Tuesday , June 22 2021

Chemical leak: Penrose residents warned of possible health risk



Although the chemical is considered to have low toxicity, it can cause nasal irritation and headaches and have a sharp, fruity odor. Photo / file

Residents of the suburb of Penrose, Auckland, are warned to keep their doors and windows closed after a 5,000-liter chemical leak.

The Auckland Council is investigating the circumstances of the methyl methacrylate spill from storage at a specialist chemical business on Industry Rd today.

Although health risk is currently assessed as low, people should take a precautionary approach and close doors and windows if they can smell the chemical, the health doctor said. Auckland Regional Public Service, David Sinclair.

Although the chemical is considered to have low toxicity, it can cause nasal irritation and headaches and have a sharp, fruity odor.

He said that to avoid experiencing unpleasant odors and any potential irritation, people in the wider Penrose and Onehunga area were advised to consider closing doors and windows.

“If you work in this industrial area, you may also need to keep doors and windows closed tomorrow as well.

“The main potential health effects are eye, skin, or respiratory irritation,” Sinclair said.

An Auckland Council spokesman said the chemical had entered a stormwater drain and the port of Manukau.

“If you have any further questions, please contact Healthline at 0800 611 116 for advice,” Sinclair said.

Auckland Council environmental health manager Mervyn Chetty said warning signs were being put up in the area and that the Safeswim website also told people not to enter the water 5km from the spill, covering the Mangere Bridge, Taumanu East, Central Taumanu, Taumanu West and Onehunga.

Auckland Council staff, including experts in environmental health and pollution, had been at the scene since it was reported.

They were working with Fire and Emergency NZ and had been consulting with Auckland Regional Public Health, the Auckland Council says.


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