United Nations have called for a thorough investigation of the toxic gas leak in India
At least 12 people died, and another 350 were hospitalized in India city of Visakhapatnam due to a gas leak from a chemical plant. The affected areas have been evacuated.
According to the National Disaster Management Authority, about 1,000 people were exposed to the gas. Currently, 20-25 people are stated to be in critical but stable condition. Those outdoors at the time of the leakage were the worst affected.
The leaked gas has been identified as Styrene, a flammable liquid used to manufacture several industrial products, such as polystyrene, fiberglass, rubber, and latex. The leakage took place when South Korean company LG Chem’s plant was being prepared to reopen after coronavirus lockdown restrictions were reduced. The exact cause of the leakage is yet to be determined.
Local Police have filed charges of culpable homicide against the managers of the company. LG Chem said in a statement that it was taking measures to protect residents affected by the leak.
“(We) are currently assessing local town residents’ damage situation and are taking maximum necessary measures for the protection of residents and employees together with related organizations,” said the statement.
“The factory’s gas leak is currently under control. Leaked gas can cause vomiting and dizziness from inhaling. (We) are seeking all measures so that related treatment can be done quickly.”
The company also said that there are alarms in place for a liquid leakage for Styrene. However, they did not go off due to the chemical being in gas form at the time of leakage.
Dr. Randeep Guleria, Director at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, said that the chemical has no antidote, and the nature of the treatment is mostly supportive. “There is no specific antidote to reverse the effect of Styrene. The treatment does remain mainly supportive. Individuals have to be removed from the exposed area,” Guleria said.
The United Nations have called for a thorough investigation of the leak.