A tractor trailer hauling more than 4,000 pounds of hydrochloric acid crashed on I-35 in Kansas City on Monday, sending the corrosive liquid spraying out onto the roadway.
The Missouri tractor trailer crash and chemical spill happened just before the morning rush and hospitalized 11 people, according to the Kansas City Star.
According to police cited in local media reports, the truck was traveling through a narrow construction zone and likely moving too fast for the road conditions. A full investigation is ongoing to confirm these suspicions.
The hydrochloric acid being carried was 50 percent concentrated, which is a very powerful mixture according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Concentrations at 10 percent or even lower are to be handled with care. Higher concentrations increase the corrosive ability of the chemical.
If the acid comes into contact with human tissue, it will cause burning and severe damage, especially to the eyes, throat, and other soft tissue. If inhaled, the acid can irritate the throat and lungs, possibly creating ulcers. It has also been shown to cause pulmonary edema, which is a dangerous buildup of fluid in the lungs.
Because of these risks, after the tractor trailer crash, people in the area were advised to remain indoors. The Isle of Capri Casino, which is located near the crash site, shut down its ventilation system to prevent any dangerous fumes from entering the building.
Most of the people that sought treatment at the hospital had been exposed to the chemical and complained of irritation of the eyes or throat. At this time, there are no reports of serious injury or permanent damage due to exposure to the acid.
Road crews also repaired damage to the roadway where the acid had eaten away at the asphalt.