Rep. Gilliard requests meeting to discuss toxic chemical leak at Lanxess facility

Charleston County News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – An investigation continues regarding last week’s chemical leak and fire at the Lanxess facility King Street.

A site manager said a chemical called Phosphorus, which is toxic and ignites when exposed to air, leaked from the facility just after midnight on November 27th.

“When phosphorus burns it creates a lot of smoke. You just need a small amount of phosphorus to create a lot of smoke,” says Jean-Francois Berthiaume. “The smoke is considered an irritant that will cause a large quantity of irritations to eyes and lungs.”

Roadways in the immediate area, including I-26, were closed to the public for a short period of time until crews were able to get the scene under control.

Now, State Representative Wendell Gilliard wants to meet with the plant manager and wrote in a letter than people who live in the area reached out to him saying they’re concerned about possibly being exposed to toxic fumes.

“I kindly request to meet with you as soon as your schedule permits to take a tour of the facility, discuss my concerns, and hear from you what measures have been put forth to prevent safety violations that could cause harm to both employees of Lanxess and local residents,” he said in the letter.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control, the Lanxess facility and the Coast Guard are all investigating. Authorities say that it’s a precautionary measure for the Coast Guard to investigate to ensure that the chemical did not enter our waterways.

The Lanxess facility had a Chlorine leak in May of 2019, but, according to the site manager, that leak is not correlated with this one.

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