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(LEAD) LG Chem looks into gas leak at Indian plant

All News 16:21 May 07, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with media reports and background in paras 4-7, 10)

SEOUL, May 7 (Yonhap) -- LG Chem Ltd., South Korea's leading chemical firm, said Thursday it is looking into a gas leak at its plant in India that reportedly killed several people, adding that it has launched an internal probe to try to find the exact cause of the accident.

LG Chem said the gas leak has been brought under control and the company is taking all steps to ensure affected people can swiftly receive medical treatment.

Indian media reported earlier in the day that the gas leak at LG Polymers chemical plant in Visakhapatnam in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh killed at least seven people and sickened hundreds of villagers.

The Indian Express said many fell unconscious on roads and hundreds of people who were unconscious or experiencing breathing difficulties were brought to King George Hospital.

The accident took place early Thursday when workers were preparing to reopen the plant after the lockdown imposed over the coronavirus pandemic, the Indian Express reported, citing Andhra Pradesh Commerce Minister M Goutham Reddy.

"Our initial information is that workers were checking a gas storage tank when it started leaking," Reddy was quoted as saying.

The Hindu, an Indian English-language newspaper, said there was a leak of styrene gas from the plant.

Styrene is primarily used in the production of polystyrene plastics and resins. Short-term exposure to styrene results in mucous membrane and eye irritation, and gastrointestinal effects, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The LG Polymers plant produces a wide-range of polystyrene, including engineering plastic, an industrial raw material for automobiles and electronic parts.

entropy@yna.co.kr
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