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8 Chemical Plant Workers Treated for Toxic Chemical Exposure

The emergency prompted a shelter-in-place Monday afternoon.

Kristen Kazarian

December 5, 2023

1 Min Read
Gas leak at chemicals plant forces shelter in place
The toxic gas, phosgene, is used to produce pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, agrochemicals, polymers, and cosmetics.Image courtesy of Evgen_Prozhyrko / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Eight people were taken to a hospital on Monday morning after a toxic gas leak at the Altivia Chemicals plant in La Porte, TX, local officials said.

A shelter-in-place order was issued due to the chemical emergency, as it was stated.

Altivia Chemicals said it was working to contain a leak of a gas called phosgene from the plant, as the city’s emergency management agency ordered residents and five neighboring chemical facilities to shelter in place out of caution.

Police said Altivia had a possible phosgene release. Harris County Pollution Control was monitoring the air quality, and the Harris County Precinct 8 constable also responded. 

The La Porte Office of Emergency Management (LPOEM) said the fire department and Harris County pollution control confirmed there were no “detectable amounts of immediately hazardous products” near or downwind of the facility.


The office of Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that the conditions of the eight workers taken to hospital were stabilized. 

The city canceled the shelter-in-place order in the afternoon, which had affected several nearby industrial plants, officials said.

Altivia received the CSX Chemical Safety Award for the third consecutive year in 2021 in recognition of their outstanding safety performance.

A privately held company, Altivia was founded in 1986 as a water treatment chemical producer. It is now the largest producer of the highly toxic gas phosgene and its derivatives on the continent. The company sells the chemicals for pharmaceutical, agrochemical, polymer, cosmetics, and fine chemical production.

About the Author(s)

Kristen Kazarian

Managing Editor

Kristen Kazarian has been a writer and editor for more than three decades. She has worked at several consumer magazines and B2B publications in the fields of food and beverage, packaging, processing, women's interest, local news, health and nutrition, fashion and beauty, automotive, and computers.

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