Blast highlights Courtaulds' environmental problems

An explosion at Courtaulds Acetate's plant near Derby on 13 January injured ten people and caused major on-site damage. The blast is the latest in a series of safety and environmental problems at the site, and highlighted the firm's reluctance to part with information.

The incident occurred in one of six units in an acetone recovery plant which condenses solvent used in spinning cellulose acetate fibre. The ten people injured were released from hospital on the same day after treatment for shock and minor abrasions. The environmental consequences included an unquantified release of acetone to the air and a fish kill in a nearby watercourse.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is considering proceedings

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