The gas leaked from the LG Company’s chemical plant in Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh early Thursday is named styrene gas. Styrene is a neuro-toxin and stinging gas that causes the body to relax and die in just ten minutes. In a study done on this gas. It has also been described as the cause of cancer and genetic mutations. According to police commissioner Rajiv Kumar Meena, and the initial reports, styrene gas was leaking from the plant and people in the area were unaware.
A 181 years old History of styrene
Styrene was first recognized in the world by scientists in Europe about 181 years ago. In 1839, German scientist “Eduard Simon” succeeded in isolating a volatile liquid from the resin or resins from a tree named American Sweetgum in his laboratory. Accidentally, the substance they reached gave it the name “Styrol” (now styrene).
He also observed that when styol was exposed to air, light, or heat. Also, it gradually changed to a hard, rubber-like substance, which he called “styler oxide”. In 1845, German chemist “August Hoffmann” and his student John Baileith gave the Stylin formula known as C8H8. It consists of 8 molecules of carbon and 8 molecules of hydrogen.
Use of PVC gas
It is also colloquially called PVC gas or vinyl benzene, which is used to produce polyvinyl chloride (PVC) rubber, resin, polyester, and plastic. PVC is a synthetic plastic that can be found in rigid or flexible forms. It is commonly used to make pipes and bottles.
About 99% of industrial resins are made from styrene. These are the six major ones: polystyrene (50%), styrene-butadiene rubber (15%), unsaturated polyester resins (glass) (12%), styrene-butadiene latex (11%), acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (10%) and Styrene-acrylonitrile (1%).
Sweet smell gas chemistry
Styrene is an organic compound and is also known as ethenyl benzene, vinyl benzene, and phenylethylene. Its chemical formula is C6H5CH = CH2. This most popular organic solvent is a colorless or light yellow oily liquid-like benzene-borne water, and from which the gas comes out.
This liquid is easily found in the air in a gas form at room temperature and has a sweet smell, although, in very high quantities, the odor begins to suffocate. Styrene makes polystyrene and many other co-polymers that are used to make various polymer products (plastic, fiberglass, rubber, and pipe).
The immediate impact of Styrene gas on breathing
It is difficult to breathe when styrene gas enters the nose. With boredom and eye, irritation may occur. When inhaled, it affects our respiratory system in a few minutes and can cause vomiting, irritation, and skin rashes. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), short-term exposure to the gas can be fatal for young children and the elderly.
Eye irritation, gastrointestinal effects (such as the upset stomach), and irritation of the upper surface of the tissue can occur. It has the ability to destroy the lining of the tissues of the soft organs of the body and can cause bleeding. This can cause unconsciousness and even death within a few minutes.
Prolonged effects of Styrene Gas
Even those who survive the fatal exposure to styrene may later have to live with its toxic effects. Being a neurotoxin, it has effects on the nervous system and can cause headaches, fatigue, weakness and depression, nervous system dysfunction. Due to its long effect, diseases like numbness of hands and feet, loss of eyes, hearing loss, and dermatitis are seen on the skin.
The only way to treat the effect of the gas is to wash the skin and eyes with water and to go to breathing support by immediately starting medical therapy in case you go in with the breath.
Use of PTBC Substance
PTBC is a substance that helps in working out the effects and damage of this poisonous gas. This allows for quick control and normalization of the situation.
Mick Vs of Bhopal, styrene gas of Visakhapatnam
More than 15 thousand people lost their lives and millions were affected. The leakage of 42 thousand kg of poisonous gas on December 3, 1984, was noted at the American Union Carbide Company’s factory in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. This gas was also methyl isocyanate or mick gas derived from an organic compound, which is used to make pesticides.
Even after so many years, the effect of this gas can be seen in the people of old Bhopal city. Thousands of people became victims of permanent disability, cancer, and blindness. This gas affected even unborn children. While the reaction time of styrene released from the Visakhapatnam plant is 10 minutes, the Mick gas dies in just a few seconds