Chinese workers in protective suits began clearing wreckage on Thursday, including charred car bodies and crumpled shipping containers, from the site of a chemical warehouse that exploded last week.
Chinese workers in protective suits began clearing wreckage on Thursday, including charred car bodies and crumpled shipping containers, from the site of a chemical warehouse that exploded last week. Chinatopix Via AP

Contamination feared as fish wiped out near Tianjin blast

THE death of thousands of fish in a river near the site of last week's massive explosions in Tianjin has fuelled fears about toxic contamination.

Chinese authorities have said the fish deaths are not linked to the catastrophic explosions at a chemical warehouse, but are dealing with a distrusting community worried about the release of sodium cyanide.

About 700 tonnes of the highly poisonous substance was stored at the site of the explosions, officials have said.

Xinhua, China's official news agency, said no toxic levels of cyanide had been found in the river during tests on Thursday afternoon. However, the ABC reported yesterday that cyanide levels more than 350 times the standard limit had been detected in water close to the site of the disaster.

At least 114 people were killed by the explosions.

More than 60 others are missing, most of them firefighters.

Sodium cyanide can harm the body through ingestion, inhalation, skin contact, or eye contact. Exposure affects the brain, heart, blood vessels and lungs and can be rapidly fatal.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, acute exposure to lower concentrations can cause weakness, nausea and eye and skin irritation.


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