Mar 23, 2010- A BASF facility in Northeast Missouri had a leakage of Sulfur Trioxide, a highly toxic gas that can cause severe injuries if inhaled or ingested. Contact with water results in the formation of Sulfuric Acid.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources were trying to estimate how much of the gas was released at the plant. A large section of the Mississipi river was shut down by the Coast Guard to boat traffic for hours . Reports say that people at BASF and other facilities in the vicinity had to be evacuated to safety. The cloud of gas is now traveling towards Illinois, but it was unclear as to how it could be dispersed in a safe way. As of now, no injuries have been reported.
The release apparently occured to a mechanical failure in the plant that resulted in the gas being vented through a stack. The BASF facility produces agrochemical products. German origin BASF, that owns the facility is supposed to be the largest chemical company in the world with nearly a hundred thousand employees worldwide.