Bloomberg’s update in the wake of the week-long Deer Park oil processing plant fire (now extinguished) and chemical spill holds nothing back, but underscores the seriousness of the situation after both city and Intercontinental Terminals Co. (ITC) previously sought to reassure residents days ago that “everything’s fine”.
Instead, as Bloomberg’s aptly titled headline reads, “Cloud of Cancer-Causing Chemical Hangs Over the Houston Channel” — this as hundreds of area residents have sought medical help for illnesses ranging from nausea to headaches to irritation and burning in the skin, eyes, nose and throat.Prior photo showing a black plume that had stretched for 20 miles from the petrochemical fire at the Intercontinental Terminals Company, Monday, March 18, 2019, in Deer Park, Texas. via AP
For many days running the nation was captivated by dramatic images of flames and smoke plumes hovering above the Houston area from the Deer Park petrochemical fire, which had initially triggered an emergency shelter-in-place order from city authorities when it began last Sunday March 17; and while firefighters had extinguished the raging inferno on Thursday, multiple chemical tanks reignited again late Friday, complicating efforts to clean up a massive chemical spill into the nearby Houston Ship Channel.
With the fire now extinguished, Houston and Harris County area residents, especially those closest to Deer Park, are now concerned over dangerous levels of exposure to the chemical tanks which had burned for days: benzene, xylene, naphtha, toluene, and pyrolysis gasoline, known as Pygas, along with other oil processing related chemicals.
According to prior local reports:
Officials said the components are in gas blend stocks used in the production of finished gasoline and base oil used for machine lubrication.
NAPHTHA can cause irritation to eyes and the respiratory system. It affects the central nervous system and is harmful and even fatal if it is swallowed.