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Levels of Sodium Cyanide Cross Limit at Tianjin Blast Site

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Published on : Aug 21, 2015

Chinese officials have confirmed that the multiple blasts at Tianjin have left high levels of dangerous chemicals at the blast site. The presence of the chemicals are a hundred times higher than the standard safe levels, signifying the extensive need for a thorough clean up. According to Tian Weiyong, an official at the Ministry of Environmental Protection, water tests have revealed high levels of toxic chemical sodium cyanide at eight of the locations at the blast site. Sodium cyanide is a hazardous chemical that can kill humans rapidly. At one particular spot, the level of sodium cyanide has been 356 times higher the safety limit. 

The port city’s Haihe River has been overflowing with a large number of dead fishes. This has fuelled the fears that the chemical contamination has spread. However, according to the state news agency Xinhua, no toxic levels of cyanide has been found in the water sample taken from the river. The state media reports have mentioned that around 700 tons of sodium cyanide was stored in the warehouse where the blasts occurred. At least 114 people were killed in the blasts that rocked the port city of Tianjin. Around 60 people have been reported missing.

Officials have stated that they are cleaning up the blast site. About 20% of the hazardous sodium cyanide has been removed till now. The polluted water in the area has been blocked to restrict the extent of the pollution. The Chinese government has been criticized by the United Nations for the way of handling the disaster. Restrictions on public access to health and safety information are expected to increase the risks and number of victims of the disaster. A top U.N. expert called on the government to ensure transparent investigation regarding the disaster.