UpdateLubrizol working to stop mercaptan gas leak at French plant

22 January 2013 17:02  [Source: ICIS news]

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LONDON (ICIS)--Lubrizol is working with fire officials and other authorities to quickly end an odorous mercaptan leakage at its lubricants additives plant at Rouen in northwest France, the US-headquartered international specialty chemicals firm said on Tuesday.

Lubrizol said it first detected the leak on Monday (21 January) at around 08:00 French local time (07:00 GMT).

“Since yesterday, all means have been taken by the company - in close cooperation with authorities - to stop those fumes,” Lubrizol said in an update.

Operations at the plant have been suspended for the time being, it added.

The company said while there was no immediate health risk, exposure to mercaptan could cause headaches and nausea. The odours could continue to last for several hours, depending on wind conditions, it said.

“We are fully aware of the inconvenience this is causing and are very sorry,” said Frederic Henry, president of Lubrizol in France.

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

Meanwhile, France's interior ministry and regional French authorities confirmed that the gas, while highly odorous, was not posing an immediate health threat to residents.

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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