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DISASTERS: EXPLOSIONS : COUNTRIES: CHINA: How Safe is Tianjin after Explosions?

David P. Dillard
 

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DISASTERS: EXPLOSIONS :

COUNTRIES: CHINA:

How Safe is Tianjin after Explosions?

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How Safe is Tianjin after Explosions?

By Celia Hatton

BBC News

Beijing

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-china-blog-34013545

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More than a week after a warehouse packed with hazardous chemicals exploded in the Chinese city of Tianjin, many are still scared that poisons lurk in the air, the ground or the water.

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"It smelled strange when it rained yesterday," one Tianjin resident wrote online. "And I've been coughing for days. If the reports are true that there is nerve gas here, I'll wear a mask."

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"Everyone living in Tianjin should avoid tap water," warned another. "Even if they say the pollutants have been contained, better safe than sorry."

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How many of these worries are accurate? Is Tianjin still in danger? The short answer: we still don't know.

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Forty chemicals were said to be in the warehouse, but the full list of chemical names has not been released.

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The government says that the person in charge of warehouse logistics is too badly injured to speak, making it difficult to know exactly what was inside the warehouse at the time of the blast.

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"No one knows for sure," explains Louie Cheng, a former chemical warfare expert with the US military who now runs an environmental health consultancy in China.

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"They're mostly using records of what was known to have been in the warehouse. And we may never know what all was there. So, I can't say for sure if something is safe or not."

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On Thursday, thousands of dead fish washed up on the banks of the Haihe River in the same district as the warehouse which exploded, sparking concerns online of mass contamination.

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Officials said, however, that they had not found higher-than-average levels of cyanide in the water in the area.

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They added that tests found there were low levels of oxygen in the water, indicating that the fish had died from hypoxia, which is the deprivation of oxygen.

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The complete article may be read at the URL above.

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