Dangerous Level of Toxic Chemical Found in Wastewater in China’s Tianjin

© REUTERS / Jason LeeRescue workers wearing chemical protective suits walk at the site of the explosions at the Binhai new district in Tianjin, China, August 14, 2015
Rescue workers wearing chemical protective suits walk at the site of the explosions at the Binhai new district in Tianjin, China, August 14, 2015 - Sputnik International
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On Sunday, the Chinese military said several hundred tons of sodium cyanide had been found in or around the site of last week's deadly warehouse explosion in Tianjin.

Rescuers walk next to damaged vehicles at the site of Wednesday night's explosions in Binhai new district of Tianjin, China, August 15, 2015 - Sputnik International
Hundreds of Tons of Highly Toxic Chemical Found in Tianjin Blast Zone
BEIJING (Sputnik) – Wastewater discharge monitoring stations in the areas affected by the explosions in the northeastern Chinese city of Tianjin have detected dangerous levels of the highly toxic chemical sodium cyanide, the chief engineer of the Tianjin Environment Protection Bureau said Monday.

"A total of 17 wastewater discharge monitoring stations have detected [sodium] cyanide, with three in the precautionary area exceeding the standard," Bao Jingling said at a press conference, as cited by the China Daily news portal.

Sodium cyanide is a highly toxic water-soluble powder that prevents the body from using oxygen. It is fatal if inhaled or ingested. When treated with acid, it releases the highly poisonous gas hydrogen cyanide.

"One monitoring station recorded cyanide exceeding the level by 27.4 times, while other two saw it exceed by 4.37 times and 0.96 times respectively," the official stated, as quoted in the article.

Last Wednesday, two blasts occurred in a warehouse in the port city of Tianjin, a key Chinese petrochemicals hub. The powerful explosions and subsequent fire were triggered by flammable goods and hazardous chemicals stored at the warehouse.

The death toll from the blasts has reached 114 people, according to the latest data.

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