All 105 people sickened from chemical fumes in Laem Chabang now safe


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. July 17, are now safe, according to the Ministry of Public Health.

Most of the sick were students from five schools in Sriracha 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 Hong Kong 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, which is used for polymer manufacturing and in industrial production, is difficult to contain and specialists needed to be brought in to seal the leak on the container in question. The ship, which was traveling from Jakarta, Indonesia, was moved 10 kilometers (6 miles) away from the port before the chemicals were cleaned up. The air quality in nearby factories in Laem Chabang Industrial Estate had been monitored in case the fumes didn’t lift, in which case factory workers would have been 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.