Residents of Philadelphia and the surrounding area demanded clarity about the safety of their drinking water from city officials on Monday, three days after chemicals leaked from a plant into a tributary of the Delaware River, which provides water for about 14 million people in four states.
About 8,100 gallons of acrylic polymer solution leaked from a burst pipe at the chemical plant Trinseo PLC in Bucks County, Pennsylvania late Friday, entering Otter Creek, which flows into the Delaware.
The solution contained butyl acrylate, ethyl acrylate, and methyl methacrylate, which are used in paints and adhesives.
Exposure to butyl acrylateand ethyl acrylate is associated with breathing difficulties, and the latter is listed as a “potential occupational carcinogen” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Despite the leak of the chemicals, city officials did not alert residents until Sunday morning, when they said people in Philadelphia should use bottled water to prevent exposure and warned that although contamination had not yet been detected in the drinking supply, water from Otter Creek could have traces of chemicals….