What’s that smell?

Dear Dow,


(From the T-P : )

The strong chemical-like odor blanketing the metro area this morning is coming from the Dow chemical plant in Hahnville, according St. Charles Parish emergency officials.

Rodney Mallett, a spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, said the plant released the chemical ethyl acrylate.

So.  My husband is breathing ethyl acrylate as he carries out the trash?  My children are breathing ethyl acrylate as they run and huff and puff and play outside in the sun?  I am breathing ethyl acrylate as I walk to campus?

You down play it, sure.

(From same T-P : )

St. Charles Parish spokeswoman Renee Allemand Simpson said parish officials were told by Dow that a crack had developed along a seam in a tank at the plant, which released the odor at about 6:40 a.m.

Simpson said a Dow technical advisor [sic] said a blanket of foam had been sprayed over the roof of the tank, reducing the volume of leakage, and that the chemical was being pumped from the tank.

Some people may experience headaches, dizziness and vomiting, Simpson said. Two deputies were made ill by the release and were treated at St. Charles Parish Hospital, according to Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Capt. Pat Yoes.

“It’s not toxic at the levels that it’s at right now, but it is noxious,” Simpson said.

The plant has not shut down and is operating as usual, Dow spokesman Tommy Faucheux said.

Not that you have any history of downplaying chemical leaks or anything.

(Again, T-P : )

The chemical may cause toxic effects if inhaled or absorbed through skin, and it can irritate or burn the skin and eyes. The chemical is listed as a possible carcinogen by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. Officials, however, say the mixing of the chemical in the air has resulted in levels too low to be a health threat for those outside the immediate area of the plant.

Hahnville resident Ida Martin said her son woke her up early Tuesday after smelling the odor, but when she called the parish Emergency Operations Center, the person who answered the phone seemed to downplay the matter.

“She said it was just an odor,” Martin said.