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One day after another fire erupted at the ITC Deer Park farm, classes have been canceled and a shelter in place order has been made for the area.

The shelter-in-place order was made for both Deer Park and Galena Park as a precaution due to elevated benzene levels. The order has also forced Highway 225 in the area to be shut down.

School districts announced early Thursday morning the classes would be canceled at the same schools that were affected yesterday as well as multiple KIPP locations.

  • Channelview Independent School District
  • Deer Park Independent School District
  • La Porte Independent School District
  • Pasadena Independent School District
  • Sheldon Independent School District
  • Galena Park Independent School District
  • San Jacinto College campuses and the district offices
  • Clear Horizons Early College High School due to San Jacinto College closure
  • Texas Chiropractic College
  • KIPP’s Northeast Campus, which includes KIPP Legacy, KIPP Polaris, KIPP Voyage, KIPP Northeast College prep; East End Campus, which includes KIPP Intrepid, KIPP Explore; and South East Campus, which includes KIPP Climb, KIPP Prime

Per KHOU, here’s what you need to know about benzene, the chemical that was exposed in the air due to the ITC Deer Park fire.

WHAT IS BENZENE?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, benzene is a colorless or light yellow liquid at room temperature.  It has a sweet odor and is highly flammable.  It evaporates into the air very quickly.

SYMPTOMS:

These are the signs and symptoms of benzene exposure. They could present themselves anywhere from minutes to several hours after exposure:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Headaches
  • Tremors
  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness
  • Death (at very high levels)

Eating foods or drinking beverages containing high levels of benzene can cause the following symptoms within minutes to several hours:

    • Vomiting
    • Irritation of the stomach
    • Dizziness
    • Sleepiness
    • Convulsions
    • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
    • Death (at very high levels)
    • Direct exposure of the eyes, skin or lungs to benzene can cause tissue injury or irritation.

LONG TERM EFFECTS:

The major long-term (a year or more) health effects of benzene is on the blood.  It can cause harmful effects on bone marrow and can cause a decrease in red blood cells, leading to anemia. It can also cause excessive bleeding and can affect the immune system, increasing chance for infection.

RELATED: All Tank Fires Extinguished At ITC Deer Park

RELATED: ITC Deer Park Facility Fire Could Take Two Days To Burn Out

RELATED: School Districts Cancel Classes Due To ITC Chemical Plant Fire

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