Toxic Chemical Leaks at St. Petersburg Factory

July 4, 2012 — 23:00

A highly toxic chemical spilled from a factory in the town of Levashovo in the Vyborg district of St. Petersburg on Wednesday, resulting in the poisoning of three people.

At around noon, 100 liters of methyl isocyanate (MIC) leaked out over an area of around 40 square meters while being pumped from a mobile cistern to a container at a polymer factory in the town.

Three people were hospitalized as a result of the spill, one with medium-level poisoning and two with low-level poisoning, RIA-Novosti reported.

The area affected by the leakage was cleaned up by 30 local emergency workers, who employed a mobile air-testing laboratory. The affected area was covered with sand and sorbate.

Methyl isocyanate is a pungent-smelling carbon-based liquid that is toxic when its fumes are inhaled or when it penetrates the skin. In 1994, 2,500 people died in the Indian city of Bhopal when a spillage of the substance occurred in a local factory, the news agency said.

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