Sun Jan 12, 2014, 12:01 AM
niyad (31,201 posts)
"prolonged exposure may result in death, but not known to be fatal"??? am I missing something?
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The chemical released was "crude MCHM," which was intended for use as a foaming/wash agent to aid in the processing of coal. The chemical smells sweet and is similar in scent to licorice. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, if consumed the chemical may provoke the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headaches, diarrhea, reddened/burning skin and/or eyes, itching, and rashes. The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists stated that MCHM caused headaches, eye and skin irritation, and difficulty breathing from prolonged exposures at high concentrations. Routes of exposure to MCHM include inhalation, dermal contact, and ingestion. According to the Hazardous Substances Data Bank of the U.S. National Library of Medicine Toxicology Data Network (Toxnet), exposure to MCHM vapors, particularly prolonged exposure and exposure at excessive concentrations, can produce irritation to eyes, skin, upper respiratory tract, and mucous membranes; skin rash, and headache. "High exposures from skin contact or inhalation may cause damage to the heart, liver, kidneys, and lungs, and may result in death."
Both health and company officials have stated the chemical consumption is not known to be fatal, even if consumed in its purest form. The chemical leaked was highly diluted due to the large amount of water involved, however, due to the potential health effects, authorities advised over 300,000 residents in surrounding communities to avoid utilizing the water for cooking, drinking, or bathing. Because shipment of MCHM is not regulated by the United States Department of Transportation, it was not being considered "hazardous" by emergency response and environmental protection officials. However, under the regulatory standards of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, MCHM is considered "hazardous." The chemical's manufacturer, Eastman Chemical Company, identified it as a "skin irritant that could be potentially harmful if ingested."
The median lethal dose of MCHM is 825 milligrams per kilogram.
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"prolonged exposure may result in death, but not known to be fatal"??? am I missing something? (Original post)