What we know about the chemicals burning in the tanks at the ITC plant in Deer Park

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Monday, March 18, 2019
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What are the chemicals burning in the ITC fire?

DEER PARK, Texas (KTRK) -- Crews continue to battle the massive flames burning at the ITC plant in Deer Park, as several more tanks caught fire overnight, bringing the total to eight involved in the incident.

The original fire started just before 11 a.m. Sunday in two tanks at the facility on Independence Parkway just north of Highway 225.

SEE ALSO: Here's what we know about the ITC plant fire

ITC officials say the first tank that caught fire contains NAPHTHA. The fire then spread to a second tank containing XYLENE. Both are gasoline components.

Officials said the components are in gas blend stocks used in the production of finished gasoline and base oil used for machine lubrication.

NAPHTHA can cause irritation to eyes and the respiratory system. It affects the central nervous system and is harmful and even fatal if it is swallowed.

XYLENE may also be fatal if it is swallowed and enters the airway. It can cause skin irritation.

RELATED: Health impacts due to plant fire

Another tank that caught fire early Monday morning contains Toluene, which is used in nail polish remover, glue and paint thinner, plant officials told Eyewitness News.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Toluene is used in many products and workplaces like printing operations, manufacturing facilities, construction sites and nail salons.

You can be affected by Toluene in the workplace if you:

  • Breathe it in
  • Skin contact
  • Eye contact
  • Swallowing it after it gets on your hands or transferred to food

Exposure to Toluene may make people sick immediately or cause health effects over time. Other symptoms include headaches and dizziness, dry or cracked skin and irritated eyes, nose and throat. Exposure can also impact someone's color vision and hearing.

ITC released an update around 7 a.m. Monday, saying that although the risk of an explosion is minimal, they are continuing to take precautions to further reduce that possibility.

Both La Porte and Deer Park school districts have cancelled classes due to the fires.

SEE ALSO:Residents react as shelter-in-place continues during ITC plant fire in Deer Park