05:40 GMT +318 October 2019
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    Rescue workers remove water polluted by chemicals from the site of explosions at the Binhai new district, Tianjin, China, August 19, 2015

    Toxic Cyanide 365 Times Over the Limit Found in Tianjin After Deadly Blast

    © REUTERS / Stringer
    Asia & Pacific
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    Highly toxic sodium cyanide has been detected in the water in the Chinese port city of Tianjin, where deadly explosions at a warehouse containing hazardous chemicals killed at least 114 people last week.

    Environmental health officers in the Chinese port city of Tianjin said on Thursday they have detected the presence of the highly toxic chemical sodium cyanide at levels more than 350 times the legal limit, in the wake of explosions on August 12 at a container storage station in the city.

    "An excessive level of cyanide was detected in eight locations with the highest reaching 356 times the legal limit," said an official from Tianjin's Environmental Protection Bureau, which conducted tests on Tuesday of the water at 25 sites in the area immediately around the blast.

    At least 114 people were killed and more than 60 people are still missing as a result of explosions last week at a storage facility containing 2,500 tons of hazardous goods, including about 700 tons of sodium cyanide, far more than the 10 tons allowed under Chinese law.

    The local government in Tianjin ordered the evacuation of thousands of people from the immediate vicinity in the aftermath of the blast, which sparked fears of toxic contamination of the air and water in the city of Tianjin, which has a population of 15 million.

    Soldiers of the People's Liberation Army anti-chemical warfare corps work next to a damaged firefighting vehicle at the site of Wednesday night's explosions at Binhai new district in Tianjin, China
    © REUTERS / China Daily
    Tianjin city authorities have also promised to relocate all chemical plants to an area 25km from the city, and compensate residents whose homes were destroyed or damaged by the blast.

    After a test by health authorities, the city's drinking water was determined to meet national standards, while additional tests conducted on samples of rainwater that fell on Tianjin on Tuesday did not detect cyanide in the rainwater, lessening fears that rainfall may spread the toxic pollution further. 


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