Lubrizol factory struggles to stop the French Stench


Poo La La

Staff at a chemicals factory in north-western France are working to stop a gas leak that has spread a foul smell to Paris and south-east England…

Thousands of people, from as far away as Paris and London, have complained of nausea and headaches.

The gas is mercaptan, an additive to natural gas said to be harmless…It leaked on Monday from a plant run by a French subsidiary of the US chemicals manufacturer Lubrizol near Rouen, 120km north-west of Paris.

Winds blew the cloud over northern France on Monday night and then into England on Tuesday.

Authorities will investigate what caused the leak and whether the company should be held responsible, the ecology minister said.

Tuesday evening’s French Cup football match between Rouen and Marseille has been postponed because of the stink.

“We did not want to find ourselves with 10,000 fans 2km from the factory and with no means of confining them or evacuating them if necessary,” local government official Florence Gouache told AFP news agency…

There is no word on the cause of the leak. The factory has been closed.

In Britain, the Health Protection Agency said: “The smell drifting over Southern England today poses no risk to public health…”The odour, which is similar to rotten eggs, has been noticed by people mainly in Kent, East and West Sussex and some parts of Surrey.”

Emergency officials in southern Kent advised residents “to keep doors and windows closed due to a gas cloud”.

Phew! Also a favorite homemade boobytrap in high school chemistry classes.

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One comment

  1. jaksichja

    Interesting, the “grease” used for organic chem glassware (lab set-ups) is actually manufactured in Europe? I did not recall that fact—kind of a curious fact

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