Driver arrested over toxic chemical leak

Updated: 2011-06-16 07:58
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HANGZHOU - Authorities in Dast China's Zhejiang Province said Wednesday they had arrested the driver of a truck which hit another causing the latter to leak a toxic chemical into a river.

The arrested man, surnamed Xu, was driving over the speed limit when his heavy trailer truck slammed into a parked tanker carrying phenol on June 4, said a spokesman with the procuratorate in the city of Jiande.

The tanker was being repaired at the time and a maintenance worker was killed in the collision.

Phenol leaked out of the tanker and rain water flushed it into the nearby Xin'an River, affecting water supplies of at least 552,000 people.

Prosecutors say Xu should be held fully help responsible for the collision, as the tanker's warning lights were on and road blocks were set up when the truck smashed into it.

Xin'an River, which feeds into the Fuchun and Qiantang rivers, is the drinking water source for several cities in Zhejiang, including the capital city of Hangzhou.

Phenol and its vapors are corrosive to the eyes, skin and respiratory system. Skin contact with the substance may cause burns. It can also harm the central nervous system, heart, lungs and kidneys.