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Chemical odor from Dow plant blankets neighborhood

July 08, 2009
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HAHNVILLE, LA — Roads were closed and residents were evacuated from their homes due to a strong odor permeating from a Dow Chemical Company plant, according to WWL-TV.
The chemical, ethyl acrylate, is not toxic in the small amounts that leaked from a 60-foot tank, but it can cause headaches and nausea, the story stated.
Hazardous material officials used a foam blanket to stop the odor release and minimize health concerns as the remaining chemical was siphoned out of the tank, the story noted.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), ethyl acrylate is a strong irritant of the eyes, skin, mucous membranes, respiratory system and gastrointestinal tract in humans. Acute exposure to ethyl acrylate vapor may cause irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, with tearing, runny nose and burning of the throat.
A spokesman for Dow Chemical said there was not a chemical release but rather a malfunction with a vent in the tank, adding that the smallest traces are so odorous that they can be smelled for long distances, the story added.
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