Brabant Shell plant leaking tons of toxic gas

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Some 25 tons of the toxic gas ethylene oxide leaked into the the atmosphere from the Shell installation in Moerdijk, the oil giant discovered on Wednesday last week. According to the company, there is no danger to public health, Omroep Brabant reports.

The leak was caused by a valve that wasn't closed after repair work on November 21st last year. About 380 kilograms of the gas leaked out each day over two months.

Ethylene oxide is produced at Shell and is used in numerous products, including as raw material for detergents and shampoo. According to the fire department, the gas is flammable, toxic and carcinogenic.

Shell also acknowledged this in a statement released on Wednesday. But because the gas escaped from a vale at a height of 25 meters and because the gas thins quickly in the air, there is no danger at ground level, according to the company. This is also why it took two months to discover the leak.

There will be an external investigation to determine the exact extent of the leak.