Fluoride Action Network

5 workers hospitalized after hydrofluoric acid leak at refinery near Delaware

Source: Delaware News Journal | January 24th, 2019 | By Esteban Parra and Adam Duvernay
Industry type: Oil Refineries

Five people working at a Pennsylvania energy plant less than two miles from Claymont were hospitalized after a chemical leak occurred Wednesday morning.

The contract workers’ conditions were not available Wednesday, but they were being treated at Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Upland, Pennsylvania.

Hydrofluoric acid is hydrogen fluoride when dissolved in water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The chemical, even at low levels, can irritate the eyes, nose and respiratory tract. Breathing in the chemical at high levels or in combination with skin contact can cause death from an irregular heartbeat or from fluid buildup in the lungs.

Emergency crews were called out to the Monroe Energy refinery for a report of a hazardous material situation. (Photo: ADAM DUVERNAY/THE NEWS JOURNAL)

Hazmat crews were called just before 10 a.m. Wednesday to the Monroe Energy refinery, located in the 4100 block of Post Road in Trainer, Pennsylvania.

According to Monroe officials, a hose malfunctioned, during which time hydrocarbon vapors containing a small amount of hydrofluoric acid were emitted near a group of contract workers.

The contract workers were evaluated and treated for possible exposure before being taken to Crozer for further evaluation and monitoring.

“Within 30 minutes, the situation was deemed under control,” said Adam Gattuso, a Monroe spokesman. “At no time was there a risk to the community at large.

“The specific cause of the incident is under investigation.”

*Original article online at https://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/local/2019/01/23/emergency-crews-pennsylvania-hazmat-incident-2-miles-claymont/2656376002/