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Hazmat: New Jersey train derails, toxic spill reported in creek
Published: 30 November, 2012, 17:42
New Jersey train derailment sends chemical tanks into creek (Screenshot from nj1015.com)
A freight train derailment in southern New Jersey has caused a spill of vinyl chloride. Four tank cars were dumped into Mantua Creek, Paulsboro, on Friday and at least one of them is leaking the hazardous material, report local media.
Paulsboro residents are urged to stay indoors with windows and doors closed. A number of people in the immediate area have been evacuated, reports CBS.
Eighteen people are having difficulty breathing, according to the Gloucester County Times. Ambulances have been dispatched.
Firefighters and hazardous materials crews are working at the scene. Officials are trying to determine what the cars were carrying. The US Coast Guard has been notified as the chemical might be leaking into the Delaware River which is nearby.
It is not yet clear what exactly caused the derailment, but images from the scene show a train bridge collapsed while at least two cars plunged into the creek and one got hanging over a trestle. A shiny slick can be seen on the water.
The incident took place just after 7am local time (12pm GMT), Gloucester Office of Emergency Management confirms.
Paulsboro Borough with around 6,000 inhabitants is just over the river from Philadelphia. The area of the incident is described as very industrial though there are some homes as well as Paulsboro High School and Billingsport Elementary School. Roadways leading into the borough with are closed.
Vinyl chloride is a colorless gas with a sweet odor that is easily ignited. The federal Environmental Protection Agency lists the gas as a Group A human carcinogen. It is used to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic and vinyl products. Short-term exposure to high levels of vinyl chloride in the air has an effect on the central nervous system and can cause drowsiness, dizziness and headaches.
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