Tank explosions and subsequent fires, beginning March 17th at a petrochemical storage facility in Texas, have resulted in the exposure to chemicals for many residents, reports the Houston Chronicle.
The Texas National Guard was called in on Tuesday, March 19th in response to the fires at Intercontinental Terminals Company. Houston-area municipalities Deer Park and Galena Park issued shelter-in-place orders following the incident, urging all residents to stay inside to avoid smoke exposure. Additionally, the nearby Houston Ship Channel was closed down due to oil products entering the waterway, delaying the travel of over 50 ships (the channel has since been reopened to allow some ships through, but remains closed to most ship traffic). There were also several school closings in the area, but some districts have since returned to school.
The first incident is believed to have exposed residents to the chemical benzene, and additional tank fires containing unknown chemicals occurred following the initial fires.
Benzene, an industrial chemical found in plastics, dyes, drugs, detergents, pesticides, and a number of other products — notably gasoline — disrupts cell functioning, and exposure can be dangerous. Immediately, and several hours after exposure, benzene inhalation can cause drowsiness, dizziness, headaches, tremors, unconsciousness, feelings of confusion, changes to your heart rate, and lung irritation. Eyes and skin can also become irritated when exposed to benzene in the air. The long-term effects of benzene exposure can include bone marrow issues, decreased red blood cell count, irregular menstrual periods, ovary reduction, and cancer, mainly leukemia.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and other local officials have been continually working to monitor the air quality in and around Deer Park and Galena Park, and clean-up efforts continue at the Intercontinental Terminals Company facility.
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If you have been affected by the Intercontinental Terminals Company explosions and believe you have been exposed to hazardous chemicals, contact Farah Law today. Our commitment to representation and justice has resulted in millions of dollars in damages for our clients.
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