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E-M:/ Dow Corning Release - Hydrogen Chloride



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Enviro-Mich message from Jonathan P Kazmierski <jkazmier@umich.edu>
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Enviro's,

Last Sunday, August 18, Dow Corning accidently released 5600 lbs of
hydrogen chloride from their Midland Plant.  

I do not know any more about the release other than what has been reported
in the following article in the Midland Daily News.  As many friends of
mine live close to the area that was misted with the release, I have
become very concerned about their health.  This article reports that
fruits and vegetable that "have the residue" of hydrogen chloride " are
safe to eat if properly washed.  Does anyone know how true this claim is
or if the release can cause any other short term or long term health
problems?  The article also notes that rain has helped wash the residue
off vegetation and that crews have been washing off homes.  The
contaminated area is all along the shores of the Tittabawasee River.  Will
there be any harm done to the aquatic environment as the chemical washes
into the river? soil contamination?  
 Thank you for your help.  

The following is an article that appeared in the Midland Daily News,
written by Scott Anderson from the Daily News:

	Some trees lining Saginaw Road are turning brown, but autumn
hasn't come early.
	Several trees were coated with an acid residue from the fog that
rolled across the area Sunday after a leak at the Dow Corning Corp.
Midland Plant.
	The result is several trees have turned an ash-brown color and
some are wilting.  Leaves on trees have curled up and some shrubbery also
has a brownish appearance.
	Down Corning and the City of Midland forester are evaluating the
extent of harm done to the trees.  Scott Seeburger, spokesman for Dow
Corning, said trees on the ease and west side of Saginaw Road have a
scattered brownish look.  The Dow Chemical Co. and Midland Cogeneration
Venture are located on the west side of Saginaw, while Dow Corning is on
the east.
	"Those were the trees that were exposed the longest and the
hardest," Seeburger said.
	Hydrogen chloride vapor escaping from a hole in a trichlorosilane
pipe created a large cloud that forced hundreds of area residents to stay
in t heir homes and prompted a community emergency.  The all-clear was
announced just before 10 p.m., about 10 hours after the leak was first
detected.
	Seeburger said investigators have not completed their probe into
what exactly caused the 5,600-pound release of hydrogen chloride, one of
the largest the company has ever had.
	"We anticipate having the details of the cause of the leak by the
middle of next week," he said.
	Ron Perry, environmental coordinator for the site, said the rainy
weather has assisted clean-up efforts.  "This rain has washed everything
down; it's been a big help," he said.
	Down Corning clean-up crews have visited about 100 homes, spraying
water on the house itself or on nearby vegetation, Perry said.  About 360
homes occupy the area where the cloud floated by.
	The white powdery residue covered several lawns and gardens in the
two-mile region where the cloud drifted.  Officials said fruits or
vegetables that have the residue are safe to eat if properly washed.
---- end of story



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