CHONBURI, 18 July 2014 – All of the 105 people who were hospitalized after exposure to chemical fumes that leaked from chemical tanks in Laem Chabang deep sea port on Thursday are now safe, according to the Ministry of Public Health.
Most of the sick were students from five schools in Siracha district of Chonburi, who were exposed to the fumes after the chemical leaked from a container that was being moved in Laem Chabang Port. The patients, most of whom had symptoms that included dizziness, irritated eyes, coughing, nausea, vomiting and drowsiness were sent to three different hospitals. The majority of them were discharged after being examined by doctors.
Port workers had been moving tanks of Butyl Acrylate onto a cargo ship when one of the tanks dropped onto the deck and leaked out fumes. Wind then carried the fumes inland, into nearby homes and schools.
According to the Laem Chabang Port authorities, Butyl Acrylate is difficult to contain and specialists need to be brought in to seal the leak on the container in question. The ship has been ordered to anchor off shore to allow the chemical to dissipate. The air quality in nearby factories in Laem Chabang Industrial Estate is being monitored. If the fumes do not lift, factory workers may need to be evacuated.
On the same day, Public Health Ministry permanent secretary Narong Sahamethaphat asked that local residents avoid traveling near the site of the leak.