In the wake of the Bloomsburg, PA flooding an anhydrous ammonia chemical leak was reported at the food plant on 11 Street near Bloomsburg Area High School early Friday, Sept. 9. The immediate area of the leak was immediately evacuated.
According to R.M. Technologies, anhydrous ammonia is a colorless, highly irritating gas with a sharp, suffocating odor. Individuals will notice a pungent odor at levels ranging from 5 – 50 parts per million (ppm). Irritating effects generally begin at levels between 25-50 ppm. More serious effects generally will not occur until levels are greater than 100 ppm.
Symptoms from being affected by this chemical include burning of the eyes, nose, and throat after breathing even small amounts. With higher doses, coughing or choking may occur. Exposure to high levels of anhydrous ammonia can cause death from a swollen throat or from chemical burns to the lungs.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tested the air and reported that the leak no longer poses a threat to the Bloomsburg Area. However, any individual experiencing the above symptoms is strongly urged to call 911.
The chemical leak has not affected Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, however in a statement to all BU students they stated that they are “monitoring the situation and more information will be provided when it becomes available.”