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Toxic gas leak injures workers in South Korean factory

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Eleven people got injured in a chemical factory in South Korea due to the leakage of toxic chlorine gas in the morning of 5 March. All the employees were taken to hospital with difficult breathing but doctors say the injuries are unlikely to be life threating.The accident happened in the Gumi Chemical factory located in the Gumi National Industrial Complex, around 200 kilometres from Seul, where there have been similar accidents recently.

Around 1 liter of toxic gas leaked when a ventilator broke down when employees were transferring the liquid gas from a tanker through a valve. Because of the disfunctioning ventilator the liquid started to flow backward and started to leak. Although only 1 litre got discharged, the liquid turned into 400 litres due to gasification and of that 50 litres were released into the air. All the valves were shut off to stop further leakage and prevent a possible catastrophe.

Also, the neighbourhood was evacuated amid fears that the gas can quickly spread in the air and cause serious damage to health. Exposure to chlorine can harm eyes, nose, teeth and respiratory system, and can even lead to death. However, the Daegu Regional Environmental Office said no chlorine gas was detected in and around the factory following the accident.

The southern city of Gumi has seen a series of similar accidents in recent months. Up to 60 liters of liquid made up of hydrofluoric acid, nitric acid and acetic acid leaked at a wafer factory of LG Siltron in Gumi last week, with no casualties being reported. Last September, some 8 tons of hydrofluoric acid leaked from a factory run by chemical maker Hube Global, killing five workers and injuring 18 others.

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