Chemical leak: Penrose residents warned of potential health risk

Penrose residents is Auckland are being warned to keep doors and windows closed after a 5000-litre chemical leak.

Auckland Council are investigating circumstances of the methyl methacrylate spill from storage at a specialist chemical business on Industry Rd earlier today.

Although the health risk is currently assessed as low, people should take a precautionary approach and close doors and windows if they can smell the chemical, Auckland Regional Public Health Service’s Medical Officer of Health Dr David Sinclair said.

While the chemical was considered to have low toxicity, it could cause nasal irritation and headaches and had an acrid and fruity odour.

He said to avoid experiencing the unpleasant smells and any potential irritation, it was advised people in the wider Penrose and Onehunga area to consider closing doors and windows.

“If you work in this industrial zone you may also need to keep doors and windows closed tomorrow too.

“The main potential health effects are eye, skin or respiratory irritation,” Sinclair said.

An Auckland Council spokesperson said the chemical had gone into a stormwater drain, and into the Manukau Harbour.

“If you have any further concerns, please contact Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice,” Sinclair said.

Auckland Council’s Manager of Environmental Health Mervyn Chetty said warning signs were being put up in the area, and the Safeswim website was also telling people not to go into the water 5km from the spill – which covers Mangere Bridge, Taumanu East, Taumanu Central, Taumanu West and Onehunga.

Auckland Council staff, including environmental health and pollution experts, had been at the scene since it was reported.

They were working with Fire and Emergency NZ, and had been consulting with Auckland Regional Public Health, Auckland Council says.

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