Huntsman Corp. shut down operations at its white pigment factory in Uerdingen, Germany, on Aug. 5 after a nitrogen tank exploded, injuring several people.
The company said that 15 people received medical assistance either on site or at a nearby hospital. Two people remained hospitalized for observation. There were no fatalities.
“Huntsman’s primary concern is the health and well-being of our associates and the neighboring community,” Simon Turner, president of Huntsman Pigments and Additives, said in a statement following the blast. “We are in contact with the families of those injured and doing everything we can to support them at this difficult time.”
Following the explosion, emergency responders cordoned off a 150-meter area surrounding the site and access to the plant was restricted.
Initial reports suggested that the building had collapsed. However, Huntsman said that although it was damaged the building was still standing.
News agency AFP reported that the explosion released titanium dioxide (a white pigment used in toothpaste) and nitrogen into the atmosphere.
According to Huntsman, German authorities conducted tests to determine if dust on the floor of the affected area contained asbestos.
“This is routine and based on the age of the building. Asbestos is not used in any aspect of the site’s operations,” the company explained.
Local officials said there was no danger to the public.
Around 600 Huntsman employees and contractors work at the Uerdingen site, located 30 kilometers north of Duesseldorf. The site produces titanium dioxide, copperas, iron oxide and products used in the manufacturing of plastics, coatings, paper, laminate, catalysts and ceramics.
Huntsman acquired the site in October 2014 as part of its acquisition of the Performance Additives and Titanium Dioxide businesses of Rockwood Holdings, Inc.