Tianjin Blasts: Authorities rule out possibility of nerve gas at blast site

No nerve gas has been detected since the warehouse explosions in Tianjin on August 12, according to specialists from the rescue team.

Tianjin Blast site
Tianjin Blast site

Reports put the death toll at 114, with 101 identified as of 9:00 am August 19. A total 677 people remained in hospital, including 56 in critical condition and 107 were released from the hospital.

The kinds and amounts of chemicals stored in the warehouse have been identified, said He Shushan, a vice mayor of Tianjin Municipality at a press conference on August 19, adding that the chemicals are mainly oxide compounds, inflammable materials and highly toxic substances. He is in charge of safety work.

The chemical residue has been cleared within a three-kilometer radius around the blast zone.

Wen Wurui, head of the Tianjin Bureau of Environmental Protection, said that no nerve gas had been detected, denying rumors that it had been found at the explosion site.

The possibility that nerve gas was generated at the explosion can be basically ruled out considering the complexity of its generation process, and the chemicals found at the site would not allow its generation, said Wang Yongan, a research fellow with the Academy of Military Medical Sciences (AMMS).

Responding to speculations that nerve gas has been stored at the blast area, some experts pointed out China has signed the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits the production and storage of such chemicals. China has a high reputation of strictly adhering to the convention.

The Tianjin Environmental Protection Bureau says that they have not received any reports of cyanide poisonings and concentrations of cyanide are normal, responding to concerns that the white foam that appeared on streets following rains in Tianjin might be harmful.

“If anyone has discovered a similar situation, please report to the environmental protection bureau, so we can monitor instantly,” said Bao Jingling, chief engineer of Tianjin’s bureau of environmental protection. “We have also investigated those injured at the hospital, most of which are blast injuries. No cyanide poisoning was reported, and we will continue to keep a close eye on it.”

Tianjin Mayor Huang Xinguo promised on August 19 that high-level pensions will be given to the relatives of the firefighters and policemen who sacrificed themselves in the blasts. Huang also suggested to build a memorial park at the blast site.

 

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