Southern California chemical leak: Riverside County homes evacuated

A chemical leak from a railroad tanker-train car led officials in Southern California on Friday to shut down a major freeway and evacuate more than 100 homes amid fears of a potential explosion. 

Officials said the train car was leaking a chemical called styrene, which is used to make plastic products. Styrene is a highly flammable substance that can cause skin and eye irritation and is toxic if inhaled, according to the National Institutes of Health. One of the main concerns is that the car will explode as pressure builds up inside the car and temperatures rise during the day. 

The train car is stopped on a railway that runs parallel to the 215 freeway, near commercial businesses and a residential neighborhood just north of Perris, California, located 75 miles inland from Los Angeles. Styrene is typically kept around 85 degrees but temperatures in the container had reached at least 323 degrees, officials said. 

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