It was 10th July 1976. The ICMESA plant (Industrie Chimiche Meda Società Azionaria) A plant that manufactures intermediate chemicals for Herbicides, Cosmetics & Pharmaceutical industry The Seveso disaster was so named because Seveso was the community most affected. Seveso is a small town with a population of 17,000 in 1976.

. Duration of hazardous discharge: 20 minutes. 4. This had terrible effects. A complex mixture of chemicals weighing 3 tonnes were discharged into the air.What Happened 1. 2. 3. 5. On 10th July 1976 12:37 PM a bursting disc on a chemical reactor ruptured Maintenance staff heard a whistling sound and a cloud of vapor was seen to issue from a vent on the roof. AFFECTING EVEN UNCONCEIVED HUMAN BABIES. of considerable altitude drifted offsite. A dense white cloud.

4 tetrachlorodibenzo . sodium glyoxides. Sodium oxalate .What were the chemicals Released into the Air?? Hydrogen was the propellant that quickly helped the chemicals spread out into the air.7.dioxin which is known by the trivial name of ¶dioxin· and as TCDD sodium salt of trichlorophenol.3. Highly toxic 2.p .



5. This led to a shutting down of parts and processes without shutting down the steam turbine(steam turbine is also being used for electricity generation) 4. Many other batch processes were shutdown in a similar fashion. Reaction became exothermic . THIS WAS THE ROOTCAUSE THAT HAD LED TO THE ERROR. The reaction turns exothermic after breaching 230 deg C. Seveso Plant used the heat from the steam turbine to help in providing the activation energy for the above reaction. 2. 6. This led to overheating. 3.What went Wrong on the Judgment Day of Seveso?? 1. BUT A REGULATION IN ITALY REQUIRED THAT PLANTS HAD TO COMPLETELY SHUT DOWN FOR WEEKENDS.

TCDD production apparently reached 100 ppm or more. .At controlled temperatures dioxin produced is normally seen only in trace amounts of less than 1 ppm In the higher-temperature conditions.

The manufacturer of the bursting disc recommended the use of a second receiver to recover toxic materials. without any agitation or cooling.The production cycle was interrupted. No such vessel was fitted. allowing a prolonged holding of the reaction mass. . There was no device to collect or destroy the toxic materials as they vented.

Reactor diagram .

Direct or Indirect Exposure from 1976-1991: 36589 people exposed to disaster: .Lymphatic and hematopoietic risk. .Breast Cancer .Extreme Chloracne( Facial acne from Chlorine) 4% of local farm Animals DEAD!! .5.7 % of Exposed got cancer. .Bad Effects of Dioxin FIRST 7 years: Changed Sex Ratio from 62% for girl babies and 38% for baby boys.


Reactive Measures by Italy After Disaster 80000 Animals killed to avoid the spread of dioxin & further mutations in genes. . Law was bent to allow abortions. Eating local agricultural produce was banned. there were mass abortions by pregnant women to avoid malformed children. Within 3 Wks: 736 people living in vicinity of plant evacuated.

447 were found to suffer from skin lesions or chloracne .15 children were quickly hospitalized with skin inflammation.

Consequences Herwig von Zwehl (Technical Director of ICMESA) and Paolo Paoletti (director of production at ICMESA) were arrested. Two government commissions were established to develop a plan for quarantining and decontaminating the area. . for which the Italian government allotted 40 billion lire.

Would never tell regulators. . what chemicals were being manufactured. If Regulators persisted with questions. ICMESA used connections in bureaucracy to undercut the regulatory bodies. ICMESA tried to use the incinerator for burning phenol and establishing a water treatment plant. TCP(Tri chloro phenol) which caused the accident wasn·t even known in the records of the government until the disaster happened. ICMESA had kept TCP a secret operation.Background Only in 1972.

. No employee safety training nor booklets issued. ICMESA was totally a careless organization with regards to safety. Employees were not educated about the risks of the chemicals they were handling. But ICMESA didn·t do so. Regulators were required to be informed if TCP. Phenol etc. were produced. Lack of proper safety training by managers which led to inefficiency by the employee.Reasons According to law. ICMESA needed to have its plant far away from human civilization.

Chloracne .

Withered Leaves .

Disaster Map .

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful