La Porte, Texas.
On Tuesday evening, July 27, the facility’s acetyls unit accidentally released about 50 tons of a compound containing a dangerous chemical called acetic acid. Officials issued an “all clear” the following morning, but not before 2 people were killed, and 30 had to be transported to a local hospital. One individual suffered burns, and the remainder suffered from respiratory ailments.
At least two people are killed and seven others burned in 'mass casualty' acid leak at Texas chemical plant https://t.co/zhkrbjPL4D
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) July 28, 2021
A spokesperson for the Harris Country Pollution Control agency told reporters a cap burst on a pressurized line. The exact nature of that failure remains unknown. Workers had partially shut down the acetyls unit for scheduled maintenance at the time of the leak.
The leak at the LyondellBasell facility is one of the worst chemical plant disasters since multiple explosions rocked a TPC Group chemical plant in nearby Port Neches, Texas, in late 2019. Only three individuals sustained injuries in that incident, and there weren’t any fatalities. However, the explosions led to the evacuation of tens of thousands of people within a four-mile radius of the facility. No evacuations were necessary as a result of the LyondellBasell leak.
A full investigation into the incident is underway, and officials from several regulatory agencies have already visited the site, including the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
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