Union Carbide Chemical Fumes Blamed as Eight Suffer Injuries

Associated Press

Union Carbide Corp. said Saturday that its plant here was the source of a chemical leak and fumes that injured at least eight persons.

The eight reported severe headaches and irritation in eyes, noses and throats after the leak Thursday. Six were treated at the scene, and two were hospitalized briefly.

Company spokesman Thad Epps said that about 5,700 pounds of acetone and mesityl oxide escaped from the plant when workers began distilling the solvents.

Meanwhile, the company has been asked to explain to Congress why one of its own safety recommendations is apparently not being followed as it plans to reopen a methyl isocyanate plant April 1, a subcommittee staff member said Saturday in Washington.

The aide said Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles), chairman of the House health and environment subcommittee, has asked the company to explain why the plant at Institute, W.Va., is to be reopened before the results of an investigation into the chemical leak that killed more than 2,000 persons in Bhopal, India, are made public.

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