According to authorities there is a level two gas leak at the ExxonMobil plant on Scenic Highway that is contained to the plant as of now, however, emergency responders are not certain if it will be contained to site.
They do caution that the chemical, hydrogen chloride (HCl), may affect skin and eyes of those in the path of the fumes as winds are up to eight miles an hour currently.
According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a federal public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Hydrogen chloride is “irritating and corrosive” to any tissue it contacts.
Brief exposure to low levels causes throat irritation. Exposure to higher levels can result in rapid breathing, narrowing of the bronchioles, blue coloring of the skin, accumulation of fluid in the lungs, and even death. Exposure to even higher levels can cause swelling and spasm of the throat and suffocation.
Some people may develop an inflammatory reaction to hydrogen chloride. This condition is called reactive airways dysfunction syndrome (RADS), a type of asthma caused by some irritating or corrosive substances. Depending on the concentration, hydrogen chloride can produce from mild irritation to severe burns of the eyes and skin. Long-term exposure to low levels can cause respiratory problems, eye and skin irritation, and discoloration of the teeth.”- Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
“This morning, a release occurred on a unit drum at the ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Chemical Plant. ExxonMobil is working to isolate the release, which is contained to the unit area. As a precaution, some workers at the unit area were asked to shelter-in-place. ExxonMobil and the East Baton Rouge Fire Dept. conducted air quality monitoring, and all readings were below detection limits at the unit perimeter and the facility fence line,” according to a statement from ExxonMobil representative Megan Manchester.
There been a shelter established on-site at the facility as well as the neighboring location.
BRProud has crews on the way to investigate, we will have more information as it arrives to us.