India: Residents exposed to toxic gas while sleeping
On 7 May 2020, in the early hours of the morning in Vizag, India, LG Polymers, a polystyrene manufacturing plant owned by South Korea’s LG Chemical, released toxic styrene gas into the nearby residential area, killing 12 people, sending hundreds to the hospital, and causing the evacuation of thousands of people. Government officials have warned residents not to use groundwater or eat perishable foods from the area due to contamination concerns.
We are all familiar with polystyrene plastic in the form of coffee cups and take-away food containers. However, many people do not realize that the building block of this common plastic – styrene – is a probable human carcinogen with a variety of toxic effects.
After an investigation, the Andhra Pradesh Forensic Science Laboratory determined that the styrene storage tank at LG Polymers was not maintained below 20C as required. The tragedy was apparently caused by a temperature surge in a styrene storage tank due to a clogged cooling system. Furthermore, it appears that LG Polymers did not have a required federal environmental clearance but instead obtained state permits from Andhra Pradesh authorities.
Read more: LG Chemical Must Be Held Accountable in India Tragedy, IPEN