Chemical Reaction at Produce Plant Leads to Worker Hospitalization

Hazmat responded and the facility was evacuated.

Kristen Kazarian, Managing Editor

January 29, 2024

1 Min Read
Chemical reaction at produce processing plant led to worker evac.
Together, the chemicals caused a reaction that led to workers hospitalized.Image courtesy of jeffbergen / iStock via Getty Images

A chemical reaction prompted the evacuation of a produce grower/shipper/processor plant in western Flagler County, which is northwest of Daytona Beach, FL, and required two workers be transported for medical care, reported The Daytona Beach News-Journal.

The incident occurred at about 1:11 p.m. Thursday at WP Rawl when chlorine used in the produce washing process mixed with organophosphate fertilizer accidentally left on the product from the supplier, wrote Flagler County Communications Coordinator Julie Murphy.

Ten workers had respiratory issues and burning eyes due to the chemical reaction; but after they got some fresh air, only two workers needed medical transport, Murphy wrote.

The Flagler County Sheriff's Office and Flagler County Fire Rescue responded to what was originally called in as a chemical spill.

The facility was evacuated and the St. Johns County Hazardous Materials Team responded. Officials determined that there was no chemical leak from the chiller but instead there was the reaction when the chemicals mixed in the washing process.

The building was ventilated.

The chemical reaction temporarily shut down County Road 105.

Flagler County Fire Rescue and the Hazardous Materials Team developed plans for the workers to return to the building on Friday.

WP Rawl, a South Carolina company, built the 34,000-sq-ft. agricultural processing plant in 2013. The plant grows, processes, and ships leafy greens and other vegetables.

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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