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Worker Dies After Chemical Leak

BATON ROUGE, La. — A worker at a Honeywell International chemical plant has died after being exposed to a chemical leak on July 29. The incident was the second leak in 10 days, following a July 20 chlorine leak that hospitalized eight workers as well as some area residents, who complained of burning lungs and other irritations.

On July 29, a container holding antimony pentachloride leaked, according to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. Delvin Henry was rushed to Baton Rouge General Medical Center — Mid City and died the next day. The antimony pentachloride caused damage to Henry’s lungs. The chemical is said to be a corrosive agent that can burn the skin and irritate the nose, mouth, throat, and lungs.

Plant manager Jim McCormick released a written statement noting, “Our deepest sympathies are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”

The plant was shut down following the July 29 leak. On Thursday, July 31, Nance Dicciani, chief executive officer of Honeywell’s Specialty Materials operation, visited the plant and stated that it will not resume production “until I know it will operate safely,” according to Baton Rouge’s The Advocate.

In addition to Honeywell safety officials, federal, state, and local investigators are looking into both leaks.

Publication date: 08/11/2003

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