Toxic spill in downtown Davao City sows panic


DAVAO CITY: Corrosive chemicals spilled from a truck on a busy downtown street in this city on Thursday morning, causing panic and prompting school officials to suspend classes at a nearby school while the Davao Central Emergency 911 advised the public to avoid the area until it is cleared of toxic fumes.

The truck was carrying 800 gallons of formic acid, a toxic corrosive (combustible) material, when it tumbled to its side apparently because it was moving along a newly-asphalted road.

It was bringing its cargo to Maramag, Bukidnon, when the incident happened.

The Department of Education here immediately suspended classes at Kapitan Tomas Monteverde Elementary School.

Fire Inspector Salvador Flores of the Davao City Central Fire Station said formic acid is usually used to harden rubber latex.

This acid is toxic when inhaled and can cause skin and eye irritation and is highly flammable.

Flores and the station’s 20-strong team and a medical group from the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) among the first responders to the incident.

The BFP recommended suspension of classes to safeguard the health of children and teachers.

It has also advised business establishments in the area to temporarily suspend their business operations until the area is cleared.

Formic acid is a pungent colorless liquid used as a preservative and an anti-bacterial agent.

It is used as preservative in the cattle and poultry industries and sometimes added to animal feeds to kill the E- coli bacteria.

This acid is also used as a coagulant in rubber production.



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