‘700 tonnes’ of sodium cyanide reportedly in warehouse during deadly Tianjin blasts

 70 times the normal amount of cyanide is needed for what, exactly?

 

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An aerial view of the crater after Wednesday’s blasts. Photo: EPA

 

Chinese officials investigate claims of sodium cyanide 70 times more than the permitted amount stored at Ruihai site

A large discrepancy over the precise quantity of hazardous chemicals being stored at a warehouse in the port area of Tianjin at the time of Wednesday night’s two deadly blasts is just one of the many unanswered questions surrounding the tragedy, which has claimed at least 85 lives.

Southern Metropolis News has reported that 700 tonnes of sodium cyanide – a highly toxic substance that can kill rapidly if inhaled – were being stored the warehouse owned by Ruihai International Logistics, according to a claim by the owner of a Hebei chemical company that owned the substance – 70 times the permitted amount.

Yet a report by the government’s environmental inspectors in 2014 noted that Ruihai was permitted to temporarily store up to 10 tonnes of sodium cyanide.

Two blasts ripped through an industrial area of the port at about 11.30pm on Wednesday – the first smaller blast was equivalent to three tonnes of TNT detonating – followed by a larger second blast about 30 seconds later, equivalent to 21 tonnes of TNT detonating.

An official at Tianjin’s work safety watchdog told a press conference yesterday that it was likely sodium cyanide and many other hazardous chemicals, had been stored at the warehouse, but provided no further details.

However, as of late last night, Ruihai had made no public statement regarding the explosions at its warehouse; neither had it released the names or quantity of hazardous chemicals that had been stored there.

Full article: ‘700 tonnes’ of sodium cyanide reportedly in warehouse during deadly Tianjin blasts (South China Morning Post)

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