Hazardous chemical spill at Haverhill factory

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Emergency services have been dealing with a hazardous chemical spill at a factory in Haverhill this afternoon.

Suffolk Fire Service was called to Cornelius Specialities in Rockwood Way at 2.18pm after a quantity of acryloyl chloride was spilt.

A spokesman for the fire service said the spill was confined to the premises and a company specialist was dealing with it, but seven fire appliances from Haverhill, Holbrook, Newmarket, Ixworth and Wickhambrook were attending and were using an air quality meter.

One woman was described as ‘feeling poorly’ with irritation to her eyes.

Acryloyl chloride, also known as 3-4-ethoxyphenyl, is used in the manufacture of polymers. One manufacturer’s safety sheet describes it as flammable and corrosive and warns ‘causes severe skin burns and eye damage’. If it burns it emits poisonous carbon monoxide and hydrogen chloride.

Cornelius Specialities makes contact lenses, dental materials and structural adhesives. It took over the former Olympus Organics plant in 2006.

A spokeswoman for the company said: “The company’s emergency response team contained the spillage and staff were evacuated as a precaution.

Emergency services attended the site as a precautionary measure and did not need to perform any further isolation or clean up of the incident.

“Cornelius Specialties can confirm there is no risk to local residents and that staff have been allowed to return to the building.

“Cornelius Specialities takes its health and safety responsibilities extremely seriously and a full investigation of the cause of the incident is underway.”

Suffolk Police say no road closures or safety cordons were required.

The fire service closed the incident at 3.52pm.