Chemical company Vertellus Specialties Inc. has sought to reassure local residents after a white powder was accidentally released from its facility on the southwest side of Indianapolis, Ind.
The incident occurred early on Sunday morning and left a layer of sand-like dust on cars, trees and homes in Wayne Township.
Shortly afterwards, Vertellus released a statement which read:
“Early morning on Sunday, Sept. 13, our Vertellus facility located at 1500 S. Tibbs Avenue released an above-normal amount of particulate. The prevailing winds carried the particulate into the immediate neighborhood southeast of our facility. This event does not present a health concern. The problem was quickly corrected. Vertellus is working directly with our neighbors to address any questions they might have.”
An internal investigation into the incident is expected to take about a month, WISH-TV reported.
It’s not yet clear how much of the substance was released into the air, or what caused it to be released, but Vertellus said that the powder, a catalyst used to speed chemical reactions, poses no immediate risk.
“The substance that was released is very much like clay and soil. In very small amounts it is non-hazardous, non-toxic,” explained Todd Donmoyer, director of global operations.
The company held a neighborhood meeting on Monday evening to answer questions from concerned residents about what is in the powder and how they can get rid of it. Many have complained that they are finding it hard to remove the grainy dust from vehicles, driveways and gardens.
Local people have also expressed concerns about potential long-term health effects of the dust.