PETALING JAYA: Twenty-seven workers were exposed to ammonia gas when a leak occurred at an ice factory in Shah Alam, the Health Ministry confirmed.
In a statement on Monday (Aug 13), Selangor Health Department director Datuk Dr Khalid Ibrahim said 10 workers had to be intubated and nine others were being monitored at several hospitals, namely the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital (HTAR) in Klang, Shah Alam Hospital, Sungai Buloh Hospital and Banting Hospital.
Six workers have been released and were taught to recognise signs of ammonia gas poisoning, he added.
There have been two fatalities, believed to be Indian nationals, so far from the incident.
The ministry confirmed that the incident took place at the factory at Kampung Jawa at 5.20am on Monday.
The cause of the incident is still being investigated by the Fire and Rescue Department, and the police.
All health facilities in Selangor have been informed about the incident, Dr Khalid said, so that they can alert the operations room at the state Health Department’s Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC) if there are patients who show signs of ammonia poisoning.
He said symptoms of ammonia poisoning include headaches, cough, itchy eyes and nose, and drooling.
Ammonia poisoning can also cause irritation and burns on the exposed skin.
“High exposure (to ammonia) could cause breathing difficulties caused by bronchospasm and pulmonary edema. This condition could lead to death,” he said.
Members of the public who experience symptoms of ammonia poisoning were advised to go to the nearest health facility to seek treatment.
The incident resulted in residents within a 3km radius of the ice factory ordered to vacate their houses and buildings.
A Chinese school located in front of the factory was also advised to close for the day for safety reasons.