Chinese officials have admitted that the storage facility held 700 tons of sodium cyanide plus potassium nitrate, ammonium nitrate, metallic sodium and magnesium. After receiving the blood test results, her doctor told her to go home and rest, adding that there was no specific treatment for possible poisoning from the blast. About 17,000 homes were damaged and 3,000 cars destroyed in the explosion; the city has a population of about 15 million.
Photos apparently showing thousands of dead fish washed up on the shores of a river near the Tianjin blast zone have emerged online.
According to a report in state-run Xinhua news agency, officials dismissed reports of contamination saying it was not uncommon to find dead fish in the river during summer.
Deng Xiaowen, director of the Tianjin Environmental Monitoring Center, said a technical team is conducting further tests to determine if the fish kill was related to the pollution caused by the blasts.
How is the clean up progressing?
Information has also emerged that the firefighters were poorly paid and equipped temporary contract workers, with no specialised training in chemical fires.
Residents said they were anxious that the toxic chemical sodium cyanide was contaminating the waters around the city, but local officials said they found no toxic levels of cyanide in the water, TIME reported. A few hours later, researchers said no toxic levels of cyanide were found in water samples.
“All the polluted water is contained in the cordoned off area“, environment protection official Tian Weiyong told reporters.
However, local residents, particularly those living close to the zone, remain concerned about long-term environmental impacts.
On Friday, the clean-up was complicated by the outbreak of four fires on or near the disaster zone. That was closer than allowed by Chinese laws, state media says. Mounting evidence has suggested that political malfeasance and rampant safety violations played significant roles in the accident. The company’s previous license lapsed in October.
The blasts at Tianjin also prompted a nationwide review of China’s industrial-safety record, which has struggled to keep pace with the breakneck speed of China’s economic growth.
Tianjin Mayor Huang Xingguo said Wednesday that he bore “an unshirkable responsibility” for the blasts.
China’s response to the disaster has been openly criticized. In addition, the recovery personnel have built a dam of sand and earth, encircling a 100,000-square-meter (120,000-square-yard) area around the blast sites to prevent leakage.
The United Nations’ top expert on the implications for human rights of hazardous substances called the lack of information “truly tragic.” Special Rapporteur Baskut Tuncak called on the government of China and relevant businesses to ensure complete transparency in the investigation, including into the causes and effects of the explosion.