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Shell Oil accidentally spills hundreds of thousands of pounds of toxic gas in Deer Park

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Dylan Baddour, Houston Chronicle: Tuesday, August 11, 2015

On Sunday morning, hundreds of thousands of tons of toxic gas were accidentally released from the Shell Oil facility in Deer Park.

According to reports from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, 326,166 pounds of butadiene escaped through an open valve on a spherical tank between 10:40 am and 11:35 am.

Neil Carman, a chemist with the Sierra Club of Texas and a former power plant inspector for the TCEQ, said that butadiene is a known human carcinogen, but that its molecular structure allows it to dissipate quickly in the hot summer air. The chemical is commonly expelled in car exhaust, but Carman said the quantity in the Shell incident was concerning.

Shell spokesperson Ray Fisher said the company is investigating the cause of the release. Meanwhile, data from nearby monitors did not exceed TCEQ odor or health-based screening levels during the incident.

“To the best of our knowledge, there were no adverse impacts on the community,” Fisher said.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, long-term exposure to butadiene has been linked to increased likelihood of cardiovascular disease and leukemia. 

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1 Comment on “Shell Oil accidentally spills hundreds of thousands of pounds of toxic gas in Deer Park”

  1. #1 Yolonda Sonnier
    on Aug 22nd, 2015 at 12:47

    This is the Shell plant I worked at for 32 years.

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