Tianjin blasts: Fears rain could release deadly hydrogen cyanide

Want China Times
Date: 2015-08-17
By: Staff Reporter

A new threat has emerged in the aftermath of the devastating Tianjin warehouse explosions last

Firefighters and rescue workers at the site where deadly explosions rocked Tianjin last week, Aug. 17. (Photo/Xinhua)
Firefighters and rescue workers at the site where deadly explosions rocked Tianjin last week, Aug. 17. (Photo/Xinhua)

week with the local weather bureau forecasting rain for the next four days, raising fears that the hundreds of tons of toxic sodium cyanide stored on site could turn into deadly hydrogen cyanide.

The local weather bureau of the northern China metropolis announced that thunderstorms are expected from 5 pm to around 11 pm on Monday afternoon, with rain also forecast for the next three days.

The forecast comes a day after Shi Luze, chief of staff of the People’s Liberation Army’s Beijing Military Region, confirmed reports that there are “hundreds of tons” of sodium cyanide at the Binhai Port Area where several catastrophic blasts rocked the port city on Aug. 12. The death toll currently stands at 114 with around 70 still missing and more than 700 people hospitalized.

Sodium cyanide, commonly used for chemical engineering, fumigation and mining precious metals, is a white crystalline or granular powder which can be rapidly fatal if inhaled or ingested because it can interfere with the body’s ability to use oxygen. The chemical is water-soluble, so if there is rain it could release poisonous hydrogen cyanide into the air. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes hydrogen cyanide as “rapidly fatal.”     [FULL  STORY]

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