CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A total of 22 people, including two firefighters, have been taken to the hospital following a chemical leak at DuPont's Richmond Zytel plant, according to Chesterfield Fire officials.
The leak, which was reported around 10:45 a.m., has been contained to the plant, according to company officials. Fire and company officials say maintenance work was being done to a line when the leak of a heating fluid occurred. The liquid heating fluid vaporizes at a high temperature, officials said and inhalation can irritate the lungs and throat.
Initially only one employee was transported for possible exposure to the vapor, according to DuPont officials. However, fire officials updated the number to 22 around 3 p.m. They say the injuries are minor and the victims were only taken to the hospital as a precaution.
Twelve other employees were treated at the scene, but didn't require hospitalization.
The company says there was no fire and no community evacuations were needed.
"The leak itself was on the outside of the building in one of the pipes that run along throughout the facility…This vapor can be flammable so we had our crews standing by in case there was a fire. There has been no fire at this time. It appears the leak has been contained," said Lt. Jason Elmore.
Zytel is a family of polyamides, according to DuPont, and resembles nylon. It's used to reduce weight, improve strength, enhance durability, increase thermal performance, and simplify processing, according to the company.
Zytel was used at the Atlanta Olympics in the shoes worn by US sprinter Michael Johnson during the 200m and 400m events and has also been used in knives, shotgun shells, and inline skates.
Full statement from DuPont: