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Cloud of toxic gas hospitalizes nine Texans
10.26.2012According to CNN, a level three emergency warning left more than 45,000 Texans confined to their homes while nine individuals required emergency medicine due to 300 gallons of hydrochloric acid leaking into the atmosphere around their neighborhood.
The order was lifted at 6 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 25 and a representative from the Port of Texas City emergency management office told the news source that four firefighters were included in the nine who needed attention from emergency department physicians following their exposure to the air-borne chemicals.
"A couple of firefighters were exposed and there were a number of workers," Bruce Clawson, the emergency representative, told CNN affiliate KTRK. "They were all transported to the hospital to be checked out."
Clawson went on to tell the news source that their injuries, which included sore eyes and breathing problems, did not seem to be life threatening.
"We received reports that a tank of hydrochloric acid had failed. A large vapor cloud occurred in the Port area," he told the news source.
The chemical leaked from a Dallas Group of America facility, which specializes in manufacturing absorbent synthetic magnesium silicate. The company did not respond to the CNN affiliate's call for a comment, and the cause of leak remains under investigation.
KPRC, a local televsion network, reports that the warning was declared by local authorities at 11 p.m. on Oct. 24, and citizens were left to worry until the a little after 5 a.m. the following day when officials lifted the warning.
The Environmental Protection Agency reports that, while hydrochloric acid can be useful for making chlorides, turning ore into tin and cleaning metal, it does have some hazards when humans are exposed to it. When breathed in, hydrochloric acid can result in coughing, hoarseness, chest pain and more serious conditions. Oral exposure to hydrochloric acid can lead to the corrosion of organs, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. It can also cause burns and scars if it touches the skin.
Categories: Emergency medicine
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