BASF shuts German plant that emitted imidazole in Rhine

FILE PHOTO: A truck drives past a warehouse of German chemical company BASF in Ludwigshafen, April 23, 2015. BASF on Thursday marks the company's 150th anniversary. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski/File Photo

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German chemicals company BASF said on Saturday it had protectively closed an imidazole plant in Ludwigshafen after discovering it emitted a small amount of the pharmaceutical and cosmetics raw material into the river Rhine since Oct. 9.

Imidazole can be harmful to fish and, in humans, cause burnt skin, eye damage and other problems if swallowed, it said in a statement. Given the size of the emission, estimated to be 300 kg, it would presumably be diluted, the company added.

The relevant authorities had been notified, BASF said.

Reporting by Vera Eckert; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne