Fertilizer Plant Inhalation Dangers: Ammonia Exposure May be Happening
The huge explosion that occurred Wednesday night at a West, Texas fertilizer plant may have a few side effects, in addition to the immediate effects of the blast itself. The explosions likely came from large tanks of ammonia that were used to make fertilizer, and there is concern over the release of toxic ammonia fumes that were released from the fire and explosion on workers at the plant, first responders who arrived to fight the fire and tend to the injured, and the public who live near the plant.
Many of us know how irritating ammonia can be when we get whiff of it in small amounts. It can irritate the eyes, nose and throat and make breathing difficult. But we can close the bottle, open a window and leave the room, and within a few minutes, we’re fine. But after an explosion like this, the fumes are released in high concentrations, and are largely inescapable. And if the wind changes, they can create problems for a whole new set of people.
Short-term exposure to high levels of ammonia can have a devastating effect on the body. In addition to irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, it can cause fluid to accumulate in the lungs, which is called “pulmonary edema.” Symptoms can include shortness of breath, coughing and chest tightness. Symptoms may not show up until hours after, and physical exertion will only make the problem worse. Serious long term health problems and even death can also come from such exposure. Ammonia can also cause the skin to burn or become irritated, and contact with the eyes can irritate or burn them, as well. In extreme cases, ammonia exposure can also lead to blindness.
The investigation of this explosion should look at whether or not workers at the plant, first responders, or even the public, were all made fully aware of and were properly protected from the ammonia.
This blog will continue to keep you up-to-date on the aftereffects of this tragic explosion. If you or a loved one was anywhere near this tragic plant when it exploded, and your eyes, nose or throat feel irritated, or you feel any ill health effects at all, it is extremely important that you seek medical attention now. If you have information related to this explosion, record it or report it to the authorities as soon as possible. If you have questions regarding your legal rights, contact the experienced Texas Explosion Injury Lawyers at Hill Law Firm today.