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Official allays fears after rainfall in Tianjin

By Tang Yue in Tianjin ( Updated: 2015-08-19 13:41

Official allays fears after rainfall in Tianjin

Experts from Beijing Environmental Monitering Center display the tested samples collected from the blast zone in Tianjin on Tuesday. Zhu Xingxin / China Daily

The first rainfall on Tuesday since the Tianjin blast on Aug 12 did not turn toxic, said Bao Jingling, chief engineer of the municipal Bureau of Environmental Protection, at a press conference on Wednesday.

Pictures showing rainwater covered with white foam were posted online after the rain on Tuesday morning, promoting fears among the public over the safety around the blast area.

“We went to the reported place and sampled the water and soil. The test result matches with national standard. The water does not pose harm to the citizens,” said Bao.

Tianjin Environmental Protection Bureau, after taking samples of the white foams and nearby soil back to the laboratory, found 0.33 mg/kg cyanide in soil and 0,137 mg/kg cyanide in water, which are within normal level, said Bao.

Regarding other rumors about people feeling cauterized after being exposed to the rain, Bao said he and his colleagues also stood in the rain for about 10 minutes but didn’t feel uncomfortable.

“If any such case does arise, it will be very helpful that people report us the time and location,” he said. "I advise them to go to hospital. We’ve received no reports of poisoning from the hospital so far."

A monitoring site on rainwater, only seven kilometers away from the blasts site, has not detected any toxic cyanide after thunderstorms hit Tianjin on Tuesday morning, said Bao.

The current 17 air monitoring sites have not detected any changes in figures compared to previous ones.

An excessive level of cyanide was detected in water at eight locations within the cordoned off area from 0:00-24:00 Tuesday, with the highest reaching 277 times, Bao said.

The location that found the highest level of cyanide is a drain exit that had already been blocked to prevent the contaminated water flowing into the sea, he said.

The contaminated water will be pumped out and disposed at a sewage treatment plant.

Bao said there is no excessive level of the toxic chemical cyanide detected outside the cordoned off area.

The death toll reached 114 by 11:00 am on Wednesday, with 101 bodies identified - 53 firefighters, seven police officers, and 41 others; 65 remain missing. More than 670 are receiving treatment at hospitals, with 19 in critical condition and 39 severely injured. More than 100 have been discharged from hospital.

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