A Strange Smell Swept Through Houston on Monday

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The air smelled strange in Houston on Monday. Ben Werler wrote on Facebook that the smell was like “burning plastic” while Maryann Young said, “her husband and dog came in smelling like mothballs.” ABC 13 reported that the haze wasn’t considered a health threat. If it had been believed to be harmful to Houstonians, spokesman for the Houston Fire Department Ruy Lozano said that emergency officials would have used air quality data to order a shelter in place for the areas enduring the scent.

While news networks were trying to figure out the origin of the odor, they reported that the LyondellBasell facility could be the culprit, but LyondellBasell, a chemical, plastics and refining company, said it couldn’t have been their plant making the smell 15 miles east. Even if it wasn’t that particular facility, one of the many chemical plants surrounding Houston could have released the odor, and since winds were particularly strong that day, the smell could have easily blown into Houston.

In fact, reported that the Pasadena Albemarle plant “issued an alert at 8:30 Monday morning saying the public would notice the smell of a gas odorizer being released from several natural gas service stations.” Though later, Albemarle denied the smell as well.

The cause of the odor is still a mystery.