To determine the source of a vinyl chloride leak in Mailiao Industrial Park, from 31 August to 7 October 2016, both the EPA and the Central Branch of its Bureau of Environmental Inspection are to assist the Yunlin County government by posting personnel inside factories to examine processes related to the manufacture of vinyl chloride, polyvinyl chloride, and ethylene glycol on-site.
On 31 August, inspections began with inspectors examining seven manufacturing processes in four factories. The processes inspected included the ethylene glycol manufacturing process at Nan Ya Plastics Corporation Mailiao Factory, as well as processes of Nan Chung Petrochemical Corp, Nan Ya Plastics Corporation Haifeng Factory, and Formosa Plastics Corp. Mailiao Factory. Approximately 15,000 individual items in the facilities will be examined, and if necessary, tested. The inspection is focused on legal compliance and tracing of suspected pollution sources. The main pollutants being traced are vinyl chloride, 1,2-dichloroethane, and ethylene oxide, all of which can cause detectable amounts of thiodiglycolic acid (TDGA) in the human body after being metabolized.
Furthermore, to measure concentrations of vinyl chloride in the environment around the Hsu-Tsiao branch of Qiaotou Elementary School – which is in the proximity of Mailiao Industrial Park – the EPA will conduct two months of continuous monitoring there using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) to record any changes in pollutant concentrations. Sampling buckets will be established to take two outdoor air samples and one indoor one every six days for further analysis.
The EPA also requests Formosa Plastics Corp. and all manufacturers of vinyl chloride and polyvinyl chloride in Mailiao Industrial Park to immediately conduct annual maintenance on their facilities and carry out testing and repairs on any faulty equipment so as to ensure that they are leakage-free.
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)