After residents near La Porte, Texas, reported a thick, acrid smell in the air, the city confirmed there had been a chemical leak in the city.
Around 4 p.m on Monday, Aug. 28, officials said they received a call about a pipeline leak.
The chemical being released was anhydrous hydrogen chloride authorities said.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the chemical is used in the manufacture of rubber, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and during gasoline refining and the processing of metals.
US DOT’s 2016 Emergency Response Guide Book states it “doesn’t predict that large amounts of toxic-by-inhalation gases will be produced if this material is spilled in water.”
NOAA calls it a corrosive, poisonous gas that can cause adverse health effects if a person inhales it in low concentrations over a long period of time, or inhales short-term, high concentrations of it.
Possible symptoms of exposure to it are eye, throat, and nasal irritation, La Porte city officials said.
They asked people to get to the nearest shelter, close any open doors or windows, and turn off anything that could bring air inside, such as heating or cooling systems.
The shelter-in-place order was lifted about three hours after it was announced.
Wayne Faircloth, the Texas House representative for District 23, tweeted on Monday that the Valero Refinery had a chemical spill.
Valero spokeswoman Lillian Riojas said in an email that the leak did not come from a Valero asset.
“You will have to call the city of La Porte to help identify the company,” she said.
The Houston Chronicle said the La Porte Police Department did not identify the owner, but said that “the company responsible for the line and the cause of the leak is being investigated and will be determined at a later date.”
The leak was contained with the assistance of the Harris County Hazardous Material Response Team, television station KPRC 2 reported.
Officials said there were no adverse health impacts reported as a result of the leak.