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Chemical Leak at Marathon Petroleum Refinery Sends Two Workers to Hospital

Home > Uncategorized > Chemical Leak at Marathon Petroleum Refinery Sends Two Workers to Hospital

On May 4, 2021, a chemical leak at Marathon Petroleum’s Galveston Bay Refinery in Texas City required two workers to be taken to a nearby medical facility. The leak involved hydrofluoric acid, which, according to a Reuters article discussing the leak, “forms a ground-hugging cloud at room temperature that can lead to severe health problems and even death.” The leak also prompted Texas City officials to order a shelter-in-place for residents who live near the refinery, which lasted for nearly an hour.

In 2013, the United Steelworkers Union, which represents refinery workers, released a study highlighting the dangers of hydrofluoric acid and urging that its use be discontinued and replaced with safer alternatives. According to the study, hydrofluoric acid is used for a process called alkylation, which creates additives that boost the octane of gasoline. If released in the atmosphere, hydrofluoric acid rapidly forms dense vapor clouds that hover near land and can travel from 3 to 25 miles. Exposure can cause severe burns, damage to the eyes, skin, nose, throat and respiratory system, and even death.

Over 26 million people live in the danger zone near refineries in the United States, including in Houston, Galveston, Philadelphia, Memphis, and Salt Lake, and largescale evacuation would not be possible in the event of a major release. Shockingly, the study found that over a five-year period, the 23 refineries involved in the study experienced 131 hydrofluoric acid releases or near misses and committed hundreds of violations of the OSHA rules pertaining to highly hazardous operations.

If you or a loved one were seriously injured or killed in a refinery or other industrial facility, contact our Houston refinery accident lawyers for a free, confidential consultation.

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