Lubrizol mercaptan gas leak in France poses no danger – officials

22 January 2013 15:09  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--A leak of odorous mercaptan gas from a Lubrizol lubricants additives plant at Rouen in northwest France was not posing a danger to the public, French authorities said on Tuesday.

The gas began escaping on Monday (21 January), prompting many people to call emergency services over the night and on Tuesday morning, US-based Lubrizol said in a brief statement.

Media reported that winds carried foul-smelling gas clouds to Paris, causing concern among residents, and clouds even crossed the English Channel to reach southeast England.

However, Florence Gouache, director at France's prefecture of Seine-Maritime, said in a briefing on French state television that the gas, while highly odorous, was not posing an immediate health threat to residents.

Lubrizol, in its statement, also said that mercaptan posed no health threat. The company urged concerned residents not to call emergency services. The company did not comment on the cause of the incident or on the status of its production at Rouen.

Media officials at Lubrizol's US headquarters did not immediately respond to a request for additonal comment.

Meanwhile, France’s ecology minister Delphine Batho said she would immediately leave an event in Berlin to go to Rouen to inform herself about the situation.

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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