One person has died and another is described as being in a 'critical condition' following an ammonia spill at a food processing facility in Iredell County, North Carolina, on Friday 10 January 2020. The incident happened at the Lineage Logistics plant in Statesville, where ammonia is used during the flash freezing of Chickens. Two emergency workers who responded to the incident where also exposed to the chemical and were kept in hospital overnight as a consequence, but have now been released. No details of the deceased worker have been released, other than to describe them as a subcontractor.
Emergency teams at a Chicken-processing plant in North Carolina, following an acid spill on 10 January 2020. WBTV Sky3.
Ammonia is used in a wide variety of industries, but usually in a diluted form. Anhydrous ammonia (ammonia without any water) is both toxic and corrosive, though injuries from ammonia are rare even in incidents such as this where large volumes are spilled, as ammonia has a strong and extremely unpleasant smell that people tend to retreat from rapidly (to the extent that people are more often injured trying to escape the smell than directly by the ammonia. Ammonia is commonly used as a refrigerant gas in industrial cooling systems, as while it is more toxic than some alternatives, its strong smell ensures that any leaks tend found - and investigated -very quickly.
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