USA/THAILAND: Refrigerant leaks have hospitalised 17 people in the last few days in two separate incidents in the US and Thailand.

Last Friday, 10 fishermen were rushed to hospital, four of them unconscious, following a refrigerant leak onboard a tuna fishing boat in Phra Pradaeng, south Bangkok.

Reports in the Bangkok Post say leak occurred in the cold storage section of the boat, the Panama-registered Tiara 108.

Twenty crew members were affected in total but 10 declined hospital treatment after receiving first aid.

An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the leak which has been attributed to a fluorocarbon. The most likely is R22 which is commonly used in trawler refrigeration systems.

On Monday, two firemen and five employees were taken to hospital after a large ammonia leak at a a salad and vegetable processor and packer in Streamwood, a northwest suburb of Chicago.

Unconfirmed reports say the leak was likely caused when a forklift or other piece of equipment hit an ammonia refrigeration pipe.

The Fresh Express warehouse was in full operation at the time and all employees evacuated the building. Those taken to hospital were later released.