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Chemical Leak at Plant Sickens Nearby Residents


According to KHON2, a chlorine gas leak occurred at BEI Hawaii, causing some residents to panic and wonder why the public wasn’t alerted.

“Should Have Made Public Notification,” says battalion chief

A resident nearby the BEI Hawaii agricultural chemical facility contacted KHON2 wondering why people in the area were not alerted to the chemical leak.

According to a resident, he couldn’t breathe due to the fumes. KHON2 reports that the resident claimed his neighbors’ yards turned brown from the odor.

At approximately 7:00 a.m. local time on September 22, the chlorine gas began to leak, bringing the readings to 2 parts per million, according to KHON2. A BEI regulatory compliance officer says that any reading over 2 parts per million is dangerous.

BEI alerted the fire department less than an hour after the leak began. Employees were evacuating before fire crews arrived, reports KHON2.

At one point, the leak was under control, but fire crews were called back again at around 6:30 a.m. on Friday.

KHON2 reports that two workers and one firefighter received treatment for injuries.

“I Couldn’t Breathe. I Couldn’t Stay in the House.”

One resident said the odor was so strong that he had to visit the emergency room, according to KHON2. The man says he started coughing and vomiting and couldn’t breathe.

BEI says the public wasn’t notified because the readings outside of the facility were at safe levels. However, the fire battalion chief said a notification should have went out due to the serious nature of the chemical that was leaked.

Information on Chlorine Gas Exposure

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), exposure to chlorine gas occurs through skin contact, eye contact, or by breathing in air that contains chlorine.

Signs and symptoms of chlorine exposure include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Coughing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Watery eyes
  • Burning pain and sensation in the nose, throat, eyes, and on the skin

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