Shell Oil and Gas
Photo: John Everett, Houston ChroniclePhoto: John Everett, Houston Chronicle
On Sunday morning, hundreds of thousands of pounds of toxic gas were accidentally released from the Shell Oil facility in Deer Park.
Neil Carman, a chemist with the Sierra Club of Texas and a former power plant inspector for the TCEQ, said that butadiene is a known human carcinogen, but that its molecular structure allows it to dissipate quickly in the hot summer air. The chemical is commonly expelled in car exhaust, but Carman said the quantity in the Shell incident was concerning.
"This release is huge, " he said. "Even 10% of 326, 000 is big for butadiene."
Shell spokesperson Ray Fisher said the company is investigating the cause of the release. Meanwhile, data from nearby monitors did not exceed TCEQ odor or health-based screening levels during the incident.