icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm

​DuPont chemical leak kills 4, alerts residents in Texas

​DuPont chemical leak kills 4, alerts residents in Texas
Four DuPont employees were killed and another injured when a toxic chemical was spilled at its plant in La Porte, Texas, on Saturday morning. Residents of the city complained of a persistent “funny smell” after the incident.

The company would not immediately identify the victims of the spill. The emergency started at around 4 a.m. local time. It took repair crews two hours to replace a ruptured valve in the crop protection unit and contain the chemical. The confirmation of fatalities was released 12 hours after the incident.

The chemical spilled was methyl mercaptan, or methanethiol, which is used to make feed stock for insecticides and fungicides. It is more commonly known for being added to naturally odorless propane and natural gas to give them a distinctive rotten egg smell, making leaks detectable. In high concentration it can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, coma, and death.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the employees,” plant manager Randall Clements said in a statement. “There are no words to fully express the loss we feel or the concern and sympathy we extend to the families of the employees and their co-workers.”

“We will continue to cooperate with all the local authorities, and make sure that we investigate this fully and we will find the cause of this, at this point, we don’t know why this happened,” he added.

The workers were exposed to the chemical as they responded to the leak. DuPont insists that at no time were people living in the vicinity of the plant in danger.

Local residents, however, complained of a foul odor on Saturday morning.

“We are used to funny smells around here, especially when the wind is out of the north,” La Porte resident Dudley Crittendon told Click2Houston.com. “We thought something had died in the house. We started burning candles but it didn't go away.”

La Porte is located in Harris County, about 20 miles east of Houston. DuPont’s chemical plant employs 320 people. Four other companies are also tenants at the same complex, according to AP.

Dear readers and commenters,

We have implemented a new engine for our comment section. We hope the transition goes smoothly for all of you. Unfortunately, the comments made before the change have been lost due to a technical problem. We are working on restoring them, and hoping to see you fill up the comment section with new ones. You should still be able to log in to comment using your social-media profiles, but if you signed up under an RT profile before, you are invited to create a new profile with the new commenting system.

Sorry for the inconvenience, and looking forward to your future comments,

RT Team.