Chemical spill that led to building lockdown was sulphuric acid, says Johor Environment Dept

Ben Tan
The Johor Fire and Rescue Department’s Hazmat unit decontaminates the Johor Department of Environment’s (DoE) premises at Taman Tampoi Indah 2 in Johor Baru March 21, 2019. — Picture courtesy of Johor Fire and Rescue Department

JOHOR BARU, March 21 — It was a spill of sulphuric acid that caused a lockdown at the Johor Department of Environment’s (DoE) building here, the authority confirmed today.

Johor DoE director Datuk Mohammad Ezanni Mat Salleh said the spilled chemical was concentrated sulphuric acid.

“Initial investigations revealed that the spilled chemical was only sulphuric acid and contained no other substances.

“The acid was in its pure form and considered highly hazardous if spilled.” said Mohammad Ezanni when contacted by Malay Mail tonight.

Concentrated sulphuric acid is extremely corrosive and can cause serious burns when not handled properly. This hazardous chemical is capable of corroding skin, paper, metals, and even stone in some cases.

If sulphuric acid makes direct contact with the eyes, it can cause permanent blindness. If ingested, this chemical may cause internal burns, irreversible organ damage, and possibly death.

Mohammad Ezanni said the 30-year-old DoE technician involved in the incident is reported to be in stable condition after being treated at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital (HSA) here.

“He is recuperating after he lost consciousness in the laboratory, believed to be from the fumes,” he said, adding that the incident was a minor incident.

Meanwhile, the Johor Fire and Rescue Department’s hazardous materials (Hazmat) unit chief Mohd Hairinizam Mostapa said the entire six-storey building is back to normal as the lockdown was lifted at 7pm.

He said the spill was immediately contained after the decontamination operation and other than the unconscious DoE technician, there were no other casualties reported.

“The situation at the Johor DoE is back to normal, but we are still ventilating the laboratory in the six-storey building,” said Mohd Hairinizam.

He added that the state’s fire and rescue department’s investigation unit has yet to determine the cause of the incident, pending a full probe.

Earlier, it was reported that the Johor DoE building in Taman Tampoi Indah 2 here has been evacuated and under lockdown following a toxic chemical spill in the laboratory at 4.20pm.

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