donate
  Updates

June 29, 2006

Analysis report of the air sample taken near Coromandel Indag factory in SIPCOT Cuddalore:

SACEM found 10 chemicals in a sample taken last month during a fire at the abandoned Coromandel Indag factory in SIPCOT.

On May 20th, 2006, there was a fire at the premises of the now-abandoned Coromandel Indag factory in SIPCOT, Cuddalore. The fire started at about 4 p.m. and continued till late in the evening. There was thick white smoke emanating from the unit that sent waves of panic in the surrounding communities. One woman, Lakshmi (35), wife of Mr. Rajiv residing near Hemalatha Hitech, was hospitalized as a result of the exposure to the toxic fumes. There was a very strong acidic odour and the smoke carried as far as the Cuddalore Old Town about 3 kms from the chemical complex. The wind was gentle and from the South East to North West. SACEM reports that people complained of dizziness, headache and eye irritation as a result of exposure to the smoke. Responding to the emergency, SACEM took an air sample downwind of the smoke from the unit at about 8:40 pm. The fire engine arrived at about 8 pm and finally and the fire was put out by 9 pm. The Fire Department personnel complained that they were ill-equipped to handle disasters and hazardous incidents in SIPCOT because they did not have an ambulance. Neither did the Fire Department have any knowledge about the chemicals on fire and they were unable to access anybody with that information. As a result, fire-extinguishing operations were delayed by nearly an hour.

Sampling Date/Time: 20 May 2006, 8:40 pm
Sampling Location: Near Indag gate on the ECR road about 20 metres from the fire.
Sample taken by: Community monitors of SACEM

Results of the sample:

  1. Total of 10 chemicals detected including Hydrogen Sulphide, Carbonyl Sulphide, Carbon Disulphide, Ethanol. Acetonitrile, Isopropyl Alcohol, 2-Butanone, Trichloroethene, Toluene and m,p-Xylenes.

Levels of Chemicals detected:

S No.

Chemicals detected

Levels detected (ug/m3)

Number of times it exceeds the screening levels

Screening levels (ug/m3)

1.

Hydrogen Sulphide

10.0

10 (US EPA Region 6 Screening Level & Texas Short term screening levels)

1.00 (US EPA Region 6 Screening Level)
1.00 (Texas Short term screening levels)
330 (North Carolina 1 -hr Standards)

2.

Carbonyl Sulphide

14.0

17.5 (Texas Long Term screening levels)

0.8 (Texas Long Term screening levels)
8.0 (Texas Short Term screening levels)

3.

Carbon Disulphide

16.0

5.3 (Texas Long-Term Screening Levels)

730 (US EPA Region 6 Screening Level)
30 (Texas Short Term screening levels)
3 (Texas Long-Term Screening Levels)
186 (North Carolina 24 -hr Standards)

4.

Ethanol

46

--

18800 (Texas Short Term screening levels)
1880 (Texas Long-Term Screening Levels)

5.

Acetonitrile

19

--

62 (US EPA Region 6 Screening Level)
340 (Texas Short Term screening levels)
34 (Texas Long Term screening levels)
60 (California EPA Rfc)

6.

Isopropyl Alcohol

24

--

7850 (Texas Short Term screening levels)
785 (Texas Long-Term Screening Levels)

7.

2-Butanone (Methyl Ethyl Ketone)

6.4

--

1000 (US EPA Region 6 Screening Level)
3900 (Texas Long-Term Screening Levels)
390 (North Carolina Annual Standards)
3700 (North Carolina 1 -hr Standards)
1000 (California EPA Rfc)

8.

Trichloroethene*

5.0

4.54 (USEPA Region 6 Screening Levels)

1.10 (USEPA Region 6 Screening Levels)
1350 (Texas Short Term screening levels)
135 (Texas Long Term screening levels)
59 (North Carolina Annual Standards)
600 (California EPA Rfc)

9.

