toxic tick tock


  • HS/008


This application concerned consent for chlorine and phosphine to be stored on the site. It was submitted on 26/11/92 and a decision for approval issued on 11/12/92. by The Black Country Development Corporation.


Albright and Wilson’s then works manager Ian Woodhouse  explains their intentions in  the letter below.


A plan for the storage areas on the site can be found HERE

A plan for areas covered for the vessel location plan for Chlorine and phosphine can be found below.


Rhodia advised the council that AW had now become “Rhodia Consumer specialities” in the letter below on April 25th 2000 from Tom Dutton who is listed as “Risk prevention manager.”


A reply from the council indicates their position in that The consent cannot change name from the original cosent on the public register given that there is no provision in law to do so.


Tom Dutton replies interestingly “I can confirm that Rhodia have taken control of the whole of the land formerly controlled by Albright and Wilson Ltd.” http___planapps.sandwell.gov.uk_WAM_doc_Correspondence-158730.pdf_extension=

An interesting file note concerning an accidental roof fire on May 29th 1997 is provided below. It is clear to see from this spin that the company were trying to dampen concerns about the multitude of hazardous and flammable chemicals stored at the site by claiming that the fire was not caused by any of them. NOT SO MUCH SPECULATION AS TO THE RISK THAT THIS FIRE MAY HAVE POSED SHOULD IT HAVE REACHED THESE STORED SUBSTANCES HOWEVER.


There is no information at all concerning safety data for these highly toxic chemicals.

WE PROVIDE THEM HERE. NB the organisation “Public Health England” was formerly known as The Health Protection Agency who carried out a human health Risk Assessment for Rhodia at Rattlechain lagoon.


“Chlorine is a poisonous gas that may cause delayed, fatal lung damage at high concentrations. At lower concentrations, chlorine may cause eye irritation and coughing. Chlorine was used as a chemical warfare agent during World War I.”

“Exposure of the general public to chlorine may arise through accidental release during road or rail transport.”



  • Very toxic by inhalation; symptoms usually occur within a few hours of exposure
  • Phosphine is irritating to the mucous membranes of the nose, mouth, throat and respiratory tract
  • Inhalation may result in weakness, chest tightness and pain, dry mouth, cough, sickness, vomiting, diarrhoea, chills, muscle pain, headache, dizziness, ataxia, confusion and lung damage. These symptoms may develop 2-3 days after exposure
  • Severe poisoning may result in increased heart rate, low blood pressure, convulsions, coma, heart damage and death. These symptoms usually within 4 days but may be delayed up to 1-2 weeks
  • Exposure to the eyes or skin may cause irritation
  • Long-term exposure may cause anaemia, bronchitis, gastrointestinal disorders, speech and motor problems, toothache, weakness, weight loss, swelling and damage of the jaw bone and spontaneous fractures
  • Phosphine has not been associated with cancer
  • Phosphine is not likely to cause reproductive or developmental effects


  • Dangerous for the Environment
  • Inform Environment Agency of substantial release incidents

 According to this document

“It is very unlikely that the general population will be exposed to a level of phosphine high enough to cause adverse health effects.”

Well if you live near to this factory does the risk increase or decrease?