After 11 people died due to a gas leak at a chemical factory in Andhra Pradesh’s Vishakhapatnam, the Union Home Ministry on Thursday issued an advisory for the general public about the things to be done and not be done following such an incident.
Styrene is a colourless, flammable liquid which is used to prepare polystyrene plastics, rubber and fibreglass. It is used in pipes, insulation, automobile parts, etc.
According to the advisory, the exposure of styrene is through ingestion, inhalation or contact (skin).
Common symptoms of styrene exposure include irritation to eyes, nose and skin; gastrointestinal and respiratory effects. Its long term exposure may cause central nervous system and kidney-related problems, depression, headache, etc.
The Department of Health and Human Services USA has listed styrene as reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.
If someone accidentally swallows styrene, give large quantities of water and do not induce vomiting, the advisory said.
In case of contact with styrene, immediately flush eyes or skin with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes while removing contaminated clothing and shoes, it said.