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Safety

Acrylonitrile Fumes Kill One In Belgium

by Alex Scott
May 13, 2013 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 91, ISSUE 19

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Credit: Benoit Doppagne/AFP/Getty Images/Newscom
The derailed train carried acrylonitrile and butadiene.
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Credit: Benoit Doppagne/AFP/Getty Images/Newscom
The derailed train carried acrylonitrile and butadiene.

A 64-year-old man died and 116 other nearby residents were taken to the hospital as a result of exposure to fumes from burning acrylonitrile after a train carrying the chemical derailed and caught fire near Wetteren, Belgium. Hydrogen cyanide is generated when acrylonitrile burns. The incident happened in the early hours of Saturday, May 4, as the train was traveling from the Netherlands to the port of Ghent in Belgium. The acrylonitrile was made by DSM and was being transported in tank cars leased by the firm. “We deeply regret the incident,” DSM says. Authorities are still investigating the cause.

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