Javier Martínez, head of Human Resources at Quimica Fluor, said that the April 16 escape of hydrofluoric acid never put human health at risk but did affect agricultural land. Quimica Fluor, owned by the Carso Group and E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. Inc, is a Matamoros producer of anhydrous hydrofluoric acid.
Martínez said that a small crack in a pipe allowed hydrofluoric acid to escape for a few seconds. “It affected a sorghum crop because this is a very sensitive crop, however the lives of residents were never in danger,” he said.
Martínez continued by saying that this was the company’s first such leak in over 20 years and that no one should be alarmed, “Quimica Fluor has the program, personnel and equipment to attend to any leak no matter what its magnitude.”
In response to a question from reporters asking if Quimica Fluor was not a time bomb and a threat to Matamoros, Martínez agreed that large quantities of the acid could cause irreparable harm to human lungs but stated that a leak of such magnitude would never happen.
Martínez reaffirmed his company’s promise to reimburse farmers for their lost sorghum crop. Quimica Fluor is only waiting for a Secretaría de Agricultura y Ganadería (Department of Agriculture and Livestock, Sagar) investigation to determine the cost of the accident to the neighboring growers.
Source: El Bravo, May 8, 2001. Article by Víctor Manuel Villegas.