Home news 'Danger formic acid' found after Sussex firm goes bust

'Danger formic acid' found after Sussex firm goes bust


Chemicals found at a second site used by a defunct pharmaceutical firm appear to include a highly flammable acid.Substances found on land in Sussex used by Acquascience are thought to include formic acid, which is flammable, toxic and corrosive, expert analysis showed.About 300kg of explosive picric acid was found at another site this month.Former company boss Edward Clayson said he was working to remove some of the chemicals out of goodwill but the site owners were legally responsible.

Environmental consultant Andy Smith assessed chemicals at the second site and said they appeared to contain seven types: flammable industrial denatured alcohol, flammable industrial methylated spirit, toxic formaldehyde, toxic formalin and water, aqueous formic acid, flammable and toxic DAB and haematoxylin solution, an irritant liquid.Similar chemicals have also been found at a third site.

Landlord of the first site near Uckfield, Kevin Benton, said he had been advised that picric acid was a Class 1 explosive but said: “I feel that I’m being made responsible for something that isn’t my responsibility.”Wealden District Council said there was “no immediate danger” near Uckfield.The council said: “On other premises occupied by the same company [Acquascience] which is now in administration, hazardous chemicals are being removed with the co-operation of the site owners.”It said the situation was being monitored.But Hove MP Peter Kyle demanded immediate action and said: “Somebody has got to make safe these chemicals and get them off the land.”‘No more money’Mr Clayson said he tried to keep his company operational to continue the firm’s cancer diagnosis work for the NHS.On the chemicals, he said: “The company has data records – emails – confirming that we were actually actively working to remove them.”But he said: “The company ran out of money and couldn’t continue.”An Environment Agency spokesman said officers understood products had been stored at all three sites, adding: “We have no evidence they have been discarded or are likely to cause water pollution.”It referred any further inquiries to the council.
Source: BBC Sussex