Toluene

11.0

--

400 (US EPA Region 6 Screening Level)
1880 (Texas Short Term screening levels)
188 (Texas Long-Term Screening Levels)
4700 (North Carolina 1 -hr Standards)
4700 (North Carolina 24 -hr Standards)
400 (California EPA Rfc)

10.

m,p- Xylenes

5.3

--

2070 (Texas Short Term screening levels)
208 (Texas Long-Term Screening Levels)

* Known or suspected human or animal carcinogen

  1. Four out of ten chemicals detected exceed the USEPA Region 6 levels or any other levels of safe levels in the air. These chemicals are - Hydrogen Sulphide, Carbonyl Sulphide, Carbon Disulphide and Trichloroethene.
  2. 1 carcinogen detected Trichloroethene was detected 4.54 times above the US Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 levels.
  3. Out of the 10 chemicals found 8 chemicals target the eyes and the respiratory system, 7 chemicals target the skin and central nervous system, 6 chemicals target the liver, 5 chemicals target the kidneys, 2 chemicals target the Cardiovascular system, reproductive system and the blood and 1 chemical targets the heart, gastrointestinal tract and the Peripheral Nervous System.

Factsheet on the chemicals detected:

S No.

Name of the Chemical

Odour

Symptoms

Target Organs

Carcinogen

1.

Hydrogen Sulphide

Rotten eggs

Irritation of eyes, respiratory system; coma, convulsion, conjunctivitis, eye pain, tears to eyes, dizziness, headache, weakness and exhaustion, insomnia, gastrointestinal disturbance

Eyes, respiratory system, Central Nervous System

No

2.

Carbonyl Sulphide

NA

NA

NA

NA

3.

Carbon Disulphide

A sweet ether-like odour

Dizziness, headache, poor sleep, weakness, exhaustion, anxiety, weight loss; gastritis; kidney, liver injury; eye, skin burns; dermatitis; reproductive effects

central nervous system, peripheral nervous system, cardiovascular system, eyes, kidneys, liver, skin, reproductive system

No

4.

Ethanol

Characteristic suffocating odour

Irritation eyes, skin, nose; headache, drowsiness, weakness, exhaustion, cough; liver damage; anaemia; reproductive effects

Eyes, skin, respiratory system, central nervous system, liver, blood, reproductive system

No

5.

Acetonitrile

An aromatic odour

Irritation nose, throat; nausea, vomiting; chest pain; weakness, exhaustion, convulsions; in animals: liver, kidney damage

Respiratory system, cardiovascular system, central nervous system, liver, kidneys

No

6.

Isopropyl Alcohol

Odour of rubbing alcohol

Irritation eyes, nose, throat; drowsiness, dizziness, headache; dry cracking skin

Eyes, skin, respiratory system

No

7.

2-Butanone (Methyl Ethyl Ketone)

A moderately sharp, fragrant, mint- or acetone-like odour

Irritation eyes, skin, nose; headache; dizziness; vomiting; dermatitis

Eyes, skin, respiratory system, central nervous system

No

8.

Trichloroethene*

Chloroform like odour

Irritation of eyes and skin; headache, visual disturbances, weakness and exhaustion, dizziness, tremor, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, dermatitis liver injury

Eyes, skin, respiratory system, heart, liver, kidneys

Cancer Site: [in animals: liver and kidney cancer]

Yes

9.

Toluene

Sweet pungent benzene like odour

Irritation of eyes, nose, weakness and exhaustion, confusion, euphoria, dizziness, headache, dilated pupils and tears to eyes, anxiety, muscle fatigue, insomnia, dermatitis, liver injury, kidney damage

Eyes, skin, respiratory system, Central nervous system, liver and kidney

No

10.

m,p- Xylenes

An aromatic odour.

Irritation eyes, skin, nose, throat; dizziness, excitement, drowsiness, incoordination, staggering gait; nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain; dermatitis

Eyes, skin, respiratory system, central nervous system, gastrointestinal tract, blood, liver, kidneys

No

Read related media story:

   
   
   
   
Home