Posted at: 10/01/2012 1:08 PM
Updated at: 10/01/2012 5:04 PM
By: Leslie Dyste
Explosion at Japanese Chemical Plant Could Cause Diaper Shortage
The world could be up against a shortage of disposable diapers due to an explosion Saturday afternoon at a Japanese chemical plant that produces a fifth of the global supply.
The explosion killed a firefighter and injured dozens of people.
Police said the explosion was reported Saturday at the chemical plant Nippon Shokubai Co. in the coastal industrial area of Himeji, about 600 kilometers (370 miles) west of Tokyo.
Plant workers first reported a large bursting noise and temblor after a chemical tank exploded.
Television footage showed the plant covered with orange flames and black smoke rising to the sky. The cause of the blast was under investigation.
Nippon Shokubai, which is the world's largest source of the water-absorbing polymers in popular diapers like Huggies and Pampers, has already announced plans to set up production facilities overseas while operation at the factory is suspended.
The Associated Press Contributed to this Report.