US chemical plant leak kills two, injures 30
30 July 2021
A chemical leak at a plant in La Porte, Texas left two people dead and another 30 injured on July 27. Around 45,000kg of acetic acid was released during the incident, which happened at a plant belonging to plastics and chemicals company LyondellBasell.
LyondellBasell’s La Porte Complex - Image: LyondellBasell
Local officials said the incident occurred at around 19:30 local time and that two people died at the scene. Of the 30 who were injured, five were treated at the scene and released while many others were treated in hospital for respiratory issues.
According to officials, the leak occurred after a chemical explosion although the incident remains under investigation. Chemicals including methyl iodide, hydrogen iodide, and methyl acetate have so far been identified as leaking during the incident.
In a statement, LyondellBasell said the acetic acid leak happened in the plant’s acetyls unit area which had been closed earlier in the day for planned maintenance. Its on-site incident response team responded quickly to the leak and managed to stop it. Four of the injured individuals sustained burns. The company said that air monitoring demonstrated no levels of concern for the community.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Chemical Safety Board were all notified of the incident and a thorough investigation into the cause of the incident is underway, LyondellBasell added.