One person remains in intensive care following Mondayâ€™s chlorine leak at the Tyson Foods plant in Springdale, Arkansas. Thirteen others are still hospitalized, according to an Associated Press report.
Three hundred workers were evacuated Monday morning when the chlorine leak was first noticed in an area of the plant were chickens are cleaned. Of those evacuated, 173 were taken to area hospitals, and 50 were initially admitted, including five to intensive care. Most had been complaining of breathing problems and headaches.
Chlorine is often used as a microbial in chicken production, but Tyson said the chemical is not used at the Springdale plant. According to Tyson Foods, the leak occurred when two chemicals were accidentally mixed due to “human error.” The company declined to say which two chemicals were mixed.
Tyson has established a temporary medical clinic at the facility that is staffed by a physician to attend to workers who may still be suffering the effects of chlorine exposure. Workers who didn’t seek treatment on Monday can also have a medical evaluation at the on-site clinic, the Associated Press said. The clinic is expected to remain open this week.
Tyson is refusing to say anything else about the accident pending the outcome of its own investigation.
The federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration has also opened an investigation into the Tyson chemical plant leak. According to the Associated Press, that investigation will take around six months to complete.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, chlorine exposure can cause damage to the bodyâ€™s moist tissues, including the respiratory tract. Treatment consists of eliminating chlorine from the body as soon as possible and providing supportive medical care in a hospital setting.