Processing Magazine

California chemical plant leak sickens 70 workers

November 25, 2013

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Employees at the Solvay Chemicals plant in Carson, Calif., were exposed to toxic sulfuric acid following an incident at the facility on Nov. 18.

People working at the Brookvale International Corporation property smelled a foul odor around 9:30 p.m. and reported the incident to emergency officials. Hazardous materials crews were immediately sent to the site, where several businesses share the same building.

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According to the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the incident occurred when a scrubber machine malfunctioned and leaked the hazardous chemical, reports said. About 70 people were treated for exposure symptoms, with 13 of these requiring hospitalization. Most of the affected workers had nose and throat irritation and some were vomiting as a result of the chemical leak. All sickened employees were later released and no serious injuries were reported, Fire Department official Phil Ulloa said.

Los Angeles County Supervising Dispatcher Robert Diaz explained that initial reports stated that the affected people were all workers at the plant but later, as the number of people that got ill increased, it became clear that the leak had spread, affecting others that were at the building at that time as well. Diaz later confirmed to reporters that there was no risk of air pollution in the city or any threat to the city residents, Reuters reported.