Gas leak at Intel manufacturing plant sends a dozen to the hospital

By on July 1, 2013, 7:30 AM
intel, arizona, gas leak, manufacturing plant, chip maker

A gas leak at Intel’s Chandler, Arizona, manufacturing plant sent a dozen people to the hospital over the weekend. At least 43 people became ill when a gas identified as nitrogen triflouride leaked from a single manufacturing tool in the company’s silicon wafer fabrication facility according to an Intel spokesperson.

Some 75 firefighters were called to the scene early Saturday after one worker complained of difficulty breathing. It was around this time that others began experiencing symptoms as well. 12 individuals were taken to local area hospitals to be treated for conditions including difficulty breathing, nausea, eye and skin irritation, said fire department spokesperson Tom Dwiggins.

The company’s second biggest manufacturing plant, home to around 11,000 employees, was promptly evacuated, the fire department spokesperson said. The leak occurred in a utility space that managed gasses and exhaust systems, we’re told. The tool responsible for the leak has since been taken out of commission and operations at the plant are back to normal.

As such, there’s no longer any outgoing danger nor was there ever any threat to nearby neighborhoods. The air inside and outside the structure was monitored and in all cases, the results came back clean.

The plant is home to two high-volume semiconductor manufacturing facilities. Intel is currently in the process of building a third facility on the campus which is scheduled to open later this year.

The cause of the leak is still under investigation as of writing.




User Comments: 4

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1 person liked this | fimbles fimbles said:

I googled it and posted it just in case anyone was as intrested as me.

Nitrogen trifluoride is the inorganic compound with the formula NF3. This nitrogen-fluorine compound is a colorless, toxic, odourless, nonflammable gas. It finds increasing use as an etchant in microelectronics.

Skin contact with NF3 is not hazardous, and it is a relatively minor irritant to mucous membranes and eyes. It is a pulmonary irritant with a toxicity comparable with nitrogen oxides, and overexposure via inhalation causes the conversion of hemoglobin in blood to methemoglobin, which can lead to the condition methemoglobinemia

fimbles fimbles said:

Best wishes to the victims, familys and fire crew.

1 person liked this | MilwaukeeMike said:

Skin contact with NF3 is not hazardous, and it is a relatively minor irritant to mucous membranes and eyes. It is a pulmonary irritant with a toxicity comparable with nitrogen oxides, and overexposure via inhalation causes the conversion of hemoglobin in blood to methemoglobin, which can lead to the condition methemoglobinemia

thanks for the info. I looked up methemoglobinemia, and it's a type of hemoglobin that doesn't release oxygen. The most obvious effect from my quick research is that it makes you turn blue.

1 person liked this | fimbles fimbles said:

A strange symptom indeed!

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