Nasty gas leak from factory in France leaves people in Britain gagging
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A nasty gas leak from a factory in France has invaded Britain, with horrified residents in the South East flooding police with calls as the obnoxious odour left them gagging.
Many feared it was so bad it may be poisonous. But health officials traced the rotten smell to a leak at a factory in Rouen, Normandy, about 70 miles west of Paris.
The leak, from French chemical firm Lubrizol, released a colourless gas called mercaptan, or methanethiol – listed in the Guinness Book of Records as "the world''s smelliest substance", reports The Mirror.
It is one of the main chemicals responsible for bad breath and flatulence and occurs naturally in humans. James Boyes, 42, of Dover, said the stench was "truly, truly awful".
He said it was like the worst flatulent person ever standing with their back turned towards you.
People living in Hastings, Eastbourne, Brighton, Folkestone, Dover, Deal, Tunbridge Wells, Maidstone and Ashford fell victim to the pungent gas. Even parts of South East London, including Croydon, Bromley, Sidcup and Lewisham, were not spared. Later reports said it had wafted as far as Reading in Berkshire.