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Geismar plant releases toxic chemicals

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GEISMAR, La. (KNOE 8 News/AP) - An initial report on the deadly June 13 explosion and fire at the Williams Olefins chemical plant in Geismar shows more than 62,000 pounds of toxic chemicals were released during the accident that killed two workers and injured 114 others.

According to the report filed with the state Department of Environmental Quality, the facility released 31,187 pounds of volatile organic carbon material; 23,090 pounds of propylene; 2,398 pounds of ethylene; 5,621 pounds of other volatile organic carbon materials, including propane; and 48 pounds of benzene.

The cause of the blast and fire are still not known, although investigators are focusing on a heat exchanger and piping associated with the manufacturing column that extracts propylene from natural gas.

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