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Vizag gas leak: Finding cause of leakage, extent of damage, says LG Chem

PB Jayakumar     May 7, 2020

The gas leak tragedy at LG Polymers' plant at Visakhapatnam is under control and investigations are on to assess the extent of damage and exact cause of the leak and death, LG Polymers India (LGPI)'s South Korean parent LG Chem said.

Sources said synthetic chemical styrene leaked from the industrial plant early this morning reportedly caused the death of 11 people and making over 200 people sick in the 1-2 kilometre radius of the plant. Styrene, a colourless derivative of benzene, is a chemical used to make latex, synthetic rubber and polystyrene resins. It is also used in making plastic packaging, disposable cups and containers, insulation, and other products. Chronic exposure to styrene affects the central nervous system (CNS). The plant was closed at the time of accident due to the ongoing nationwide lockdown.

"The gas leak situation is now under control and we are exploring all ways to provide speedy treatment for those who suffer from inhaling the leaked gas and is investigating the extent of damage and exact cause of the leak and deaths," said chemical major LG Chem. The company said currently it is assessing the extent of the damage on residents in the town and are taking all necessary measures to protect residents and employees in collaboration with related organisations.

Reports from Visakhapatnam said police has filed a case and investigations are on. Calls made to LG Polymers corporate office in Mumbai did not elicit any response. An LG Polymers official at Visakhapatnam said they are not in a position to make comments on the cause of damage at this point of time, as they are busy with rescue and damage control.

Formerly known as Hindustan Polymers, LGPI was established in 1961 for manufacturing polystyrene and its co-polymers at Visakhapatnam. It was merged with McDowell & Co. of UB Group in 1978 and was fully taken over by LG Chem in July 1997.  LGPI is one of the leading manufacturers of polystyrene and expandable polystyrene in India. The company also makes Engineering Plastics Compounds (EPC), which are lighter and stronger than general plastics and is used as an industrial raw material for automobiles and electronic parts.

Also read: Vizag gas leak: All you need to know about LG Polymers plant

Also read: Vizag gas leak: 'I pray for everyone's safety,' says PM Modi; many others express grief


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