PARIS (Reuters) - A gas leak at a chemicals factory cast a strong odour across northwestern France that wafted all the way down to Paris in the early hours of Tuesday, but officials said there was no danger to the public.
Officials at Lubrizol France, which makes additives for industrial lubricants and paint, said the sulphur-like smell was from a harmless additive in natural gas and said the company aimed to plug the leak during the day.
Paris police said in a statement the gas was Mercaptan, which it said was non-toxic but smelled like rotten eggs.
"It smells unpleasant because it's a gas we use to give an odour to natural gas," Pierre-Jean Payrouse, director of internal operations at Lubrizol France, told BFM television. "The problem should be resolved during the day."
Ohio-based Lubrizol, founded in 1928 and part of U.S. conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway Inc since 2011, has production facilities in some 19 countries.
The leak in France occurred on Monday morning at its plant near Rouen, 120 km (75 miles) northwest of Paris, but wind blew the gas south, prompting Parisians to flood the emergency services with calls in the early hours of Tuesday, police said.
A local news website said the gas, which smelled like diesel fuel, had caused migraines, irritations and nausea among some residents of Rouen.
"We're working on resolving the situation," Lubrizol France spokeswoman Nathalie Bakaev told BFM. "But it's not toxic."
(Reporting by Geert de Clercq and Catherine Bremer; Writing by Catherine Bremer)
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