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Records Suggest Long Term Chemical Exposure at Texas Plant

Destiny Baker2 years ago

A report by the Houston Chronicle suggests that workers at a DuPont pesticide plant in La Porte, Texas outside Houston were exposed to potentially deadly chemicals for years.

Four Killed at La Port Plant in November

The plant became the subject of controversy and scrutiny after a catastrophic chemical leak that resulted in the deaths of four plant workers on November 15.

Records revealed that 23,000 pounds of the dangerous compound methyl mercaptan was released the morning of the accident. Records also show that several smaller gas leaks occurred, but were never reported to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration.

Filings with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality show several instances of significant gas leaks over a six year period. During this time, DuPont was working to troubleshoot a multi-million dollar exhaust and ventilation system equipped in the La Port plant.

The filings suggest that workers involved in the maintenance of the plant since 2008 may have been exposed to high levels of methyl mercaptan – levels that exceed the OSHA regulations and that have been deemed unsafe for workers.

Effects of Methyl Mercaptan

Methyl mercaptan (methanethiol) is a colorless gas used in the manufacturing of pesticide and plastics and as a jet fuel additive.

While information on the effects of methyl mercaptan on the human body is limited, evidence does show that high levels of exposure can result in coma, anemia, internal bleeding and death.

Exposure is also associated with liver and kidney changes and hypertension. Animal studies have suggested exposure may also result in cellular changes in the lungs.

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