Pratteln, April 27, 2024 – An unknown quantity of acetyl chloride (acetic acid) leaked in a production building belonging to fine chemicals company CABB in Pratteln on Friday evening. As a result, a cloud formed, producing an odor which reached outside of the company’s premises. The external fire brigade concluded its operations during the night. There were no injuries.

Acetyl chloride is a liquid used as an intermediate product at the CABB AG plant in Pratteln. Contact with moisture produces a vapor with vinegar-like smell, which can be corrosive in higher concentrations. As a precautionary measure, police instructed local residents on Friday evening to close their windows and stay indoors. However, the fire brigade did not detect any elevated levels outside the company premises at any time. No contamination of any body of water occurred.

The on-site and external firefighting services from the neighborhood averted any further odor nuisance outside of the premises with their intervention. The chemical leak was stopped. The reasons for the leak have not yet been established and are currently being investigated. CABB AG will communicate its findings next week.

CABB regrets the incident. Plant manager Uwe Müller: “We have a comprehensive safety protocol and operations management that comes into effect immediately in the event of an incident. This was the case here too. As part of our chemical manufacturing, we work with substances and products of various different hazard classes. We are aware of these hazards and keep them under control at all times.”

CABB is also pleased that the Alertswiss app, which alerts local residents, worked perfectly. However, this generated a lot of media attention with events not always being portrayed in the most accurate light. For example, shortly after the alarm was raised parallels were being drawn with the 1986 Sandoz fire. “Portraying events in this manner unsettles the population unnecessarily,” says plant manager Uwe Müller.


– Press Release: CABB Pratteln: Chemical leak produces odor nuisance