The Passaic chemical plant that was engulfed in flames Friday night and prompted calls to close windows and shelter in place housed as much as 3 million pounds of potentially hazardous substances on an average day, according to state data.
Qualco Inc., which makes pool treatment supplies, had about a dozen chemicals at its large Passaic Street plant, ranging from industrial disinfectants to bleaching agents, according to a 2020 inventory list sent to state regulators.
That information comes from the latest “Community Right to Know” data on the plant's chemical inventory from the state Department of Environmental Protection. Information on the plant's 2021 inventory was not available in the DEP's database.
On Saturday morning, Passaic Mayor Hector Lora said firefighters were trying to stop what was left of the fire from reaching the main section of the plant where he said the bulk of the chemicals are stored. State environmental workers were at the site to monitor the air.
The substances included liquids and solids. Some were in their pure state and some were in a mixture.
Here is a list by substance, average daily inventory and what potential adverse effects they can have on people.
Boric Acid - 10,000 to 24,999 pounds - low in toxicity if eaten or if it contacts skin. It can be corrosive to the eye and irritating to the skin, according to the National Pesticide Information Center.
Brominating Tablet - 2,500 to 4,999 pounds - breathing bromine gas could cause coughing, trouble breathing, irritation of mucous membranes, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Calcium Chloride Flake - 50,000 to 99,999 pounds - may cause severe irritation of the upper respiratory tract with pain, burns, and inflammation, according to Fisher Scientific
Calcium Hypochlorite - 50,000 to 99,999 pounds - may be corrosive to rescuers and may release harmful vapor, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
Caustic Soda Beads - 5,000 to 9,999 pounds - also known as sodium hydroxide and lye, it can burn the eyes, skin, and inner membranes, and cause temporary hair loss, according to the CDC.
Citric Acid Anhydrous - 25,000 to 49,999 pounds - causes respiratory tract irritation, according to Fisher Scientific.
Cyanuric Acid - 100,000 to 499,999 pounds - at high temperatures it produces toxic fumes including nitrogen oxides and isocyanic acid and can generate explosion hazards, according to the World Health Organization.
Diatomaceous Earth - 10,000 to 24,999 pounds - can irritate the nose and nasal passages. If an extremely large amount is inhaled, people may cough and have shortness of breath, according to the National Pesticide Information Center.
Dichloroisocyanuric Acid Dihydrate - 100,000 to 499,999 pounds - can cause respiratory problems.
Diphosphonic Acid - 50,000 to 99,999 pounds - can cause respiratory problems.
Lanthanum Chloride - 500 to 999 pounds - can cause serious eye damage and other ailments.
Magnesium Sulfate - 10,000 to 24,999 pounds - also known as Epsom salt, it can cause irritating vapors and toxic gases when burned.
Methyl Ethyl Ketone - 500 to 999 pounds - a flammable liquid, it can be harmful to the eyes, skin and lungs.
N-alkyl ethylbenzyl dimethyl ammonium - 50,000 to 99,999 pounds - can cause respiratory problems.
Poly Oxyethylene Dimethyliminio Ethylene - 25,000 to 49,999 pounds - slightly hazardous in case of inhalation.
Potassium Monopersulfate - 10,000 to 24,999 pounds - can cause chemical burns and respiratory problems.
Propylene Glycol - 500 to 999 pounds - can cause lightheadedness and respiratory problems.
Sodium Bicarbonate - 100,000 to 499,999 pounds - also known as baking soda; exposure to large amounts may result in some adverse health effects
Sodium Carbonate - 100,000 to 499,999 pounds - may cause irritation to the respiratory tract, including difficulty breathing.
Sodium Chloride - 10,000 to 24,999 pounds - this is salt, excessive amounts can irritate eyes, lungs.
Sodium Hexametaphosphate - 500 to 999 pounds - may cause irritation to the respiratory tract including coughing and shortness of breath.
Sodium Hydrogen Sulfate - 50,000 to 99,999 pounds - can cause serious eye damage among other ailments.
Sodium Hypochlorite - 10,000 to 24,999 pounds - can irritate the lungs and cause a build-up of fluid.
Trichloroisocyanuric Acid - 100,000 to 499,999 pounds - a bleaching agent, it can irritate the nose, throat and lungs causing coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. It is a dangerous explosion hazard, according to the state Health Department.
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This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Passaic chemical fire site Qualco, Inc. held hazardous substances