US chem safety board to investigate Alabama ammonia leak

27 August 2010 23:52  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has deployed a three-member team to investigative an anhydrous ammonia leak at a warehouse and distribution centre in Theodore, Alabama, the board said on Friday.

The ammonia release occurred on Monday at Millard Refrigerated Services, after which more than 130 people sought medical attention and four remain hospitalised, according to the CSB and local media reports.

“We are seeing too many ammonia releases in our daily incident reviews,” said CSB chair Rafael Moure-Eraso. “Though many are ‘small’ releases, a high consequence accident that causes multiple injuries to members of the public is a serious one that warrants our examination.”

Anhydrous ammonia is a commonly used commercial refrigerant, from which high exposure can result in suffocation as well as severe injuries to eyes, lungs and the digestive system, the CSB said.

The CSB noted four significant US ammonia releases in 2009, which led to six fatalities.

Theodore is located about 15 miles south of Mobile, Alabama, along the US Gulf coast.

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By: Ben DuBose
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