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Last Edited: 7/26/2010

Richmond Sulfuric Acid Interview Study
01/1994 - 01/1998

Describes the public health impact and the characteristics of the illnesses suffered as a consequence of a sudden uncontrolled venting of oleum from a railroad tank car during unloading. The release occurred at approximately 7:15 AM on a weekday morning, and lasted about 4 hours.  The resulting cloud of sulfuric acid extended several miles over residential communities on San Francisco Bay.  Thousands of persons per day sought medical care at local clinics and emergency rooms for several days after the release. Newspaper accounts put the total affected at 20,000 to 40,000. Our investigation was conducted in two phases: first a review of emergency department records of facilities closest to the release, and second an interview study of a sample of victims identified in the first phase.