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    Phosphorus spill in Lvov Region poses no health threat - ministry - 1

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    The amount of poisonous phosphorous in the air in the Lvov Region in western Ukraine does not exceed maximum allowable concentration levels, the Ukrainian emergencies ministry's press service said Wednesday.

    (Adds details in paragraphs 3-5, 10, 11)

    KIEV, July 18 (RIA Novosti) - The amount of poisonous phosphorous in the air in the Lvov Region in western Ukraine does not exceed maximum allowable concentration levels, the Ukrainian emergencies ministry's press service said Wednesday.

    Tests revealed no significant air, soil or water pollution in the area, where a train carrying yellow phosphorus, a poisonous substance, 0.05 to 0.15 grams of which is enough to kill a human being, derailed and caught fire Monday.

    Official reports said 49 people, including 15 children, were injured and 14 settlements with a total of 11,000 residents were affected. During the clean-up operation, 18 emergency workers were also poisoned.

    Lvov administration officials said some 800 people evacuated from the polluted area are now able to return to their homes.

    However, Ukrainian emergency ministry experts said a new leak of phosphorus is possible when the derailed cars are hoisted.

    The cloud of poisonous smoke subsided near the site of the accident and no neighboring countries, including Belarus, are in danger.

    The Ukrainian government said the accident was the country's largest man-made disaster after the 1986 Chernobyl tragedy.

    Ukrainian rescuers continued clean-up efforts Tuesday evening as several spot fires were reported at the site. Emergency workers continued to cover phosphorus concentrations with a mixture of sand and sodium carbonate, as the substance is highly inflammable and the hot weather in Ukraine could cause more fires.

    Kazakhstan's emergencies ministry has sent a disaster recovery team, as Ukraine has no experts trained to handle phosphorus.

    A special commission has been set up to investigate the accident and criminal proceedings have been launched. Traffic is expected to resume within 24 hours.

    Ukrainian authorities have cited the poor condition of the railroad as the main reason for the accident.

    A Kazakh company that produces phosphorus said it was ready to retrieve and transport the dangerous cargo back to Kazakhstan.

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