Two people are left dead and 30 people are in the hospital following a chemical leak at the LyondellBasell Industries in La Porte, Texas on Tuesday evening. The chemical has been identified as glacial acetic acid, also known as ethanoic acid, methanecarboxylic acid, and ethylic acid. Those exposed to the chemical can experience irritation and burns to the skin as well as difficulties breathing and swallowing.
The leak was quickly stopped and was believed to be contained to the site, however, testing will be done to confirm and the investigation is ongoing. Officials said OSHA, EPA, the Chemical Safety Board, and Precinct 8 deputies will conduct an investigation.
Part of the unit was shut down and planned maintenance was underway when the incident occurred, according to officials. The chemicals in the leak are most likely associated with producing purified terephthalic acid (PTA), which is a crucial ingredient in polyester esters, fibers, containers, film, tapes, coatings, inks, adhesives, and cosmetics.
While clean-up is still in progress, air monitoring suggestions that there is no major concern for the surrounding communities.
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Helpful Resources on the Chemical Leak at LyondellBasell Industries Facility: