Ark. Arsenal Workers Suffer Suspected Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

October 24, 2007

Seven workers at the Pine Bluff Arsenal in Arkansas were hospitalized Oct. 22 after suffering what officials suspect was carbon monoxide poisoning.

The employees work in the arsenal’s shipping and receiving warehouse, an area not involved with the storage or destruction of chemical weapons at the site, said spokeswoman Rachel Newton. Newton said the workers experienced moderate symptons of carbon monoxide poisoning, including headaches and nausea.

The workers were taken by ambulance to the Jefferson Regional Medical Center as a precaution, Newton said. All seven were treated and later released.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas. Newton said the cause of the exposure is being investigated.

In September 2002, four subcontractors working at the arsenal were taken to the hospital after suffering carbon monoxide poisoning from working with a gas-powered sandblaster in an unventilated area at the arsenal.

Chemical weapons at the arsenal, just outside of Pine Bluff, represent about 12 percent of the nation’s stockpile. The weapons are being destroyed under terms of an international treaty. The entire process is expected to take five more years.

Information from: Pine Bluff Commercial,

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