Environmental officials are warning the deaths from the explosion at the port of Tianjin may not end with the dousing of the fires that are still burning.
There are now fears that rain could release poisonous hydrogen cyanide into the air in the event of a heavy rain. Also, more explosions could be possible as many of the chemicals still at the site violently explode when they come into contact with water.
“If there is rain, it will produce hydrogen cyanide, so we are monitoring it closely,” Bao Jingling, chief engineer for the Tianjin Environmental Protection Bureau told NBC News. He added the nation’s anti-chemical warfare military divisions are on site.
Scientists also have admitted that they have found sodium cyanide in the waters of Bohai Bay. Local officials say that they learned over 700 tons of sodium cyanide was stored at the site, 70 times the legal limit and that the chemicals had not been reported to Chinese customs officials.
The government has cleared a 1.8 mile area of the city with over 6,000 families forced from their homes.
The death toll from the blast has officially reached 114 and local rescuers say at least 90 people are still reported missing including many firefighters. One firefighter told the NY Times that he doesn’t know the fate of 25 men from his brigade and “no one told [his crew] the fire involved chemicals.”
Some fire experts are speculating that the water from the hoses of the fire crews came into contact with explosive chemicals, causing the massive second explosion that had the force of 21 tons of TNT.
A 40-year-old man was found alive in the debris on Saturday and is hospitalized. Thousands are now homeless because of the fire’s impact on surrounding buildings.
The city’s residents have taken to the streets to demand the government buy out their homes so they can begin a new life. They say the toxins from the explosion are likely much worse than the government will admit.
West Virginia officials announced late Monday they were going to start lifting the water ban for communities impacted by a massive chemical spill.
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said that a “rolling lift” of the ban would take place to avoid having the water system overtaxed by everyone returning to the system at one time. A mass return would also cause more water quality problems.
Up to 10,000 residents were allowed to use the water system Monday with an additional 25,000 on Tuesday. Officials with West Virginia American Water said it could be a few more days before all customers could return to the system.
Customers were warned that while the water may continue to have an odd odor, it is safe for use in bathing, cooking and cleaning.
Health officials say only 14 people have been admitted to hospitals because of exposure to the tainted water and none are in serious condition. In addition, the river has not seen a fish kill or animal deaths from the contamination.
It was a very long, hard weekend for hundreds of thousands of West Virginians still dealing with the massive chemical spill in the Elk River.
Residents say they have been taking bottled water and food to elderly neighbors and shut-ins as emergency services aren’t meeting the needs of their communities.
“They can’t get out,” Chris Laws, 42, of Marmet, a coal miner, told the Associated Press. “I’m keeping an eye on them. You got to watch out for your neighbors. They’re the ones who are going to watch out for you.”
State officials said Saturday that they now estimate 7,500 gallons of chemicals leaked from a tank at Freedom Industries. They had previously told media sources that only 5,000 gallons had leaked from the tank. They could not say how many gallons made it into the Elk River.
Residents of the capital city Charleston and surrounding towns are still being told not to use tap water for any purpose.
Investigators from a West Virginia Fire Department and the state Department of Environmental Protection found the source of a chemical leak that contaminated the water for up to 300,000 residents in West Virginia.
The source was a leak from a 48,000 gallon storage tank located along the Elk River. The storage tank is a source of water for the 1,500 mile pipeline that carries water to customers throughout central and southwestern West Virginia.
Although the source has been found, this did not solve the problem. More than 1,000 calls were placed in four to five hours to the 911 center, 24 of those calls were for emergency medical services who took approximately five people to local hospitals.
Local business owner, Patricia Peal, not only had to close her floral shop, but also told CNN how the chemical spill is affecting West Virginia citizens.
“It’s all very hectic. You don’t even want to go to the grocery store. I think everyone is in a panic.”
A chemical spill in West Virginia’s Elk River has put 300,000 area residents at risk.
Federal officials are descending into the Charleston area to investigate the leak. The chemical release has poisoned the water supplies for nine counties.
Schools and restaurants were forced to close and residents ordered by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin to not drink, bathe, cook or wash clothes using tap water because of the chemicals in the water.
The extent of the damage has not been able to be determined.
The chemical is a foaming agent used in the preparation of coal. The leak at Freedom Industries somehow broke through a containment area and rushed into the river. A spokesman for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection said that no more than 5,000 gallons of the chemical escaped into the water.
Officials could not say how long the advisory against using the water will be in effect.
A study from Consumer Reports shows that about half the chicken breasts sold in U.S. grocery stores contain antibiotic resistant bacteria.
The study shows that if someone were to become ill because of the bacteria on the chicken, it would lead to potentially more difficult cures and possibly hospitalization.
Consumer Reports tested for six types of bacteria in 316 raw chicken breasts purchased at U.S. retailers in July. Almost all of the chicken breasts contained some kind of potentially harmful bacteria and 49.7 percent of the chicken breasts had a former of bacteria resistant to at least three different antibiotics.
The most common antibiotic resistant bacteria were forms that are associated with the antibiotics given to chickens to help increase their growth and fight disease.
The FDA announced last week they will call on meat producers to phase out the use of antibiotics in their animal breeding and growth.