Nidhi Sharma, AHN News, May 28, 2008
Jamshedpur, India (AHN) – At least 150 people were hospitalized on Tuesday after inhaling chlorine gas leaking from a Indian car maker’s water treatment plant in Jamshedpur township in eastern India.
According to local police, residents of the township complained of dizziness as the gas leaked into their homes. The victims, including children, were rushed to hospital with complaints of suffocation and a burning sensation in the eyes. Many of then rushed into the streets and fell unconscious.
While there were no casualties, at least five persons have been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of the Tata Motors Hospital. Hospital authorities said chlorine could prove fatal if inhaled in a large quantities.
Local media reported that about 10 percent of the gas was still in the 650-liter drum when the leak took place. This was the first time that chlorine gas had leaked from the water treatment plant that was maintained by Jamshedpur Utilities and Services Company (Jusco), a subsidiary of Tata Steel.
Tata Motors, the site of the incident, said the situation was under control and the leak has been successfully plugged. The company did not give any cause for the leak.
Chlorine gas is a pulmonary irritant with intermediate water solubility that causes acute damage in the upper and lower respiratory tract.
Long-term complications from chlorine exposure are not found in people who survive a sudden exposure unless they suffer complications such as pneumonia during therapy.
A toxic gas leak at a pesticide plant in the central city of Bhopal killed nearly 15,000 people and affected half a million in 1984. it is considered India’s worst gas leak.