Friday, July 23, 2004

Acid fumes spur closures

Worker injured in chemical spill

The Associated Press

CARROLLTON, Ky. - A chemical spill at the Dow Corning plant in Carroll County early Thursday sent one worker to the hospital and resulted in the closure of U.S. 42, Ohio River traffic and rail traffic, according to state emergency officials.

The 3:25 a.m. spill, caused by equipment failure, involved chlorosilanes, which are "intermediate materials" manufactured at the plant, Charlie Dennis, a plant spokesman, said in a statement.

"A portion of the chlorosilanes formed hydrochloric acid fumes when it mixed with moisture in the air," Dennis said. Hydrochloric acid fumes can irritate the eyes, skin, mouth and respiratory system.

The name of the injured worker was not released, but another plant spokesman, Jack Hicks, said the man was treated and released.

When the spill occurred, an emergency system was activated that rang telephones, warning people within a two-mile radius of the plant to stay indoors, Hicks said.

"The vapor was contained on site and there was no danger to the public," said Stacy Floden, a spokeswoman for the Division of Emergency Management.

A recording on the plant's telephone said an "accidental vapor liquid release" of a chemical had occurred and that "a visible cloud moved across the northeast facility's boundary."

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