A floating chemical tank roof collapsed at LyondellBasell’s refinery in Houston, US, causing the release of carbon disulphide, dimethyl disulphide and methyl ethyl disulphide.
In a statement to Houston Public Media, LyondellBasell said that the roof had failed due to heavy rains. A pungent, garlic-like smell was reported by local residents on 14 July 2021, according to the Houston Chronicle, but no company claimed responsibility. Harris County Pollution Control Services (PCS) said on 16 July 2021 that it had identified LyondellBasell’s Houston refinery as the potential source of the disulphide compounds it had identified. PCS said that the compounds could cause irritation of the respiratory and digestive systems and advised residents to limit outdoor time and use face coverings.
LyondellBasell later posted on a public forum, CAER Online, that its workers were addressing the odour problem and said that it posed no harm. A spokesperson told the Houston Chronicle on 19 July 2021 that the company was not aware that the release was affecting residents, which is why it had not issued a community alert at the time. It added that the leak had been contained and the clean-up was complete.