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Vizag Gas Tragedy: What is Styrene Gas which leaked from LG Polymers Plant and how it affects the body?

Vizag Gas Tragedy: As per the latest update, Styrene Gas was leaked from the LG Polymers Plant in Visakhapatnam, which has so far claimed over 8 lives in Andhra Pradesh. Know what styrene gas is and why such a poisonous gas is used as a raw material here.

May 7, 2020 13:24 IST
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Vizag Gas Tragedy: As per the latest update, Styrene Gas was leaked from the LG Polymers Plant in Visakhapatnam, which has so far claimed over 8 lives in Andhra Pradesh. Media reports have indicated that following the leak, the gas has spread across as radius of 3 km affecting at least 5 villages and over 3000 people. Initial reports indicate the gas leak occurred on 7th May – Thursday at 2 AM on in the morning and quickly spread to around 5 villages in the vicinity of RR Venkatapuram where the plant is located.

Get complete details about what Styrene Gas is and how it affects a human body here.

What is Styrene Gas?

Styrene is a chemical compound that has been identified as neruo-toxins. It is also known as ethenylbenzene, vinylbenzene, and phenylethene and has chemical formula of C6H5CH=CH2. Styrene Gas is a by-product of highly flammable raw material Styrene. The gas produced by burning styrene is poisonous in nature. Coming to chemical properties, Styrene Gas is a colour-less and odour-less compound. However, in few cases, the gas has been reported as having a mild sweet odour. It quickly spreads in air.

In which products it is used as a raw material?

Styrene is used as a raw material for making products that are commonly used in electric fan blades, cups and cutlery as well as containers in which cosmetic products are stored. It is widely used in plastic and rubber industry as a raw material.

How does inhalation of Styrene Gas Affect a Human Body?

Going by the reports coming in from Vizag, inhalation of Styrene gas affects body in following stages

  • Step 1: Upper respiratory irritation and burning chest sensation
  • Step 2: Chest Congestion: Wheezing, Air hunger and Gasping
  • Step 3: Muscular Weakness Abrupt Paralysis
  • Step 4: Full Respiratory Paralysis
  • Step 5: Comatose state
  • Step 6: Death from oxygen depravation

Health Impact of Styrene Gas (Long Term)

According to experts, Styrene is a neuro-toxin and its inhalation can lead to immobilisation and eventual death (in confused in concentrated doses) in ten minutes. Some of the common implications of inhalation of Styrene Gas on human body are as follows:

  1. Adverse Impact on Nervous System leading to unconsciousness
  2. Difficulty in Breathing
  3. Changes in vision and colour of vision along with watering of eyes
  4. Headache, Fatigue, Weakness, And Depression
  5. Hearing Loss, And Peripheral neuropathy i.e. Muscle Weakness
  6. Irritation in the Eye
  7. Gastrointestinal effects (such as stomach upset)
  8. Irritation of the epithelial lining
  9. It has also been listed as a possible carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)
  10. Nervous system and kidney effects

  11. Balance and concentration problems

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