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Toxic Chemical Leak in Pennsylvania Town

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Petrolia, PAAbout 2,500 people were affected by a toxic chemical leak at the Indspec Chemical Corp. plant in Petrolia (about 60 northeast of Pittsburgh ) on Saturday, October 11 as a huge cloud formed over the ground. Freda Tarbell, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection described the chemical as " fuming sulfuric acid", also known as oleum.

Some residents left their homes and others who stayed indoors "shut their windows and doors to make sure the acid cloud was not entering their home." At least 3 residents were taken to hospital: The chemical can potentially cause respiratory damage and skin burns.

Chemical PlantThe Indspec Chemical Corp. plant uses the chemical during its production process and it produces Resorcinol, a chemical which is used --similar to a strong glue--in the tire industry. The plant manager, Dave Dorko said the leak was caused by an overflow from a tank and the material evaporates easily, creating a toxic cloud.

The Associated Press reported that the spill had been contained and crews were "trying to clean it up." Residents were told they could return home Sunday. However, Tarbell is concerned due to the " potential for respiratory damage and skin burns, things like that…"

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