How to make the link between a soot sample and the industrial accident at the SEVESO Lubrizol site in Rouen?


The fire at Lubrizol's SEVESO plant caused unparalleled pollution in Rouen and the municipalities along the Rouen-Lille road. The fumes loaded with soot, oils and chemicals contained in the burned warehouse were deposited on soils, buildings and waterways. While it is difficult today to measure the impact of this pollution on Man and the Environment, it is nevertheless possible to search for the specific pollutants linked to this industrial accident.

It is the products contained in Lubrizol's warehouse that must be sought as a matter of priority to make a link with the pollution produced by the industrial accident

What are the specific chemical markers of the Lubrizol industrial accident?

What differentiates the fire in Lubrizol's warehouses is the presence of specific chemicals.

These chemicals are not usually found in the environment.
A list of chemicals contained in the warehouse, mainly mineral oils and chemical additives, has been made public.

Mineral oils are complex mixtures of heavy hydrocarbons (alkanes) with a carbon chain containing between 15 and 40 carbon atoms.

Heavy hydrocarbons are markers of the Seveso plant fire in Rouen

Other chemical substances more specific to Lubrizol's activity, such as lubricant additives, contained in the warehouse are also very good indicators to link pollution to the Lubrizol plant.

Is there a pollution test specific to the Lubrizol fire?

YOOTEST has made a selection of chemicals present in the warehouse that can be detected by laboratory analysis :

  • 2,6-Di-tert-butyl-p-cresol (CAS 128-37-0)
  • Triphenyl phosphite (CAS 101-02-0)
  • Heptyl-phenol (CAS 1987-50-4)
  • Dodecyl-Phenol (CAS 121158-58-5)
  • Ester of thiophosphates and dithiophsophates : o,o,o,o-triphenyl phosphorothioate (CAS 597-82-0), diethyl dithiophosphoric acid (CAS 298-06-6), zinc O,O,O,O',O'-tetrakis(1,3-dimethylbutyl)bis(phosphorodithioate) (CAS 2215-35-2), Phosphorodithioic acid, mixed O,O-bis(1,3-dimethylbutyl and iso-Pr)esters, zinc salts (CAS 68784-31-6), zinc bis[O,O-bis(2-ethylhexyl)] bis(dithiophosphate)


The toxicological information for these substances is as follows:

  • Irritating to skin and eyes
  • Harmful to the aquatic environment
  • Endocrine disrupters (low-dose toxicity)
  • Night at fertility
  • Causes dizziness, headaches


In the face of the urgency of the situation, the YOOTEST Scientific Council has set up a specific analysis to identify with a high degree of reliability the organic chemical molecules present in a sample.

YOOTEST offers a laboratory analysis to identify the markers of the Lubrizol fire

This analysis can be performed from a dust or soot sample taken with one of these two types of media

  • Wipe: Soot and oil residues have settled on surfaces such as windows. The wipe is rubbed on a surface soiled by residues from the fire. Usually, an area of 33 cm x 33 cm (0.1 m2) is collected.
  • Filter: Chemical indicators of fire are not very volatile. The dust contains the markers of the industrial accident. It is collected using a domestic vacuum cleaner in a specific filter


The analysis report is available as standard within 15 working days of receipt of the sample at the laboratory.

It will indicate the identity of the substances present and specific research will be carried out for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), heavy hydrocarbons (C15-C40) and chemical additives present in the burned areas.

Caution, in the context of legal proceedings, samples must be taken by a person sworn in as a bailiff.