Chemical Leak at Texas Water Park Hospitalized 26 People

On Saturday, July 17, twenty-six people were hospitalized with conditions such as breathing issues and skin irritation after the Texas Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Splashtown was exposed to bleach and sulfuric acid. Rachel Neutzler, the spokeswoman for the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office, stated that only one person was in critical condition. While some believed the bleach and sulfuric acid was used to maintain pH at the waterpark and was accidentally overexposed, Neutzler believes otherwise. Neutzler and other investigators believe that this was the result of an intentional exploit in a shallow pool targeted towards children.

The authorities decontaminated more than 60 individuals, according to Scott Seifert, head of the Spring Fire Department, by having them rub and wash their eyes beneath the hose of a ladder truck. However, 39 of those people refused to go to the hospital.

“Chief Seifert said the breathing problems had been caused by a combination of 35 percent sulfuric acid and 10 to 13 percent bleach.”

From the New York Times article, “26 People Hospitalized After Chemical Exposure at Texas Water Park”

It is difficult to figure out the reasoning behind why the water caused so many people to get sick. When investigators examined the system that injects chemicals into the water to maintain pH 7, the tested water remained at a pH balance of 7 so the possibility of the system messing up is low.

“These are normal chemicals that are used every day at these facilities,” Ms. Neutzler said. “But these are the specific chemicals that we believe are causing the respiratory and skin irritations. We just don’t know why. We don’t know if there was too much. We don’t know if it was in the air. We don’t know if there was a malfunction.”

From the New York Times article, “26 People Hospitalized After Chemical Exposure at Texas Water Park”

For now, the authorities issued to have the park closed until investigation is complete. Whether the respiratory irritation amongst guests were caused by chemicals released in the air or intentionally leaked in the pool’s water system are still unsure. Ms. Hidalgo, the Harris County judge, believed that the park should have regularly recorded pH levels amongst the park but such logs didn’t exist or was not found during the time the incident occurred.

Categories: Society