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2 dead, 30 injured after leak at Texas chemical plant

NBC News logo NBC News 7/28/2021 Tim Fitzsimons and Elisha Fieldstadt
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Two people were dead and dozens were injured after a leak at a Texas chemical plant Tuesday night, authorities said.

The chemical company LyondellBasell said in a statement Wednesday that about 100,000 pounds of a mixture which included acetic acid was released at its La Porte complex near Houston, resulting in the deaths.

Acetic acid is diluted in water to make white vinegar. Exposure to the chemical can cause severe burns and eye damage, according to the National Library of Medicine.

Thirty people were taken the hospital for treatment and evaluation following the leak, according to the statement from LyondellBasell. Twenty-four of those people have since been released.


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"Our on-site incident response team responded quickly, and the leak is stopped," LyondellBasell said, adding that air-quality monitoring near the plant, in an unincorporated part of Harris County, shows "no level of concern" for residents.

"We do know the impact was contained here to the plant," Harris County Fire Marshal Laurie Christensen said at a news conference Tuesday night.

LyondellBasell said an investigation into the leak was underway and the company was cooperating with authorities.

"We deeply regret this incident occurred," the LyondellBasell statement said. "We want to understand what happened and why, so learnings from this can be applied throughout our company to help prevent a similar incident from happening again."

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