Vizag gas leak: What is styrene gas?

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News:Styrene gas leakage at a polymer plant in Visakhapatnam has killed several people and forced the evacuation of thousands of people.

Facts:

  • Styrene:It is an organic compound with the formula C8H8.It is a derivative of benzene and is colourless liquid that evaporates easily,
  • Uses: It is the main raw material for synthesis of polystyrene which is a versatile plastic used to make parts of various appliances such as refrigerators, automotive parts, parts of electronics and in food packaging.
  • Effects of Exposure:
    • Short-term exposure: It can result in respiratory problems, irritation in the eyes, irritation in the mucous membrane, and gastrointestinal issues.
    • Long-term exposure: It could drastically affect the central nervous system and lead to other related problems like peripheral neuropathy.It could also lead to cancer and depression in some cases.
  • Symptoms: Headache, Hearing loss, fatigue, weakness, difficulty in concentrating among others.