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A chemical leak outside Scotland’s largest refinery was declared a major incident on Wednesday, as emergency services battled through the night to contain it.

A large quantity of hazardous divinylbenzene leaked from storage tanks on the quayside near the Grangemouth refinery, causing a huge plume to fill the air.

Nobody was hurt during the incident, though neighbours expressed concern that they had not been informed nor given any warning following the leak.

According to the Health and Safety Executive divinylbenzene is a pale straw-coloured liquid that is mainly used in the synthesis and manufacture of resins, plastics, composites and latexes used in coatings.

While the chemical does come with an official health warning, it is not the most toxic substance used by industry, with exposure leading to irritation of nose and eyes while repeatedly coming into contact with it could lead to lasting nasal damage.

Sam Bond

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