Courtesy of a factory gas leak in Rouen, Northern France, people in Britain had the opportunity to experience what it would feel like were their country to begin displaying sweaty clothes and rotten eggs at each and every street corner.
The foul smell was not caused by the natural gas that supposedly leaked from this factory, but by a chemical compound (i.e. mercaptan) whom workers mix up with the gas in order to make sure such leaks do not go undetected.
According to Daily Mail
, the sulfur-like smell originating from said region of France traveled across the Channel and engulfed Sussex, Kent, Hampshire and Surrey.
Later on, it made its way towards Britain's more northern regions, and eventually struck Oxfordshire and the East Midlands.
Seeing how most people are well aware of the fact that the smell of sweat and rotten eggs more often than not indicates a gas leak, it need not come as a surprise that, before local authorities had the opportunity to make any formal announcements, many of the country's residents called and asked for help from police officials and fire fighters.
Apparently, most of them were quite convinced that Britain was facing some kind of ecological disaster.
Both police officials and firefighters did their best in reassuring the general public that their health was not in any way endangered.
Still, they admitted that some people might experience nausea as a result of their being exposed to this so-called French stench.
Thus, London's Metropolitan Police tweeted that, “We are aware of reports of a strong, noxious, gas-like smell in some South East London boroughs. No risks to public.”
On the other hand, the London Fire Brigade said that, “We’ve been called to 25 gas incidents since 10.30am. The rotten egg smell is coming from France but has no risk to public.”
For the time being, the France-based factory responsible for this incident (i.e. Lubrizol) maintains that the smell was not caused by a gas leak, but by a decomposing product.
“It’s not so much a leak as a product that has decomposed, which smells very bad and which is escaping. An investigation is under way but our priority is to deal with the problem,” argued the factory's operations director.