Maine is the home to many strange things, if you believe Stephen King. Even if you don’t, something odd happened there recently, as Portland, Maine, residents were alarmed by a mysterious Purple Haze emitting from the Ecomaine waste energy plant.
They’re smoking mad about this purple plume.
Maine residents were baffled and outraged by a mysterious purple vapor that filled the sky in Portland on Thursday and Friday — calling it potentially hazardous pollution fit for a supernatural horror story, according to reports.
Workers first spotted the magenta vapor billowing from the smokestack at the Ecomaine waste energy plant on Thursday morning, likely due to burning iodine, wmtw.com reported.
“Isn’t this how @StephenKing books begin?,” tweeted Alexander Hitchen, who snapped photos of the eerie scene.
Ecomaine claimed the purple pollution — which can cause health problems — was halted within hours, but it reappeared Friday, according to the station.
People can be tense on Hot Summer Nights, but possibly dangerous pollution may be enough to turn a sensible person into a Wild Thing.
Apparently the color of the emissions was due to an unusual amount of iodine being burned as part of their process.
…“This was probably caused by a larger than normal amount of iodine present in the waste stream all at once,” Kevin Roche, CEO of Ecomaine, said Thursday. “Fortunately, our plant employees were able to correct the situation in 2 ½ hours and get the plant back to normal operations.
“While vaporized iodine can pose health risks if directly inhaled, it is very unlikely anyone had direct exposure due to the relatively short time the incident occurred and its location,” the firm said in a statement.
Iodine vapor can be an irritant and may cause stomach pain if it’s inhaled or comes in contact with a person’s skin, according to the CDC.
Long-term exposure could lead to insomnia, inflammation of the eyes and nose, bronchitis, tremors, rapid heartbeat, diarrhea, and weight loss.
Manic Depression is not one of the side effects, although the local residents could be expected to experience the Country Blues.
Excess iodine exposure can have serious effects, according to the National Library of Medicine:
There were no reported deaths due to iodine toxicity in 2018, according to the 2018 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data System (NPDS): 36th Annual Report. Iodine induced hyperthyroidism occurs in iodine-deficient populations after the implementation of iodine supplementation programs. Their pre-existing Iodine deficiency leads to the development of TSH resistant thyroid nodules. These nodules then overproduce thyroid hormones in response to sudden iodine supply. This condition results in symptoms of hyperthyroidism: weight loss, tachycardia, and muscle weakness. Iodine induced hyperthyroidism may be dangerous in patients with underlying heart disease.
In iodine sufficient individuals, iodine excess causes elevated thyroid-stimulating hormone levels, which inhibits thyroid hormone production leading to hypothyroidism and goiter.
Normally, though, overdoses of iodine are caused by over-consumption of dietary supplements rather than inhalation.
Stuff happens, in industry as in every other form of endeavor. While this incident is odd, there are as yet no reports of people suffering health consequences from the accident, which is good news. What remains to be seen is the Biden Administration’s response, which will almost certainly be to either ignore it or find a way to blame climate change.
Will Ecomaine be held fiscally responsible for any damages? Ain’t No Telling. One suspects they have no Burning Desire to suffer any legal consequences from this mishap, however much they may personally feel Shame, Shame, Shame over the event.
It remains unknown if the incident will result in “Purple Rain.”
This seems relevant: