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Chemical leak in Paulsboro contained, but officials say strong odor may linger

Investigation underway after tanker emits foul odor in South Jersey
Investigation underway after tanker emits foul odor in South Jersey 03:05

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Clean-up continues after a chemical leak at a truck stop in Gloucester County. The good news is officials say the leak is contained, but the strong odor could linger for some time. 

The odor from a chemical leak in Gloucester County is still coming in waves. 

Representatives of New Jersey and environmental agencies say this odor isn't harmful, but families are alarmed by the smell. 

The Paulsboro TA Travel Center, along the 100 block of Berkley Road, remains shut down as specialized equipment from Pittsburgh is brought in to clean up the tanker that's emitting this noxious odor. 

Gloucester County officials say the odor came from a tractor-trailer at the truck stop in East Greenwich. They said a tractor-trailer containing about 7,000 gallons of a chemical called Lubrizol was venting and causing the smell.

This is not a natural gas leak, but officials say Lubrizol is a chemical additive for natural gas.

At a Thursday afternoon news conference, representatives from federal, state, and local agencies tried to calm people's fears that the odor they're smelling is not dangerous to their health. 

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Larry Hajna says the odor is akin to that rotten eggs smell when natural gas leaks. People are smelling the odor, but not necessarily smelling the hazardous chemical residing in the tanker. 

"It is very pungent, very strong, but it's not hazardous itself, but as I said, it can cause irritation to certain people," Hajna said. 

The incident is contained and not toxic, but the smell was reported up to 50 miles away, including in Camden and South Philadelphia. 

Gloucester County Public Health's Annmarie Ruiz says no one has been hospitalized but she says people experiencing symptoms may need to call their doctor. 

Long-term effects haven't been determined with any of these types of chemicals, however, if anybody's experiencing that, they need to seek medical attention. 

Technicians have tested the air quality of the immediate incident, and there's no threat to the public. They will continue to test the air quality as well.

As clean-up continues, questions remain on how this started in the first place.

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