Leaking Fumes Affect 130 People
TOKYO (AP) _ Fumes from leaking tanks of hydrochloric acid and hydrogen peroxide forced about 130 people in Osaka to seek treatment for eye and throat irritation Sunday, officials reported. Police said the leaks may have been caused by sabotage.
When combined, the two chemicals form poisonous chlorine gas.
Officials said 1,820 gallons of diluted hydrochloric acid and 780 gallons of hydrogen peroxide leaked from tanks at the Sanwa Denki Manufacturing Co. at about 6 a.m.
Hiroshi Kobash, of the Osaka Fire Department in Western Japan, said eye and throat irritations were the worst problems likely to result because of the relatively small size of the leakage. He said it could have caused lung problems for people who inhaled the fumes if the leakage had been greater.
Haruyuki Ebikai, another fire department spokesman, said that in addition to those treated, another 130 people living near the plant were evacuated to safety in parks and public halls.
A police official said investigators were looking into the possibility that someone may have entered the factory Saturday night and deliberately opened valves on tanks containing the hydrogen peroxide and dilute hydrochloric acid, a strong corrosive liquid used for cleaning electrical equipment.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it would have been difficult for someone unfamiliar with the plant to locate the valves.
The leaking chemicals remained in the factory compound, but winds spread the fumes across the neighborhood, he said.
Sanwa Denki Manufacturing employs 320 people.