A three-member assessment team from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board was deployed to the scene of an anhydrous ammonia release.

A three-member assessment team from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB), led by Johnnie Banks, was deployed to the scene of an anhydrous ammonia release. The release occurred on August 23 at the Millard Refrigerated Services, a warehouse and distribution center in Theodore, Ala., 15 miles south of Mobile. According to local reports, more than 130 members of the public sought medical attention and four people remain hospitalized as a result of the uncontrolled ammonia release.

“We are seeing too many ammonia releases in our daily incident reviews. Though many are ‘small’ releases, a high consequence accident that causes multiple injuries to members of the public is a serious one that warrants our examination,” says Rafael Moure-Eraso, CSB chairperson. “Our team will be examining the events that led to the release and ways that the community can be better protected in the future.”

Anhydrous ammonia is a commonly used refrigerant; it is a colorless, flammable, toxic gas. For humans, high exposure levels can result in suffocation as well as severe injuries to eyes, lungs and the digestive system.

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