A chemical leak at the LyondellBasell plant in La Porte, Texas killed two people and injured 30 others Monday evening. About 100,000 pounds of acetic acid was released before the leak was stopped. The Harris County Fire Marshal says acetic acid, which is used in food-grade vinegar, can cause severe burns and is toxic if inhaled or swallowed.
According to LyondellBasell, the two people who died in the chemical leak were working as contractors for the plant. Thirty other workers were transported to local hospitals. Of the 30 who were injured, one person sustained burn injuries while the others suffered respiratory complications.
The La Porte Office of Emergency Management says there are no protective actions recommended for the La Porte community.
The leak has been isolated, and air monitoring at the facility perimeter indicates no offsite impact. There is no shelter in place or other protective actions being recommended at this time. Emergency officials are working to gather information on potential injuries.
— @hcfmo (@hcfmo) July 28, 2021
LyondellBasell specializes in plastics, chemicals, and refining. At the time of the chemical leak, the plant was partially closed due to planned maintenance. An investigation is ongoing. The Harris County Fire Marshall says that until they know more, the department is referring to the incident as a chemical explosion because “a leak could also be something exploded off the top and the chemical came out.”
The Harris County Pollution Control says the chemical leak happened when a cap burst on a pressurized line of acetic acid.
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