Smoke rises from a chemical plant in Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam following a gas leak on May 7.(AFP Photo)
Smoke rises from a chemical plant in Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam following a gas leak on May 7.(AFP Photo)

What is Styrene, the gas that leaked from Visakhapatnam plant and killed 11

The Styrene gas can cause nausea and dizziness when inhaled, and experts say that person exposed to the gas should be given medical treatment immediately.
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by: Amit Chaturvedi | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 07, 2020 03:08 PM IST

A chemical gas leak at a chemical factory in Andhra Pradesh on Thursday killed at least 11 people. More than 1,000 people fell sick after inhaling the poisonous Styrene gas leaked from the plant.

The Styrene gas affects the central nervous system, throat, skin, eyes and some other parts of the body, NDRF Director General S N Pradhan said. Styrene is highly flammable and releases a poisonous gas when burnt.

The gas can cause nausea and dizziness when inhaled, and experts say that person exposed to the gas should be given medical treatment immediately.

 Also Watch | At least 8 dead, several sick after gas leak at Andhra Pradesh factory

According to US National Library of Medicine, Styrene is used to make polystyrene plastics, fiberglass, rubber, and latex in its liquid form. It occurs naturally in some fruits, vegetables, meats, nuts, and beverages in low levels.

Styrene is used to make insulation, pipes, automobile parts, printing cartridges and copy machine toner, food containers, packaging material, carpet backing, luggage, shoes, toys, floor waxes and polishes, according to US National Library of Medicine. Cigarette smoke and vehicle exhaust too contain styrene.

The plant in Andhra Pradesh is owned by South Korean battery maker LG Chemical Ltd, and is located around 14 kilometers away from Visakhapatnam city.

LG Chem, South Korea’s top petrochemical maker by capacity, took over the facility previously owned by Hindustan Polymers and renamed it as LG Polymers India Private Limited (LGPI) in July, 1997, according to a company website.

The LG Polymers plant makes polystyrene products, according to a company website, which are used in manufacturing electric fan blades, cups and cutlery and containers for cosmetic products such as make up.

Emergency services evacuated hundreds of people from nearby areas where the plant is situated, a police official in Andhra Pradesh said.

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