Four DuPont employees were killed and another injured when a toxic chemical was spilled at its plant in La Porte, Texas, on Saturday morning. Residents of the city complained of a persistent “funny smell” after the incident.
The company would not immediately identify the victims of the spill. The emergency started at around 4 a.m. local time. It took repair crews two hours to replace a ruptured valve in the crop protection unit and contain the chemical. The confirmation of fatalities was released 12 hours after the incident.
The chemical spilled was methyl mercaptan, or methanethiol, which is used to make feed stock for insecticides and fungicides. It is more commonly known for being added to naturally odorless propane and natural gas to give them a distinctive rotten egg smell, making leaks detectable. In high concentration it can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, coma, and death.