Petrochemical Oxiquim denies responsibility as intoxications in Quintero continue

QUINTERO – Oxiquim S.A., one of the companies that was came up as one of the major suspects of the environmental disaster that left hundreds of Chileans injured, denies any responsibility. Investigations showed that the company worked earlier with forbidden chemicals. The company didn´t respond over accusations of their link with the government.

Petrochemical enterprise Oxiquim S.A., has rejected the accusations for the disaster, that injured hundreds of citizens of the communities of Quintero and Puchuncaví, after a toxic cloud spread over their neighborhoods. Oxiquim is considered as one of the companies responsible for the environmental disaster, that has been causing damage to the people for years now.

Two towns in Valparaíso region suffer from toxic cloud

Oxiquim rejects all accusations,…

Oxiquim rejected all accusations in a statement released earlier. “We reject the ill-founded accusations upon us, which directly affect more than 80 employees who work in Oxiquim Quintero,” the company said.  

They say they regret citizens were hurt in the tragedy, and assured that in response to the emergency occurred, it took the proper measures to clarify the facts. “Oxiquim engaged in an exhaustive search in all its proceedings, in the operations developed days before the disaster, and about the compliance of the security protocol,” the company said.

…self-investigates involvement…

After the query, Oxiquim assured that it doesn’t use, sell, or store the compounds that are associated with the damage the community suffered, which comprise methyl chloroform, isobutene, and nitrobenzene. Yet, opposition deputies accused Environment Minister Carolina Schmidt for neglecting her role in protecting the environment. The accusation came after discovering her link with the president of the company.

The president of Oxiquim, Fernando Barroso, worked with Schmidt’s husband for about 17 years. Barroso also still works as legal representative of the current president Piñera, which explains why the government refuses to point directly at Oxiquim as responsible for the tragedy.

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… and takes preventive measures.

Besides ensuring it has delivered all the information necessary to clarify the facts, Oxiquim also said that the company has taken further measures to avoid any incident with the environment. Among them, the company hired the independent environmental services company Serpram, with the aim of monitoring the toxic emissions from the enterprise. The service also must assist in improving the current policy and equipment that allow the company to response well in case of any contamination episode.    

Yet, the intoxication continues…

Meanwhile, and for the third time this last two weeks, citizens of Quintero have been brought to the hospital with symptoms of intoxication. At least 99 people, among them dozens of children, were taken to Quintero hospital. The source behind the intoxication remains mysteriously unknown, but the symptoms are the same as the two last intoxications: nausea, headaches and breathing problems. The government has decreed another Code Yellow alert on the community, and scholar activities were suspended again.

“They have very similar symptoms, which follow the same pattern of those we attended during the previous intoxications,” said Daniela Siegmund, director of Quintero hospital, adding that a major part of the affected came from three high schools of the community. Authorities remarked that the monitoring did not revealed any toxic agent in the environment this time, and that they will continue to search for the source of the intoxication.  



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