DuPont WV Chemical Leak Contained

Monday, February 16, 2015 @ 05:02 PM gHale

There was a formaldehyde leak at the DuPont plant in Belle, WV, Feb. 11, state officials said.

The leak, which occurred around 4 p.m., was the result of an equipment failure in the plant’s glycolic unit, DuPont Spokesman Robin Ollis Stemple said. Workers quickly shut down the unit following the incident, allowing only about 10 pounds of formaldehyde to vaporize as it released.

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The plant staff immediately sprayed the vapor cloud with water and the chemical ended up contained, said Kelley Gillenwater, a spokeswoman for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

DuPont sent a team into the community with monitoring equipment, and detected no traces of formaldehyde, Gillenwater said.

As a precaution, employees ended up held in a shelter in place, but there were no injuries or exposures as a result of the incident, Stemple said.

Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable, strong-smelling chemical used in building materials and to produce many household products, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Formaldehyde sources in the home include pressed-wood products, cigarette smoke, and fuel-burning appliances.

When exposed to formaldehyde, some individuals may experience various short-term effects, the NCI said. Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen (cancer-causing substance) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and as a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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