Texas fertilizer plant explosion and its corresponding health hazards

Daniel Adesina

It has been a terrible week in American history, as the nation is mourning the death of three and the injury of over 170 people from the Mondays’ Boston marathon, just two days later on Wednesday April 15, 2013, the city of West, Texas was thrown into pandemonium. About 12 people were confirmed dead in a fertilizer manufacturing plant explosion and rescuers continue to search for missing people through the rubbles. This incident also has over 200 people injured, a couple of residents displaced and millions of dollars’ worth of properties destroyed. Thousands of tons of anhydrous ammonia have been released into the atmosphere leaving the lives of people and animals in this region at great risk.

Anhydrous ammonia is a colorless, highly irritating gas with a sharp, suffocating odor.  People will notice the pungent odor at levels ranging from 5 – 50 parts per million (ppm).  Irritating effects generally…

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