- At least 8 people died and more than 200 were treated
at hospitals after a 42-car freight train crashed into a smaller one early
Thursday morning and leaked chlorine gas in Graniteville, South Carolina,
- Most of the injured were residents suffering from
difficulty, said Thom Berry, a spokesman for the South Carolina Department
of Health and Environmental Control.
- Gov. Mark Sanford declared a state of emergency for Aiken
County, S.C., and officials told residents within a mile of the crash site
to leave. [The national news reported the evacuation of 5400 people -
- Area residents went to 2 local schools, where paramedics
evaluated them and sent many to hospitals, where more than 50 were
The authorities did not immediately release the identities of the dead
or the causes of their deaths.
- Susan Terpay, a spokeswoman for Norfolk Southern, which
owns both trains, said that the larger train's engineer was fatally injured
in the crash, which she said occurred at 2:40 a.m. Its conductor was
she said. The cause of the crash was not known. Ms. Terpay said that the
larger train was en route from Macon, Georgia to Columbia, S.C., while
the smaller train was stationary on a rail siding in downtown Graniteville,
which is about 15 miles northeast of Augusta, GA.
- Afterward, the 2 locomotives of the larger train and
14 of its cars lay in a jumble, with 1 car leaking all its chlorine gas,
Ms. Terpay said. The train was also carrying 2 other hazardous chemicals,
sodium hydroxide and cresol, she said.
- A team from the National Transportation Safety Board
arrived to investigate, and the Federal Railroad Administration said it
was sending a 9-member team to assist the safety board
- Chlorine gas is moderately soluble in water. It reacts
with the moisture in the respiratory system to result in irritation of
the respiratory system, the eyes, the nose, and almost any other mucus
membrane. The irritation is prolonged in moist conditions. Chlorine may
combine with the water to form hypochlorous and hydrochloric acid, which
are intensely irritating.
- Chlorine gas is greenish-yellow and generally heavier
than air, so it stays near the ground; without a wind, or in damp
it is not immediately dissipated. Chlorine gas toxicity produces acute
effects including inflammation of the conjunctivae, nose, pharynx, larynx,
trachea, and bronchi. Irritation of the airway mucosa causes local edema
or swelling and may be secondary to active arterial and capillary
Plasma exudation causes alveolar edema, resulting in pulmonary congestion,
which may lead to death, particularly in individuals with compromised
- The eyes may burn and tear and corneal ulcers may occur.
Generally the eyes will heal without many long-lasting sequelae.
- Generally the affected individuals have a cough, chest
pain, eye pain, nausea or vomiting, tearing, pain and tightness in the
throat, choking and headache. These must be differentiated from the
of asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, intoxication with
cyanide, hydrogen sulfide and ammonia.
- Although chlorine gas has a detectable odor, our sense
of smell does not tell us when it is above a dangerous level.
- Sources of exposure to chlorine include swimming pools,
sewer systems, industrial bleaching and chemical warfare. This is not
to be a comprehensive list. Chlorine gas was 1st used by the Germans in
1915 in World War 1.- Mod.TG
- Patricia A. Doyle, PhD
- Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message
- Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
- Go with God and in Good Health