Intercontinental Terminals Company officials say it is the chemical compound naphtha that isburning in multiple tanks at their Deer Park/La Porte facility. The fire spread and is now burning xylene and toluene as well.
"Air monitoring continues and as of this update, no detectable amounts of the chemicals have been found outside the ITC fence line," stated ITC early Monday morning.Even still, we're hearing from concerned people across the Houston area whosay they can see and smell the smoke.
Here's what is burning:
Naphthareleases carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide when ignited. And it is highly flammable.
According to the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, the following are considered health risks associated with naptha:
- It can affect you when breathed in and by passing through your skin
- Contact can burn the skin and eyes
- Breathing naptha can irritate the nose and throat
- Exposure to naptha can cause headache, dizziness, nausea and vomiting
- High exposure can cause drying and cracking of the skin
- Repeated exposure may damage the nervous system and may affect the kidneys.
As forxylene, it's a type of solvent used in production of gasoline and it’s flammable at room temperature. Firefighters won't use water to fight it because xylene actually floats on water. The New Jersey Department of Health says the following are health hazards associated with it:
- Xylenes can affect you when inhaled and by passing through skin
- Contact can irritate the skin and eyes. Prolonged or repeated contact can cause a skin rash, dryness and redness
- Inhaling xylenes can irritate the nose and throat causing coughing and wheezing
- Exposure can cause headaches, dizziness, lightheadedness and passing out. Repeated exposure can affect concentration, memory, vision and muscle coordination. Higher levels can cause coma and death.
- Xylenes may damage the liver or kidneys
- Xylenes are flammable liquids and dangerous fire hazards.
From my view in the Galleria you can see the fire buring and covering the galleria area.