Laughing gas enters atmosphere, will not cause mass hysteria
The Northern Ireland Department of the Environment said workers at Albion Chemicals Ltd. poured nitric acid into a disposal container that was contaminated, causing a reaction that produced plumes of nitrous oxide. This caused a massive cloud of smoke which initially appeared toxic, firefighters and police men jumped in their cars and rushed to the scene. Protected by their equipment including gas masks, firefighters sprayed the gas cloud with water mist and rushed on to halt any leaks in the sewage.
The gas, inhaled as an analgesic, has been known since the late 18th century as “laughing gas.” It has a range of medical and industrial uses and is not toxic. It was later reported that nobody was injured and the leak would not cause the masses to laugh anytime sooner either.