As many as 36 people received minor injuries from a series of explosions at an oil depot near London on 11 December 2005. The explosions were reported to have been triggered accidentally, but the matter is being inquired into. Sources from the West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust maintained that only two people were in need of further treatment.
The smoke from site is capable of irritating the eyes, making people cough, and feel nauseous. The elderly people and suffers from asthma are likely to be affected by the smoke. The Hemel Hempstead General Hospital has made provisions for people who may suffer from complications because of the low toxity smoke. The people living nearby have been called upon to remain indoors and keep their windows and doors closed.
The British Lung Foundation's Professor Warren Lenney has warned that the lungs and even the brain may be affected through inhaling the acidic smoke's soot particles. Those suffering from lung diseases will be the worst affected. Burning fuels were reportedly responsible for the fire which has generated large clouds of carbon particles. The smoke may also contain carcinogenic dioxins as a result of other materials burning. Acidic chemicals are produced as a result of burning petroleum products.
There could be swellings in the lungs, as a result of poor oxygen supplies in the air due to the smoke. Concentration levels of the people will also drop as the brain is also affected by the acidic smoke. The health care centers across the region are expected to receive more visits from the affected people. London's Poisons and Toxicology Unit is rendering advice to doctors in the area with regard to dealing with chemical incidents.