ACCIDENT: Thailand Explosion at Elastomers Plant Kills 12; Injures Over 100 People
Tuesday, May 8th, 2012
An explosion and fire at a Bangkok Synthetics Co. (BST) elastomers manufacturing plant at the Map Ta Phut chemicals plantation at Rayong, Thailand, resulted in the death of 12 people and more than 105 hospitalized. Thousands of people were evacuated from the surrounding area for fear of toxic gases and fumes, although they have since been allowed to return to their homes as air monitoring continues.
Details of what occurred at the plant on Saturday are sketchy at best, but the blast and a non-related gas leak that occurred nearby the plant has led the government to call for an inspection of all chemical plants in Thailand.
BST is 20% owned by Siam Cement and produces butadiene and other materials used to produce elastomers, including synthetic rubbers.
In 2009, the Thai government halted dozens of chemical projects with concerns that safety issues weren’t being addressed satisfactorily. In 2010, a court ruled that the some 76 projects that had been halted could be restarted. Environmentalists are now calling for new inspections and more stringent regulations for chemical and petrochemical facilities.
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