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Toxic Chemicals Leak in N. Carolina

August 16, 1999

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) _ A broken pipeline sent a yellowish cloud of toxic chemicals into the air above a pharmaceutical plant on Sunday and spurred the evacuation of two nearby trailer parks.

Two workers were injured when a pipeline broke at the Catalytica Pharmaceuticals Inc. plant, releasing bromine, a chemical that can cause severe injury or death when inhaled, ingested or after coming into skin contact.

The two workers _ one suffered burns and the other complained of respiratory problems _ were under observation at Pitt Memorial Hospital and were doing well, said company spokesman Larry Seigler.

About 75 people were evacuated voluntarily from two trailer parks.

Bromine is a raw material used in a raw material used in the smoking-cessation drug Zyban, Seigler said.

About 400 gallons of bromine was released. Much of it was in liquid form and was contained, though some formed a cloud, said Pitt County spokesman Arlan Holt.

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