For immediate release
Media contact: Riikka Pohjankoski, 713-589-7079, [email protected]
HOUSTON – A Shelter in Place was issued early this morning after an Anhydrous Ammonia (ammonia gas) chemical leak occurred at a 99 Cents Only Store distribution center in west Harris County located in the 23600 block of Colonial Parkway near Grand Parkway.
Jennifer Hadayia, Executive Director of Air Alliance Houston, has issued the following statement:
“We are thankful that there were no reported major health impacts or injuries from today’s chemical leak in Katy, TX. We also want to acknowledge the coordinated response from our local officials, in particular: Harris County Public Health, Harris County Pollution Control Services, and the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office.
“Here in Houston, we typically think of the large chemical plants and other TRI (Toxic Release Inventory) facilities as the primary source of a potential leak of harmful substances such as anhydrous ammonia. While this is certainly true, today’s event is a sobering reminder that strong prevention, response, and real-time air monitoring are essential for all types of facilities.
“We look forward to seeing the results of the investigation into today’s event and the data on continued air monitoring in the Katy community.
“We urge anyone who experiences symptoms of ammonia exposure to seek medical attention. Ammonia air pollution can cause respiratory symptoms, eye irritation, nose and throat irritation, or shortness of breath.
“In closing, while we commend the agency response today, this is also a good example of why a real-time notification system for chemical emergencies is a ‘must-have’ for our community. Each new chemical incident highlights the need for better overall emergency response and a central public notification system, such as what already exists for severe weather or missing people.”
Air Alliance Houston is a non-profit advocacy organization working to reduce the public health impacts from air pollution and advance environmental justice through applied research, education, and advocacy.