The Lanxess chemical plant near Charleston’s Rosemont community once had robust community engagement | Photos by Ruta Smith

Human error caused the release of a small amount of a highly toxic gas on May 24 at the Lanxess chemical plant just north of Charleton’s Rosemont community in the Neck Area, a company spokesman told the Charleston City Paper.

“While the incident did not necessarily spur any changes in plant operations — as the proper protocols are in place for the safe handling and storage of materials — the situation did result in continued efforts to further train on-site personnel and the appropriate contractors,” company spokesman Mike Mackin said in an email to the City Paper.

The release of small amounts of phosphorus trichloride “did result in continued efforts to further train on-site personnel and the appropriate contractors,” he said. “Teams have undergone intense review of the situation and will continue to educate and train around the procedures in place.”

In Rosemont, problems at the plant raised concern among residents who recall a June 17, 1991, explosion at what was then known as the Albright & Wilson chemical plant. The massive explosion killed nine workers and injured dozens. More recently, a chemical leak and fire on Nov. 28, 2019, required Rosemont residents to take shelter in their homes and it shut down Interstate 26.

Lanxess manufactures phosphorus trichloride and numerous derivative products such as flame-retardant additives and intermediate products for the agrochemicals industry.



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City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.