As the deadly scenes of the gas leak came from Vishakhapatnam India was reminded of ‘Bhopal gas tragedy’. Though the gas was not as deadly as Methyl isocyanate it was surely poisonous. The leak of Styrene gas from LG Polymer plant left 10 dead and over 800 hospitalized.
While the patients were asked to drink milk, banana, jaggery, etc to neutralize the effect of gas on the body a chemical is used to neutralize its effect in the air. PTBC (Para-tertiary butyl catechol) was flown in from Gujarat to Vishakhapatnam. This came as the leakage of gas fumes was witnessed again yesterday night.
The PTBC like Styrene is an organic compound that has the power to neutralize the effect of the gas. The gas which affects the central nervous system is released as a byproduct in the process of polymerization in the plants.
The PTBC is added as a stabilizer and polymerization inhibitor to butadiene, styrene, vinyl acetate, and other reactive monomer streams. Around 500 Kgs of PTBC was airlifted on a cargo plane from Daman to Vizag for neutralization. The neutralization is necessary not only to contain the spread but also to ensure once the people are back in the area there is safe air to breathe in.