Foul-Smelling gas leaking from Lubrizol factory in Rouen since Monday. It is harmless, but can be toxic if it is very concentrated, writes the French newspaper Le Parisien .
Lubrizol, which is located 120 kilometers northwest of Paris, produces the unpleasant smell that is added to natural gas so that any leaks are detected.
Many said that it smelled of sweat, diesel or rotten eggs and the police both in Kent and Sussex received phone calls from worried Brits. So did the authorities in London, Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire.
The British gas supplier The national Grid which normally gets 10,000 calls a day, received more than 100,000 calls during the Tuesday, reports BBC .
Headache and nausea
In Paris residents called emergency phone and complained of headache, sore throat and nausea because of the nasty stench.
France's Environment Minister, Delphine Batho, came home from a trip to Berlin and went to the factory in Rouen.
- The gas can be troublesome, but it is not dangerous. I'm reassured, but now the matter investigated further, she said at a news conference Wednesday morning.
Production at the plant is currently closed. In the night between 20 and 30 employees worked to seal the leak.
The fetid odor also led to a football match between Rouen and Marseille being postponed.
The factory produces mercaptan, also called thiol, according to Wikipedia . There are compounds that are odorous and which is used in the propane gas so that leaks are detected.