At 8:30 am., phenylphosphine was released from a gas scrubber in a special paint production installation. The uncontrolled formation of phenylphosphine occurred during a distillation in a reactor. When it was flushed with nitrogen after the reaction, the product was released through the gas scrubber. Since this toxic substance has a bad smelling and irritating effect on respiratory tracts, 91 persons from the neighbourhood complained soon after the release.
The plant was immediately shut-down and gas measurements were carried out. Information were given to the public on emergency behaviour and casualties were transported to hospital.
The plant operator improved sampling operations. He will analyse if the formation of phenylphosphine in relevant amounts (ppm-range) can be excluded during the synthesis process inside the reactor even in case of deviation from normal operating conditions. Depending on the results, the exhaust gas duct may be redirected towards the flare.